As a Webmaster many times I have been asked “What information do you need to design a good website”.
I follow a few steps (or phases) as outlined in article here: “Website Design and Development“. One of the phases requires of me to collect as much information from my clients as I can. Typically I will need to answer questions as summarized below before my collaboration with the client on a new site begins.
Those are my questions I ask during our initial meeting at which we discuss the company organization and needs:
Based on the organization’s name and structure I do research on which of the available domains can be adopted by my clients.
Give the most important purpose a “1”, next most important a “2”. Leave those blank which do not interest you at all.
__ To gain a favorable impression of the company or organization.
__ To develop a qualified list of prospects
__ To sell products directly taking credit card information over the Internet
__ To encourage potential customers to contact us by phone or mail to consummate a sale.
__ To make available product information and price lists to distributors.
__ To make available product information and price lists to customers.
__ To strengthen brand identification.
__ Other _______________________________________________________
Site Name on Masthead: ____________________________________
Domain Name It must be registered through your web hosting service and approved by a domain registration service before you can use it. You may check the availability of your domain name at Network Solutions ( http://www.networksolutions.com) or at Who.is ( http://who.is)
Domain name ____________________________ ___Desired ___Already Registered
Domain registration with VITALWEBMASTER is optional. Fees: Domain registration – $9.64/year.
I typically ask to list other domain names you considered if your desired domain name is already taken.
I do need to know the total number of pages decided upon to determine how much time it would take to complete the site.
Client must list all links that will be found on the home page. Those are usually the main links that link the main categories or pages on your website. Next list any sub links (pages) that will only be found below each of those main page links (in drop down menu). Also explain any additional information regarding navigation if necessary.
I recommend to my CLIENTS web hosting services tailored to their specific needs. Linux/Unix hosting is preferred. I’ve worked with dozens of hosting services—the good, the bad, and the ugly. I usually do not recommend hosting on your local dial-up ISP, since they too often are not well-prepared to meet specialized business site hosting needs. Their main business is usually dial-up access, and hosting is only a sideline for them. Please let meknow if you would like us to recommend a web hosting service for you or use our web hosting company to host your website. Hosting with VITALWEBMASTER is optional. Website Hosting Fees: $10/month (or 100$/year).
If you have your preferred hosting company to host your website, please provide their contact details so we can set up your website on their servers (Linux/Unix servers recommended):
Web Hosting Service __________________
E-mail for support or help ______________
I always ask What is your company’s Unique Selling Point (USP). What sets you apart from your competition? It helps with analysis of the competition and how to achieve better visibility results
This helps to list appropriate words and phrases to include in your webpage’s body text to aid in promotion on major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and many other. My clients must list appropriate words and phrases for their website.
I ask my clients to list a number of your competitors’ websites and any comments regarding how you would like to be different or similar. I also ask them if there any design element they want me to avoid?
I ask my clients to list some websites that have the kind of design or functionality they are looking for. Please mention what they like or dislike about their sites. Is there any design element they want me to avoid?
- The quality appearance of your Web site has a lot to do based on the photos or graphics you choose for your Web pages. Clipart can be used, but tends to make the pages look amateurish. Photos are probably best.
- You may send graphics to us in either digitized form or hard copy photos, which we will scan.
- If you need captions, prepare captions for each photo. You may affix a PostIt Note to the photo to indicate its caption and which Web page it goes on.
- If you need us to prepare specialized graphic elements in addition to our custom site graphics package, please explain clearly, and perhaps include a sketch.
- You may select stock photos from your pages from Photo Disc or Corel, and give us the photograph number. We will purchase and download the appropriate photo, place it on the Web page indicated, and bill you for the photo cost. If you want us to find and select photos, we charge our hourly rate. Stock photos can be obtained from Photodisc ( http://www.photodisc.com), Corel ( http://commerce.corel.com), or PictureQuest ( http://www.picturequest.com/). (You write down the photo number and inform us of your choices, and which page each photo goes on. We will bill you for each photo purchased from third parties.)
- You may send graphics and photos which we can scan into electronic form. Even better, send us a diskette or ZIP disk with your graphics in any popular PC format, such as GIF, JPEG, BMP, EPS, CDR, PCX, etc.). If these are in Mac format, make sure each picture has a 3-digit extension, such as .jpg to indicate the format in which it is given.
- Our Standard Web Site Packages include an average of up to 4 photos or graphics per page. Beyond that we charge an additional fee for placing photos. This doesn’t apply to Commerce website (Can have unlimited amount of photos per product page).
After this long list of items above, I ask my clients to list image names and pages they want them to be included in. Include this Web Page Content Worksheet with the materials they send to VITALWEBMASTER. Feel free to use their own form for images if that is more convenient.
What is their tagline or main message that they want sent out to their clients?
This will appear on their home page and is significant for search engine placement. Use keywords in this paragraph.
Do they have a mission statement? (If so) I ask my clients to input their mission statement for me.
Do they have an existing logo in digital format? If yes, they must provide a final version with a signature below confirming their approval for using theyr logo on their website. If they currently don’t have an existing logo, for an extra charge, I can equip their website with a creative logo. If I find it challenging creating the desired logo, a third party services may be used to create their logo. The detailed description of what they want to see in their logo should be provided. I ask my clients to provide some samples of their printed materials—brochures, letterheads, cards, booklets, etc.—so we can see how they present their company image.
What functionality, design, elements, etc. do they like about their current website?
If they have set company colors or any preferences, please list Pantone, CMYK, Hexadecimal, RGB, or general color information. Besides the logo colors, are there any colors I should use or avoid?
A common element of most websites is a “Homepage.” The homepage should: welcome visitors to their website, identify their agency and provide an overview of their website and links to other pages on their website, showcase the services, provide easy access to privacy and other policy statements, provide a link to email the webmaster so people can easily report problems. I ask my clients to provide the content for their homepage considering items mentioned above.
A common element of most websites is an “About us page.” This page provides an overview of the company that will be useful for visitors. It should include a brief history of the company, location information, contact details for head and branch offices, etc. they may consider uniting the content of About Us page with Our Services page (see below). My clients must provide the “About us” Information for this page.
Companies provide information about resources and online services. This includes details of the services, if eligibility is limited, clarify eligibility for services by specifying application criteria, provide instructions on how to obtain the service (consider providing application forms), provide contact details as appropriate, provide an online customer feedback for your customers to report service problems. I ask to list the services provided by their company considering items mentioned above.
This page would have contact information for their company, such as the location of their office, telephone numbers and extensions, fax number, and email addresses. This form will include also an online form with the following fields: “Name”, “Email”, “Subject”, “Message”. If they need additional fields they will be billed additional fee for a complete Contact Us form. Those fields may be: address, city, zip code, phone number, date, security image (captcha), etc. I ask to input their contact us details below and whether they need additional fields in their online Contact us form.
This page would have multiple questions and answers about their company, their concept, and how it works. The page would be formatted with a list of the questions, which would link to the answer. This allows customers who are looking for answers to specific questions to find them quickly and easily without having to scroll through the entire page. I ask to list, if necessary, Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for me.
This area will allow they to display their company’s achievements and features in media. This section will include short descriptions of each newly added article and feature with an image of their choice. A newsflash section (blog) will display short descriptions of each article and feature but no images. This area may include: coming events page, media releases/stop press, lead story message from the owner, feedback, etc. I ask to list news and provide needed images for this section, indicating if there is a need to display a short introduction or links to their news on the home page.
This page would have text, and a link to companies they are affiliated with or other websites that would be useful to their agents or their customers. They may want to consider categorizing links. I ask to list their links for me.
I ask to list here what they would expect to fulfill with this feature, and who can or cannot have access to this feature. Can logged in customers post, update, or edit posted news or articles on the website? This option also allows they to do user management (block, delete, edit users). If they requested an ecommerce website, this feature will be implemented by default, to allow users to register and purchase products. My clients have to indicate whether they would like this option for their website.
There are about other 24 questions that I ask my clients in order to meet my client’s expectations. For this purpose I meet in person to discuss my clients needs and help them through the entire process of the building of the website.