Consider this situation:
After long hours of sitting with the client at your local coffee shop, you finally were able to convince him to hire you for his web design project.
You jump out of excitement when you return back home but the very next moment you feel a sense of uncertainty.
Because you don’t know what to do next?
What questions you should ask your web design client before you start the project?
Let me help you here by listing out 10 questions that you must ask the client before hopping on your computer.
Describe the nature of your business.
This is the question that defines what your client’s business is all about. The client will let you know details about his business like, What his business does, and when did he start the business.
What products or services are you selling?
The answer to this question would let you know what services or products the client is selling through his website. Or it can also be the case that the client is selling nothing on his website.
In both cases, you will be better equipped on how to proceed further. If he is selling something on his website then you can further question him about how he wants that product or service to be featured on his website. He may want to increase the conversions on his website so that the product or service will take center stage on the home page in that case.
List features of your products and/or services. Please specify a clear list of bullet items.
Related to the above question, this assumes that the client has something to sell on his website. When you are clear that the client is offering some product or service then you need to be clear on the features of that product or service too.
Although, it is generally believed in the world of marketing that you must lead with benefits as opposed to features in order to convince the customer about buying anything but if you don’t know about a feature how will you be able to know the benefits?
So in order to know the benefits you must have knowledge about the features of a product or service. You will gain a clear list of that through this question.
This question has another benefit that if the client hasn’t thought about the features of his product or service in a clear bulleted list format he will be pressed to do so.
Rank the applicable purpose of your website, with 1 being the most important.
The options that I provide to my clients for this question are:
Information: For a static website featuring just the information for his customers like, a brochure website for a manufacturing company, etc.
Branding: In order to develop a brand for his company. This requires some time and some strategic processes before the actual implementation phase begins. This will also focus on more than just the website.
Lead Generation/ Qualifying prospects: A client can be looking to generate leads via the website, like communication from the forms on his website or phone calls.
Sales Revenue: This applies to an e-commerce website or if a client has some service that he is selling through his website.
Ad Revenue: Ad revenue applies to the earnings through ad networks like affiliate
Internal needs: A website can be developed for just the use of office staff only. Like keeping track of the documentation or the meetings etc.
Transformation: Complete transformation from the ground up.
Value proposition: Why would someone come to you rather than another (Your USP)?
If a client knows the USP of his business it would be easier for you as a web designer to highlight that in the website. You can implement strategies to put more focus on the USP of the client and increase conversions. In fact, the content on the website can also be geared towards highlighting this single most important differentiator of the client’s business on his website.
Who are your main major online competitors? Please list their websites (minimum three) below and indicate what you like/dislike about these websites.
You need to have some sort of idea of where the competitors of your client stand in terms of their online presence. Once the client provides you with the URLs of his top three competitors you can go through each one of those and find out the shortcomings, and then try to do better in for your client.
When the client is exactly able to pinpoint what they like or dislike about the websites of their competitors then you have a more specific idea of how you can design the client’s website and what elements to include or exclude from the design.
Which website features a similar layout to what you would like?
The layout of any website is the single most important thing through which a user’s attention on the website can be influenced. By asking this question you are probing your client on what his likes and dislikes are regards to the layout of his website.
This will give you an exact idea of the type of layout you can start your design with and save you time in the long run.
What is the feel you would like the site to have?
The overall feel of a website is dependent on various elements used in a website like its layout, colors, and typography which in turn come from the type of feeling the client wants a user to have from his website.
So it’s like a feedback loop.
The feeling that the client wants to evoke from his website will dictate the type of elements used on the website and those elements in turn will evoke that feeling.
The options that you can give the client in this case are:
- Conservative serious feel
- Smart and contemporary
- Young, fun, and hip, with lots of bright colors, etc.
- Very functional, and fast to download with a minimum of graphics.
- Should focus on product attributes
When you know the type of feeling to evoke in the customer you can find out what type of colors, typography, and layout go with each one and then use that in your design.
Please list the links you would like to have in the menu.
Through this question, you will get a rough idea about the number of pages the site might have. You will also get an idea of whether the client has his content organized or not.
Can you give us the web addresses for other websites you particularly like, and tell us why you like them? This will help us to get an idea of your taste and what you might be looking for.
The URLs that the client provides here are super important as those can serve as an inspiration for your design. The client will specifically let you know what he likes and why he likes these websites. This is another useful question and you will likely get an idea about the layout, colors, and typography that you are going to use in your website.
So, these were some of the questions that you can ask your client before starting your next web design project. All of these questions will give you a starting point for your project and then from there you can always iterate as you move forward.
I am a web designer with over 10+ years of experience, and I write about web design, philosophy, life, and personal growth. I love to go deep into topics following my natural curiosities. Download the $10k questionnaire along with a bonus-filled questionnaire from an actual project.