Managing Hacked Client WordPress Sites: Prevention, Reaction and Investigation

As project managers, web designers, and freelancers, we deal with a multitude of issues, especially when it comes to content management systems. For me, most of the issues arise in WordPress as it’s my choice CMS for clients. The most serious of these issues is dealing with hacked client sites where either spam has been placed, or more detrimental, malware.

So as project managers, web designers, and freelancers, we must by default become quasi experts in security. No problem. It adds more fun to the challenge.

Combating security breaches should fall into two camps (which are obvious if you’re a long-time reader of this blog): proactive and reactive. Proactive is preventing the problem before it occurs while reactive is after the fact and how to perform damage control.Keep Reading

Communicating Complex Concepts to Clients

Web designers, web developers, and project managers often find themselves in a situation where they must convey a complex or complicated subject to a client. This is where you need to hone in on your communication skills. Since most clients are relatively novice when it comes to the world of web creation, it requires a special attention to detail to ensure they fully understand the concepts you’re trying to communicate.

Getting the wrong message across can be detrimental to progress. Usually, when a client – or anyone for that matter – doesn’t comprehend a subject, they’ll make assumptions and draw incorrect mental maps. That incorrect interpretation can generate false expectations, or worse, dissatisfaction with the project’s progression.Keep Reading

When to Give Up on a Web Project

Contemplating the ProjectMost of the articles I read about project and client management deal with the positive aspects of the relationship. They offer tips and remedies for making everything work perfectly, and they try to give guidance on making sure your projects are fulfilling. There’s nothing wrong with these articles, and in fact, I’ve authored more than a few of them. However, what about those projects that just flat-out suck? You know. The ones that eat up all your time and subject you to a client who is never satisfied with your work and never compromising on his or her attitude.

Those projects stink, and it’s okay to give up on them.Keep Reading

Why Simple Planning Goes a Long Way in Your Web Projects

Milestones, to-dos, communication, deliverables. These are sometimes shouted out as the end-all solution to poor project management. However important these tools and methods are, they’re just tactics. What’s really needed to manage an effective web project is a plan and strategy.Keep Reading

The Art of Finishing a Project

Project FinishIf you’ve managed your share of web projects, then you’ve likely seen far too many fall apart or become snagged by delays in the end. These obstacles can make it nearly impossible to finish projects. There may be times when you don’t even know if the project is complete or not.

Believe me, we’ve all been there and will continue to experience that uncertainty in projects. Web sites are complex, and the job of creating them requires tons of flexibility. I’ve always said that the key to managing smarter projects is by being proactive and by communicating effectively. But what specifically can be done to finish those lingering projects and to be satisfied with the end result?Keep Reading

Your Client Hates Your Work and You Don’t Even Know

Take a moment to reflect on the very real possibility that the new web site you’re working on – the one you have declared a masterpiece in your mind – is in fact the bane of your client. They hate it, and you don’t even know it.

Why don’t you know? Perhaps they aren’t vocal and prefer to seethe in silence, or maybe they’re too busy to guide you in a more suitable direction. The fact is, they have chosen not to communicate this dislike of your work, which is a very big problem.

Some clients may never voice any concern, and instead just go along with the show. In the end, they’re left unhappy and with a site that they don’t think achieves their goals. Other clients may just go behind your back and hire another designer. Whatever the case, the client isn’t happy, and you’re left to pick up the pieces, wondering what went wrong.

How can we avoid this mess in the first place?

There are five simple, though effective, methods below that can help you to discover, address, and alleviate client concerns before they turn into a whirlwind of trouble.Keep Reading

11 Ways to Prevent Angry Clients from Destroying Your Project

We’ve all had our fair share of angry clients. They’ll call or email, outraged that something has or hasn’t happened, dutifully heaping a big steaming pile of blame on your lap. And as good web designers or freelancers, it’s our responsibility to eat that blame and make everything right.

But what if we could avoid the mess in the first place?

It’s not easy, but it’s certainly feasible. Moreover, preventing client anger is something you should strive for, because no one likes dealing with angry people.

So, how can we prevent the anger? Below I’ve outlined eleven tried-and-true methods of proactively handling projects and clients before they succumb to strained feelings.Keep Reading

Six Project Management Skills Every Web Design Freelancer Must Have

Project Manager SkillsManaging web design projects is one difficult job. There are communication and organizing issues, negotiation and networking, and most of all, a strong need for planning. Effectively wielding the skills necessary to implement a successful project can be painful. Sometimes you have to tell a client, “no,” and other times you have deal with a plan that’s falling apart. And if you’re a freelancer or small business, you’re probably doing a majority of the actual design and development work.

Then again, that’s part of the game and what makes project and client relationship management such a diverse and interesting field. Each day throws a new rock at you. You just need to be sure you can catch it.

What kind of skills does it take to make an effective web design project manager? I asked myself this and came up with six definitive qualities. I don’t think you need to master each one, but it doesn’t hurt to be constantly sharpening and refining these skills.Keep Reading

Building Zones: How to Get More Done on Your Projects

Web designers that freelance or work at small companies usually have a myriad of distractions that take away from projects. Whether it’s a client technical support issue or billing management, it seems as if everything in the world is aligned against us. By the end of the day we look at our project schedule and realize that very little got done.

This seems to be the price we pay for the freedom of doing things our way. Fortunately, it’s an easy issue to overcome. I’ve outlined below proven ways to dedicate more quality time with your projects without sacrificing the other parts of your business. They’re proven because I’ve implemented them with success and am confident you can too.

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The 10 Traits of Highly Effective Milestones

Effective MilestonesI’ve written in the past about planning effective web design milestones, so now I want to delve into the actual elements that make up a good milestone. Milestones should be the meat of your project process for any web design or development engagement. They constitute your game plan and provide a clear roadmap for you and your client.

Since milestones are very much like goals, they should follow the SMART routine: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. I’ll discuss how you can apply SMART plus five other traits to your milestones to make them actionable and effective.Keep Reading