In the last post, we covered questions to ask your web designer before you hire them. But wait, there’s more! You should expect them to ask you insightful questions, too. Asking the right questions at the beginning of the process is a great way to identify possible project twists, set the site up for long-term success, and smooth out the project process. Here are some of the questions we ask.
What’s your audience like?
In order for your site to do its job (connect with new and old customers, so you can do yours), it’s got to be well-targeted to your audience. Meaning, both you and your web designer should have a clear idea of what that audience is going to be. Some questions your designer may ask include:
- Does your audience fall into a particular age, income, education level, industry or other?
- Where can we find your target audience? Do you want to attract people local to your area? In a specific city or zip code?
- Who is your best client now? Why?
- Describe your typical client. What personality does he have? Why does she choose to work with you?
Understanding the target audience for a site influences many things, from the choice of imagery to how the site copy is directed.
What other sites do you like?
What about your competitors’ sites do you like most or least? What looks appeal to you? Are there some elements that should be included in your site build? How do they work? Understanding what you like in others’ sites can be a great way to generate good ideas for your project. We use these comparisons to inspire:
- web design choices and colors
- possible site features or integrations
- page organization or content
Red flag: Imitation is the highest form of flattery, but content copied from another site is neither flattering nor useful. It’s plagiarism, and even Google doesn’t like it. While it may be tempting to reuse content from another site, even in a blog post, it ultimately will do your site more harm than good.
What other tools or sites should play nicely with yours?
Do you have a newsletter platform that you use and love? What about a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool? What about a social media site that is particularly important for your business? When we build sites, we look to integrate these tools appropriately to help your site run smoothly. Quality site integrations can make your life easier, whether they help add fresh content to your site, track your contacts, or help you communicate with your audience.
Who’s going to manage the site?
Do you plan to manage the site after launch? Not everyone does, which is why we offer a standard content maintenance package. We set sites up to be user-friendly either way, but it can be helpful to know if you’re headed to DIY-site-management, as we may take extra care to ensure that as little as possible in the site build would require a developer to change it in the future.
How do you plan to use the site?
Not all sites have the same purpose. Some are used simply to establish a professional presence. Others may be used as part of a long-term, complex online marketing strategy. Others may have a conversion goal on the site itself, such as sales on an e-commerce site or new members on a membership site. This can also change over time. Maybe your site is simply a portfolio site today, but you plan to add e-commerce in the future.
Understanding the plans for the site from the business owner’s perspective helps us to appropriately gauge project scope and determine where efforts are best spent to help the site reach those goals. If we know the long-term website goals, we can minimize future work by setting the site up in a way that will support those goals.
Asking the right questions during the pitch process or beginning of the project is the best way to minimize project snags and maximize site efficacy. Looking to hire a site designer? Make sure he or she is asking the right questions first.