If you are seeking a new website, whether you are starting from scratch or have a site already, here are a few questions you will need to consider to get you focused on the kind of design you’re looking for. Any reasonable designer will ask you such key questions at an initial consultation, but the most productive conversations will happen if you come prepared. By considering these questions below, you will be able to get a clearer idea about what you want.
What do you want your website to do? Are you looking to sell products online or entice a new market towards your services? Are you creating a forum for the exchange of ideas or a brochure to showcase what you can do? Knowing the primary purpose of your new website is key. In addition, you need to know your core market and the promotional aspect of a website needs to have focus. As Cameron Madill of Pixelspoke points out, “In today’s marketing world, consumers aren’t interested in simply hearing about how great a company is. They focus on the solutions and experiences a company offers”.
Do you require (re)branding? Some clients have been known to approach a web designer without considering a company logo or their visual identity. Arguably this is the starting point not only for an online presence, but for a public presence at large. Have a think about how you would like to appear to the world, whether it’s creating a whole look for your company or just tidying up that tired looking logo.
What are you looking for in design and functionality? It may be helpful to bring a handful of sites you like to your designer, and discuss what you like about them. They should indicate your preferences with regard to looks, function, layout and copy. Also, have a think about your competitors’ websites? What do you like or dislike about them? A competitor’s site is a great place to learn trade secrets and find great ideas.
What are your timescales? ‘I want it yesterday’ is rarely a helpful answer. Is there a product launch or other event that requires a new website to be built in time? Many web designers worth their salt – especially freelancers and smaller firms – will have several weeks of lead time, so be prepared to have realistic expectations about deadlines.
What else? There are other points to consider, such as what you don’t want your designer to do. This can be a great time-saver. It is also worth having a realistic ball-park budget in mind. Also, be ready from the outset to request key features/functions of your website –image galleries, blogging tools, e-letters, visitor accounts, content management, online payments and more. These need to be discussed from the outset, since it could lead to delays if you suddenly think of them halfway through a project!