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What Do You Do When A Client Won't Listen?
Posted 25 May 2009 - 09:06 PM
The project has been a disaster. Despite my numerous warnings and reports, the web developer continued to design the site according to his own ideas, which for the most part, was not SEO-friendly. He failed to grasp the concepts of keyword research and a content-rich site, in spite of my many reports. Most of my advice was just flat-out ignored. A couple weeks ago, he uploaded the new site to the live server with broken links (URL structure was changed) and a myriad of other problems.
Without going into a lot of detail, this is not a project I would want my name attached to as a sample of my work. I am at odds as to how to approach the situation...does anyone have a suggestion?
Posted 25 May 2009 - 10:39 PM
Posted 26 May 2009 - 01:18 AM
Posted 26 May 2009 - 02:10 AM
Posted 26 May 2009 - 08:05 AM
Where firing clients can work in your favor is when you've done some work for a client and seen some success, but ultimately fire them because they just don't get it and won't follow enough of your advice to attain as much success as they could have. Chances are most of those are going to go off, continue doing their own thing, undo everything good they'd done at your direction and have a site that really, really sucks within a couple of years.
The ones that are serious about their business will sometimes then swallow their pride and try to get you back to help them. Which obviously puts you in a much better negotiating position, both in terms of what you expect to happen when you give them advice (often you'll get the ability to make the changes yourself if you require it the second time around) and in the fees you can command from them, since they've already seen some success with you.
I got this all the time the first few years after I fired all of my clients because I was going out to do my own thing. (Some were legitimate firings for cause, some were simply that I wasn't going to be doing SEO for others anymore.) I was frankly surprised at some of the offers I got out of the blue. Though I shouldn't have been.
Posted 26 May 2009 - 09:04 AM
At first, I thought it was my fault. I thought perhaps I wasn't conveying my points in a manner that he could understand. In the end, it became apparent that the goal was just to get the site finished. In his mind, SEO was never part of the plan, it was an afterthought.
Still though, I can't help but wonder if my advice would've been so easily ignored had I charged fees for my services. I failed to attach any monetary value to myself, which made it easy for management to consider the web designer's input over mine, if he contacted them at all about the progress or lack thereof.
I think I will write an email to the CEO today and express my concerns. Thanks again!
Posted 26 May 2009 - 09:47 AM
85 Reasons Why Designers/Developers Keep SEOs in Business
Posted 26 May 2009 - 10:10 AM
I can easily identify with over 50 of those. Again, thanks for the replies. I thought I was doing something wrong, but it's becoming apparent that I'm not alone in beating my head against the wall with some of this stuff.
Posted 26 May 2009 - 11:13 AM
You can provide all the recommendations in the world, but if the companies don't implement, you won't have much to show for it but a lot of reports.
It's certainly frustrating to not be able to have many case studies, but that's the way it goes.
Posted 26 May 2009 - 01:34 PM
One suggestion: Talk to the CEO by phone or in person, not via e-mail.
Explain that you have his best interests at heart in the recommendations you've made, but the developer hasn't implemented them, and there's an opportunity cost to his business because search engines are such a large part of all that happens online.
Then explain that you're stepping aside because it's not a good use of your time or his money, and that to be honest you don't want to be known as the SEO that optimized this site. (nicely)
It's a small world - your CEO today might be a VP of marketing at another great client in 3 years. It's good to not burn bridges.
Posted 27 May 2009 - 06:10 PM
Without any buy-in from your former employer, this is more of a situation of him doing you a favor ("letting you advise") rather you providing him a service and giving him the benefit of your skills and experience. Unfortunately, many people don't value things that don't cost them anything.
Have you set up any reporting systems so the boss understands what your recommendations have been and what outcomes have resulted? If so this is a dog you should walk away from. If he doesn't really grasp what's going on, then you should take some responsibilty for making sure he does. If you choose to do SEO consulting in the longrun, you'll find client education can be an important aspect of your business.
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