By asking these 10 crucial questions before you get started, that’s how…
1. What does your business actually do?
Getting a really thorough understanding as to who you are, what you do, how long you’ve been around, etc will often help support the design research.
2. What do you want your site to accomplish?
“What’s your primary goal for the site? What do you want most from it? Quote requests, sales, class booking, more memberships etc?”
“And if your visitors aren’t ready to buy right now, as in take you up on your primary offer/action, what would you like them to do instead? I.e. what are your secondary goals for your site? Newsletter opt-in to build your list, eBook download, Facebook like etc?”
Do you want the site to:
- Get more inbound leads / quote requests / phone enquiries?
- Increase brand awareness?
- Educate your audience?
- Encourage sales?
- Collect email addresses and build a list?
- Encourage onsite or social media interaction?
3. Do you have a website already?
If you already have a website, here are some more questions so we can understand your old site inside and out.
Questions we may want to ask include:
- When did you get this site?
- Do you find it easy to use and edit?
- What CMS (Content Management System) does it use (if any)?
- What do you like about it?
- What DON’T you like about it?
- How many inbound leads are you currently getting from it?
- Is it giving you the results you want to see?
- Have you got Google Analytics setup? If so, can you generate a report for us so we can see what’s working and what’s not?
- What would you like to see carry over to the new site?
In a nutshell, we want to learn from your past mistakes, likes and dislikes and make sure that our new website knocks it out of the park and seriously out-performs the previous version of your site.
4. What makes your company remarkable?
What makes your business unique to everyone else? What makes you remarkable?
How your potential customers are doing their initial research. They’re browsing 10+ different supplier websites looking for someone to solve their problems, so you need a way to really stand out big time against your competitors.
- Being the cheapest.
- Having awesome customer service.
- An amazing guarantee or returns policy. Tip: Think Zappos and their 12-month shoe return policy!
- Being the exclusive supplier of a product in a certain area.
- Supplying the best quality product around.
- Fast or Free delivery.
- Offering unique add-on packages no one else can.
And if you really don’t have anything that makes you stand out, maybe NOW is the time you should start trying to create an advantage over your competitors.
5. Who are your competitors?
Now that we understand your business and what you want your website to accomplish, it’s time to do some research. And where better to start than by checking out your competition?
You already know who your main competitors are. However, you also want to think a little outside of the box. Don’t just get your direct competitors, but think about who your less obvious competitors are.
For example, if you run a tourist attraction, you shouldn’t just look at similar attractions in the local area, but also look at competing attractions that pull tourist eyes away from your site, and also check out regional competitors too.
6. What websites do you like and why?
This can be related to the above question about competitors, but if you want your clever design work to put a smile on your face, then make sure to tell us what website do you like.
“Well… what sites DON’T you like and why?” At least this way we’ll know what not to include!
7. Who exactly are your customers?
“If you could roll all your customers into one
super-customer… what would he/she be like?”
8. What features do you want on your website to have?
- A shopping cart?
- Social media implementation?
- Email collection and email marketing capability?
- Auto-responders for nurturing?
- A blog or news feed?
- Photo galleries?
- Onsite videos?
- A slider banner?
- A mobile site?
- A responsive site?
- A blog or news page?
- The ability for people to leave comments?
- A quick contact form, quote request or booking form?
9. How will you record your results?
- “How will you measure your success?” or
- “What does success look like to you?”
Surely it’s to get more money isn’t it? Well hang on there Tiger, not so quick…
For example, you could record the results of the:
- The amount of new enquiries you get.
- Number of signups for the site’s free trial.
- Number of signups for a FREE eBook.
- Number of users of the site’s forum.
- Number of sales.
- Customer’s average order size.
- Amount of traffic.
- Level of activity on the site’s blog.
- Number of social media (Facebook / Twitter) followers.
10. Do you have a style guide or any existing collateral?
I call this ‘Desktop Research’.
Occasionally we want to work with a completely clean slate. You may already have online and offline materials created for your business.
Logos, brochures, old websites, posters and web banners are just SOME of the things that might be tucked away. And yes, annoyingly many clients won’t send this onto us unless we ask for it!
Once we get everything, we’ll make sure to ask you how strictly we have to adhere to the style / branding of the old material. We don’t want to create something only to find out that our client’s colour scheme is completely different.
Many companies won’t have style guide, but if we have a client who does, it means we’ll have something in writing that clearly explains the style we work needs to capture.