Designing websites requires the skill of a master juggler

Designing websites requires the skill of a master juggler

Often I find myself working with a small business to specify a website and digital strategy, and sometimes I am actually taking a brief for a website design. Either way, the same questions keep popping up, so I thought it sensible to list them down.

For some unknown reason, I stopped at 69, although I am sure you can add a number more that have been missed.

Background information.

  1. What is the purpose of the site?
  2. What is it about your current digital marketing that  needs to be changed, and why?
  3. Who are your most aggressive competitors?
  4. Where are the new competitors going to come from?
  5. If you were to start in business again today, what would you do differently to what you are doing currently?
  6. How has digital technology changed your competitive environment, and what impact do you think it will have in the next few years?

Your strategy

  1. What are your corporate values, mission, purpose, however you choose to articulate the reasons you are in business?
  2. What problems do you solve for your customers?
  3. What makes you different to your competitors?
  4. What do you do better that your competitors?
  5. Why should people do business with you rather than others?
  6. What are the things you will not do to attract or keep a customer?


  1. Describe your most valuable customer.
  2. Describe the customer journey, how do they typically end up with you?
  3. What are your levels of customer churn and retention?
  4. From initial contact, what are your conversion rates?
  5. What is your conversion cost?
  6. How do customers find you initially?
  7. How much is a good customer worth to you over a period of time?
  8. How long is the sales cycle?
  9. Do you have a good database of current, past and potential customers, and how is it managed and refreshed?
  10. Do you know why former customers stopped buying from you?
  11. Do you have a referral system that captures benefits for the referrer?


  1. What elements of your competitors sites do you like/want?
  2. What elements of competitors sites do you want to avoid?
  3. What are your competitors doing to attract your customers and potential customers?

Technical considerations

  1. Do you have a site architecture or is it part of the design exercise?
  2. Do you have hosting, domain, email management services to be continued?
  3. Are the current arrangements if any, compatible with the needs of the new site?
  4. Are there any specific mobile requirements needed? It is assumed that  “mobile friendly” rather than just “mobile compatible” is required.
  5. What analytics do you want?
  6. Do you have preferences about the CMS system used?
  7. How will the content management/ approval system work?
  8. Do you require log in and chat features, and will they be password protected?
  9. How will user names and access to the site CMS be managed?
  10. Are there content on demand requirements, i.e. hidden content becomes visible after a series of actions.
  11. Are there digital commerce and shopping carts to be managed?
  12. How will inventory and fulfillment be managed?
  13. Are there any general functionality requirements you need, such as data bases, and data base interrogation processes, site search facilities, calendars, maps, et al?
  14. What other digital systems are needed to be integrated, CRM, MRP, order/invoice?
  15. How will you manage SEO?
  16. What sort of content download requirements are there?
  17. What levels of skill are there in the business to apply to the site maintenance?
  18. Are these compatible with the requirements of the site or is training and outsourcing required?

Design elements.

  1. What are the most important three things in the design?
  2. What content and design elements of a current site are required to be carried over?
  3. What information will go where?
  4. What corporate logos, colours, designs and style elements must be present?
  5. How do you want the inclusions that are required, such as calendars & maps to work?
  6. Will different parts of the site have a different look and feel?
  7. Are there taglines, market positioning statements or other such marketing elements that need to be incorporated?
  8. Do you have the original artwork files of elements you want incorporated?
  9. Do you have photos, video, or other material you want incorporated, and if “yes” do you hold or have paid for the copyright use of them?
  10. What font sizes and styles are preferred?
  11. What contact information and automated  functions do you want, and where do you want it?

Marketing strategies.

  1. How are you going to create the content for the site initially, and on an ongoing basis?
  2. Who is going to maintain the site?
  3. How does the site integrate into other marketing activities?
  4. When someone is on the site, what do you want them to do?
  5. What sites of any type do you like, and why?
  6. What are the pages you require?
  7. What social platforms do you want connected, how prominent should the connections be, and which pages do you want them on?
  8. How are visitors to the site going to be converted?

Project management considerations

  1. When do you want it? (oh crap)
  2. Who in your organisation is going to provide the content agreed?
  3. What content will the contractor provide, and at what cost?
  4. How will the approval process work as the project progresses?
  5. How much do you expect all this to cost?
  6. What are you now prepared to do without?

When you need someone who has successfully juggled in the three ring circus, and knows how to deliver you a great performance without stealing your shirt, give me a call.