Having a bit of a conflict with a client at the tail end of a long, long project today… Part of the issue is that this client is upset about how much review and copyediting he’s had to do.

I’ve found that the majority of clients, probably 2/3 or more, don’t realize that they’re going to be required to provide written content to me in the course of their web design project. I’m not sure where this mistaken belief comes from, because most web sites I’ve seen have some amount of content (<sarcasm>) but as a rule the more complex or obscure their business, the less I’m going to be able to write on their behalf. I’m willing to take a stab at any topic, but I’m not a _______ (insert your favorite technical specialty here) and won’t pretend to be.

It’s important to me that content be accurate and credible (it’s important to Google too, btw). When my client is an expert in his/her field, they will write for me, whether that’s a talent of theirs or not. I can clean up bad writing, but I’m not going to pretend that I’m an authority in a complicated field with which I have little or no familiarity. It’s just not an efficient use of my time or the client’s money.

My SEO partner and I met with a prospective client today – and it’s a good thing we met at her shop!

Based on her existing website and the new, 28-page website that some designer has been building for her for the last 12 months (I kid you not), my assumptions about the business were pretty solid. To my surprise, I walked in the door and see something totally different!

This woman and her husband have an interesting, viable and serious business going on but the impression one gets from both her old and in-progress websites is that of a lone hobbyist.

She asked, at the conclusion of our meeting, whether we could help her with presenting a true and accurate picture of her business and getting it found on Google. Our answer was: of course. This is what we do for a living.

When she told us about the current designer, what he has and has not done, and what he’s convinced them of, I mentally shook my head. It’s sad when small businesses are taken advantage of this way; the designer is building them a site that’s not standards-compliant, valid, accessible, or search engine-friendly and says absolutely nothing about the true nature of their work.

And the fact that this redesign experience has gone on for a year now… I just want to help this company. I really do. I think they could be a strong competitor in their industry in our region – if more people knew about them and understood what they really do.