A website is often the first point of contact between your business and potential customers. Whether you’re a sole trader, a small or established business, or a brand new start up company, your website plays a crucial role in shaping the way your audience perceives you and interacts with your brand.
However, creating a successful website is not just about having an online presence—it’s about making a lasting impression and achieving your desired goals.
In my years of working as a website designer, the discovery phase before design work begins is the most crucial point in the process. My discovery meetings involve asking key questions to potential clients, some of which they may not have considered to ask themselves before contacting me.
What’s the purpose of your new website?
It seems like an obvious question, doesn’t it? Sometimes the answer will be something vague or general like ‘get more business’, or ‘increase my sales’, but why not go one step further and think deeply about why you’re having a new website built?
It may be to get more business by improving search engine optimisation (SEO), so your business is featured higher on Google – therefore increasing exposure and visitors to your website.
Or it could be that you want to increase sales by extending the checkout process for your customers – i.e. through ‘order bumps’ which can add easy additional sales to your business.
You’re about to spend a lot of time, effort and money on something that is going to be a significant tool for your business – so getting your reasoning on point is vital!
What website design inspiration do you like?
Having an idea of what design styles you like before you start is going help you get a website that you’re proud of and one that’s going to make you stand out from your competition. You’ll also start to get a vision of what messages you want to get across to your visitors.
It’s a good idea to have a browse around and keep a list of websites you like, whether it’s their colours, layout or features. It’s might be useful to have a mixture of examples from both companies in your industry and unrelated websites that you just really like.
How will you measure your websites success?
Website measurement is crucial if you’re serious about your new website. By integrating a service like Google Analytics and Google Search Console (which are free, by the way) you can track key statistics about your website visitors.
There are a number of ways you can measure the success of your website. What you measure will depend on what the purpose of your website is. Some examples of measurements you can track are below:
- How many people have visited your website
- Where they came from (i.e. UK or abroad)
- Which search term they used to find your website
- How long they stayed on your website
- Which pages they visited
- How many people submitted an online enquiry
- How many people clicked to call you
- How many people clicked to email you
- Plus much more!
What website features do you need?
Another key question to ask yourself – what website features do you need and which would be ‘nice to have’?
The features you choose will make up a large proportion the cost of your website, so consider ‘nice to have’ features as optional until you have a bigger budget. Below are some examples of popular features I’ve been asked to integrate on their websites.
- Updatable Blog/News section
- Live Chat features
- Embedded Google map
- Enquiry Forms
- Photo/Video Galleries
- Password Protected Pages
- Mailing list integration
- eCommerce and payment processing
- Booking System with time slots
- Quote builders
Who will write your website content?
Writing website content isn’t easy. There’s a number of factors that will influence your decision about
who will write your website content. These include your writing ability, how technical your product or service is and how much time you have to devote to sitting down and doing it!
Your preferred target audience is also super important to keep in mind – for example a serious financial service website or funeral home probably wouldn’t use a light-hearted tone of writing!
Do it yourself:
The obvious benefit here is that you won’t have to pay for it. If you enjoy writing and have the time to
commit to writing your website content then, then doing it yourself can be of a huge benefit.
This is also a good option if your product or service is of a technical nature as you will be able to get all the precise details you need into the site.
Bear in mind though that in my experience, it’s always a bigger job than you can imagine, so ensure
you have the time and will to commit to do it.
A Professional copywriter will save you a lot of time and stress. They will research your industry and competitors to learn as much as they can about your industry before starting. If you’re prepared to search around and pay a little more, you can even go for an industry-specific copywriter that has special training in your industry, making them perfect to write for you.
When the copywriter writes about your services or industry, you will see just how well they can capture what’s important, making it exciting and engaging for your audience.
Do you need professional website photography?
The images you use on your website play a huge role in establishing your brand and can enhance the quality of your website enormously.
Professional website photography immediately makes your online presence memorable and maintains a look that is totally unique to you and your company which can build trust with your audience, as opposed to using stock images which have no personality!
A high quality logo will be the basis for your visual branding and set the tone for the look and feel of your website. I’ve used logo designers in the past who can bring your designs to life.
What’s the budget for your new website?
It’s likely that you know roughly how much you have/want to spend on your website.
From a web designers point of view – there’s two ways to look at this. In theory it should cost what it costs. But, in reality by knowing up front what your budget is, I can pitch the right type of website for your budget.
For example, if you’ve got £500 to spend, then they’d probably suggest a small site content already provided by you to keep costs down.
If your budget was £5000 then you’d get a custom design, a load more pages, plus some additional features that are going to give you stronger web presence and SEO.
Ready for a discovery meeting?
They’re free, friendly and great for bouncing ideas off one-another! Book your website discovery meeting with me now, I cover businesses located across Norfolk and Suffolk.