Before You Call for a Website Quote

By Jeff King

Whether you need a new website or a redesign for your current site, the most important thing to know before calling around for quotes is what you want your website to do. What do you want to accomplish? What criteria will you use to determine whether or not it's a success? And who do you want to use your website . . . who is the target audience?

If you are not sure about these things, you will need to find someone who can work with you to determine what it is that you need, and how that would translate into a useful website. It doesn't make sense to discuss various options and prices before you know what it is that you need. It would be like calling an auto dealer for prices without knowing if you need a sports car, SUV, sedan, pickup truck or station wagon. Maybe a motorcycle would suffice.

Often this is my starting point with a new client. I would rather take the time up front to really understand what you are looking for than to jump in and start working on something that we both realize half-way through is not going to serve you in a meaningful way.

It would be irresponsible of me or anyone else to quote you on something without fully understanding your needs and wants. Who knows . . . maybe you could accomplish your goals without a website.

Recently someone called me to discuss a website redesign. After a few conversations it became clear that they didn't need a redesign at all. At least not in the immediate future. We realized that strengthening their communication with current customers via regular emails would fulfill more of their strategic and financial goals then a new website.

But if you do need a website, the following list contains some very specific examples of things that you might want your website to do. You can use this as a checklist or foundation for creating your own list.

  • I don't know yet
    (This is helpful to know up front and is a perfectly fine starting point.)
  • Sell products
  • Promote a cause
  • Distribute information
  • Distribute digital products - ebooks, music, videos, tutorials, documents
  • Share my knowledge about a craft or hobby with others
  • Create an online resume
  • Attract new clients/customers
  • Provide customer support
  • Stay in touch
  • Make new contacts, expand network
  • Provide maps and directions
  • Teach a skill
  • Share knowledge about a subject
  • Generate new business opportunities
  • Promote your art or music
  • Promote or support an event
  • Collect email addresses, build a mailing list
  • Market a business
  • Create a community
  • Display photos
  • Market a book
  • Because all my competitors have one
  • Raise funds
  • Provide contact information
  • Keep a journal or blog
  • Memorialize a friend or family member
  • Provide an event calendar
  • Answer frequently asked questions
  • Show my portfolio
  • Share testimonials
  • Entertain people
  • Call people to some kind of action
  • Provide reference material

Having a plan or list of needs for your website creates a filter that allows you to efficiently and easily narrow down the options. It helps you to make good choices each step of the way toward building a site that is going to be very useful for you.

You will have your own goals for your own website, and knowing what they are allows you to find and work with the right person to achieve them.

If you are thinking about these issues in regard to your own website and would like to discuss them further, send an email or call me at 717.396.9554. Maybe I can help.