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15 questions to ask before you start a web project

“Hey, Ali. We need a website for our new start-up. How much do they cost?”

Oh how I wish this was an easy question to answer. My typical short reply to this question is “…and I’m in the market for a new house. How much do they cost?”

You see, like a house, each website we create is uniquely built to the needs of the client. Mickey recently wrote a post about how building a WordPress site is similar to building a house. In short, you must first determine where your house will be located, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you will need, if you’re willing to pay for upgrades such as granite countertops and hardwood floors, etc, etc, etc…

With that in mind, there is quite an important discovery process that takes place before an estimate can be submitted. In this process we meet with the stakeholders that will be involved to learn more about the company and the end goals for the website. At this time it is vital that we ask the right questions in order to prepare a solid foundation on which to build the website (pun intended!).

The following questions will generate helpful guidelines to prepare for your next web project:

  1. What does your company do?
    Before we dive in to website specific questions, we want to know more about who you are, what you do, and what your future goals are.
  2. Do you currently have a website?
    We are always happy to take a look at your current website to offer suggestions on improvements regarding design, layout, content, and SEO.
  3. If so, what do you like or dislike about your current website?
    Always an important question as we move forward with a new interface. We will work with you to correct the issues you currently don’t like about your website and bring you new features to streamline the processes you do like.
  4. Do you currently have a logo and brand standards in place?
    We can work with you to develop a new identity for your company or build upon your current brand standards.
  5. Who are your main competitors?
    There are a lot of websites out there, and it’s important to know what you’re up against before starting a new one. We will take a look at your competitors’ websites and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of those as well.
  6. What makes you different from your competitors?
    How do you stand out in the marketplace? We want to be sure to highlight these unique traits on your site.
  7. Who is your audience?
    It’s important that your website speaks to the correct target market.
  8. What do you want this audience to take away from your site?
    Along the same lines as the above question, each website should have a call to action that allows users to move forward with their experience. What will that call to action be?
  9. What main topics do you need to communicate via your website?
    In addition to the call to action, your company probably has 2-3 main services or ideas that need to be highlighted.
  10. Complete this sentence: “In the perfect world, my website would ____.”
    What does your idea website look like in your mind?  Even if you are working on a tight budget, we can help you find the path of least resistance to get to those goals.
  11. What are existing sites that appeal to you and why?
    As it’s important to evaluate your competitors’ sites, it’s also helpful to see other sites that resonate with you and your colleagues. We need to know what you like about certain aspects and what you don’t like.
  12. Who will be the internal point-person for the project?
    Working with a large team of decision makers tends to slow approval processes down. Having a main point-person is a helpful method for streamlining the project flow.
  13. What is your budget?
    As we discuss goals and “ideal websites,” this is a necessary question to truly define what is possible. We offer two website packages (custom and lite) that can be customized to fit within your allocated web budget.
  14. What is the goal launch date and why?
    “ASAP” typically isn’t an ideal goal for planning a timeline around. In order to define a project schedule, it is helpful to know if there is a certain date that could impact the success of the launch. It is also important to note the review and revision process can greatly affect the turnaround speed.
  15. Once launched, will you need ongoing web maintenance for the site?
    It is extremely important to stay on top of security updates and content management after your site launches. If you have the internal support to maintain these updates — go for it! If you need continual assistance, we can explain our web maintenance packages and choose the best option for your maintenance needs.


About the Author

Ali Green

Co-Founder and Creative Director
Schooled in both design and marketing, Ali adds the analytical skills of an engineer to complicated digital marketing strategies.

View Ali's Profile

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