PRO TIP: If you can’t be bothered to read 1,000’s of words right now, you can watch the video a few paragraphs below or listen to the podcast episode right here. 🙂
My fellow web designers out there know all too well that clients love to ask every question under the sun before choosing you to build their website.
So let me ask you something…
Why aren’t you doing the same thing?
A business/client relationship is a two-way street my friends.
While the client needs to ask questions to determine if you are the right web designer to satisfy their every want and desire, the business owner needs to ask questions to figure out if the client is a good fit for them.
And they need to make sure they’re asking the right questions.
You know that old adage:
“The customer is always right.” – Some dummy, somewhere
Yah, that ain’t remotely true.
Make sure you don’t end up with a monster client by not doing your proper due diligence.
And also make sure that you fully understand the project before you start moving pixels. It doesn’t have to be a 5-page survey. Just keep it simple.
These are the 8 questions that I like to ask every one of my web design clients before I start any project with them:
Is this website for a new or established business?
This question is important for a couple of reasons:
- An established business will likely already have an online presence of some kind. It could have a Google My Business profile, social media accounts, and perhaps even an existing website. If you’re going to be designing a new website for an established business, you may have to do some rebranding, which would require updates to all of these corners of the internet.
- It gives you insight into the web design client’s mindset. A new business is starting from scratch, which means you will have a much greater role in shaping this business’ future, and more freedom to get creative. If it’s an established business, you’ll be working with someone’s baby that they spent years building. They may be more resistant to new ways of thinking and nervous about trying new strategies.
If it’s a new business, do you have a logo and brand already made?
Brand and logo designing come before website building. If they don’t already have these made, it’s on you to help them do that. Fun!
Your client is going to fall into one of these 3 categories:
- They have a logo and brand already, and they’re great!
- They have a logo and brand already, but they’re not good enough. Show them why, then offer to help them make a new one.
- They don’t have anything made yet, and need your help designing them. Sweet!
Can you describe your business to me in one sentence?
This is a question that every single business owner should be able to answer.
And it’s one that the vast majority of people can’t.
This question throws so many people off. Some people think they can answer it easily, but then stumble and stutter when the words try to find their way out.
It’s kinda fun to watch, to be honest. That little moment people realize they can’t answer a simple but fundamental question about their own business is profound. And they appreciate you helping them come to that realization. (usually, lolz)
The one-sentence “elevator pitch” to potential customers, clearly and concisely telling them what you have to offer, is the foundation of your entire brand’s framework.
It’s an important question to ask if you’re going to be building that framework…
Do you already have a website?
It’s fairly obvious why you’d need to ask this question, right?
If they already have a website, you need to know:
If yes, what’s wrong with your current website?
Clearly defining the needs of your client is one of the first steps of the web design process.
And if they already have a website, you need to understand what they don’t like about it.
Is it the…
- User experience?
- Current designer?
- Hosting company?
- That one dead pixel in the top-right corner that’s just not quite the same shade as the white pixels surrounding it? (stay away from people like this, they’ll drive you crazy)
You have to know what’s wrong before you can make it right.
What would you like this website to accomplish? What is your goal?
In other words, what is your primary reason for building this website?
- Get more customers?
- Get more leads?
- Get more sales from repeat customers?
- Get more email subscribers?
- Brand awareness?
- Grow your social media following?
The vast majority of people simply want more customers. I mean, what business doesn’t?
But it will be your job to create the funnel that guides the website visitor into becoming a customer. So make sure you understand your client’s goals well.
How you build the website will depend on what the primary goal of the website is. Have this clearly established before moving on.
Do you need to be able to easily make edits and changes to your website on your own?
When I was in the early stages of my web design business, one of the biggest differentiating factors of my services was that I offered my clients the ability to make small edits and changes themselves.
No need to hire a web designer at $50-$100/hour just to edit some text or upload a few photos.
These days, with the rapid rise of DIY website builders, many people expect to have this kind of feature available to them.
You will need to decide for yourself whether this is something you want to offer your clients. Depending on the tool you use to build your websites, it could bring more complications than it’s worth.
Either way, this question will help you determine whether this client will be a good fit for you or not.
Do you have a budget for this web design project?
This is probably the most awkward question to ask your web design clients.
But I do think it’s important.
Picture yourself in a car dealership, shopping for a new ride. You know that any car you buy will have four wheels, an engine, and a steering wheel. They are all designed to get you from point A to point B, and will do so successfully.
But they all do it in drastically different ways.
Some cars will get you there faster, with a bigger engine.
Others will get you there more comfortably, with softer suspension and air-conditioned seats.
Other cars will get you where you need to go while looking cooler than the rest, with sleek GT styling and a big ol’ spoiler on the back.
Even more cars will allow you to save more money while traveling, offering a zero-emissions, gas-free electric engine.
And these cars all range in price from $15,000 to $100,000.
Selling web design services is very similar. There is an insanely wide range of cost. You can build a website for as little as $200, or it can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.
All websites will give you the opportunity to maintain an online presence for your business, but how they do so is very different.
This is why it’s so important to understand what your client’s goals are for the website, and to at least get a rough idea of how much they’re looking to spend.
What questions do YOU like to ask your web design clients?
These were the 8 questions I personally like to ask my new web design clients before starting a project, and the ones I think are most important.
But there are a lot of web designers out there. And many different ways of doing things. (there’s probably an angry nerd sitting in his mom’s basement furiously typing a response to me at this very moment…)
Do you feel like I missed some important questions? If so, let me know which ones below!