December 14, 2021
How to set client expectations for website development.

It’s not easy to work on a web development project when clients do not understand the deliverables. For that reason, setting client expectations for website development is essential for the success of your projects.

The website design process is quite demanding. To stay on top of things, you need to have some mechanism for managing client expectations. It’ll help you create long-lasting professional relationships and avoid unexpected additional costs.

Getting started with freelancing website design projects

Read on to discover the value of setting clear expectations and the art of creating web development client questionnaires.

Why Do You Need To Set Client Expectations?

When working as a freelance web developer, you will interact with clients who are not well-versed in web development.

Therefore, it is crucial to help clients understand what you can deliver before working on a project.

If you can set clear client expectations during the onboarding process, it’ll help you run the project smoothly. Moreover, letting clients know what to expect early on helps you:

Define the Scope of Work

When expectations are communicated before the project starts, it becomes easier to understand the client’s business and what they are looking for. In the beginning, you should spend some time familiarizing yourself with the client’s needs, mission, and values.

That will help you define the scope of work and manage the project efficiently. You’ll find it hard to say no to the client’s demands after you’ve agreed to work on the project.

Understanding project deliverables for website development

Manage Your Workload With Ease

For a freelancer, meeting deadlines can sometimes be challenging. Something as simple as having spontaneous project revisions can make things last longer than expected.

As a result, your other clients and projects may suffer, hurting you both emotionally and financially. Setting your expectations right away will help you with project management, thus improving your freelancing business.

Create Long-Term Relationships With Clients

One aspect of setting clear expectations is to convey them unambiguously. When your clients are aware of the deliverables and your timeline, it’ll increase your credibility. Good communication is key to building trust in professional relationships.

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Setting Realistic Expectations in Web Design

It can be a little overwhelming to start with the process of setting expectations. The requirements and nature of each project may vary, thus impacting your approach. It is, however, helpful to have a structure that you can follow.

To set clear expectations, practice the following:

  • Set up meetings before starting the project. These meetings will help you understand the needs of the client and clarify project goals.
  • Define project deliverables and workflow. Provide specific information so that your client can understand the scope of the project.
  • Create a detailed project plan and share it with the client. Make sure that you address your limitations, resources, timeline, and budget carefully.
  • Clarify your concerns regarding the expectations during and immediately after the project is completed.
Website development project plan

Useful Tips To Manage Client’s Expectations

When working with web development clients, some of the tips to keep in mind are as follows:

  • Be transparent in sharing your concerns and expectations so the clients do not push you to overdeliver.
  • Keep the communication channels open at all times.
  • Do not set strict deadlines for yourself. Give yourself some cushion for unexpected events.
  • Ensure regular check-ins to keep up with the milestones and project status.
  • Keep a record of your agreement with the client. Documentation can save you from a lot of trouble.

An excellent way to gather the information you need to implement the practices and tips listed above is by asking the following questions:

Web Design Questions for Clients

  • What is your mission and vision for the business?
  • What are your requirements for this website?
  • What do you want to achieve at the end of this web design project?
  • What are the personas for your target audience groups?
  • How strong is your current online presence?
  • What is your timeline for the website to be fully functional?
  • Do you have any design expectations and restrictions that I should be aware of?
  • Who will I be in contact with during the web development project?
The importance of website development client questionnaire

Try having a website development client questionnaire to consult every time you bid for a freelancing project. All you have to do is go through a series of web design questions for clients before you kick off a project.

Creating a Website Design Client Checklist

In addition, create a web design client checklist to stay on top of things. This list will save you time and ensure you don’t miss important things while discussing a project.

Here is an example of things you can tick off to ensure you’re on the right track:

  • Define the goals and objectives of the website development project.
  • Set clear deliverables for the web development project.
  • Make sure to have a point of contact before, during, and after the project.
  • Set an expected launch date for the website with revisions in mind.
  • Establish an agreed budget and mode of payment.
  • Create a contract to be signed by the client.

The list is not exhaustive, and you can add more things to it based on the nature of the freelancing project. You may also have to create some documents, such as an onboarding form, for clients. These documents can help you keep track of multiple projects with different clients.

Final Thoughts: How To Set Client Expectations for Website Development

According to HubSpot, the employment of web developers is going to increase by 8% in the next few years. That means there will be more projects to do and strict deadlines to adhere to in the future.

And that is just one of the reasons why setting client expectations for website development projects is extremely important.

With expectations set upfront, you can use minimum effort to manage your relationships with existing and new clients. Succeed in your freelancing web development business by managing client expectations.

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Maddy Osman
Maddy Osman

Maddy Osman is a WordPress expert, WordCamp US speaker, bestselling author, and the Founder and SEO Content Strategist at The Blogsmith. She has a B.A. in Marketing from the University of Iowa and is a WordCamp Denver organizer while also operating The Blogsmith, an SEO content agency for B2B tech companies that works with clients like HubSpot, Automattic, and Sprout Social. Learn more about The Blogsmith's process and get in touch to talk content strategy:

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