What’s the deal with website clients and their inability to provide text content for their websites? How in heaven’s name do you get your clients to provide you with the content for their new website?
I know that this subject is something that virtually all web designers have to cope with. Many of us learned the hard way to demand a significant down payment before we even start a new project, and that of course protects us to some degree from clients who simply never provide the content.
In reality, even this technique fails, at least in my experience. By the time I am asking the client for text content I have finished 95% of the project, yet have only been paid for 50% of it. On more than one occasion the client never provided the content and simply forfeited their deposit. When this situation occurs we both lose, at least the way I see it; the client paid half and received absolutely nothing, and I did more than half the work yet was only paid for a portion of it.
In theory my client contract protects me against this eventuality. All of my contracts have a clause that makes the full project cost due and payable if the client has not provided the content in a specified period of time. In some cases my contract has required that all the content be delivered in ninety days, and in other contracts that requirement has been stretched to 180 days. But in my experience it is usually not beneficial to try and enforce this clause when a client refuses to provide content. The price point of my typical design project is such that taking the necessary legal action against these clients is not cost effective.
Perhaps there is no good solution to this problem. I guess I am just frustrated because to me, writing comes naturally. I have never understood why clients drag their feet and struggles with it. I don’t see any simple solution. I suppose I need to simply anticipate this problem as part of every project and be happy when the unusual client provides timely content.
As always, I welcome your comments, tips, suggestions or antecdotes regarding these laggard clients. Please help me understand their lack of motivation or direction – or at least make me laugh at some of your stories.