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It’s pretty tough to have a business without a website. Almost anyone can put up a simple, pre-built landing page, but building a great website takes a lot of skill and finesse.
That’s where you come in, right?
But as you know, building or refurbishing a site can quickly get out of hand. Clients aren’t always good at estimating the scope of the project. Edits can start to feel endless. And sometimes a project just isn’t ready to be tackled.
But if you’re prepared with the right questions to ask when creating a website, it’s a lot easier to stay on track. In this case, the adage, “a little preparation goes a long way” could not be more true.
Asking the right questions helps:
- Keep your website project running smoothly
- Eliminate constant back and forth
- Pre-qualify leads to ensure they’re the right fit
Below is a list of questions to ask when creating a website to get you the answers you are looking for.
Background Questions to Ask
The first thing to tackle is the history of the project. You need to know where you’re starting from before you can make a solid plan about where you’re going. You’ll want to get any technical details upfront.
Even if you plan to build an entirely new website from scratch, there might be useful assets or content you can bring over from previous attempts. Here’s some good questions to start with:
-Do you currently have a website?
-If so, what platform is it built on? Can you provide access?
-Do you have website hosting?
-Who is your current website host?
-Do you have a domain?
-Who is your domain registrar?
Questions about your Business
One of the most important things to keep in mind when working on any client project is the end goal. Nothing is more frustrating for both you and your client than going back and forth on website drafts because their vision isn’t coming to life.
Some of these questions to ask when creating a website will help you drill down to the essence of their brand, so you get things right the first time:
-What is the primary message of your company?
-What is the main purpose of your business?
-What are your goals with this website?
-How would you measure the success of this website?
Styling & Branding Questions to Ask
New businesses may not have all of the ins and outs of their branding figured out, but nailing down those aspects is incredibly important before starting on a website design.
Asking a few focused questions can help both of you get a broad idea of what the style should be like. Here are some branding questions to ask when creating a website:
-What’s the style of website you’re looking for?
-What do you like/don’t like about your current site?
-Can you give examples of other websites you like?
-Do you have a logo?
-Do you have a branding style guide?
-If not, are there standard fonts you use as a brand?
If you’ve had any experience with marketing, you know that audience is everything. The brand you’re working for is targeting a certain group of people, and the demographics of that group will dictate things like keywords, what kinds of social media platforms you integrate with, the style you use and accessibility concerns.
Here are some questions to ask when creating a website that can help you get to know the audience you’re trying to reach:
-Who is your audience?
-How do current users find you on the web?
-What’s the most important information that users come to your website for?
-What questions might your audience ask that would lead them to you?
When writing website copy and selecting a style and photos, you’ll want to take a look at the competition. One of the strongest messaging features of any website is showcasing the differential features over other choices.
For example, you might want to buy one product over another if the environmental impact is less. Or someone might choose a store with better customer reviews than its competitor. Understanding these differences will make the website you create much stronger. Start with these questions:
-Who are your competitors?
-Why should users choose you over your competitors?
-What do your competitors do better than you currently?
Website Project Details
Getting the details right takes time and planning. These questions to ask when creating a website aren’t that different from any other project you might work on. You’ll want to know what the expectations are upfront, so you can create a site that fulfills the needs and wants of your client. Here’s some good questions to get you started:
-How many pages do you anticipate your website being?
-What is your timeline?
-What is your project budget?
-What functionality and features are necessary?
-What’s currently working, and what do you think needs to be improved?
Integrations & Analytics Questions
These days, most websites tend to interact with other sites and tools for a seamless customer experience. Not every site uses the same integrations, so it’s important to ask about the environment your client is hoping to create.
You’ll also want to find out if more than just coding is needed, so you find subcontractors as needed. Here’s some questions to help you find out:
-Do you need your social profiles integrated?
-Do you need Analytics setup, like Google Analytics?
-How much traffic do you currently have?
-Do you need copywriting services?
Some websites are more than just a basic information hub. Sites selling a product need a way to take payments, track orders, and calculate things like shipping and taxes.
These questions to ask when creating a website will help you determine what types of eCommerce functions are required and help you steer the client towards business solutions that will work well for them:
-Do you need an online store?
-How many products & variations do you have?
-Will you be shipping (national/international), or providing local pickup only?
-Do you have product photos?
-Do you have product descriptions & pricing?
Because information and algorithms are constantly changing, a website is never truly finished. Before beginning work on a website, you should establish boundaries for who will do updates and maintenance. These questions to ask when creating a website will help you outline the contract and prepare for the future:
-Who will need access to your site?
-Who will be responsible for updating your website?
-Do you need training on how to update your website?
Add these to your client onboarding process
Putting in the effort to outline and understand the full scope of a website project is the best way to ensure success. Use these questions to ask when creating a website to start an open dialogue with your client about their goals and expectations.
Hopefully, these questions will spark other questions and ideas that will help solidify the branding, messaging and technical details of your website project.
Spending time with your client working through these questions can help you work out a solid contract, but it can also help you cultivate a strong relationship with the brands you’re working with.
For maximum efficiency, it makes sense to integrate this conversation into your client onboarding process. A consistent system helps both your client relationship and the project start off on the right foot.
Choose the questions you think are the most relevant to the kind of work you do and create an intake form that you use for every client. That way you don’t have to think about it each time you sign a new contract, it’s simply part of your procedure. Along with making things easier for you, this will make you look professional to your clients.
Asking strong questions shows that you know what you’re doing and are prepared to create a really stellar project.
It also shows you care about your client’s vision.
So before you start your next web design project, use this list of questions to ask when creating a website to completely nail it.
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