10 essential questions before you even think about writing your own website

As a web copywriter, I’ve written hundreds of websites, and have compiled a list of standard questions to help guide decisions about what content goes where. Here are 10 of them. I hope you find them useful when working on your own website and other marketing communications.

1. Who are your clients?
Who buys your stuff (there may be more than one group of target customers)? Which is your ideal client? Which is the most profitable type of client (either because they spend most per transaction or bring most repeat business)?
> This becomes your Home page or Our clients page

2. Who are you?
Who are the people behind the company (people buy from people)? This is the ‘About us’ or ‘Who we are’ page of your website, or personal profile if YOU are what you are selling. It can be one of the most popular pages on your site — check your Analytics to find out. Buying ‘on screen’ is a remote and impersonal experience, so you want to include as much of your unique personality as possible.
> This is the About us section of your website

3. What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
Why do your customers buy from you instead of anyone else? What makes you different? Why should anyone give you their money?
> This may form your Why us page

4. What do you sell?
This part is all about you, your products and your services. What problem do you solve or solution do you provide? Which is your core speciality? Which is most profitable (earns you most income for least effort or expense)? Do you have a range of price points (cheap, medium, high)? What market research have you done to prove there is a demand for what you sell?
> This becomes your product/services page/s

5. What is your objective?
What do you want people to do as a result of visiting each webpage? What is your most wanted response? What is your desired call to action? This assumes you are producing ‘direct response’ advertising (where you want to get a measurable return on your investment) not brand awareness advertising (usually, only the big brands do this).
> This is your call to action

6. What are your FAQs?
What questions do your customers most commonly ask?
> This may become a separate page or be answered in the general web copy

7. What ‘added value’ do you provide?
These days, it’s not enough to have a website full of ‘sales’ pages. What can you offer that other people don’t, to make your website ‘sticky’? If you provide added value, it encourages repeat visits, demonstrates your expertise and generates goodwill. It can also result in valuable inbound links from the social media community.
> This may be a blog or resources section

8. Do you have any external endorsements?
Are you a member of any trade or professional bodies? Have you won any awards? Do you have testimonials or case studies written in the format problem:solution:results?
> This may be used on your Home page, About us page, or footer/sidebar of every page

9. What is your brand?
What are your 5 top brand values? How are they expressed in the look, feel and tone of voice of your brand (or personal) identity? What does your logo look like? What are your corporate colours and house font? What is your strapline (if you have one)?
> This is expressed throughout the website

10. What are your keywords?
What words or phrases do people use when searching online for your service?
> If you want to be found on search, selected landing pages can be optimised for your desired search terms

These are just 10 of the ‘discovery’ questions I ask when I meet clients in real life so I can do the best possible copywriting job for them — in fact, there’s a total of 20 that cover all aspects of their business. You’ll find the full set of 15 web-related questions when you buy my Little Fish Guide to Writing your own Website book that was launched this summer and reached top 10 in its Amazon category (nudge, nudge, hint, hint!)

So what other questions would YOU ask?

This article has also been published on Fresh Business Thinking and Marketing Lens

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply