Jump to content

  • Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

Subscribe to HRA Now!

 



Are you a Google Analytics enthusiast?

Share and download Custom Google Analytics Reports, dashboards and advanced segments--for FREE! 

 



 

 www.CustomReportSharing.com 

From the folks who brought you High Rankings!



Photo

What Do You Do When A Client Won't Listen?


  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 OptimalPages

OptimalPages

    HR 2

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 36 posts
  • Location:Central Ohio

Posted 25 May 2009 - 09:06 PM

In the interest of getting my feet wet in this business, I decided to start offering SEO consultations for free to people I know. When I felt I was ready to take on a bigger project, I contacted a former employer who has a large site (over 1000 pages). In exchange for my services, I only asked for a testimonial and the ability to link to their site as a sample of my work. They agreed to have me "consult" and advise their in-house web developer, who was in the process of redesigning the entire site. This was back in November of 2008.

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?

#2 Randy

Randy

    Convert Me!

  • Moderator
  • 17,540 posts

Posted 25 May 2009 - 10:39 PM

There comes a time with some clients, whether they're paying clients or not, when it is simply easier and better to cut the strings. It would be wise however to give whoever you spoke with originally a heads up so that they're aware of the main issues.

#3 ScottSalwolke

ScottSalwolke

    Scott Salwolke

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 405 posts
  • Location:Dubuque, IA

Posted 26 May 2009 - 01:18 AM

If you're just starting out in SEO, the last thing you need is to be associated with a site that isn't successful. If they won't listen to your suggestions then try to distance yourself from the project right away or its failure will be tied to your name. Move onto another project and prove yourself with them. Once you've established yourself you could come back to this project and again offer your services.

#4 rolf

rolf

    HR 6

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 675 posts
  • Location:Suffolk UK

Posted 26 May 2009 - 02:10 AM

I Agree with the above too, sometimes you have to sack clients. I don't like doing it and haven't done it often, but I don't regret one of those decisions at all.

#5 Randy

Randy

    Convert Me!

  • Moderator
  • 17,540 posts

Posted 26 May 2009 - 08:05 AM

As an aside, firing your clients can actually work in your favor long term. And it's not going to happen with this one for you because it sounds like then never implemented anything, which is part of the reason I suggested above you let the folks who agreed to have you consult know what's up. You don't want to get the blame --from the web designer, who is still going to have a voice-- after you walk away.

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. wink1.gif

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. giggle.gif

#6 OptimalPages

OptimalPages

    HR 2

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 36 posts
  • Location:Central Ohio

Posted 26 May 2009 - 09:04 AM

Thanks for the advice, guys.

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!

#7 Jill

Jill

    Recovering SEO

  • Admin
  • 32,967 posts

Posted 26 May 2009 - 09:47 AM

OptimalPages, you might be interested in my recent article:

85 Reasons Why Designers/Developers Keep SEOs in Business

#8 OptimalPages

OptimalPages

    HR 2

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 36 posts
  • Location:Central Ohio

Posted 26 May 2009 - 10:10 AM

Wow...just wow.

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.

#9 Jill

Jill

    Recovering SEO

  • Admin
  • 32,967 posts

Posted 26 May 2009 - 11:13 AM

O.P., it's the nature of being a consultant.

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.

#10 portentint

portentint

    HR 2

  • Active Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts

Posted 26 May 2009 - 01:34 PM

I agree with everyone's advice - it's time to cut the cord.

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.



#11 Conspicuous

Conspicuous

    HR 3

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 96 posts

Posted 27 May 2009 - 06:10 PM

This is the core of the problem.

QUOTE(OptimalPages @ May 25 2009, 09:06 PM) View Post
They agreed to have me "consult" and advise their in-house web developer, who was in the process of redesigning the entire site.


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.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

SPAM FREE FORUM!
 
If you are just registering to spam,
don't bother. You will be wasting your
time as your spam will never see the
light of day!