So you’ve been tasked with getting a website quote for your company. Where do you began?
Know your requirements
The process of developing a website is often compared to that of building a house. As with any construction project, you need to know what your requirements, budget and timeline are. You would not dream of going to a builder and saying, “Build me a house.” And in the same breath ask, “How much will that cost?” You would expect to specify the size, location, and materials for the structure before being able to know a price. Nor would you go to a builder and ask them to specify the house they want to build for you without providing them a budget. Yet, this is what many people do when asking for a new website.
In this post I’ll enumerate essential questions you need to have answered in order to work with a web designer and developer in order to gain a web site that achieves goals, creates leads, and provides conversions which lead to sales and new business.
Create a planning document
Every home design begins with a list of requirements. Every website should too. You must create a website brief which you can give to your potential website designer and developer. You can do this as a spreadsheet or word processing document. The format doesn’t matter, the content does.
As to the content, by writing down the answers to the following questions, you will create a through requirements document for your web developers. Now, if you don’t want to do this yourself, you can pay to have this created as the first part of your website’s development, but most don’t want to pay for planning, only execution. So, if you see yourself here, do the planning before asking for a quote.
A crucial question every web developer and designer will ask you is, “What is the purpose of this website?” If you cannot answer this simple question you are not ready to build.
So many people focus on how a website looks above everything else that they forget that there is a business purpose behind it. You’re going to to be expected to provide answers to the classic questions:
- Who? Are your website visitors? Who are your customers?
- What? Will they do when they reach your site?
- When? Will they seek information, services or products that lead them to your site?
- Where? Will you promote your website?
- Why? Are you creating a website? Why are your visitors here? Why will they trust you? Why will they buy from you?
Let’s examine each of these questions to comprehend the answers you will be expected to supply.
The world is not your customer. Your customer is some subset of the population which seeks the products and services you are in business to sell. You need to tell your web site designer about your customer. We need to know what motivates your customer and what kind of lifestyle they enjoy. We also need to know where they live or why they would shop on your site.
Knowing business purpose behind your website is critical to building a successful website conversion. You must know what you want your visitors to do when they reach your website. Which path do you want them to take through your website? Do you want them to read about your services? Or do you want them to visit your online store? If you don’t know what actions you want your site visitor to take and the order in which you would like them to take these actions your site will not function as you wish.
Your business products and services fulfill your customer’s needs. So, what are the triggers which cause your prospective customer to take to Google to search for services? Knowing your customer’s motivations will allow your site’s content to meet the customer where their need begins. Having focused content also helps you show up well in search engine results.
Another critical element about which you will be questioned is, “how are you going to market your web site?” The most common ways people market or promote their website and thus their business include: social media, Google AdWords, blog post authorship (on their own and other’s blogs), and syndication of your website content to company pages in social media such as SlideShare, and LinkedIn.
Why should someone buy from you? Why should they pick up the phone or ask for a quote? Establishing trust and authenticity on your site is another important component to earning a customer’s business. Trust is established by a number of signals. Testimonials are one signal which demonstrates the esteem you’ve earned. Another is to list where your products are sold, which is especially important if your product is a consumer packaged food or beverage. If you have an ecommerce site, offering a guarantee statement is important. You can also amplify trust by offering badges or symbols highlighting the secure processing of payments.
Form and function
Now that you’ve gathered answers for these essential questions, you need to know your preferences for functionality, look and feel.
Start with what you like and what you don’t like about your current web site. Add to that examples of sites that you really like along with a list of the features and functionality in those sites that you find most attractive. Spend time reviewing your competitors’ websites and seeing what they have done that works or doesn’t work. Have some of your customers tell you want they look for in a website.
Wrap it up
Now that you’ve created a list of requirements, customer insights, and examined competitors, you should have a pretty fine set of directions for a prospective web developer. Now, when ask for a quote, you can provide your requirements and expect to gain a realistic quote.
Use our website planning document if you don’t want to create your own. Just be sure to answer all questions thoroughly in order to get a valid quote.