10 questions to help you brief a web designer
So you want to build a website, but you’re not sure where to start? You might be a start-up business or maybe you haven’t built a website before and it all seems a bit daunting. As Nelson-based website designers, we have talked to many people from various backgrounds who want to build a website but who aren’t sure where to start.
To help you get started, we have developed the following questions which will enable you to discuss a new website in a meaningful way with a web designer. This is not an exhaustive list of questions, but it’s designed to get you started.
How much does a website cost?
The first question you most probably want to ask is, ‘how much does a website cost?’ As a web developer, it’s difficult to answer that question without knowing the scope of the website you want. Websites come in all shapes and sizes, from one-pagers to huge sites with many pages and special features. Before you ask, ‘how much does it cost?’, start by asking yourself the following questions, then your web developer will be able to give you a more accurate estimate.
1. What do I want my website to achieve?
‘What does success look like?’ This is the most important question to ask yourself, as it makes you focus on the results you want. Whether you want to increase brand awareness, educate your audience, attract visitors and make sales, appear on the first page of Google, build an online community, or encourage onsite and social media interaction, your website will have a purpose that will determine its content and features. The more focused and clearly stated your goals are, the more effective your website will be.
2. Who is my website going to help (your target audience)?
For your website to resonate with your customer, it needs to be designed for them to enjoy and appreciate. Ask the following: who are these customers, how old are they, what are their interests, their geographic location? What are their likes and dislikes? What will appeal to them the most?
Perhaps your audience is also strong on social media, so including external links to your social media profiles on your website is important and can also increase traffic across different channels. If you are selling a product (or selling your brand) to potential customers, are there key questions you can answer through your website, which will incentivise them to buy? Can you write a description of your ideal customer?
3. Who are my competitors?
An important exercise can be to analyse your competitors. Who are they and what they are doing? This is a great way to see what works and what doesn’t work well within your brand’s industry. Remember, you don’t want to simply match your competition, you want to surpass them.
4. What features do I want to include?
Think about what the must-have features for your website are and whether your web hosting provider will be able to accommodate this. Do you want to update the site easily yourself? Will the site need to gather contact details from visitors? Will the site need to provide eCommerce shopping? What other forms will need to be filled out?
5. How much content do I want on my website and how will I generate it?
To work out how much content you need, it can be helpful to think of your website as a book. Will it be a 5-page book or a 50-page book? This might give you a perspective on what is required to develop the written side of your website. Then think about how many images you might need to have on each page. A 5-page book may only need a handful of images, but a 50 pager will require a lot more. You may also want to have a video on the site as this is very popular and adds to the visitor experience. Will you want to include an infographic and animation too? These features will add time and cost to the project but can increase its effectiveness.
6. Do I have existing branding?
Your website is an opportunity to stand out and differentiate yourself from your competition. Branding plays a vital part in standing out and being remembered. If you have existing branding that includes a logo, colours, fonts and key messages, this will make the website design phase more efficient. If you haven’t done this part of your marketing, Downing can help you create these important marketing tools.
7. How will people find my website?
It’s no use having a brand new, beautifully designed website if no one can find it. It’s important to establish an online strategy and to make sure that your site is easy to find for search engines, like Google. Ideally, most of your traffic will come from your website showing up in search results as opposed to customers searching for you directly. It’s good to know what your expectations are in this area before your website goes live.
8. How am I going to get people to come back to my website?
This involves thinking about what unique features and interesting design aspects your website will have that will set it apart from other sites. Perhaps your website is super easy to navigate or aesthetically pleasing, or maybe it presents its content in a really compelling and innovative way. Whatever the reason, make sure your website is engaging enough that it will motivate your audience to return.
9. How do I measure my website’s success?
Set goals and objectives in advance so that after you’ve launched the website, you’ll be able to measure your success. Your goals could be related to search engine results, traffic to your website, online sales, viewers’ time spent on your site and more. However you decide to measure the effectiveness of your website, make sure the results make sense to you and provide insight into how your site has performed.
10. Am I committed to the long haul?
You’ve finally finished building your website, so now you can sit back and watch your creation represent your brand and engage your customers… right? Wrong! Good websites are always changing and evolving based on user feedback, optimisation and new technology and features that become available. Designing and building a website should always be an ongoing process – this is what will help make your site great.
The answers to these questions will inform you on how you should build your website, what features it will include, how it will run and navigate, and how it will effectively market your brand and engage your audience.
Website kick starter tool
To make it really easy for you we have made a Free Tool that you can use to create a document that you can use to brief a Web Developer.
Answer all questions below and then hit Submit and you will receive all the info in an email. Hey presto, you will be able to talk like a Marketing pro with your web developer.