It’s during these consultations that we discover the client’s expectations as well as their issues with the current website, and we get to flex our nerd muscles and discuss how we can fulfill those wishes and solve those problems.
Some consultations are easier than others. Some of our clients know exactly where they want to go, but trust us (the web experts) to get them there. Others think they know exactly how to get there, but need to be shown a better way. Others don’t even have a website yet and have no idea what they want.
Each of these consultations would go a bit differently (and we can help all of them), but there are certain questions to ask before a website redesign.
1. What is your site’s current platform?
“Platform” refers to Wix, Blogger, Weebly, WordPress (our platform of choice), or any of the myriad website builders available.
When we sit down with our clients, we like to find out which platform their website is currently on and how it’s working for them.
We think WordPress is the best out there, so that’s what we build all our websites on. If a client is already on a WordPress platform, great. If they’re using a different platform, we can discuss moving it over to a WordPress site as well as the reasons why WordPress is the way to go.
Discussing the pros and cons of web platforms helps potential clients understand how their website works within the internet and how they can play an active role in it. (Participation in your own website is not underrated.)
2. What is your monthly marketing budget?
We know that many business owners like to keep their financial cards close to their chest, but it really helps your web team to know how much they can work with.
Certain online marketing strategies, like pay-per-click campaigns, yield bigger payoffs with a bigger budget. Be honest with your team so they can put together a gorgeous redesign and an effective marketing plan that fit your budget.
Even worse than not sharing your marketing budget is not having a marketing budget.
Even if you’re doing enough business by word-of-mouth, getting more customers (or simply more customer satisfaction) is dependent on having a place where they can get information. In the digital age, that place needs to be online.
Sorry if you don’t like it, but it’s true.
If you haven’t already, set a marketing budget for business so your web team has something to work with.
3. What’s your brand?
This can also be phrased as “what feelings do you want to evoke in the customer?” or simply “who are you marketing to?” Every company has a brand (whether they know it or not). And we could probably write an entire series on this (maybe we will), but you need to have some idea of what you want your brand to be as well as what it currently is.
Are you the “hipster” brand? The “eco-friendly” brand? Is your ideal customer “mom on the go” or “strapped-for-cash college student?”
Answering these questions will help your web designer implement designs and strategies that make sense for your demographic.
4. What do you love about your current website? / What would you like your redesigned website to do?
This looks like two questions, but it’s really the same one.
Basically, put together your Christmas list for the ultimate business website. List all the features and things you love about your website and want to keep. List everything you hate about your website. Paint a (mental) picture of what your want your website to be.
Be as big and bold as you want.
Chances are, if you can dream it up, we can find some way to make it happen. You’ll never know unless you ask. Then, once we have a better idea of your likes and dislikes, we’ll know what to recommend.
When we have a really great idea for our clients, or know of a plugin or feature that would really benefit their business, we’ll always share it with them. But your small business doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to you and you are in the driver’s seat.
When I first met with my daughter’s pediatrician, I asked him about different parenting styles and his response was brilliant: “There are a million different ways to parent a child. We’ll steer you away from the really crazy stuff, but other than that, do what works for you.”
Clarity can say the same about your business.
5. How involved do you want to be in your website?
Are you too busy to update your website and/or social media pages and need to hire someone who can do that for you? Or do you have plenty of time and energy to write and schedule your own blog posts?
That’s all useful information your online marketing team needs to know about. It will affect how we build your site as well as the types of services we’ll offer.
And be realistic. If you’re the type of person who’s constantly pulled in 20 different directions because you’re trying to manage every aspect of your business, updating a blog every week might be too much for you.
Much like houses, parenting styles, and your business itself, websites are works-in-progress.
If, at any point, your vision for your business changes during the consultation, that’s totally fine (it happens more than you think). So don’t feel like you have to chisel all your answers in stone, laminate them, and get the whole plan copyrighted.
Just sketch out a brief idea of what you expect from your website redesign.
We’ll steer you away from the really crazy stuff.
Clarity Creative Group is a web design & internet marketing company located in beautiful Orlando, Florida. Sketch out your plan on a napkin if you want. We won’t judge.