Designing a website can be an expensive and time-consuming job. As a website designer myself, I can tell you that my job requires an in-depth understanding of how your business works, and what you want and need from a website, so I can build a website that complements and enhances your business.
You should be able to answer these questions before a web designer can give you an accurate website quote.
1. What makes your business special?
You have probably spent a long time deciding on your unique selling point/s, so they should be the things that make your website stand out from the rest in your field.
- Do you offer a fast turnaround time?
- Does your product or service come with a special guarantee?
- Do you work with tools that most other companies don’t know how to use?
Figure out what sets you apart and find a way to showcase it on your website design.
2. Who are your customers and what problems do they face in relation to your industry?
Once you know exactly who your customers are and what problems they encounter, you can use your website to solve their problems and make them loyal to you for life. By knowing who they are, you can also figure out WHERE they are, which will enable you to advertise your website to them far more effectively. After all, it doesn’t matter how fantastic your website is if no one can find it.
3. What do you want people to do on your website?
When you decide your objectives upfront, you will be able to tell if your website design is succeeding or not.
- Do you want your visitors to buy your products or services immediately?
- If they’re not ready to buy from you yet, is there something else they can do, like request a specialised quote?
- Are you aiming to get more leads or phone enquiries?
- Do you want your new website design to increase your market’s awareness of your brand, or educate them about your product or service?
- Are you trying to actively encourage sales, or do you just want to build an email list, so you can send your audience interesting content or special offers?
- Do you want to visitors to fill out a form, play a game, or download your app?
- Should they share information to their social media channels, or engage with you on yours?
- Should people register for an event or book an appointment?
There are many different ways a website design can engage your audience. You need to answer this question thoroughly, upfront, so later you can work out whether your website is meeting your objectives.
Quick Tip: Break your goals down into two parts:
- The main goal of your website design: If users can only do one thing on your website, what should that thing be?
- Mini goals: What should users do on each page of your website? These mini-goals can lead up to the main website goal.
4. What features should your website design have?
The features you have on your website are determined by what you want people to do on your site. If you want visitors to buy your products online, you need an online shop with a payment gateway.
- If you want people to request a quote, you need a quote request form, or an online shop catalogue where they can select your products and send their choices to you, so you can quote.
- Do you want to showcase your social media feeds like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?
- Do you want visitors to learn how to use your products via a knowledgebase or blog?
If you know what you want people to do online, then you’ll know what functionality you need to include.
5. Do you have a website already?
If you do, why are you rebuilding it? Do you just want a new website design, or must the new website do something different, or something more, than the existing site does?
What do you love about your existing website design and what do you hate about it? Do you have the budget available to make all the changes you’re dreaming of?
Ultimately your budget will determine what you’re able to build online. WordPress will stretch your budget much further than if you coded your website from scratch, but there are still costs associated with plugins and website designer time to put all your website pieces together.
Do you own the domain name? If not, can you purchase it and is it available?
6. Which website designs do you like and why?
It’s so important for you to know exactly what you are looking for, and to be able to communicate your preferences to your website designer. It will make the website design process much smoother for everybody.
Do you like minimalistic design, or do you prefer busy pages with lots to see and click? Do you want a full width page or a boxed look? Maybe you prefer a dark or light background? Do you have a clear business brand and do your likes and dislikes match your brand? There’s no point in loving a black background with grey writing and dramatic black and white photos, if your brand is turquoise and white with light grey accents.
Choose five websites that you love and would like to draw inspiration from. Write down what it is about them that you love. The act of writing down the elements you like will force you to see how the website has been constructed and if it will match your business.
7. Who are your competitors?
Check what they are doing online and ask yourself what works and what doesn’t on their websites? Do their websites give you any ideas for what you can offer on your website, or do they flow better, or do they describe their offering more succinctly?
8. What is your budget and timeline for your website design?
Know your numbers and know how flexible you are able or willing to be. Unless you have an unlimited budget, your budget and deadlines will determine your online strategy, and not the other way around. If you only have X to spend, there’s no point in planning a website that will cost 5 times X – you will only be setting yourself up for disappointment.
9. How will you track your website design’s success?
If you know what you want people to do on your website, you will be able to track if and when they do it. Google Analytics is a brilliant tool to track your visitors and their actions. There are also other great tools like Hotjar that can track your visitors’ mouse movements. Tools like these can help you to pinpoint problems on your website that may be confusing your customers.
10. Do you plan to make changes after your website launches?
If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, it’ll be really easy for you to change and update your website whenever you want. Will you need training on how to use the CMS, or would you prefer to Google tutorials and figure it out yourself?
Will you be maintaining the backend software yourself, or would you prefer your website designer to do it for you? There may be a charge for ongoing maintenance and software licenses, so it’s always better to know these costs upfront.
Please contact us if you need some help answering these questions. We have been doing this a LONG time and can help you every step of the way.