Starting a website project can be extremely daunting. Right off the bat, there are dozens of decisions to make. What Content Management System should I use? How much budget do I have? Where am I going to get all this content and media? Luckily, working with an agency like AOR can help ease these concerns. Our Discovery Phase is setup to guide you through these questions and to come up with the right fit for your company.
In this post, we’ve outlined nine essential questions to consider when starting a web project. These are simply guidelines. They don’t need to be complete or concrete but considering them prior to the Discovery Session can help start the conversation and prepare us at AOR to make the most of the time we have with you and your company’s main stakeholders.
1. What are your business goals for the next year? Three years? Five years?
We want to make sure that the website we create for you supports and aligns with your company’s goals. Thinking of these goals in the long term also helps to plan a growth strategy for the website. These goals may be concrete and quantifiable or they may just be aspirational at this point but any information helps.
2. What are the goals of the new website?
In the Discovery Session, we will work together to nail down some measurable goals for the website which will guide us through every decision we make in the process. Coming to the session with some ideas of goals helps get this conversation started.
3. What is your budget for the project?
Knowing how much you have to spend on the website influences a number of decisions including which CMS to use and what functionality to include. Websites pricing can range drastically so zeroing in on a range can help us give you guidance throughout the process.
4. If you currently have a website, what is/isn’t currently working?
Learning about what you’ve already tried and what has and hasn’t worked is great information for us going into the Discovery Session. We love any historical data we can get: analytics accounts, scroll maps, results with A/B testing, etc. If you don’t have that information, don’t sweat it. But every little bit counts.
5. Who is your target audience?
We will discuss target audiences in great detail in the Discovery Session, so the more information we have about them up front, the better. Whether they’re just guesses at this point or fully baked personas, this information allows us to do some research up front that we can build upon in the Discovery Session.
6. Who are your main competitors?
One of the main things we like to look at prior to the session is competitors. Once we have that list, we audit each of the competitors’ websites looking at the health of their site, SEO, usability, content strategy, etc. Keeping close tabs on your competitors helps us to identify problems they may be having that we could capitalize on. Alternately, if there are things they are doing successfully, we want to help you do them better.
7. What makes your business different from your competitors?
Knowing the differences between your business and your competitors is important. When creating your web presence, we want to make sure we’re able to tout your differences clearly throughout the site.
8. When are you hoping to have the new website live?
Like the budget, the timeline can influence many decisions throughout the process. But know that we are flexible. If a really quick timeline is desired, we will work with you to create a robust landing page to get your presence up on the web and then work on the full website immediately. For a moderately-sized website, it’s best to allow for 10-12 weeks from discovery to launch.
9. Are there any other websites (in or outside of your industry) you admire and why?
In the Discovery Session we will look at these websites and talk through desired aesthetic and functionality. Knowing them ahead of time can help us prepare for these discussions.
These are the questions we feel are most important to consider prior to the Discovery Session. Again, if any of these stump you, don’t worry—our session is designed to help walk you through and to ensure we’re on the right path moving into the website project.
If you have any other questions regarding starting a website project or AOR’s process, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to help.
Alyssa has a passion for thoughtful website design and development, and an abnormal love for data. Without her, we wouldn’t be able to marry beautiful interfaces with sharp strategies.
Alyssa has 5+ years experience with traditional and digital design. She holds a B.F.A. in Graphic Design with a Business Entrepreneurship certificate from the University of Iowa.