8 Questions to Ask Before You Get Started on a Website

A project well planned is one well executed.
– 12Strong*

* We’re not just providers of fine websites – we also sound really great when quoted.

Imagine you’re going on a road trip. You pack up your car, get your loved ones in the seats and throw some clothes in a bag. You hop in the front seat, put the car in drive and start driving.

You turn left here, go right there and eventually you end up at a destination you think is fine for the day. It’s a gorgeous sandy beach with crystal blue waters – what a great spot! Then you realize you haven’t packed any of your swim clothes, there are no towels in sight and your family pooch isn’t allowed on the beach.

I’d say that’s a failed roadtrip. Why? Because you didn’t plan out your destination.

When you know where you’re going – getting there is easier.

Imagine how many minutes you could have shaved off your drive if you knew right away you were going to the beach? You could have gotten a much better spot in the sand if you weren’t aimlessly driving around first.

Those same principles apply to any web project we work on – we need a clear destination so we can properly plan the route to get there (we might even know of a shortcut). Planning out a project can be a bit tough when you’re starting with a blank slate so we’ve put together 8 questions you can ask yourself before you get started on a website project. These questions will help you plan out your website’s destination and how it gets there.

First things first

How are people going to feel when they see your website? What will their first impressions be?

A customer finds you online and clicks over to your website – what’s their first impression of your company? What sort of feelings or ideas go swimming through their heads when they start using the site and finding information?

Do you want them to think your company is fun and friendly? Easy to talk to and open to relaxed conversations with their customers?

How about trendy and stylish? Do you want to be thought of as a cool brand your customers will want to use to be cool as well? Or how about professional and traditional? Do you want to instill confidence in your customers so they feel safe working with you?

What do you want to avoid?

Knowing what you don’t want is almost as important as knowing what you do – if you have a clear vision of what you’re trying to d,o you should also know right away when something doesn’t conform to that vision.

This is very helpful in many industries where common cliches are prevalent. As a web developer, we might not be aware of these cliches but by letting us know about them we’ll have a clear idea of roads to not venture down.

These two questions will help us determine how your site looks – we’ll take into consideration what you feel about your company and how it should make your customers feel. Using your don’ts as guidance, we’ll come up with a clear idea of how you site is going to look and feel.

Practical stuff to think about

The practical things are important to know beforehand since many of these small items are going to impede forward momentum if they aren’t clear.

Where is your website going to live?

Do you have hosting already? Do you own your domain name? If not then we’ll take care of all that for you but if you do have an existing setup we’ll need to know all the details.

How are people going to view your website?

Are they looking for product information while sitting at their desk? Do they look at your site on their phone when they’re trying to get last minute information?

How your website is going to be used will determine the best methods of building the final project and how the information will be displayed to best take advantage of the final viewing situation.

How are people going to get a hold of you?

Do you want to place an emphasis on contacting you via phone or do you prefer your customers get a hold of you via contact form or email?

It seems like a simple question but will make a big difference in the specific calls to action on your website and the integrations we need to keep in mind.

Some other things to think about

What outside services is your website going to interact with?

Do you want to integrate your website with any social media sites? Do you have a specific CRM like Salesforce you want to incorporate into the website’s functionality?

Knowing how your website is going to interact with other services and how you want those interactions to look/feel like is going to be a great help when we start building. With this information we can suggest new and exciting ways to interact with your social media accounts and methods to get your customers more active and engaged with your company

What is your website going to say?

What sort of text and images will be used on your site? Unless you’ve purchased a website content package – that portion of the project will be up to you.  In our experience, the content portion of a project takes the longest and is usually the one thing stopping a website from launching.

So sit down first and think about the key messages you want to use – what do you want to tell your visitors about you? What’s important information for them to have? Do you run into any frequently asked questions which would be helpful on your website? Learn a bit more about creating content for your website.

How will your website interact or fit into your sales funnel?

Do you have an existing sales funnel system? If so we can look into integrating it with your website so you can track your leads and customers. The old adage of what gets measured gets managed fits with your website too – tracking those visitors will let us know how it’s performing and give us insights into how to maximize it’s efficiency.

We’ve created or worked with plenty of CRM systems and in house processes – we’ll find a way to get your website to play nice with your existing way of doing things – no need to do things differently.

With these questions you’ll be 100 feet ahead of a client who hasn’t done any preparation for their website project. Being prepared not only makes our job easier but help reduce timelines and narrow the scope of a project – saving you money!