Planning your new website: key questions to answer to help you get your content right

Sonja Jefferson

Project One website

Creating a new website for your company is no small task. Design is only part of the challenge; building the content of the new site needs careful thought and attention. As content writers and website project managers we ask a lot of questions. I thought it might be useful to list these here for anyone considering building or redesigning a business website.

My list of questions is pretty exhaustive. It will tease out all the important information needed to create the type of content website visitors now expect to find. I’ve grouped these questions to correspond with the key sections of a professional website.

Answer these as fully as you can in preparation for writing and structuring the new website. Whether you engage a copywriter to help you, or write the sections yourself, this thinking will make the job quicker and easier – a faster route to getting the new website up and working.

For the About Us section

  1. How do you describe who you are and what you do to potential clients? (Pull out a few examples e.g. from proposals or other marketing collateral you’ve produced.)
  2. What are your particular skills, specialism and expertise? What are you famous for?
  3. Who do you work for? What types of people and companies benefit from your help? What roles do they typically work in?
  4. Why do they need you? What issues do you solve for them? What’s s going on in their world that makes your service/product so relevant today? (One way to do this is to ask yourself: “When should someone pick up the phone to your company?” Make a list: “Call us if you want to…..”)
  5. Why do they come back to you? Why do they need ongoing support? What do you provide?
  6. What is the value you deliver? High-level benefits – short and long term?
  7. List impressive clients or noteworthy projects you have worked on. Describe your most successful project/client to date.
  8. Company background: When and why did you set it up? What’s the company structure, number of employees etc? Describe the team. Any awards, accolades or relevant qualifications/associations? Where is the business going – what is your ambition?
  9. What does the company stand for? What do you believe in as a business? What inspired you to set up in business in the first place – what do you want to change about your industry? What’s the bigger mission, and what values are important to you?

Your Services/products

  1. List your services/products. How can you group these meaningfully?
  2. Which are your main/most popular ones? Which would you most want to highlight on the website?
  3. Structure – for each one: a) state who it relevant for and why they need it; b) the problem this service/product solves c) your approach and the benefits it delivers d) example or testimonial from client.

Your People

  1. Provide details on your team.
  2. What information would you like to appear on the site for each of the team? What tone of voice do you want to convey?
  3. Provide images of each of the team or instruct a professional photo shoot.
  4. Any other information you’d like to see to reflect the personality of the team or company?

Clients and Projects

  1. List you current clients, giving name, buyer, service delivered, testimonials and case study if available, location.
  2. Which clients/projects would you like to highlight on the new website? Which are you particularly proud of and why? Collect together information on each key project.

Library of Valuable Content

(NB: This is different from company news. As an example see: http://www.hingemarketing.com/library)

  1. What helpful information can you provide to clients and potential clients? E.g. research, guides, videos, articles/blogs?
  2. List the type of information you would like to provide in the future. e.g. blog articles, guides, research, video, recommended books or papers by others etc.

Company News

  1. List any previous news articles/press releases you’ve written that you’d like to see on the new site. Provide hard copy or links of articles you’ve had published in the press.
  2. Include details of events, awards etc. Are you planning to run any events in the future that would need publicising on the website?

Contact Details

  1. Provide contact details for your company that you’d like to see on the site.
  2. A map and directions if useful.
  3. Specific legal wording?

Anything else you think your copywriting team need to know? 

I hope this provides a useful framework for your thinking. Doing this preparation in advance will stop you approaching the website design first, a faster route to a successful business website.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Sonja,
    Really useful list – I will be referring to this regularly!
    Jim

    Reply
  2. Sonja

    Good to know. Cheers Jim.

    Reply

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