1. What Does Your Business Do?
How does your website fit into your business plan?
2. Who Is Your Target Audience?
Every website, from the smallest blogs to major online retail operations, should have a target audience in mind. Tell us who they are. Create a persona for this audience to help shape design elements, from type size to color to imagery. Knowing the audience, and users will help us help your design something more functional and usable.
3. What Do You Want People to Do on Your Website?
Every website should have conversion goals. What does the website owner want to happen when people get to the website?
Common actions include:
- Click a link to learn something or get information
- Buy a product or service
- Fill out a form
- Play a game
- Click links to view content (for generation of ad revenue)
- Register for an event
- Download an app
- Share something via email or social media
There are lots of things that users can do on a website. Break the goals down into two parts. The overall goal of the website: If users can only do one thing, what do you want to happen? Mini goals: Each page should lead to an action. And those smaller actions should build to the overall website goal.
4. Do You Have a Website Now?
Do you own a domain? If yes, what is the URL? Do you have a server/hosting company?
5. What Do You Love/Hate About your current website if you have one?
Get out a pen and paper. Divide it into two columns and make lists of things you love and hate about your current website. This exercise can help you plan the new design and figure out what features or visual elements to include (or forego).
6. What Makes You/Your Company Special?
How is your company special? Is there a service or product that’s so awesome that only you can deliver? Please “sell” your company to us, and we’ll help you sell your services to your clients/visitors. This might sound pretty easy, but sometimes it can be tougher than you’d think. Articulating the exact value of something can be tough but give it a try.
7. Who Are Your Competitors?
Who else has a website in the same “space” as you? Why is this a competitor? Send us links to those websites to see if we can gain additional insight into the project.
8. What Are 3 Websites You Really Love?
Now for the homework assignment. Make a list of three to five websites that you love. List a bullet item or two about why these websites appeal to you. If you could “steal” one design element or feature from each of these website designs, what would it be?
9. What Are Must-Have Website Features?
It can be something as simple as “it must work on my phone” to more trendy design elements such as a gradient header or parallax scrolling on the homepage.
10. Do You Have Current (Google) Analytics?
Understanding the current website audience can help you shape how to arrange pages and navigation. Do the things you think are important line up with what users are actually doing on the website? Digging through current analytics can help answer those questions. Consider a full analytics audit. This can be helpful for any project and even more helpful if you cannot quite tell what you are looking for.
11. Do You Have Imagery?
Do you have photos, video or illustrations that will be a part of the design? Show them to us so that we can ensure that they have enough resolution and value to be incorporated into the design. If you don’t have imagery, we’ll talk you though contracting new imagery for the project or working with stock images or video.
12. Do You Have a Color or Typography Palette?
Do you have colors and fonts that you want to use? Will those same colors and fonts be used on the new website? A new website often comes during a company refresh or rebranding. You want to make sure we are building the design with the new elements if they are going to change. About typography, we might need to look for typeface substitutions if the typography palette doesn’t use commonly available web fonts. Close alternates are commonly used online versus typefaces used for print branding.
13. Do You Have a Brand Book or Style Guide?
The brand is more than just colors and typefaces. If you have a brand guide – new or old – get us a copy. It will provide valuable information about the brand style, tone, and voice. Sometimes a brand guide can include a “persona” for the company. (That can save us a step early in the process if it already exists.)
14. What’s Your Timeline?
We need to find out if your expectations match what we can do with the design in the time allowed. Is the timeline flexible at all? We want to make sure you have a clear idea of what is expected to make the project flow as smoothly as possible.
15. Do You Plan to Make Changes After Launch?
What happens after we hand the website back over to you? Do you want training and the ability to add content or elements? Or is the website just going to live on its own? The answer can shape how we structure the website, particularly on the back end. It can also help us figure out if you need a maintenance or other long-term contract. Designing something from the start that you can use in the way you have imagined result in more happy clients. Remember, we are building something that you can use and work with for years to come.
How it works and how we work with you
Now that you’ve read through the initial questions, use those to tell us about yourself (your business) and your needs, wishes, and goals. You’ll also send us logo(s), colors, and branding/style directions. We’ll also need text from you and what you want on what pages. Send us URL to sites you like.
When we together have settled on a direction, we’ll set up your site on our test server so that you can check in online and see live what your site will look like.
Only after you’ve approved the site will we transfer the site to your server. You’ll have your own login and full access to the various components of the site. This means total independence for you. You can choose to further develop your site yourself, continue using us, or find someone else.
Terms and conditions
1/3 of the payment is required up front, 1/3 half-way through the project (for larger projects, and when you approve the site on our test server you pay us the remainder of the fee. Then we’ll transfer the site to your server in one to two days. Typically, the whole process takes about 4–6 weeks from beginning until your site is published.