10 Questions a Web Developer Should Ask Before They Build Your Website
There are certain questions a web developer should ask before they build your website because the first step to having a successful small business website is plenty of communication between you and your web developer.
But why is communication so important?
Take this scenario.
You’re a small business, and you decide that investing in a website will attract more customers and take your business to the next stage. You want the job done properly, so you hire a professional web developer to do the work for you. For many businesses like yours, this is a big investment, but you trust your web developer to do a good job.
All seems well at first. You communicate your idea to your web developer, they say it’s okay, and after some time they hand you over your completed website.
You don’t like it.
You explain this to your web developer, but they take your payment and go off the radar. What should have helped your small business has instead hindered it.
Unfortunately, we hear this story far too often, and it shouldn’t happen.
As web developers, it should be part of our job to guide clients through the website design process. We should ask you enough questions to establish a clear idea what it is you want produced, so that when we do eventually hand your website over to you, you’re happy with the end result.
How to design a successful small business website: 10 questions you need to answer.
Below we have compiled a short list of questions a web developer should ask before they build your website.
1. Why do you want a new website?
Perhaps you want to reach a wider audience, promote a new service or start selling products online. Whatever your aims are, keeping a clear objective in mind will allow your web developer to make appropriate suggestions, helping steer the project in the right direction.
2. Who is your target audience?
Every business has a preferred type of customer. Think about who you would like to attract to your business and how you would usually set out to find them. Your website should target a particular audience, so when they land on your website, they feel reassured they’re in the right place.
3. Which core business messages do you want to share?
This is important and should be what you often think about while running your own business. You’ve probably already discovered what makes you stand out, so make sure your website reflects these qualities as well to help set you apart from your competitors.
4. Which products or services do you wish to promote?
Deciding on the most important parts of your business to shout about strengthens the main message of your website, helps you prioritise the information you want visitors to read first, and gives your web developer an idea of how complex the website might be.
5. Why should people choose you over your competitors?
Answering this will help to add personal character to your website. If you’re stuck for an answer, try asking your existing customers why they chose you as a provider. Another option would be to ask for a testimonial, which would also come in useful later when building your website. It’s an easy habit to simply copy a competitor’s website and advertise similar services in an identical voice, but this doesn’t separate you from the competition. Your visitors need a reason to choose you over someone else, so let your web developer know what this reason is.
6. Are you likely to change products or services in the future?
Future planning is key, especially if you intend to have your website for a number of years. As brilliant as websites are, they might not do what you want them to do if your web developer didn’t plan for it ahead of time. Making them aware of your future business intentions will help them to prevent any nasty surprises later on.
7. Are there any existing websites you like the look of?
Giving your web developer an idea of what you like (and what you don’t like) will help them to design your website. Sometimes, what you imagine your website will look like is completely different to the idea in your web developer’s head. Showing them two or three examples of websites you like will give them something to base their designs off, meaning you’re more likely to be happy with the outcome the first time round.
8. Does the website need to match an existing brand?
You may already have a certain brand or image to uphold. You may already have existing designs of business cards or brochures. Making your web developer aware of these will help them to design your website.
9. What timescales do you have in mind?
Aside from discovering if your timescales are feasible or not, letting your web developer know about them lets you plan the project in advance and pencil in any dates for meetings.
10. What is your budget?
Your budget dictates the size and complexity of the website your web developer can produce for you, so it’s important to discuss this early on to confirm whether your idea matches your funds, or if compromises need to be made and an alternative solution found. Generally speaking, websites with membership functionality, e-commerce features or rich photography or graphics demand higher prices.
Your next steps.
Make sure you follow this checklist the next time you have a conversation with a web developer. Not only will it make you think about your own business and the core messages you would like to promote, but it will let your web developer produce something that will take your small business to the next level.