You need clarity on why you need a website and how a website can best perform for you. If you decide to work with an outside website designer or consultant, these questions will also help them understand better how they can help you.
Goals for the New Website
From a practical perspective, the larger your website is and the higher your ambitions are, the more important this Market Research phase is. If you plan to have a smaller website and if you don’t need a marketing strategy, you may choose to skip investing too much energy into this phase.
What type of website do you want to have?
Identify if you want a personal, commercial, non-profit or some other specialized type.
What purpose will your website have?
Identify and prioritize the main purposes for your website. Below are some examples.
- Brochure website to provide basic information about your company
- Brand and position your company’s products or services
- Market your products or services to your prospect customers
- Provide a channel to provide support to your customers
- Provide a way to foster communication with your customers and cultivate their loyalty
- Get more traffic and leads to your sales team
- Sell your company’s products through an online store
- Provide a subscription content website
Who is your primary audience?
Note that some websites may not target their customers as their primary audience for their website. For example, a medical devices company that servers mainly doctors can choose to have a direct-to-consumer website. Or a consumer products company may have a website dedicated to their affiliates.
What messages do you want to communicate to your audience?
Identify what is the primary marketing message you want to spread to your website visitors.
What action do you want visitors to take on your website?
This gets to the core of how you envision the website may help you, your business or organization.
How many pages will your website have?
Approximate the number; more detailed break-down will be identified in the next phase.
Do you need help writing text (or “copy”) for your website?
Identify what help, if any, you may need to create the text – headings, teasers, call to action, etc. – for all the website pages. Large professional websites may benefit from employing a copy writer though you may already have sufficient skill and experience to do this yourself. We will also detail specific writing principles you can follow to create good copy. More so, we also provide step-by-step guidance on how to identify keywords and incorporate them in your copy for search engine optimization.
How many images will your website have?
If you plan to have an image gallery, approximate the number of albums and images you want to plan for.
Do you need help preparing those images for the website?
Identify any work you expect to do yourself vs. needing someone else to do, such as image retouching, cropping or any other processing besides scaling the image to fit the layout.
How often can you update your website?
Note that keeping a website fresh is an important way to improve your website rank for search engines results pages (SERP). This is a reason why we generally recommend to our clients hat they update their website at least twice a month. The easiest way to accomplish this is by creating posts to the website’s blog.
Who do you want to update your website?
Identify who will be responsible for basic text changes to your website: yourself or your website designer (or webmaster).
Your Existing Conditions
The following questions are important if you decide to work with a professional web designer or a consultant to help with any aspect of the work that needs to be done. This information will help them understand better what you, your business or organization need.
What line of business are you in?
Identify your market and type of business.
Is your business mainly online?
Identify how important the online component is to your business.
How long have you been in business?
Identify how many years and if you consider it a startup or a well-established business.
Who are your customers?
This will help understand better how to communicate best with them.
Do you have an existing website or domain name?
Identify the website address and provide details on what you like/dislike about it and how you think it can be improved.
What existing content do you have?
Identify all types of materials you have. Below are some examples.
- Logo graphics, color and branding specifications
- Marketing materials
- Descriptions for your products or services, as applicable
- Articles, documents and any other text materials
- Video, animation and any other multimedia elements (specify the format for each)
Who are your competitors?
List your competitors and their website address. Identify what you like/dislike about them and why.
How do you compare with your competition?
Identify if you are leading or lagging.
What website features do they have?
A website “feature” is considered anything on their website that goes beyond the basics of text and images on a page.
Your Business and Marketing Strategy
How will people learn about your website?
Identify if you plan to promote your website in any way, online or offline and if you need assistance with this aspect.
Do you have an overall marketing strategy?
Identify if you have an overall marketing strategy or if you need help creating and implementing one.