Web Site Design Questions for Clients and Online Marketing

Online marketers and their clients can both benefit from an initial planning document that can support any web development project.

For your next web site design, check out these questions that may help you think of other online marketing questions that should be answered before you get too far into the work.

Getting Started

What is your budget?

What is your timeline?

Who will approve web site design and final version before going live?

How quickly can your company make key decisions during the web development process? A day? Two days? A week?

In a few sentences, please describe your business.

What motivated you to create a new web site or redesign an existing one?

What are the main purposes of your web site?

  • Lead generation
  • Online sales
  • E-commerce
  • Branding
  • Customer support
  • Online community
  • Are you able to accept credit cards?
  • If so, is your web site PCI compliant?

What is your tagline?

Who are your main competitors?

What are their key advantages?

About the Prospects

Please describe your target market or markets.

  • What industries are most critical?
  • What type of job titles are ideal?
  • Is your business B2B, B2C or both?
  • Do you have buyer personas?
  • Do you have a value proposition?
  • Do you have a marketing plan?
  • Do you have a business plan?

What are the primary issues, problems and challenges that your prospects are facing?

Why is your business their best option?

How do prospects typically reach the web site?

  • Direct traffic (you refer them)
  • Search engines (natural)
  • Paid search
  • Banner ads
  • Sponsorships
  • Links from directories
  • Links from other web sites

How do people interact with your web site today?

  • How long do they stay?
  • How many pages do they view?
  • What percentage of your visitors are new? Are many are returning?
  • Why should they return?
  • Where do they come from?
  • What percentage use mobile?
  • What are the top 10 landing pages?

Standing Out

With your web site, how do you distinguish your business from others?

  • What are your leading products or services?
  • Why should anyone do business with you?
  • What type of content do you have today that’s exceptional?
  • What kind of content could you produce that would be outstanding?

Design Expectations

What are your web design preferences?

  • What kind of design or “look and feel” interests you the most?
  • What designs turn you off?
  • What designs do you like the best (even outside your industry)
  • What colors would you prefer?
  • Should the pages be easy to print?
  • Would you like a responsive design?
  • Should there be a separate mobile version?
  • Do you have all of the artwork (including members of your team, products, etc.)?
  • If more images are needed, will you create them or do you need help with graphics?
  • What digital versions of your logo are available?
  • Do you need a new logo?

Web Site Content

What information do you have that reflects your business? What can be used or adapted for the web site?

  • White papers
  • Sales presentations (including PowerPoints)
  • Brochures
  • Client letters
  • Case studies
  • Bio or curriculum vitae (CV) for each executive

What type of information would you like on the web site?

  • Product/Services
  • Demos
  • Free trials
  • Case studies
  • Testimonials
  • Resource center
  • Company overview
  • Contact info
  • Social media (icons linking to profiles)
  • Blog
  • Newsletter
  • Special offers/coupons
  • Newsletters

Technical

  • Where is the web site currently hosted?
  • Are you e-mails hosted at the same location?
  • Do you use your domain for FTP for customers?
  • How long have you owned your domain?
  • Where is your domain registered?
  • How do you track web site visitors?
  • How do you access web site analytics?
  • Do you use a content management system (CMS)?

Search Engine Optimization

  • What is your SEO strategy?
  • How do you measure SEO today?
  • What critical keywords rank well on Google (please list the top three)?
  • What other keyword phrases are you targeting (please list 10)?
  • Why should other web sites link to yours?
  • What are the most significant inbound links your content has attracted?
  • What is your content marketing strategy to support SEO and inbound link building?

What works for your business? How do you approach web projects?
 

Marketing Study: Time for More Digital Transformation

I’m intrigued with the phrase “digital transformation,” which is promoted by the Altimeter Group in its new study, “The State of Digital Transformation.”

Basically, it sounds like companies can succeed on multiple levels when they seriously explore how they’re marketing and make adjustments to connect with customers who are at different engagement levels. But it’s not simply a matter of diving into a new marketing channel. The decisions will involve some kind of culture change (e.g. revised individual roles and team tasks).

The Altimeter Group defines digital transformation this way:”To focus our initial research, we defined digital transformation as a movement under a customer-centric lens:  The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”digital-transformation
Too often, businesses seem stuck in the same practices and marketing channels, ignoring opportunities like e-mail marketing and SEO.

Business owners simply sigh when I mention social media. Maybe they aren’t really into Twitter (and shouldn’t be without a strategy). But they could so something without much effort. I often recommend getting involved in a couple of LinkedIn Groups. As they interact and share, they’ll be positioned to pitch some of their products and services.

As B2B and B2C evolves, businesses must be willing and able to adapt.

Search Engine Journal has a great piece that goes into even more depth.

Or you can download the digital transformation study.

Google SEO HTPPS Ranking Boost Is Misleading

I guess it’s OK to get excited about the new ranking boost some web site owners can get by switching their web sites from HTTP to HTTPS.

But I’m not impressed.

Just like other updates or changes, people make a big deal out a small thing. They suddenly act like it’s the most influential factor with search engine rankings. It isn’t – far from it.

I would have a tough time telling clients they need to mess with their established web site URLs and redirect them to take advantage of the https option. Maybe I will pursue it in a rare instance.

The fact is that web sites still need to improve what’s lacking elsewhere like good content, including long pieces. Web site owners also need quality inbound links, effective SEO page titles and much more.

Learn more here:

http://www.webpronews.com/what-googles-new-ranking-signal-means-for-you-2014-08

http://www.seroundtable.com/google-ssl-https-ranking-signal-18966.html

Essentially, it’s supposed to reward web sites for using HTTPS instead of HTTP because site security will be a signal that is rewarded – like when a site uses Transport Layer Security (TLS).

Part of what’s going on is that sites may need or benefit from a dedicated IP address.

Anyone going with the option should seriously weigh the implications and costs of making the changes. With 301 redirects, expect a traffic drop for several weeks. I’d rather build traffic rather than risk losing some visitors.

SEO Guide: Learn When Search Engine Optimization Is a Waste of Money

seo-waste-money-roiPeople sure have strange notions about how search engine optimization (SEO)  is supposed to play out in their businesses.

The truth is, SEO can be costly with nothing to show for your expense.

Get my free guide, “Are You Wasting Your Money on SEO?” to learn what you should consider before dishing out precious cash for a strategy that may not pay off.

Get the guide today.

If you’re planning to attend Content Marketing World, you should add on my half-day, pre-conference SEO workshop: “Planning, Refining and Measuring SEO for Content Marketing.” I will explain how to shape and a measure search engine optimization in light of content marketing.

Register for Content Marketing World (mention MurrayCMW and get $100 off of the conference fee):

Obviously SEO is still a viable option for businesses – from the small business owner forced to wear many hats to large corporations. SEO doesn’t make sense in some cases. At a minimum, it should be delayed while marketers put more thought into how they expect to approach SEO.

The SEO guide looks at 10 key considerations, including:

– Misconceptions about how SEO is or isn’t integrated in web development
– Unrealistic keyword phrase preferences
– How to look at SEO in view of other successful online marketing efforts
– Why SEO isn’t a one-time exercise
– Sizing up the SEO talent
– Understanding the project scope

The Content Marketing World SEO workshop will include:

– Hands on, custom coaching for attendees’ unique SEO challenges
– Specific guidance on how to integrate SEO with a content marketing strategy that is focused on ROI
– How to leverage web analytics with both SEO and content marketing
– Keyword selection factors
– Link building tactics
– Additional tips, tools and resources

Search engine optimization can be an effective way to support a brand, generate leads and boost sales – in the right hands and with the right attitude. It’s not dead as some marketers have proclaimed and it’s not a piece of cake, which people sometimes suggest by saying SEO is not “rocket science.”

With planning and diligence, SEO can be worth the effort. Unfortunately sometimes it’s a waste of money. The new guide and the Content Marketing World workshop will help marketers and their companies with their strategic decisions.

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