25 Questions You Should Ask Your Client Before You Start Designing Your Website
Designing a website is a sum of different tasks:
A bit of marketing around here, a little consulting there, some writing, it’s part of programming and, of course, purely graphic design. The ideal is to have a specific profile to perform each job, but as resources are not always enough, it is likely that you will do everything a bit.
In Freelance Services they propose us a very useful QUESTIONNAIRE, with 25 questions that you must ask your client to discover exactly what he wants you to design, and what are the requirements of your business. Here they go:
1. Why do you need a new website (or why do you want to redesign it)? So we discover what it is that has led the client to contact you.
2. What would happen if you did not design the new website? This is the way to uncover what the real problem is: it can be a question of browsers, that the client needs to start selling online, etc.
3. Please describe your company or organization in a few sentences. Make it similar to the ” elevator speech “, so that you can even use it for the texts on the homepage. Even if you are not a copy editor, take note: condensed information is always useful.
4. What distinguishes your organization from the rest and allows you to reach a niche of customers? If the client does not have an answer, at least he will be forced to think about it. You can help him answer.
5. What are the problems that your customers have and that your business solves? The client may take advantage of this question to brag a bit, but that’s fine. Surely you get some useful information.
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6. Is there anything special or outstanding about your professional experience that helps your clients, or that sets you apart from the competition? Imagine that you have to design a website for a construction company. Maybe they participated in some emblematic work that people can know. Visitors to the website will be interested to know that.
7. Why do you think that customers should choose your company and not the competition? You know: on the Internet, the competition is just a click away. This can be a good way to discover which are the strengths that the client thinks they have, and to talk about competing websites, with which your work will be compared inevitably.
8. Do you have any kind of slogan or slogan that describes your service offer and the advantages of choosing your business? If it exists, fine. If not, you can find a simple one that serves as a reference.
9. Please describe your POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS, with special attention to:
– income level
– computer and connection type
If your client is business (business to business), what is the profile of those companies you want to contact?
10. What is your BUDGET for this project? It should not surprise you that they do not respond to you. There are people who really do not know how much they can or should devote to the construction of a website. Or maybe they prefer to wait for you to set a reference price, so as not to overdo it … In any case, it will be up to you to take the initiative. You must set a price or a rate. It is very easy for the client to seem too high. Nothing happens. You have to work with those customers who are willing to pay what is fair.
11. Who are the decision makers in this project? What is the average time for decision making? Ideally, you can deal directly with the person who decides, and not with a spokesperson for a spokesperson … This way you will avoid filters, misunderstandings, and weeks of waiting.
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12. How many people will be involved in the project? What is your role and your responsibility? Do you have a webmaster on staff? It would not be strange that you had to work with a kind of “committee” of company, formed by several professionals. The important thing is that you are aware of this before you start, that the functions are delimited and, above all, that you have a single contact person. Otherwise, you will go crazy with so much interlocutor.
If it is true that there is a webmaster, find out what your level of knowledge and experience is, to know what to do with.
13. What is the deadline for delivery of the work? Here begins the struggle to “educate” your customers about the time it takes to do a job well. Despite your explanations, it is very possible that you have to go at full speed but, at least, that the delivery time is clear for both parties and, above all, that it is very clear what is to be delivered. If what they demand is impossible, do not accept. It will end badly for sure.
14. Give me a list of five websites that you like. Why are you attractive? In the end, this is one of the simplest questions to answer for the client. Many times, they will give you enough more than five links, with explanations included. This is still a very useful method to know what they are looking for from the design point of view, since it is based on real and concrete examples. Although those elections may not be the best for your business …
15. Have you “analyzed” the websites of the competition to find out what you do NOT want on your website? Sometimes, the best way to get your bearings is to know what the client does not like. On the competition websites you can find a few “bad practices“.
16. What kind of content do you NOT want to appear on your website? It is about defining, by discarding, the type and tone of the contents: more or less aggressive, many or few images, of what type, etc. It’s a simple way to not screw up.
17. Where will the contents of the website come from? Do I need to update them? How much? Who is going to take care of the maintenance? If there is someone who is going to take care of providing you the contents, you must know who he is, and when he plans to deliver them. If the client prefers that you take care of everything, you can associate with a copy (editor) to complete a quality service. If you manage to get maintenance, the project can give more than you expected.
18. Do you have a logo? If it does not exist, this is an extra job that you can do for your client.
19. Do you plan to make online sales ? If so, what is the product or service that you are going to sell? How many units do you plan to sell? If the client really decides to get into the world of electronic commerce, things change. You have to plan everything from the beginning, to find the right platform, develop payment by card, etc. It must be taken into account to carry out the programming. And also the design is deeply affected: there will be purchase flows, help screens, and many other things typical of online transactions.
20. How often are you going to dedicate to respond to the emails of customers and potential customers? Once a day? Several times a day? You must explain to your client that it is essential to respond correctly and on time to the users who request information, ask for quotes, make suggestions, or whatever.
21. If you had to search your website on Google, what words and phrases would you like to use to find it? Which of those words do you consider most important? Everyone wants their company to appear first by entering a lot of keywords, but that is not possible. Try that the list does not exceed 5 keywords. And then look for a good SEO expert .
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22. Do you have a strategy in mind – apart from positioning in search engines – to publicize your website? The marketing strategy does not have to be very complicated, nor very expensive, but what is clear is that it is advisable to develop some kind of strategy to be known and improve, in passing, the positioning in search engines.
It can be something as simple as advertising on Google for a while, to see how it works, if customers arrive and if they end up buying.
23. What are the parameters you want to consider to measure the success of the website? Your client may not know it, but using web analytics programs – Google Analytics type – today we are able to measure with great accuracy the impact of all our actions: the number of visitors to the website, how long they stay, what content visit, where they come from, etc.
24. Are you willing to make changes and keep the site “alive“? No more building a website and leaving it abandoned. With the data obtained after the analysis we can make changes to increase the time the client spends on our website, and to improve the conversion rate. We can also look for methods to refresh and update the contents of the website. A blog, or an active Twitter channel, may be the best options to keep the site alive.
25. What is the deadline to obtain results? It is the best way to know if your client is the impatient type, or if he is willing to develop a medium-term strategy in order to achieve his objectives.
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