When you approach a reputable web design agency about a new project, they will likely start the proposal process by asking you to fill out a website design questionnaire or new project questionnaire.Agencies or web designers/developers who do quality work don't just pull prices out of a hat. Click To Tweet
Every project is planned out after careful consideration of project scope, including: your timeline, your goals, competitor/industry research, and determination of necessary features to meet those goals.
The questionnaire you will need to fill out, and any phone conversations or in-person meetings leading up to a proposal, will require you to think about and answer a lot of very detailed questions. Taking the time to carefully consider these questions and provide detailed answers to your prospective web designer or online marketing agency is crucial to ensuring that the final product – your new or improved website – meets your business’ goals and will truly help to take your business to the next level.
This blog post is designed to help you, the end user of those multi-page questionnaires. Keep reading to learn more about why we ask the questions we ask, what we’re searching for in a completed web design questionnaire, the common red flags that may cause an agency to table your inquiry, and how to frame your answers to target the best end results for your business.
Website Design Questionnaire Basics: Business Name & Planned Web Address
Most questionnaires you encounter will start with simple information, such as business name, physical address, contact information, and the planned web address of your new website.
If You Don’t Already Have A Website…
One thing that we do before we even respond to a new questionnaire, is to check the availability of the client’s desired web address. If the web address is unavailable, we may advise the client of this during the initial call and offer several alternative web address ideas. For new businesses who do not already have a website, knowing if they have already purchased a domain or not helps us to understand where they are in the business startup process.
If You Already Have A Website…
If the client already owns their desired web address, we’ll go check out their existing website (if there is one) before calling them.
When looking at a client’s existing website, we look for the issues they may be experiencing, such as slow load times, lack of mobile responsiveness, poor user experience, or outdated visuals. We also look to see what platform the website is on (e.g. WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Joomla, non-CMS HTML/PHP, etc.). Doing this gives us a lot of early insight into what solutions you may be looking for both pre- and post-launch, and will help us to better understand any pain-points you may have communicated with us in the questionnaire.
In addition to looking at an existing website, we’ll do a quick search for your business name on social media. Are you on Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? How big is your audience? How often do you post? What are you posting about? What are people saying about your posts and your business? This will give us more insight into what your overall online marketing strategy is, and if we might want to also recommend social media or online marketing support services. These days, as social media presence is key to connecting with prospective clients, it is vital to include social media into any new website marketing plan or strategy.
Know Your Company Profile & Products/Services
When filling a website design questionnaire, it is important to give the agency you would like to hire as much information as you can about your business. This is your opportunity to help a web designer really get to know your business, what your products and services are, and what may differentiate you from the competition. Although we can always get more information later on in discovery sessions and project meetings, the quality of the answers provided here often directly correlates with the quality of the end result. Nobody knows your business better than you.
|RED FLAG: If this section comes back with one-sentence or two-sentence answers that show minimal detail or effort, a web design agency may assume that either: (a) the person filling the form does not take the process seriously and may therefore not take the project seriously or (b) The person filling the form has not taken the time to think critically about their business and create a detailed map to their success.|
If you are looking to hire a web designer, it is important that you have solid understanding of your business, the brand identity you’re targeting, the products/services that you offer, and who your customers are. If you don’t know these things yet, the website you end up with may not be representative of your brand or it may not speak to your target demographic. If you are not sure of these things, the agency you are looking at may be able to help with some aspects of branding or customer identification, but most marketing agencies will not be able to help with the creation of a business mission, strategic plan, or products/services.
If you are still in the startup stages without a clearly defined business plan, we recommend putting a new website on hold and first solidifying these details about your business. In many cities you can get free support from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). If you are in Fort Collins, Colorado, Loveland, or Estes Park, the Larimer County SBDC can be found here. If you’re in another part of the country, visit sba.gov to find a SBDC near you.
Determining Decision Makers
The phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen” will sound familiar to most of us. When there are too many individuals making decisions on a single project, the project may suffer two different afflictions:
- “Scope Creep” – Continuous addition of new features and content beyond original project scope, often resulting in delays and additional fees.
- Decision Paralysis – The more decision makers there are, the more likely there are to be delays due to illness, vacation(s), business trips, internal disagreements, etc.
The business owner or marketing director (if they do not want to be directly involved) should select one to two key people in their business to take charge of making decisions on the project. In our experience, any number higher than two is a crowd. Of those decision makers it is important to identify one point person to be the primary point of contact for your web designer. When changes need to be made, make sure to discuss them internally first before notifying the web designer or developer – nothing holds up a project more than two people from a business sending emails to the project manager with opposite requests.