1. What is the goal of my site?
This is where you ask yourself, “Why am I building this website?” The answer to this question will determine what type of content you need to put on your website. In general, there are three types of goals:
- To lead people to an event or offer (e.g., sign up for an email list)
- To sell something (e.g., a product or service) online
- To be found by search engines and spread information.
2. Who will my audience be?
When you know who your audience is, the rest of the design process becomes much easier. There’s no point in creating a website that appeals to everyone if it doesn’t appeal to your target audience.
For example, if your company sells children’s toys and games online, then it makes sense to create an online store with bright colors and child-friendly graphics. On the other hand, if you run an electronics store that caters to professional engineers and scientists, then it would make sense for your website design to be more sophisticated in nature by incorporating more complex designs such as charts or graphs into its layout rather than cartoon characters or animations.
3. How do I want to present myself and/or my business?
While the previous question answers what your audience will expect of the site, you should also account for how you want to present yourself. One of the most important questions to ask when designing your business website is how you want to present yourself and/or your business. What kind of tone do you want to set for both yourself and for your business, in general? This can affect not only the graphic design, but also the tone of text within the site. Depending on how you want to present yourself or your business, the site may have a more professional and informational tone or more laid-back and friendly tone.
4. How do I want to showcase my brand through the website design?
Branding is a very important part of the website design process. If you don’t know what your brand is, or how you want it to be perceived, then it’s going to be difficult to communicate that through the site itself. This can lead to confusion and frustration among prospective customers, which isn’t good for business.
The way your business is identified by others in this world is an important thing to consider when designing a website. Your branding should ideally include some sort of unique identifier or tagline that represents who you are as an individual or company online. For example: “The best lawyers around!” could be a tagline for a law firm looking for new clients online.
Branding can also include how you will communicate with your customers. Do you need a newsletter or mailing list to send customers information about events and promotions? Do you have active social media platforms that you want featured on the website? Will your site have a blog for users to read? These are all important questions for your brand and will factor in to how your customers perceive and interact with your business.
5. Am I selling something on the site, or will it be informational only?
Before you begin designing your website, you need to determine if it will be informational only or if you are selling something. If you are selling a product on your website, then there is more information required and the process becomes more complex. You will have to think about payment processing and shipping processes as well as tax laws that apply in your state or country. On the other hand, if it’s just an informational site where people can browse and read without making purchases, then things are much simpler!
6. What products or services should be offered on the site and how does that affect the design?
If you are selling products and services online, it is good to decide what those products and services will be and how they’ll affect the design.
- Is there anything that needs to happen after someone makes a purchase (like order fulfillment)? How will this process be handled?
- Do you have services that need to be scheduled? If so, what will that process be like?
- Do you have products that are customizable? How will your users request these customizations?
- Do you have digital products or services? Will you need to have a way for users to download files or software? Do you need a way of managing licensing for your products?
7. How much content is there on the site, and where will it go?
This is an important question to ask when designing any website. You want to have a clear idea of what kind of content you’ll be putting out there and exactly where it will be located on your website. This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are some people who think “I need a blog!” without thinking about whether or not their audience wants one. This question can often bring us back to an earlier question. What is the goal of this site? The answer to this question can often help determine whether or not you need more than just one page for your website – if your business has multiple services or products (or both), then it might make sense for each service/product to get its own page with its own unique landing page URL (i.e., https://www.examplewebsite/productname).
8. What are some websites that are doing what I want my business website to do?
In order to get an idea of what you’re looking for, it’s helpful to look at websites that are already out there and doing what you want yours to do. Here are some questions you can ask:
- Are they selling similar products and/or services? If so, how are they handling things such as payments, shipping, product customization, etc.?
- How are they keeping their users engaged? Are they using a newsletter or blog?
- What is their user interface like? How do users navigate the site and how quickly can you find the content you are looking for?
- Do you like the design style of the site and if so, what are some specific parts that you are drawn to?
9. Will this website be a responsive design so that it can display well on mobile devices as well as desktops and tablets?
When you create a website, it’s important to consider the fact that your audience might be viewing your site from many different devices. A responsive design means that your site will automatically adjust its layout and content to display correctly no matter what device is being used. This includes desktops and laptops, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
Responsive design is almost a necessity for modern websites, so this question is less about whether the site should be responsive, but rather what a responsive design means for your site.
- Is there certain content that just make sense for smaller devices?
- How can you make the user interface work on smaller devices (e.g., larger buttons for touch screens and expandable menus)?
- As content shifts to fit different devices, how should it be laid out and how does that affect readability of the site?
10. Do I have resources (money, time, etc) for the design and maintenance of the site?
As a business owner, you should be prepared to dedicate the necessary resources to your website. You must ask yourself:
- How much money do I have available for design and maintenance?
- How much time can I spend working with the designer?
- How much time can I spend working with the developer?
- Can our team provide all of this work internally or do we need to outsource some of it (for example, if our company doesn’t have a website developer on staff)?
- If my budget is limited, what are the most important goals for the site and what can possibly be cut?
Thinking about how you want your website to function before you build it can help save you a lot of trouble later
These questions are a great starting point for anyone who is looking to build a website for their business. Having the answers to each question will have you prepared and feeling confident about your future website’s design. If you need help answering these questions or if you have already answered them and decided to hire a web designer, reach out to us here at Bloom Creative Studios, LLC. and we can help get you started on your next steps!