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Clients: Why You’re Asking All the Wrong Questions and What to Consider Instead

If you’re new to a web design project, it can feel incredibly overwhelming at the start. You’re concerned about your budget, driving sales and the bottom line, but don’t really understand that there is so much more you’re going to need to figure out before any of this gets answered.

Before meeting with your web team, take some time to ask yourself these important questions:

Wrong Question: “Will my website be mobile-friendly?”

If you’re working with any credible agency, this will be a given. If it isn’t, then you’re wasting your money.

Instead, Consider This: “Is it enough for my website to be responsive, or would it make more sense for my business to have a seperate mobile site or even an app?”

Depending on what type of business you have, a responsive website may not be the best option. If you have an online store, in order to provide the best user experience in the most streamlined way, an app is going to be worth the investment. If your website will have a lot of traffic and require the user to be very interactive, then you’re going to want to go with a seperate site to ensure proper functionality.

Wrong Question: “How much will my website cost?”

It can be really difficult to answer this question in the beginning stage of a web design project, especially when websites can easily range from $5,000 – $100,000. What a lot of people don’t understand is how much development goes into every website function (animation, widget area, transition, etc.). Some are simple, but some require a ton of time and testing to get it right.

Instead, Consider This: “What features will my website need to be successful?”

A web design project is never complete. Rapidly-changing trends and updates force companies to constantly make updates, and with updates comes a greater cost. In addition, many clients decide to add more functionality to their website after the initial design phase – once they start to see the possibilities. Do some research before meeting with your web design team by looking through websites you admire and make note of what it is you like.

Pro Tip: Less really is more. Animations are great, but keep them to a minimum. The goal is to make your content look good, not overshadow it.

Wrong Question: “I love ____ website, can mine look like their’s?”

Designers want to be fresh and innovative, not a copycat…it’s just not even ethical. So why would you want to be?

Instead, Consider This: “What are they doing right, and what can I do better?”

Look at your competitors’ websites as if you are a new customer who knows nothing about the industry or products. Make a note of what you think they are doing well and what can be improved. Do they have clear calls-to-action? Does their website flow? Are there any questions that you might have as a customer that they aren’t answering?

Wrong Question: “How long until my site will be found on Google?”

This is going to be different for everyone, and there are a lot of factors that play into this.

Instead, Consider This: “What do I need to know about SEO?”

First of all, it’s important to understand that not all web design companies are SEO experts. If SEO is important to you, which it should be, then double check that your web team provides this service otherwise you may be left to outsource it. In the mean time, it’s worth having at least a basic understanding of SEO and how link-building can help you be found on Google.

Wrong Question: “Will you write the content?”

The answer is “no,” and it should always be “no.” You are the expert in your industry, not your web designer. Ask us to write about our weird obsessions with hex colors, our biggest user experience pet peeves, or our how much joy we get from being able to recognize almost any typeface anywhere and we can go on for days. But writing about what it is that you do in your profession, why would you even want us to write that?

Instead, Consider This: How do I write content for a website?”

I’ve noticed that a lot of people seem afraid to write their own content, but it really isn’t as difficult as it may seem. A lot of business owners love talking about themselves and their company, but your website is a lead-generation tool, so you need think of it as being very action-oriented. Your content should work well with your calls-to-action by leading your customers through your sales funnel, from one point (or page) to the next. Overall, you don’t have to have a ton of copy on your website – it’s not a book, and your users don’t care to read every detail – just focus on the main information that your customers will be looking for.

Here is a basic overview of what you might need for a very simple 4-page website.

catch22 website content

I have had a lot of experience with writing and editing, so I am comfortable with proofreading and helping my clients optimize their copy for SEO and better reading; however, not all web designers are also writers, so you may want to work with a copywriter.

Wrong Question: “Can I sell a few things on my website?”

Adding an online shop to a website is often a much larger project (and much more expensive) than most people realize.

Instead, Consider This: “How much money am I willing to put into an online store? Do I need e-commerce, Woo commerce, Stripe, or something else?”

This is really dependent on what kind of shop you need and how much you want to sell. I suggest doing a little research so that you understand the difference between each option before discussing it with your web designer.

Thanks for reading! Have something to add? Let me know in the comments, and check back next Thursday for more tips and tricks on web design, blogging, social media and content marketing.

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Posted by Ariel Valley

Web designer, writer, social media lover and inbound marketer at Catch22 Marketing. Also known as a professional coffee taster, shoe enthusiast and film buff. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter @ariel_valley.

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