9 Questions Business Owners Should be Able to Answer

As a business owner and when setting up your first website, following are 9 questions should be able to answer before you start.

Okay, so you’ve got your domain name registered through a local website hosting server. Now you need to find a professional (and hopefully not to expensive) website designer.

Who you hire depends on YOUR choice, and of course, your budget.

Personally, I tend to ask for recommendations from family and friends when I want to hire any service. That way, at least I will be more apt to avoid bad contractors.

For the sake of this article, let’s say you have a website designer in mind that you will be hiring. Before contacting them, can you answer the following 9 questions?

  1. Can you briefly describe your business?
    This will help your website designer choose proper templates for you to select one from. Describing your business like this will also help supply text for your home page. Most website visitors seldom read much below the ““fold” (the portion of a web page that requires scrolling down in order to see more content) of any website, so being descriptive and brief can work wonders. Write to capture your website visitor’s attention within seconds of their arrival and KEEP their attention!
  2. Who do you feel are your main competitors?
    Discovering your competition can be readily determined by your website designer if you don’t know who your competitors are. Finding what your competitors are not doing right and using that information correctly should make all the difference in where your website ranks in internet searches.
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  4. What sets your business apart from your competition?
    This can tough to determine. Once you DO figure out what makes your business stand out from the rest, your business can become the best! Standing out could be as simple as offering a free consultation to potential customers. However, you will need to be aware that some consultations may not gain you a customer, as some people will only seek freebies.
  5. Can you describe your target customer?
    Knowing your audience will help you select your website design. If you’re target customer is a grandparent then your site won’t appeal to teenagers. Knowing the gender, age range, and in some cases, even annual income of your potential customers will help you especially when optimizing your website and creating social media accounts.
  6. Do you have websites that you like; what is it that you like about them?
    You don’t want to copy your competitors … or anyone for that matter. Knowing what your preferences are will help your website designer select templates for you to choose a favourite from, more readily.
  7. Who will be responsible for your website’s content?
    If your business is new to the web, you will need an experienced writer for the purpose of successful marketing. Copywriting is a skill that can make the difference to your website KEEPING your visitor’s attention. Besides, have you got time to leave your business while you learn to write great copy for your new website?
  8. What key search phrases would you like your business found for?
    No website should ever be left without, at the very least, basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Your website designer may have suggestions for key phrases; however, if you want to be found online for particular phrases, be sure to state them.
  9. What pages would you like included on your website?
    For a new website, I usually recommend the following five pages: Product/Service, About, Contact, Product/Services News (blog), and Home (landing) page. Though of course, you can have more if that is your preference. For a complete explanation, be sure to ask your website designer “what pages does my website need?“, and then you can decide from the answer.
  10. How quickly do you need your website ready?
    If you have a deadline in mind, be sure to let your website designer know it. In this way, Business-Owners-Should-be-Able-to-Answer-These-9-Questions-image02you will have a better chance that your project will stay on course and be completed within proper time. Being prepared with answers to these 9 questions will help both you and your website designer complete the job.

TIP: “Set it and forget it” does NOT work for websites. Be sure to update and add to your website on a regular basis. If once every two to three months is too difficult a pace for you to maintain then it’s time for you to hire a professional writer. In the end, it will pay off!

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Trish

Website Designer for Parr's Publishing. As a full certified Internet Specialist, I help business owners and organizations increase their profits by providing them with a fully managed, custom designed website as well as basic Search Engine Optimization.

14 thoughts on “9 Questions Business Owners Should be Able to Answer”

  1. All great points, but your final tip I think is most important. You cannot put up a website and then ignore it. And I think 1-2 times every few months is not enough. Write a blog weekly, post it to your website and show the search engines that you’ve got new content. It really helps.

  2. Great tips for new companies. It’s so important to be represented on the web. These days my small business clients tend to be nontech savvy. So I help them walk through each page and ask them a series of questions to help them through the process. Sometimes you need a sounding board when designing the page to make sure it’s not too much or too little. Thanks for sharing your questions.

  3. You know, I was reading through this thinking, yep, I do all that for my editorial business. And then I stopped mid-way and thought, but I don’t do it for the business side of being an author!
    Thank you, Trish. You just helped me to re-focus on what I need to do for my books!

  4. Thank YOU Jackie, for taking the time to comment. You’re right, posting on a weekly basis would be best. However, some of my customers have not the time nor budget to afford writing more than what I suggested here, and their accounts are doing very well.

  5. My favourite website customers are, as you said, “nontech savvy” and they are the easiest clients to satisfy. I find myself going all out for great customers where tech savvy customers tend to expect perfection and are very hard to please.

  6. Being an author of a book Susan, is a LOT more of a challenge than coming up with, say, an intriguing article of 400 words or more. You impress me very much!

  7. As a writer and author, we chose to design my site to feature that aspect of who I am and less about the “business” side of who I am. At that time, I wasn’t offering my writing services to others and was focused on my book and my Huffington Post articles.

    It was a very long and laborious process, as my designer and developer were talking totally different languages. I love my site, yet if I were doing it again, I would focus more on the points you shared here Trish. I’m a bit hesitant to do too much more to this site, although I have added pages and update my home page and add new blog posts. The thought of redesigning a new site, has me very leery, as it means doing the entire process over again. Right now we are re-looking at my blog sidebar to see how we can make some changes I want. Thanks for sharing these important questions to ask ourselves!

  8. This is a good list that should be very helpful for those who are preparing to hire a web designer or trying to DIY their own site. The answers provide the foundation to a site that works from both a business and technical side. I’m not sure how often you run into this, but it’s surprising to me how many business owners are unable to answer these questions! Except for maybe the one about a timeline, in which case I find they often want a website done quickly. 😉

  9. Excellent suggestions. I had a website design business for awhile and those are just the exact things I always wanted to know from clients and it would have been great to have them read your article! Instead, I usually did it in person or on the phone.

  10. I hear you loud and clear Meghan, which is why I let potential customers know upfront, they are responsible for all text and images. In this way, I have been able to clarify any misgivings they might have had.

  11. Exactly what I have had to do with my potential customers too Beth, which is why I decided to put my questions in a post 😉

  12. Wish I knew this info two years ago. Fortunately I was recommended to a great person, who not only helped design a fabulous website, but is an SEO master and has been teaching & guiding us. We just refreshed our site ad as an e-commerce, often with 100 unique handcrafted products, it takes constant attention to details.

  13. There is no better compliment than being recommended Roslyn. Am so glad to hear you’ve found a great website designer. Like many professions, sometimes you need to root through the rest to find the best. 😉

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