Adopt an Orphaned Client And Reap The Rewards!

One organization I have a soft spot for is American Lab Rescue. They rescue orphaned Labrador Retrievers and find them good homes (we have welcomed two of the dogs into our home). I can’t understand why anyone would abandon those wonderful dogs. My point? Some web designers and web hosts do the same thing… to their clients.

It generally isn’t intentional. And it isn’t thought of as cruelty to defenseless clients. Web designers got into the business with all good hopes but find jobs elsewhere or move away or decide that this isn’t the field they want to be in. So they dump perfectly good clients off to the side of the information superhighway to fend for themselves. As some of you have done, I have taken in many orphaned web clients. They are nervous at first, having been dumped, but after building up some trust, they become excellent and faithful clients. If you haven’t started rescuing orphaned clients, here’s some tips on what to watch for…

  • Web sites that are very outdated.
  • “What’s New” sections that are empty or not current.
  • Code that does not use style sheets or that uses old code
  • Pages that are not using valid coding.
    (Yep… I know this blog software is not valid!)
  • Copyright date at the bottom of each page is several years old

Any one of these signs may not indicate an orphaned client but certainly should get your attention that there maybe someone there that needs your help. But what should you do if you see an orphaned web site floundering about? If you try to approach and offer help, you will be viewed as one of those “evil web designers” ready to promise the world, take advantage of them in a desperate moment, and then dump them. Most will claim that they already have someone working on their site (even though they don’t really). Take it slowly. Try to find a mutual acquaintance who can vouch for you. They will be skittish at first. But as time goes on and they realize that you are in it for the long haul, they will begin to relax and trust you. And once they trust you, they will tell others how dependable and trustworthy you are. Helping orphans is a win-win situation in my eyes. So go out and rescue a web site in need! (Next week I’ll talk about how to make sure your web site clients don’t become orphans.)

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