Getting Started with a Website

When you are ready to start a website, complete the following exercise…then we can talk. 

1. Provide a brief overview of your organization. What do you do or produce?

2. What is the purpose of this site? You need to have a clear goal for your website including the business problem you’re trying to solve. Below are a few examples to choose from; add any additional goals.

  • Explain your products and services
  • Bring in new clients to your business
  • Provide your customers with information on a certain subject
  • Deliver news or calendar of events
  • Create a blog that addresses specific topics or interests
  • Sell a product or products online
  • Provide support for current clients

 3. Do you have a time frame or deadline to get this site online? (If you have a specific deadline, please state why.)

 
4. How much are you willing to spend? 
Web design companies work within a set of given constraints. Your budget is one of them. If you know how much you can spend on a web design project, this information will make it much easier to recommend an approach and will save us both a considerable amount of time.

5. Target market  Who will visit this site? Describe your potential clients. Young, old, demographics etc.

6. Why do you believe these potential clients should do business with you rather than with a competitor? What problem are you solving for them?

7. What action(s) should the potential clients perform when visiting your site? Check all that apply; add any additional goals.

  • Call you
  • Fill out a contact form
  • Fill out a quote form
  • Sign up for your mailing list
  • Search for information
  • Purchase a product(s)

8.  Sections/Pages  Review your purpose (#2) and make a list of all the sections/pages you think that you’ll need. (Review websites in similar markets to get ideas if you need a starting place.)

 Page  Content Notes
 Home  
 Contact Us  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

  9. Written content and images/photographs
Do you have the written content and images/photographs prepared for these pages? If not, will you need copywriting and photography services? (Please note that before any real design work or site construction can begin, an outline of the content and preferably all of the content will be needed.)

 

  10. Design elements
When people come to your new site for the first time, how do you want them to feel about your organization? Are there specific colors, logo, fonts etc. that should be incorporated? If you do not already have a logo, are you going to need one designed? Is there a specific look and feel that you have in mind?

 

 11. Websites of your closest competition 
Please include at least 3 links of sites of your competition. What do you like and don’t like about them? What would you like to differently or better?

 
 
 

12. Websites that we like
Along with putting down the site address, please comment on what you like about each site, i.e. the look and feel, functionality, colors etc. These do not have to have anything to do with your business, but could have features you like. Please include at least 3 examples.

 
 
 

 13. Marketing the Site
How do people find out about your business right now? Have you thought about how you’re going to market this site?

Do you have any social network accounts setup? (Facebook etc) Do you want links to those accounts on your site?

Do you have a mail service account? (Constant Contact, MailChimp etc.) Will you want to build your mailing list and use it for advertising & newsletters?

Will you want printed materials (business cards, catalog, etc.) produced as well?

If someone were searching for your product/service, what types of search terms (single words or phrases) might they use? Please list all the possible search terms you can think of.

     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 14.  Domain and Hosting

Do you already own a domain name(s)? (www.mygreatsite.com)

Do you have a hosting account already? (This is where the computer files live.)

If yes, do you have the login/IP information? If no, what name(s) would you like?

 
15. Maintenance
Will there be sections that need regular updating? Which ones? Would you like to be able to do most of the updating yourself?

 

If you’re planning on writing a blog do you already have several things written? Do you already write on a regular basis?

Are there any features/pages that you don’t need now but may want in the future? Please be as specific and future thinking as possible.

 

Yes, this is a lot of work for you. And it is all necessary.
It is part of the collaborative process of developing a website; it is critical work for creating /designing the finished product. And, the upfront work will pay off for you in keeping the cost and timing for this project as cost-effective as possible. 

About Mary Knight

Marketing coach and strategist, helping small businesses and non-profits to be customer centric. Communication specialist, focused on attention to detail and the achievement of communication results intended. Over 25 years in the field of marketing communications, spanning business and technical writing for varied audiences; design and production of brochures, stuffers, flyers, and newsletters; design and development of training and seminar materials; polishing of presentations; content development and effective layout for Internet sites; general copyediting and proofreading.
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