How do most web design companies get the copy from their clients to go on a website? Most web agencies I've spoken to say one of their biggest problems is getting the text for the content. Is this what others have found?
Unfortunately a lot of clients "know" what they want to write on their website, they just never get around to writing it, and then even when they do send it to you it's not very good. They think that it's a book of some kind and generally don't understand how to write good web copy. Let's not get started on SEO...
I wouldn't say it's the biggest problem but yes, it's certainly up there. Personally I offer writing web copy as an additional service and that's something I'm working on right now. My last client took me up on this but then still decided to try and write it all himself. *sigh*
I haven't come up with the magic formula yet but I'm of the opinion that if you are going down this route you need to try and get the raw information from the client, whether that be a specific statistic or fact about their company/product/service, that they want to get across so that you can then work out the best way to word it.
If anyone else has a better approach, I'm all ears!
If you're not going down this route then you need to work to a development schedule which includes project milestones and their deadlines. The schedule should be agreed on by both parties and included in your contract which should state what the client is expected to do and when they have to do it by; for instance provide the web copy before dd/mm/yy. Failure to do so will incur a fee of x.
They might not like it, but let's be honest, it's hard to juggle multiple projects at the same time. Their delays cost you money and opportunities (turning down a client could have many future implications for you and your business) and as such they need to pay for wasting your time. Of course, the key to all this is to ensure effective communication with the client, don't surprise them with things like this at any stage!