Arin Adamson
By Arin Adamson | Web Dev | January 26, 2015

Information Needed Before Building A Website

Building Website

So you want a new website for your business or personal interest? If you are not experienced with creating and developing websites and you also want a website that is going to rock people’s socks off, you are going to need a web developer. However, it is not as easy as picking out a web nerd and saying, “Build me a website and here’s my money”. There are many questions to be asked, so it is a very good idea to be prepared with the answers for those developers when they start getting all technical on you.

Do you want to be able to edit your own content?

In today’s website building word, there are hundreds of content management systems to choose from, which allow non-html savvy people to edit content. Majority of website’s today are built around some type of content management system and I would recommend following that pattern. It mainly comes down to what type of content management system you would like to build your website on. Personally, I prefer WordPress for simplistic websites and Drupal for complex Ecommerce websites. Refer to my article, “The Advantages of a Web CMS“, to learn more.

What are you Looking to Get out of your Website?

This is always the question that stops prospective website owners dead in their tracks, unless of course they have their business plan ready at hand. This questions deals with the intention of the website, what functionality the website will have and the experience your website visitors have. An example: Walter White wants a website for his carwash. He wants his customers to be able to pre-purchase their carwash package and present the pre-purchased coupon at the carwash. He would also like for the website to present his carwash brand effectively while maintaining the atmosphere of great customer service. Lastly he wants all of the business information that customers might need before choosing a reputable carwash on the website. This example brings us to our next question.

What is the Target Audience?

Who are you marketing this website to? If a website is built for a night club you wouldn’t want it to be targeted toward the senior citizen demographic (unless it’s a really old-school night club). The target audience of your website will play a big part in how the website is designed and the experience the website visitor has.

Do you Currently Have a Website?

If you currently have a website, make sure to let your web developer know. He can take the previous website’s content and make a good assessment of what you might be trying to achieve with a new one. If you are looking to build a new site, you’ll be wanting improvements over your previous website. Write down all of the elements you’d like to improve to give to the new web developer. This will save time and help get the website development process on track.

Who are your Competitors?

No one likes those slimy competitors taking away all your website’s traffic. The saying goes,”Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. This applies to web development as well. Observing what your competitors are doing to gain traffic and then expanding or improving that website’s features, can make your own visitors have a better experience. Sharing a competitors list with a web developer can help them assess what the competitor is doing right and wrong. A good developer should then return with suggestions for your new or current website.

Which Websites do you Like and Why?

This is sometimes absorbed into the previous question, “Who are your Competitors”. But it’s also important to separate yourself from your competitors with a much better website. Try to find those websites which you like. Start with the design and work your way up to functionality. Create a list of what makes this website great and maybe some suggestions for the functionality of those features on your website.

Give a Developer Any and All Information You Can Think of

There is no such thing as too much information or a dumb question. Be thorough with your web developer. In fact, the worst thing about being a web developer is when a client does not provide any information and then is disappointed with the service that was provided. We live to make clients happy and make wonderful websites and it can be a real bummer when clients are dissatisfied with our creative web development process.

That’s all for now. Drop any questions into the comment box!

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