After a few years building websites for small businesses, I’ve put together a list of the most frequently asked questions I ask new clients.  And I thought it might be useful to anyone looking to put together a website for their small business for the first time as it seem like a daunting task! You’ll probably find that not all the suggestions below will be relevant to your project so if that’s the case simply ignore them 🙂

1. Website History

Do you have an existing site? If so what is domain name? (web address)

Do you want a new site, development or refreshing of an existing site?

Do you currently use any website statistical tools?

Do you currently have any social media accounts associated with your website/business? (Eg. Twitter, Facebook etc)

2. Your Visitors

Do you have an idea of who will be visiting your site?

Are they the same as your current offline customers?

If not, think about your desired or typical customer to the website? What do they want from your website?

Think about the goals of the website or indeed each page or section? Are they coming to find out information, be entertained, subscribing to a membership/newsletter, making a purchase, reading research, contributing to a conversation etc…

3. Website – the new one 🙂

Is the site more about information being ‘pushed to’ the customer (a brochure site), or more about having a two-way conversation with customers (content driven and interactive?)

Is having a good ranking on Google important to you and your business?

Does the site need social media links?

Does the site need a blog? Would it benefit from having a blog?

Do you need to be able to edit the content of the site yourself?

What is the approximate size of the site, ie. how many pages do you need? Do you need sections or categories?  (Often drawing a site-map on a scrap of paper or in something like Word or PowerPoint can help with this).

Do you need ecommerce on the site (the ability for customers to purchase from you online)?

Are you able to put together your own website copy?  Can you prepare the words and provide the pictures/photos for the pages or do these need to be created and/or outsourced?

Do you have a logo (it is usually very important to keep branding consistent across all marketing/customer channels)?

Have you seen other websites/competitors perhaps that you like the look of? Or don’t like the look of?

Is there any particular functionality that you’d like the site to have, like image galleries, rotating images/slideshows, twitter feeds and so on?

4. Small Print

Do you have any deadlines for your website project? When would you like the new website to be launched?

Do you have budget for the site? The budget will need to at least allow for the design and build of the site, the domain name and web hosting, and ongoing maintenance.

Does the site need any legal references, eg. terms and conditions, privacy policy, disclaimers and so forth?

A website is a big investment so it’s worth getting it right the first time!