One of the biggest mistakes I made as a beginner web designer was not asking enough questions before starting my design. This can cause you to waste valuable time and effort on designs that your client doesn’t like. Or even worse, the client could dislike your designs and decide to hire someone else. I want to save you some trouble, so here’s a list of the 4 most important questions you should ask your client before you begin your project.
1. What is the ultimate goal for the site?
It’s important to have a specific goal in mind when building a website. This isn’t just a piece of artwork for people to sit and look at. A website is more like a machine, or an employee. It has a job to do. You need to find out exactly what your client wants the website to do. At the core, this usually relates to increasing revenue for the business in some way. Your job is to figure out specifically how the website can accomplish this.
Once you know the goal of the website, you’ll know what you want the visitors to do. Do you want them to sign up for an email list? Purchase something? Call a phone number? Your design should be based on getting the visitors to perform a specific action.
2. What other sites do you like?
The most important thing to remember in all of this, is that it’s not about you. It’s not your website. Forget about what you want it to look like. You need to find out what your client likes, and what they want it took look like. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative or have your own style. Of course, every site you build will have your own unique style to it. But the point is that you’re not designing the site for yourself, you’re designing it for someone else. It’s like buying someone a gift – give them what they want, not what you want.
It can also help to find out what they don’t like, so you know what to avoid.
3. How do you want to be perceived?
This simple question has a major influence over your design. Every website gives off a certain vibe. Whether it’s fun, professional, creative, high-tech, friendly, serious, fancy, etc… you get the idea. The design of your website directly impacts the feeling people get when they see it. It’s really important to know how your client wants people to view their business. You don’t want to build something flashy and unique if they want it to be simple and professional. That’s why this is such an important question to ask.
4. What does your company do?
This question can be broken down into more specific questions, but the point is that you want to translate that message to the customers. You want the visitors to know what the company is all about, what they have to offer, and what separates them from the competition. Do they have a tagline or a mission statement?
When someone visits a website, they want to know what this company can do for them. How can you help them? You want to make this clear.
Don’t Stop There
Those are just the most important things to know before you start, but make sure you get as much info as possible. What host are they using? When do they want it completed? Do they want a blog? Do they need any special features? What search engine keywords are they targeting? Do they use Google Analytics? What is their budget for this project? And the list goes on…