When clients first contact us to ask us to build them a website, they come to us with wildly varying levels of detail. Some have a design and text and a domain name and everything already picked out, and they never change their mind or ask for something impossible or impractical. We call these clients “perfect but imaginary.”
The rest of the clients come to us with a set of needs, but without a solution to those needs. That’s OK. That’s what we provide: solutions. To do so, we ask the client some questions about their situation, and from these questions, we prepare a quote. So if you’re a new client, we might end up asking you the following questions:
1. Summarize what the website should do. What’s its purpose?
2. Now that you’ve identified the basic goals of the site, rank them in order of importance.
3. Pretend it’s six months from now. How will you know the website succeeded?
4. When do you want to see this finished? Are there events upcoming that will influence the production schedule (i.e. a software release, event, etc.)?
5. What is your budget for this project, or an acceptable budget range? You don’t have the answer this one, but it’s like going to buy a car and not telling the salesman if you want a Kia, a Honda or a Lexus. Telling us your budget helps us to give you an appropriate proposal.
6. Is there any work already done that will simply be reformatted into the new site? Are there existing sites, publications or other graphic work that could serve as a design starting-point for the new site?
7. Are there specific colors or logos that should be used? Are there other websites that are examples of what you’re looking for (or wanting to avoid)?
8. What kind of people will be using the site?
9. What do you want people to do after visiting the site?
10. Where will the content come from? How much of the content must be created from scratch? How will that work get done?
11. Can you briefly out spec out the amount of content/number of sections/number of pages, etc.? Tell us anything you can about the organization and content of the site.
12. Do you need training so that the site can be maintained in-house afterward? Would you prefer to set up a standing relationship with Hop Studios to perform updates in the future?
13. What functionality is necessary? (i.e. search, download, password-protected areas, mail forms, animation, etc.)
14. Do you need web hosting? Do you need to register a domain? If you already have hosting, where or what do you have?
15. What haven’t we asked that we should know?
If you have other questions you think we should ask, suggest them in the comments!