How often have you had a client tell you that they need a site and they need it fast, but they do not know what it will accomplish, what they want it to look like, and how they want it to be used? Probably, more often then not. Everyone knows they want a website because either their business is not visible enough by their target audience or they just do not want to be behind the competition….but most do not actually know why they really need it. As a website consultant, you are suppose to help them through this part, but it makes it so much easier if they know what they want and how they want it.

Hopefully a client will educate themselves on undertaking a website and it’s costs vs it’s worth. Fortunately, for website designers, the worth a website to a business usually far exceeds the cost and can help them become more productive and have a better presence online as well as offline. In this article we will give you a rundown of the top 10 considerations for your client when they need a site redesign or a new site designed.

Of course, we use our previous experiences with clients who do not know what kind or presence they needed or even what kind of site they wanted to generate our list….so your experience and list may differ, but for most, it will hit the nail on the head. Have a sit down with your client and discuss their needs using this list or a list like it. Hope this helps you avoid a few headaches and as always, you can add your own in the comments below.

What is the site purpose?
Is the website suppose to generate revenue for the business as an extension to their current store, or is it to be used a generally informative site for inquiring customers? This part is the most important part of the planning stage and can help the website designer get a better idea of what you want out of the design and how much the total cost will effect you.

Who is in charge of updates and future changes?
Do you need a monthly contract to have the designer update the page or do you have anyone in your business that is proficient enough with computers to be able to update the site for you? This question could save you money in the long run, but never try to keep your site updated if you do not know anything about the internet expect that is has Google. Usually a designer can make your site easy enough to understand and update without to much computer knowledge, but whether or not you take advantage of that is up to you.

Copy writing?
Who will do your copy writing? This is an often overlooked aspect of website design and can be costly with SEO. Your website is not the place for a complete book about who you are and what your business is all about. Your website should be easy to read, easy to navigate, and easy to understand or you could lose potential customers. Remember, use every word like it costs money, but get to the point. You have only a few seconds to generate interest in your site or the visitors leave, don’t bog them down with a bunch of meaningless text.

What kind of image does the business need online?
Do you need a fun layout or a more professional layout? This is an easy one and can be answered with number five on this list. You need to design for your demographic.

Who are you main visitors?
You should think about your main visitors and how your site will look to them. You do not need to have flash and techno music if you are representing a family health clinic and you should not have a website that looks like a funeral home if you have a rock and roll band that plays mainly for teens. Remember, whoever you target will not come back to your site if it does not look like you designed it for them.

What will your content consist of?
Will your site have articles, pictures, or user uploaded content? You should design a site that reflects your content. If you have a image heavy site then design for a image heavy site.

Size of the site?
The new normal for sites is the use of a blog to write their articles. This kind of website is huge and can contain thousands of pages, but do you really need one for your TV show website? Probably not….you probably need a few pages to showcase your videos and upcoming shows. Design for your audience.

Do you need social networking?
Social networking has taken the internet by storm, but not everyone needs a Facebook, Myspace, or Twitter account. Does your business need to constantly update your visitors with information. If you are a law firm then probably not. If you are a band and you are constantly updating show times and event dates then probably yes.

Less is more.
A clean layout can drastically help you with your online presence. Also, remember, you only have a few seconds to spark that interest in your website, don’t waste it with overcrowding and to much text. You could lose out. Try to think of your site as a billboard. The driver only has a few seconds to see what you have to offer before they pass it up and completely forget what they saw. Leave your mark in their heads.

You get what you pay for.
If you get your cousin’s son that will graduate high school in 3 years to design your site because he will do it for $50 and a bag of candy then most likely your site will look like a high school kid created it for $50 and a bag of candy. You need to spend money to make money, you would not get a 15 year old to write and produce a television commercial would you? The same goes for online advertising with your website….professionals do not charge half of what you think they do and you will get a return in no time.

In the end, the client knows who they need to target and why they need to have a website….they just needed a push to see it. The website designer is suppose to be used to help put the client’s ideas on the Internet, not to tell them how their business should be run online or what their target audience is. I hope you enjoyed the article and not only does it help the client figure out their place online but also helps the website design convey their job a little better.

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