Questions to think about when building a website
The first thing I do before starting any website project is to run through a few questions with you. Remember, in the initial stages, I usually know little about your business and industry. You need to help me learn enough to build a targetted website, although I research well, you obviously know more about your products, service and customers at this stage.
Here are the questions we need to consider to find out exactly what’s needed for you website, industry and perhaps marketting.
If you have found this page and have not called me yet, it’s worth joting down some notes on the following questions.
Why do you need a website?
Knowing your motivation for getting a website provides key information about what you need to include in your website in terms of functionality.
- Do you want to update the website yourself and keep it uptodate with ever changing information?
- Or will the site simply be an online businesss card displaying information about your business and contact details as the information is likely to stay the same.
- Will you be selling products online?
These are just some of the things to consider.
I need to understand why you want a website in order to suggest features and solutions that will offer return on investment and real benefit to your business.
What is your industry?
- What does your business do?
- What service or product do you offer?
- What image do you want to portray to customers?
- What competitor sites so you like in terms of design and features?
- Are your competitors local or international?
- Is it a unique or saturated industry online?
This type of information will help me understand more about you, your business and how you would like the public to view your business and service.
Do you have a USP – unique selling point?
what makes your business different to competitors? What do you do that can make you stand out from the crowd?
Who is your target audience?
Knowing the kind of visitors you wish to attract to your website will influence the design, content. Vintage, Modern, Contemporary, Retro, are all design terms. Knowing your customer and business you will have been aware of competitors advertising and will likely have seen a common style. Do you want to follow suit or be a little different? Your guidance in this in terms of websites you like the look of which you think appeal to your target market will help guide me with a design scheme.
What do you need visitors to do on your website?
Before I can develop a site that meets your customers’ needs and expectations, I first need to establish what it is that you want them to achieve while they’re there. Once a goal has been established, I can hone a design to encourage the direction you’d like them to take.
What features do you need/want on your website?
An image gallery or event registration system, or maybe you just like the look of a banner that showcases your products, an online esitmate form or great calls to acton? Think about colour preferences, maybe you like image sliders. Do you have qualifications you can display, can we use membership logos?
Find sites you like in terms of functionality and email them to me.
What features do you NOT need/want on your website?
You’ve probably visited quite a few websites already and have no doubt come across things you think look amature, unnessesary or even don’t like. Make a note of things you probably wont need or functionality you think will NOT be beneficial to your business or customers. This part will help keep cost down.
What are your plans for the long-term?
You might only want a simple 5-page website with infrequent updates now, but what about next year? If you plan on expanding your website to add a community forum, e-commerce system or customer photo gallery, it would be wise to tell your developer from the onset.
Websites must be planned and coded to allow for specific types of growth. A website that cannot grow to accommodate your business will unfortunately need to be rebuilt again.
Who will be providing content?
A website isn’t complete without the bulk of text that forms the main body of your website.
Some website owners can afford to pay a team of copywriters to research and prepare the written content for them, but if you don’t have that kind of cash, then you should be prepared to write the content yourself, or I can help for a small charge, I can also make sure the content I write is Search Engine friendly.
Who will be updating your website?
Assuming that your website won’t just be a static online brochure, you should probably think about which aspects you’d like to update, and who you’d like doing the updates.
A CMS will allow you to update your own website.
If you haven’t got time to work on website updates, or you think that it’s safer to leave it to the experts, then let me know so I can work a quarterly or monthly update schedule into your maintenance plan. Alternatively, I can do ad-hoc updates for you and charge by the hour.
When do you need your website completed by?
Building a website can be very complex, and very time consuming, and some clients have very unrealistic expectations of how long it actually takes to make one.
The belief that we use a fancy bit of software to make a website for us has, sadly, been reinforced in recent years with the emergence of TV ads for DIY websites that supposedly take all of 5 minutes to setup. If only this were the case for all websites.
You should tell me your time frame to avoid disappointment and I’ll give you an honest indication of how long things are likely to take.
How much money do you want to spend on your website?
Try not to let it strike fear into your heart – I’m not trying to squeeze you for every last penny.
For people who don’t work in the field of web design and development, it can be hard to gauge a suitable budget, as you have very little idea of what things in ‘web-world’ cost.
As long as you’re willing to discuss money frankly, I can work with you to explain things in a way that you understand, and a trusting relationship can begin to be established with minimal frustration for both parties.