The following website planning questionnaire will help you evaluate what you need a website to do for your business and what to expect from the web development process.
1. What happens to your business if you don’t get a new website?
Do you really need a new website? Does your current website limit your plans? Are you planning on selling products online and your current site doesn’t support e-commerce?
2. Does your logo or tagline communicate your competitive advantage?
If you don’t have a short, snappy slogan, try to think of a simple description of your advantage. The best key messages are clear, concrete and emotional.
3. Who are your customers?
Consider such things as location, income, gender, age group, education and interests. Do you sell to other businesses or consumers or both?
4. Have you set aside a budget for a new website?
You need to manage your expectations. If you expect to get a great website for nothing, you’re going to be disappointed. Any special needs will likely add to the cost.
5. What is your timeline for making a decision?
If you’re planning to make a decision in six months, spend most of that time thinking about how your business can benefit from a website. If you want to make a decision tomorrow, let the developer know.
6. What is your timeline for making a decision and having the website up and running?
“Yesterday” and “tomorrow” are responses that might elicite a chuckle, but be realistic. A website delivered in one day will require ongoing improvements while a website delivered in 6 months will frustrate you.
7. Who will create the website’s content?
Are you planning on creating the website content in-house? Is it already created? Is it optimized for search? Do you need your developer to optimize, edit or create the content from scratch? Do you have images or videos ready to be included? Who will write the blog posts?
8. How much time do you plan on spending managing your online activities? Once a day? Several hours a day?
Who will respond to comments and form submissions or emails from the website? How much time can you devote to creating content or engaging with customers via social media?
9. How long do you think it will be before your new website generates significant business?
A week? A month? Six month? A year?
10. How do you plan to encourage repeat visitors and referrals?
Do you have tactics in mind? Who will manage online marketing campaigns? Are you willing to spend marketing dollars to promote the website?
Once you’ve considered these questions and have a good idea of your needs and expectations, that’s the time to talk to a web development company.