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Creating a website is a complex task, especially if you are going to do it for the first time. Below I you will find some questions that you should ask yourself before picking up a phone and calling your web designer. I hope this will help you:

1. Why do you want to have a new website, or have your current site redesigned? Asking this question will help you to uncover most of the reasons for getting in touch with your web designer. Remember that it’s not always clear for ourselves why do we really want to do what we want to do until we start putting it all on paper.

2. Please describe your organization in a few sentences. Since this answer will be something like an elevator speech, it could be incorporated into the home page copy.

3. What is there about you and your background that sets you apart for a special (niche) group of potential customers? If nothing else, this is a question that gets you thinking. It might be that you’ve been in business twice as long as any of your competitors. Or that your customers stay with you for an average of 10 years.

4. What problems do your prospects have that your business solves? Answer to this question will become a Services section of your future website.

5. Do you have a slogan or tagline that clearly describes what you offer in terms of benefits or features? Headline is always the first thing that your customers will see. This is your chance to tell them who you are and what you do before they decide to go further or leave your website forever.

6. Please describe your potential customers. Pay special attention to their income, interests, gender, age, even type of computer they use, e.g., old with dialup account or newer with broadband. If your website is a business-to-business site, what sort of companies are you hoping to attract? You will be surprised how answer to this question can narrow down the requirements for website design. For instance if demographic of visitors of your website are elderly people, size of the text must be at least 25% bigger then regular.

7. Please list the names of five other sites that you like. Why are they attractive to you?

8. Do you have a logo? If you don’t have a logo or have an old one, it is a good idea to ask your web designer who has artistic skills to design a new one for your future website.

9. Are you planning to do online sales? If so, what is the product, and how many items do you want to sell online?

10. If you’re planning to sell online, are you set up to accept credit cards? Getting set up to accept credit cards can take time. There are many options available today, choosing the right one won’t be a problem.

11. If you were using a search engine, what words or phrases would you use to find your site? Which of these words or phrases is most important? Second? Third? Avoid impossibly long list of search terms. Instead, to come up with a reasonable list – say, three to five terms. If you have problems with this point contact your Search Engine specialist.

12. Other than what search engines will produce, what methods do you have in mind to spread the word about your website? There was a time when a website was such a novelty that you could get newspaper stories written about the fact that you had one. (Newspapers – remember them?) These days, you’ll need to do a bit more planning. Although some of its information is a bit dated, Ralph Wilson’s Planning Your Internet Marketing Strategy is a helpful book.

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