A web design questionnaire helps you earn more money as a freelancer by increasing your efficiency in two ways:
- You standardize your procedures for each new client website
- You better estimate any custom work that is necessary
If you are looking for less guesswork and more productivity with website design, ask your potential clients these questions during your initial consultation.
By asking your clients about their company, their past marketing decisions, their vision, and what they want to accomplish, you will be in a much better position to charge for their website accordingly.
Many small business owners have bad experiences with web designers and digital marketing “experts” who provide the most basic canned service that doesn’t move the needle. They’ll have next to zero interaction with the web designer after it’s launched.
That presents both an opportunity to outperform competitors and a challenge to build trust with them before they choose you to build their website.
When you start going deep about their business, they’ll know you care. Here are my favorite questions to get a ballpark of the job scope:
In part one of the web design questionnaire, we’ll get to know our potential client.
- List all of the following: Company Name, Address, Phone and Website (if available)
This is the bare bones necessities of what you must include on a local business website, but it’s more important than you may think. One of the main factors of getting traffic on Google is the consistency of your business details online.
The acronym is known as NAP in the local SEO world, which stands for name, address, and phone number.
Several of my clients have been bad in this regard, whether it’s using multiple addresses, changing phone numbers, or completely hiding their street address.
- What year was the company founded?
This is an obvious signal of trust for people who don’t know anything about the company as they research competitors. It’s also a key detail that can be included on social media profiles.
- Do you have a company logo or preferred colors?
Not that many small business owners have a standard logo. Or if they do, it doesn’t exist on their computers in an easy format that you can take. On multiple occasions, a client has sent me a photo of a t-shirt with their logo and expect me to work with it.
That means recreating graphics, guessing fonts and plenty of headaches.
It’s always a good sign if a potential client comes prepared with these details expecting to use it for the website.
- List all primary contacts: Name, E-mail, and Phone
These are the people that you’ll be in contact with to update the website. It’s usually the business owner, a secretary, assistant or their significant other.
- List all of your services/products that you want to be included on the website
This is an important detail because it’s going to determine how many pages you’ll need to create on the backend of WordPress or your chosen web design software. Also, consider that each new page will require written content and unique photos.
These two things are often the hardest pieces of information to get from a client to launch their website!
- List all nearby cities, towns or counties within your service area
As a local business, it’s best to start small by dominating your city, then work outward as you begin to rank on Google.
One good strategy is to create case studies for their website including references to where they’ve worked (i.e. these target service areas) to help show Google you are active in those locations.
- What differentiates you from your competition?
Whatever it is, you need to figure out what makes you stand out. The truth is that what’s separating you from your next customer is a lack of trust.
Utilize the website to be transparent and share as much information to educate potential customers so they choose you instead of your competition!
- What types of advertising do you use now, or have you used in the past?
One major observation while building websites for local clients is that almost all offline advertising sources aren’t tracked well enough to actually know if they are working.
It’s almost alarming how much people spend when they have no idea of the return on their investment.
Online advertising is the polar opposite where you get all the data and can track “conversions” whether it’s booking an appointment or sending an email.
In part two of the web design questionnaire, we’ll focus on things that will help you put together the nuts-and-bolts of their website.
- Do you have a domain and/or website hosting?
It is common for business owners to leave this to the website provider, and the domain name could be under their control. In this case, it’s hard to recover or transfer the domain name and you may need to start from scratch.
My preference is to put everything under my accounts so I can manage it for them. However, if the client already has taken care of either domain or web hosting, I will gladly manage it for them – to do this you can use their account information or create a secondary account for yourself if the service allows it.
- What is the main goal of the website? (i.e. phone calls, e-mail leads, sell products)
On the back-end, do your best to track these goals via Google Analytics. Tracking phone calls is a little bit harder unless you acquire a tracking phone number that is dynamically replacing the main local phone number.
What I like to do is track phone number clicks on the website which is a good indicator of the total number of phone calls.
Within the analytics data, you can identify the traffic source that is converting to leads most often.
- List all pages you want on your website
This goes back to the services/products your client offers, however they may have a couple of ideas in mind for something unique they’d like to see on the website.
Once you know what great websites look like in a certain local small business niche, you can then provide them suggestions and advice to stand out amongst the competition.
- Do you want a contact form on your website?
I have two clients that both offer a local service, however, one accepts leads through a quick contact form on the sidebar of the website, while the other will only talk details through the phone. Because of this, he does not care for communicating via email and wants all questions to come on a sales call.
My favorite WordPress plugin solution to implement this is Contact Form 7.
- Do you want to list any organizations you are part of?
Adding badges and logos of respected organizations is another method to build trust that you are a professional in your field.
From an SEO standpoint, you also want to pursue getting listed within these organization directories with a reference to your business and a link to your website.
The more links you get from other niche and/or local websites, the better chance you’ll get free traffic from Google search which is highly valuable to any business.
- Do you have social media accounts that you want to link?
If the business is active on social media, the website is a natural “hub” to link out to all the places potential customers can find their content.
You can also browse their social feeds to get a better idea of their business, and transfer that into the website design and copywriting.
- If you have website stats, how many visitors do you get each month?
There is a high probability the answer to the question is “I don’t know.” It’s rare to find people outside of the online marketing world who review this information regularly, if at all.
Several of my clients are amazed by the amount of information that is available, however very few go beyond the surface level to understand how their websites work.
That’s why I actively stay up to date and send video reports to my best clients quarterly. In those, I’ll break down their analytics data into simple terms and suggestions for how they can help themselves get better results, i.e. encouraging online reviews.
- If you have website stats, what is your main source of traffic?
This depends largely on the type of business because some thrive exclusively from a social media profile and word of mouth, while others need a professional website and rely on Google search.
Once you track the analytics data for about 3 months, you should see trends begin to emerge as to which traffic sources are converting to leads.
- Do you have text, photos and/or testimonials ready for the website?
Here it is – what I consider to be the biggest hassle to launch a client website!
I think clients always have a vision for what they want, but when they need put in a little effort to get pictures of the team, their office, and their work, there is radio silence that turns into unexpected delays.
To counteract this, I usually offer to write very short bullet points for each page, along with using stock photos to launch, with the agreement that it is best to replace them with real photos and longer wording to get better results.
People who browse are perceptive and they know when you’re putting up a facade. Being detailed and transparent always wins online.
- Do you have videos to feature on your website?
There has never been a better time than today to add headshot videos to your website to introduce yourself and pitch your business.
Over time you can gather short testimonials from real customers to boost your trust factor and keep the website active which Google loves.
All you need is the phone in your pocket.
- How often do you plan to update the website content after launch?
You must educate your potential client on how simply having a website isn’t enough. If it is launched and then collects dust for years, it will drop off the map (literally on Google).
Active businesses stay busy, put out new content, consistently get reviews, and make a mark in their local neighborhood.
People who come into a project with this mindset are often better clients than those who must hear this message over-and-over to sink in.
- Do you have other marketing materials (i.e. brochures) to use as inspiration for the website design?
This is always a good starting point for the color scheme, text, and logos. With local businesses, think business cards, brochures, lawn signs, t-shirts, small publications, etc.
- Do you have 2-3 websites that you would like to emulate?
Local businesses usually have a competitor website in mind they want to replicate.
Also, each person has a unique design style. What is beautiful to one person is ugly to another.
The website design needs to be something they’ll look at and love, plus built the right way to bring them leads.
- What is your target date for launching the website?
Be realistic with this date, both in terms of your design capability, current schedule, and the back-and-forth communication that will be required for both of you to be aligned on the project.
There comes a point in most projects where things start to drag along, and it’s good to reference the intended launch date to get both parties working towards the same goal.
- If your ideal customer was searching for you, what would they type into Google? Please list 5-10 that come to mind
The key here is that a professional with years of experience thinks and speaks differently than someone who encounters a problem they know nothing about.
In essence, you have to “dumb down” the technical language and write for the common man.
You can do keyword research with Google Ads to get a rough estimate of the search volume for various phrases.
So there you have it – a web design questionnaire template that will be tremendously useful on your next sales call with a local business or potential client. Click the link below and get a PDF copy to write down their answers!