1. Have all your clients fill out a detailed project form asking them what they want, what style they like, what websites they like and so on – The more you know the easier it will be to give them exactly what they want.
2. Always study the competitor websites of your client so you can make sure your design is better and has everything they have + more.
3. Make sure you get everything you can from a client upfront, which includes copy, pages needed, images, quotes, company colors, their logo, etc.
4. When creating a website it’s helpful to start off sketching or creating digital wireframes to layout everything the client needs on their website.
5. Always send project proposals.
6. Create and send detailed contracts that both you and the client date and sign.
7. Outline details such as initial concepts, number of revisions, time-frame, payment schedule, etc, in the contract.
8. Have the client sign off on the project once complete.
9. Send payment invoices and payment invoice reminders – try software such as QuickBooks.
10. Keep digital, hard copy and backups of all paperwork such as the above mentioned. You should also save and copy receipts and anything else you might need for taxes.
11. Always keep backups of client files going back several years if possible – you never know when a client may contact you asking for files from a while back.
12. Organize all your paperwork and records on a regular basis to make filing taxes easier – try organizing by year and client names.
13. Use project management software like BaseCamp to keep in touch with clients and to get feedback during the design process.
14. Keep contact and project info on all your clients so you can send them future promotions.
15. Send personal/handwritten thank you letters once projects are complete.
16. Never forget the client is always right!
17. Monitor your brand/name online for any mentions – try Google Alerts to start.
18. Respond to any positive and negative messages quickly to thank clients and resolve issues.
19. Get and publish testimonials, case studies and feature projects in your online portfolio whenever you can – don’t forget to get permission to use these in your marketing.
20. Make sure you have an actual marketing plan, budget and goals for increasing business.
21. Offer clients discounts for referring new clients.
22. Send out promotional emails or postcards on popular holidays.
23. Stay up on the latest marketing trends and use them to your advantage – such as Twitter, Facebook Pages and more.
24. Never stop marketing! You never know when something will come up such as the economy taking a hit. It’s better to have to turn down work than be desperate for it.
25. Occasionally review your business/marketing plans and budgets for ways to cut expenses and to find growth opportunities.