All of the best websites have one thing in common, yet it’s something that’s not necessarily visible on the surface. Any idea what it is?
That’s right – the best websites had a really good discovery phase.
Some of your favorite websites might have some tantalizing micro-interactions or awesome scroll effects. Ultimately though, these elements were a result of web design agencies asking their clients the right questions.
Here at Eri Design, we take a unique 4D approach with every project we dive into. Out of all the steps, the most critical is the discovery phase. Without a successful discovery phase, none of the following steps will take the right direction.
The discovery phase is when we get a deeper understanding of our client so we can best help achieve their goals. But what are the questions we ask to really knock it out of the park?
Let us break it down for you.
Think big picture first.
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of a website discovery phase, we take a step back and think about the big picture. Dumb it down to the basics:
- What does your company do?
- Who is your target audience?
- What is the purpose of your website?
These might seem like generic questions, but they actually play a huge role in how the designs will be prototyped. You might have asked for a website simply because you were told that you need an online presence. By drilling down some of these questions, you can make that presence purposeful.
Assess the current environment.
The design step is more often than not the step we want to jump right into. But before we do, we need to learn about the current state of your website – an essential for any discovery phase design process:
- What is working or not working on your website?
- What elements need to be prominently featured?
- What colors or attributes pertain to your brand?
By taking a closer look at your website, we can dissect what is and isn’t working. Furthermore, we can get a feel for the types of content that will be published and plan your design around them.
Find out how to reach the right people.
Once we have enough information about the design, it’s time to strategize – that means everything from content creation to technical tasks like search engine optimization:
- How do you describe your brand? What about your customers?
- How will you push content once it’s published?
- What terms would people search for to find you?
Answering these questions will help you draft the right kind of content for the right people. Once the website is launched, think of the same questions and principles when new content opportunities arise.
The real nitty-gritty (technical) stuff.
This is something that we might take the lead on, depending on how tech-savvy you and your team are:
- Do you need help setting up security measures?
- Who is hosting your current website (if you have one)?
- Where is your DNS controlled?
By addressing hosting and security, we can ensure that site launch will go smoothly and that the site won’t be vulnerable once it’s up and running.
These are the baseline questions you should be asking while you outline a website redesign. But in case that wasn’t enough, here’s our starter list of questions we ask our clients during our discovery phase! In many cases, we customize the questions based on our client’s needs.
Questions to Consider in Your Website Discovery Phase
- What is the product or service that you offer? What do you do?
- Who are your main competitors?
- What differentiates you from your competitors?
- What do you do better than your competitors?
- What are some things your competitors do better than you?
- Who is your target demographic?
- What websites within your industry do you like and why?
- How will you measure results?
- What is the main goal of your website (inquiries, e-commerce sales, etc.)?
- What is working on your current design?
- What elements need improvement?
- What are some attributes that accurately describe your brand?
- Are there certain colors or design elements that pertain to your brand?
- Do you have a tagline?
- Why would customers visit your website? What are they looking to find?
- What products/services/elements need to be prominently featured?
- What new features would you like implemented?
- What features do you want to eliminate?
Marketing and Content Strategy
- What are the biggest challenges within your industry?
- What does your current marketing strategy look like? Content strategy?
- Who will develop and maintain content?
- What social media channels do you utilize? How will they be integrated?
- How do you describe your brand?
- How do customers/consumers describe your brand?
- What terms would people search for to find you?
- What search terms are you targeting? What about your competitors?
- Do you have someone who can create and optimize content for search engines?
- Will you need keyword audits or other SEO services?
- What channels will you use to push content once it’s published?
- Who is currently hosting your website?
- Are you looking to switch hosts?
- Can they support WordPress?
- Do you know where your DNS is controlled?
- Do you need help setting up Wordfence and other security measures?
- Who will update the WordPress core and plugins? (if not us)
- Do you need to purchase a domain name?
Timeline and Budget
- When do you want to start work on your new website?
- When do you want it to go live?
- What is your budget for this project?