The Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting Your Website

Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither are websites. The planning and crafting of a website will take a considerable amount of thought before you even get to the start of designing and developing it.

I’ve put together a comprehensive list of questions you need to know before you get started on your website. It can be tempting to jump right in and quickly hire someone to develop your vision or tinker away on it yourself on a website building platform, but there is a considerable amount of value to be derived from taking it slow and making you sure you understand every aspect before you jump in.

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Website Goals

First and foremost, your website goals are the most important aspect that should be reflected on. Most people are wanting a new or updated website to help strengthen their businesses, but that comes in the form of wanting more customers, sales, or inquiries?


Ask yourself:

  • Why now?
  • What will a successful outcome be?
  • What should this website accomplish for your business?
  • What do you currently have too little of (sales, customers, etc.)?
  • What do you currently have too much of (complaints, service calls, etc.)?
  • What is the most critical goal for this website?
  • What will happen if you don't have a website for your business?

Audience / Customers

Your customers are the most important stakeholders of your website. Every design choice you make should be in favour of making it a better and smoother experience for them. You want to get into your customer's head and try to imagine every decision they make, and why they make that decision.


Ask yourself:

  • Who are your customers?
  • Where will your customers find your website?
  • What does your audience care about?
  • What are your customer's problems?
  • How do you fix their problem?
  • What advantage do you offer your customers?
  • What does your customer currently think about your industry?
  • What steps does your audience go through before buying?
  • What products and services do they already buy?
  • How does your customer talk?

Competition

It's vital to know who you're competing against, and what leverage you have to win customers over the others in your industry. It also can help you get an idea about what customers are already used to so you can either fit in professionally or stand out to get the upper hand.


Ask yourself:

  • Who are your competitors?
  • How is your business different from your competitors?
  • Why should customers choose you?
  • Where does your product or service sit in the market?
  • Is it cheaper or more expensive and how does the quality compare?
  • What is good and bad about your competition's websites?

Content

Many businesses completely skip planning content and focus more on the checklist of what they want to see on their website. Most of a websites design is based around its content, and simply thinking you will fill out the content later is a dangerous plan.


Ask yourself:

  • What pages do you need for the website?
  • Why are these pages important?
  • What content will be needed for the pages?
  • Is there any content that you already have that you can reuse?
  • What other services or apps do you want to connect to your website?

Design Style

Your design style should be consistent through every interaction a customer has with you, whether that be on your website, your social media profiles, and your marketing. It's essential to know what you want customers to think about your brand through your brand style. Do you want your businesses to look confident? High-end? Trustful? This can be portrayed through using the right colours, icons and imagery, but first, you must understand what you are trying to portray.


Ask yourself:

  • Is there a design style or ethic that is common to your industry?
  • How would you describe the style of your businesses in a few words?
  • What's a couple of other websites that have a similar style?
  • Do you have a company brand or style guide that you need to adhere to in the design?
  • How will your audience access your site, ie. mostly desktop, or on mobile devices?
  • Are there any colours or styles that you want to ensure you include or avoid?

Conversion

Having a beautiful website means nothing if you haven't set up the process of why customers want to come to you, and how you will convert them into a sale or to becoming a client. It's not enough to think that throwing content at your website will be enough to convince your customer, you want to understand each step you are taking them through before you sell to them.


Ask yourself:

  • What are you offering your customers?
  • How do you provide value to your customer?
  • What do you want your customers to do on your website?
  • What calls to actions do you want to use?
  • How are you going to make your offer irresistible?
  • Do you have a sales funnel for your customers?

Marketing & Advertising

Aside from your website, it's great to have other places where your customer will come across your businesses that helps to strengthen your brand in the minds of your audience. Keep in mind the social channels you are currently on, and why each one is important for your businesses. It's better to focus on a couple of avenues than to get lost trying feeling like you have to be on every new social media platform that comes up.


Ask yourself:

  • What social channels are important to your business?
  • Why is each of these channels important?
  • Do you currently do any advertising?
  • How are you going to measure your return on investment for the amount of money and time you spend on marketing and advertising?
  • How will you know when to change or stop your advertising?

Budget & Timeline

If you go into a website project without a budget, you're setting yourself up for a website that doesn't make sense for you or your business. The worst thing to come from this is "feature creep" (just one more page, ooh and one more section, and I might just change these colours...) that ends up wasting your time and money. Because of this, it's important to set a budget and understand when the website will pay itself off from the return of investment. An $8,000 website might sound expensive, but if it helps leverage you get $80,00 more in sales in the first year, it seems a whole lot more affordable.


Ask yourself:

  • What is your budget?
  • What is this budget based on?
  • Does this budget account for monthly website maintenance expenses?
  • Do you have a deadline for your website to be up?
  • Ideally, how long would the website design process take?

It can be tempting to jump right in and start designing, but there is value in making sure you sure you understand every aspect first.

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