Important ?’s your Web Designer should ask.
Over the years I have learned more than a few things about collaborating effectively with my clients in order to give them the best website design and development solutions that will have high ranking results. Although the list of questions seems long and a lot of effort, it serves as an important planning step that will ensure a successful project!
1. “Describe your business in a few sentences?”
You have to capture your customer’s attention right away, you get less than 50 milliseconds! Telling your Web Designer your business “pitch” will enable them to come up with ideas for a homepage that will portray what your business does.
2. “What sets your business apart from your competitors?”
This is your chance to really distinguish your business from the others. If you have something unique to offer, then your designer should know about it, so that it can be played up and specifically called out on your site. It doesn’t have to be anything earth-shattering. In fact, it can be something incredibly simple, such as offering a complimentary consultation, for instance.
3. “Who are your main competitors?”
Knowing who you are competing against, your Web Designer can conduct the research needed. By looking into your competitors she can see how they deal with their websites, what works for them, and what doesn’t. This is not to copy what they do but to gather the best of ideas for your website, so that it is in line with your industry, only better!
4. “Can you describe your target customer?”
One of the key factors that affects almost every aspect of your website design. A site that is visual appealing to women may not be as visually appealing to the male population. This also affects SEO efforts and social media integration, it is important to be as specific as possible in order to design a site for the appropriate major audience.
6. “What are some other sites on the Web that you like and why?”
It is your website after all so incorporating your personal tastes into a website that you will love as much as your customer is very important. This is not a question used for copying other sites or disregarding good design methods but rather a way to incorporate elements that you as the owner can be excited about! This question helps find what you like out there on the world wide web.
7. “What specific functionalities would you like included on your site?”
This is something that you may not have thought very much about. You may not even be fully aware of all the options that are out there. Many of my web design clients know they want a Web presence, but they aren’t always sure about what they want to get out of it. And that’s ok. It is up to your web designer to get to the heart of your business, and suggest new ways to leverage all the technologies that are available and appropriate to your site. For instance, if you run a hair salon, you probably know that you want to have a service offering, contact info and directions on your site. But what about adding an option for customers to book their appointments via your website?
8. “Who is going to be responsible for the website’s content?”
This is a question that often catches clients off guard. It is a bit easier to answer in the case of a redesign, but what if you are a new business starting a website from scratch? Do you plan on writing the copy for your own site? Unless you have experience writing for marketing purposes, I wouldn’t recommend it. The first reason is, good Web copywriting is a skill that can greatly improve user engagement when done right. Secondly, (and I say this in the nicest possible way,) it will probably take a very long time for you to get around to it, if at all. I can’t tell you how many projects that have either stalled, or been abandoned altogether because a designer hasn’t received the content promised to them by a client. If your designer works with a copywriter, by all means, spend a little extra and go that route. It will take a lot of pressure off of you, the project will be completed faster, and you will end up with a much better product in the end. Well written copy sells. Period.
9. “What key search phrases would you like to be found for?”
Search engine optimization (SEO) is your key to being found on the Web. Your designer should be asking you this because your answers could have a big impact on not only the copy, but the overall site structure as well.
10. “How much time do you want to put into new content creation per week?”
Another key element to SEO strategy is keeping your content fresh. This means adding brand new content to existing pages, and/or adding new pages altogether on a fairly consistent basis. This can be done any number of ways, including a blog, user generated content if appropriate, or even a podcast. When I ask a client this question, I am looking to find out how I should design their site to make the most use out of the time they are willing to spend. If its only a few hours per week, a blog would be sufficient in most cases. If it is a company that employs someone who can work on content creation full-time, I would start thinking of new areas that would attract users. A video page perhaps? The ideas are endless, but it all comes down to how much time you are willing to spend on such efforts.
Designing a web page is not just about esthetics, incorporating marketing elements for the future of your business is what a great website designer should have in mind while creating this important marketing, imaging, branding tool for your business. An experienced web designer knows this and will go beyond just looks. The questions on this list each serve a very important purpose, and your web designer should touch on all of them in order to make fully informed design and development decisions that will positively impact your business for years to come.