Questions to Answer for Planning a Successful Website
I often get “website quote requests” that include a sentence or two description of the project. Then I’m asked can I build it, and how much will it cost?
Can I build it? Probably. I have built hundreds of websites with different kinds of unique programming functionality. These projects span over many different industries.
If I don’t know the specifics of the project though, it makes it impossible to move forward. I won’t commit to any project I am not confident that I can deliver.
The website questionnaire posted below will help you create a website project plan. Once you have it thought out, get in touch with me to discuss your project so I can provide a realistic estimate for you.
Just like you want a professional web developer to build the best website for you, I want a "professional" client that has put effort into planning their website.
The success of your project depends on how much effort you put into it, paired with how well you can communicate the project requirements to me. I only take on projects that I know will be successful.
Ballpark Estimates for a Website
Website QuestionnaireThis web development questionnaire will help me understand who you (and/or your company) are, and what your website project requirements are. Obviously, the more details you provide to me the more accurate quote I can provide. Even more important is how smoothly the website development process will go.
High Level Questions
- What is the purpose of the website?
- Who will be your audience?
- How much do intend to invest in your website?
- What is the long term goal?
Tell me about you
- What’s your name?
- Are you a company or individual?
- If a company, what is the nature of your business?
- Where are you located?
Website BudgetWhen you develop a website plan, communicate your budget. Like buying a house or car, budget is a major factor in the final result. Depending on your budget, I make different recommendations of how to approach building your website. Having a budget of $3,000 vs $20,000 will have an effect on what I can build and how I will build it. Sharing your budget enables me to provide an affordable option that meets your needs. My intent of knowing your budget upfront is not to max out what you are willing to spend, but to propose a realistic and affordable estimate to build your website. When I put the effort into writing a website proposal, I don’t ever expect the website cost to be the reason that I do not get a job. If I know your budget upfront, this factor is removed as a reason not to work together.level of trust from the beginning that I am looking out for your best interest. I know there are lots of people out there that are unethical. I am not one of them.
Tell me about your web project.Don’t just answer yes/no, clearly communicate your answers where appropriate. What is the purpose of your website?
- To share information about your products and services
- To generate new customers
- To provide information to you users (news ,events, blog)
- To sell something online
- To create an online startup
- Have you registered a domain name, or do you need help with this?
- Have you purchased web hosting service, or do you need help with this?
- Do you have a logo designed or do you need one created? Can you provide the original files?
- Do you have a graphic web design file created already (I will code from this.) Or, do you need graphic design work done?
- If you need graphic design work, send me example websites that you like – either the overall design or just elements of a page, colors you want to use…
- What will be the purpose of the website? ie Informational, database website, ecommerce website, WordPress development
- What type of users will be visiting your site?
- Why do you want to redesign your website? Professional image, outdated technology, security issues, old content…
- What parts of your website do you like and want to keep?
- What parts of your website do you want to change or remove?
- What new elements and/or functionality do you want to add to the redesign?
- Does your current web hosting provider meet your needs in terms of quality, security and customer service?
- Approximately how many pages will your finished website be?
- Do you have content written or do you need help with this?
- Do you have images to use or do you need to use stock photos?
Features and FunctionalityBeyond text and images, what will your website do?
- Will user have to register and log in to do something?
- Will you want to be able to manage content yourself on the website once it’s built? (Content Management System like WordPress?)
- Will you need eCommerce integration?
- Will you need custom web forms like quote request forms or contact forms?
- Will you need a search engine in your website?
- Will you need a blog on your website?
- Will you need a database driven website? If yes, where will your data come from? Will you needs scripts to import it, tools to add/edit it…
- If you are building a website from scratch with a unique idea, provide as many details of the features and functionality.
- What will you be selling? Product – physical products to ship, services, memberships, event tickets, virtual products to download?
- How many categories and products will you have? How will products get into the database? Will they need to be imported from a source, or data entered manually? Will you do the data entry or will I?
- How will you accept online payments? Credit card (Do you have a payment gateway yet?), Paypal, Stripe, Check, COD…
- Will you need to collect tax? (If so, what location are you shipping from?)
- Will you ship internationally?
- What shipping carrier will you use? (USPS, Fed Ex, UPS…)
- How will you calculate shipping charges? Flat rate, free shipping, based on order total, calculate through your shipping carrier API?
- Do your products have options or requirements to select? i.e. depending on the size they cost should change, or custom message needs added, photo needs uploaded to apply to the product….
- Do you have any special requirements to the flow of how the shopping cart should work i.e. does the checkout have to be on 1 page vs more than one page?
- Do you need a database driven website?
- Do you need a content management system (CMS) to be able to edit the content without the help of a web developer?
- Are you open to using open source software (like WordPress if it fits your project’s needs?)
- How will data get into your database? Do you have electronic data for me to import? Will you data enter the data? Will it be populated by user input?
- What types of admin tools do you need to manage content?
Website CompetitorsIf you are building a new startup website, this probably does not apply to you. If you are a company that provides a service that other companies also provide, send me links to your competitor’s websites to help me better understand your industry.
Search Engine Optimization
- Do you have a plan to market your website?
- Have you done keyword research already, or do you need help with this?
- Do you know what SEO is, and do you plan on putting effort into it during the first phase of this project? (Honestly, not addressing SEO is equivalent to a brick and mortar “build it and then will come mentality”. If you don’t optimize your website for keywords, users are not going to find you in the search engines.)
- Do you have a code/backup plan?
- Will you want ongoing code maintenance for security and updates?
- Will you want ongoing maintenance like content updates and/or adding new pages?