So, it’s time for your company to invest in a new website.
It’s tempting to jump in with both feet, but there are a lot of questions you should ask to ensure your new website is built to be exactly what you need for your business.
But first, why do you need to ask these questions?
Reason 1: Scope Creep
Properly preparing for your new website project will help you avoid scope creep, meaning more tasks getting added on to an existing project as it moves along. By first creating a specific plan for your website, you can be sure your project stays on-course throughout.
Of course, features and functionality may come along throughout the process that you didn’t anticipate being important at the start, but the more you can determine up front, the better.
Your web developer will help you define these features and requirements so that they can craft an accurate proposal for the job—as opposed to having someone throw out a high number just because they don’t fully understand the entirety of the scope.
Reason 2: Efficiency
These questions can help make the whole process progress quicker as your team will know what you want and when, making communication between your company and your web developer clear and efficient.
With the importance of a project of this scope, you will have some tough decisions to make with your team, in which case having a unified plan can eliminate friction throughout the process.
Reason 3: Finding the Perfect Fit
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, these questions will help guide your brand to find the right developer for the job—ideally, you can get a one-stop-shop technology solutions provider where all services associated with building a website or custom software project are taken care of by one team that’s dedicated to the project.
Here are some of the most important questions you need to ask yourself before launching into a website design—or redesign.
Let’s start with the basics:
- Why are you redesigning your website?
Define what prompted you to start your new website project and be prepared to communicate that to the web design team you’ll be working with; that way, they get a sense of what inspired you to start.
- What goals do you have for your website that aren’t being met by the current version?
For example, is your current website failing to keep visitors’ attention? Are conversion rates too low? Is your current site too hard to update?
- What goals do you want your site to achieve?
This question helps you determine the opposite of what the previous one discovered—find those failures that your current website is causing, then determine what needs to happen with the new site to make it useful and valuable to your brand strategy and customers.
- What is the function does your website have for your company and brand?
Every business should have a website, sure, but it can’t just be a nice-looking thing that aimlessly floats in cyberspace. Your site should have a specific purpose in order to serve your brand.
Remember, your website serves your customers, not you, so they should be top of mind when establishing the function, the site will serve.
- What will visitors accomplish on your site?
Use this question to drill down specifically on what it is that your site does; try to determine the details of every function and feature if possible.
- What kind of site does your business need?
Are you selling products online that requires an ecommerce platform; do you need a website with a member portal or are people subscribing to an online publication or newsletter? Or does your business simply need a basic website that only gets as technical as a contact form?
These differences require different features and functions that need to be identified from the start.
- Who is your target audience?
It is critical to identify your ideal audience and anticipated visitors. If you haven’t researched and clearly identified customer types, that would be the best place to start.
- How will you measure site success?
Determine goals, both long- and short-term, that illustrate the success of the new website—think about what’s important to measure, like traffic, sales, contacts, or subscriptions.
balance of user experience and design so that your website is neither difficult to navigate nor ugly.
- When looking at your competitors’ sites, what do you like and dislike about their websites?
This is an important step in further clarifying your site’s personality and features; it also provides reference for the web design team to more clearly see the vision in your head and bring it to life.
Take the websites you love and the websites you hate, then lay out a clear explanation of why for both cases.
10. What’s the project timeline?
This will help you plan a launch date, monitor progress, keep everyone on-task and accountable, and of course, prepare a marketing campaign for the launch.
If there’s a specific date that the website needs to be ready by, plan out how long you’ll need to get there with a completed website.
Now you’re getting a general picture of your ideal website in your head, but it’s important to really explore the details to avoid wasting time, money, and patience in the process. We will explore those questions next.