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Website Creation Questionnaire for Web Design Businesses and Their Clients

July 9th

Andy

Offsprout is the only WordPress website builder for freelancers and agencies.

New client onboardings for web design agencies are an exciting time.

The new client has just made the decision (sometimes over several months) to get a new website. They have asked for recommendations from friends and colleagues, reached out to different vendors, evaluated their options, and chosen your agency.

The new client is excited about the possibilities of what their website is going to look like.

And now, the onboarding process marks the first big step of the client’s journey to getting their completed website design.

After the contract is signed and payment goes through, it’s time to get into the details of what this website is going to look like.

Different agencies have different processes after a client officially signs on. Some use a client portal, some have a kickoff call, and others do an in-person meeting.

Others kick off onboarding with an email to set the tone right away.

But, one common element among most website design agencies is the website creation questionnaire.

Related: Client Portal review – a client portal you can use for a better client experience and forkflow

A happy client means that their expectations have been met. (You may have heard the phrase, “Happiness = Reality – expectations”)

To ensure you meet your clients’ expectations (no, don’t help them set low expectations), everyone in this project needs to be on the same page from day one.

The client needs to understand your capabilities, and what you are able to provide for the price paid.

The client’s vision needs to be clear so you can execute on it.

There’s nothing worse than a client saying something like, “I dunno. I like Apple’s website. I know my business is a restaurant and nothing at all like Apple. But, do something like that. You can figure it out.”

To best get a sense of what the client really wants and values, a website creation questionnaire can help in several ways.

In this post, we break down the ways a questionnaire can help. We also provide you with a list of questions you’ll want to ask new clients you’re onboarding as part of this website creation questionnaire.

Related: It’s also good to have a new client onboarding checklist for yourself to make sure you don’t forget anything

Last, we have a downloadable PDF of the website creation questionnaire questions, so you can take them with you. Feel free to save it and share it with other web designers who could use it.

This post is meant to be a resource for you in your web design adventures.

Bookmark this page.

Refer back to this page in the future. It will always be here for you. Over time, we will update it with additional website creation questionnaire questions to ask.

Download our free Website Creation Questionnaire Checklist:

Website Creation Questionnaire Checklist Downloadable
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Next, let’s get into the “Why” of having a website creation questionnaire in your new client onboarding process.

Reasons to Have a Website Creation Questionnaire

Save Time

Client projects can involve a lot of back-and-forth.

You ask the client for assets, information, and feedback.

They send back some information, but not all of what you need.

You then follow-up, asking for the rest of the information.

They then send back more, but not all, of the information you need.

Repeat.

This whole process can be incredibly time-consuming. However, having a website creation questionnaire that a client can fill out at their leisure, and submit to you all the information you need from them, helps save you and the client time. You don’t have to chase down the client to get details you need to work on the project. The client does not have to send pieces of information as they get them.

Get Needed Design Details

The website creation questionnaire can flesh out what the clients want in an effective way.

With a questionnaire submission, your team gets all the data you need from the client. You can customize your questionnaire to get exactly the information you need to get started designing the client’s website.

When a client submits the questionnaire, you can direct where it will go if you have automations set up in your processes. So, the form submission could go to your inbox. Or, it could go to a Trello or Ora card, or any other of your preferred project management apps.

Related: The Best Project Management Tools for Web Design Agencies

Stay Organized

Having all the info you need from the client, coming at once, and from one place, keeps everything organized real nice and helps you better manage the project.

Instead of fifty emails from clients, the questionnaire is the end-all be-all. You can point the client to the website creation questionnaire and say “If it’s important to you, make sure to include it in the questionnaire, because this is our basis for the website design.”

Guide the Client

One thing I like in particular about the website creation questionnaire is that if you customize it the right way, you can use it to guide the client to a certain design direction that makes sense for their goals and what they want to achieve.

For example, a client could say to you, “I have an accounting firm that gets all of its business from word-of-mouth. People only go to my website to get my office address or phone number, and to validate that I have a web presence. That being said, I want my website to look like an e-commerce website.”

Here, it’s clear that what the client wants does not necessarily line up with their target market and what their goals are. And it may not be apparent to them.

So, you can use the questionnaire to guide them in the right direction. You can lay out a series of questions designed to get their goals and designs aligned and help them reach the best design direction for those goals.

For example, you could have an initial question like, “What is the main goal for your website: A) Get more business; B) online reference for people looking me up,”

Then, depending on what they respond with, you can use conditional logic in your form to give them questions related to that goal and help guide them down the right path. So, you can ask questions like, “Which of the following X sites that were designed to get more business do you like?” and then show some examples.

Conditional logic, I should mention, is a great tool to use in your forms. If you’re not familiar – conditional logic lets you pose certain questions if certain preconditions happen. One example is, “If user’s answer to the multiple choice question #1 is A, then pose question #2A; if user’s answer to question #1 is B, then pose question #2B.” You can create a tree of all kinds of questions that show up if users give you certain answers to other questions. The users will only see questions that are in line with their previous answers, so they will not get any unnecessary questions.

Another example of conditional logic could be “Do you have any additional offices? A: Yes; B: No” [If =Yes, then ask “Please list the addresses below”]

So, you can ask a series of relevant follow-up questions based on what the users profess to be interested in. And, you can direct them with those follow-up questions.

This lets you effectively use your knowledge and guide the conversation in the questionnaire, to help the client and you get on the same page and help the client get a great-looking website that aligns with their goals.

Stay on Track

Related: If you like the imagery we’ve used in this blog post – these images are courtesy of an integration between Offsprout and Unsplash – enabling businesses and blogs to easily add any of 800,000+ stock images to their websites and blogs.

With the initial website creation questionnaire, your client will give you feedback so you can go off and design them the perfect website that meets their specs. You may completely follow the spirit of the design they asked for. But sometimes, the client will forget about that feedback they gave you.

And they may change their minds completely.

“I don’t like that design, I want something more like [radical example of a site that is nothing like the other websites they showed you before].”

Having the website creation questionnaire though, you have a receipt, of sorts, that you can refer them back to.

“Thank you for the feedback about this design. I’m sorry to hear that it is not what you are looking for. You had asked for a design that looks like [example from website creation questionnaire], and this design follows that feedback you provided. This new design you sent is not at all like that initial feedback you provided us.”

Having the client-provided feedback from the creation questionnaire helps protect you in the event a client says, “This design is not what I was looking for. I want a completely new design, and I don’t want to pay extra for it.”

Getting feedback from the client before providing them any mock-ups or designs commits everyone to the same vision – both you and the client – and helps everyone stay on track.

Website Creation Questionnaire Template

Now, to help you in your quest to better serve your clients, we have come up with a sample website creation questionnaire template that you can use with your clients.

I recommend making this questionnaire web-based, rather than with a fill-in PDF or something else. Create a web form, like with Gravity Forms or your other preferred form app. Then, add your questions.

Embed that form in your website on a standalone client intake page. Lastly, share that link with your new clients when they onboard so they can start getting you feedback and you can build them an amazing website that meets or exceeds their expectations.

Initial Questions:

These first questions get you the basic info that you will need on any site. This covers how your client wants their business name spelled on the website, their address(es),  and contact info.

  • What is your full business name (e.g. Hewlett Packard, Inc.)?
  • Do you have a preferred short or abbreviated version of that name (e.g. HP)?
  • What is your main business address?
  • If you have any additional locations, please list them below (if you have many locations, you can attach a spreadsheet or document listing them):
  • What is your primary phone number?
  • What is the primary contact person for this website design project (name, email, phone)?
  • What is the primary contact person for the live website (e.g. website management, analytics, contact forms) (name, email, phone)?

Business Assets Questions:

For most sites, you will need the client to provide you with some assets – things like headshots or text copy. These questions suss out what materials the client has, and asks for the client to provide them. This saves the back-and-forth that often happens with web designers trying to get pictures and logos and text from the client.

  • Do you have an existing website?
    • If yes, what do you like, and dislike, about the website?
  • Do you have a logo? If so, please upload here:
  • Do you have a color scheme? If so, please upload example here:
  • Does your business have a tagline?
  • Does your business have a mission statement or value proposition?
  • Do you have individual staff you would like to list on the website? If so, attach a document with any information for them you would wish to include on the website (e.g. name, biography, email, phone, headshot)

Design-Specific Questions:

This section is all about setting expectations and parameters. What kind of website is the client looking for? Do they want to get more business from the site or just have a pretty-looking site? Do they have examples of sites they like? The more the client shares, the more direction you have to go on, and the less likely a client is to say “I don’t like this. This is not what I wanted,” putting you in a tough spot.

  • What is the main goal of your website: Get more traffic and business; Help people who know my business to find it online?
  • Which of these designs most appeals to you [show examples]?
  • Are there any examples of your competitors whose websites you like, and why (please share example URLs and your thoughts)?
  • Are there any examples of your competitors whose websites you don’t like, and why (please share example URLs and your thoughts)?
  • Which of these elements would you like to include on your website (list items here like portfolio, client portal, meeting scheduler, payment portal)?
  • Is there anything you wish to provide us that you have not yet? (if yes, please attach)
  • Is there anything additional feedback you would like to give, or anything else you would like to mention?

Other Questions

These next questions are very big-picture oriented. These questions get into the essence of your client’s business. Here is where you can learn more about their target customer, the culture of the company, and give you more ideas on how to approach the website design.

  • How did your company get started? (Your impetus, the problem(s) you saw that you want to solve, your big picture goals)
  • Describe the personality of your business in 5 words or fewer.
  • How would you like to be perceived in the marketplace by clients, and prospects?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What do you perceive to be your target audience’s general stage of awareness of what you offer? For example, are they:
    • Very aware – they know about your company and what you do/offer ·
    • Product aware – they know solutions to the problem exist, and that your product is one of those solutions
    • Solution aware – they know solutions to their problems exist (but not about you/your solution)
    • Pain aware – they know they have a problem, but aren’t yet aware of solutions for it
    • Solution Unaware – they have little awareness of their pain/problem, and no knowledge of solutions
  • Generally speaking, what sort of language/vibe do you feel best represents the ‘voice’ you want to convey: casual, chatty, formal, authoritative, friendly, humorous, serious, other?
  • Describe your ideal client/prospect for your course. Who would NOT make an ideal client/prospect?
  • What are your ideal clients’ 3 biggest pain points and problems in order of importance (1 being the most important) i.e. what keeps them awake at night worrying (in relation to what you solve in your course). How would THEY describe those problems – what words/phrases would they use, and how would these problems show up for them in their day-to-day work and life?
  • What is the result of NOT solving the problem(s) and how does it make them feel?
  • What is the result of solving the problem(s) and how does it make them feel?
  • Why haven’t they solved this problem before? What has stopped them?
  • Based on your research, what is the single most important benefit of your product/service that will compellingly appeal to your target audience? Why is this important to them?
  • What influences your ideal client’s decision to buy? What makes it difficult for them to decide, and buy? What objections do they typically have to buying your product/service?
  • How do you make it less difficult?
  • What will your clients Think, Know, Feel, and be able to Do, once they’ve taken your course? Convey the emotions they might experience.
  • What are the alternatives to your product/service that you clients might be considering instead (online and offline)?
  • How does your target audience feel about your product/service in relation to alternatives available to them?
  • Are you the only person doing what you do? Or are there others doing something similar? If there are similar alternatives what is YOUR ‘special sauce’ that would be most meaningful to your clients, and would make them want to choose you over another similar one? (i.e. Why would they choose you instead of your competitors / the alternatives available?)
  • Who are your top competitors? What do they each do well / not well?
  • How many clients have already bought your product/service? And how many clients/customers have you helped/served in your career?
  • What proof do you have that what you do works? (Specific figures / results / achievements from your clients)
  • What one thing sets apart people who achieve the result your people want to achieve? What are they really good at?
  • What is a day in the life of your ideal customer like?
  • What specific problem(s) does your product/service solve for your clients? (What are they struggling with? What misconceptions or limiting beliefs might they have before encountering you, that you clear up for them)
  • What are the key takeaway(s) you want the clients/customers to have?
  • Are you offering bonuses?
  • What is the price point for your product/service? Do you offer payment plans?
  • Do you offer a 30-day guarantee or any guarantee at all?
  • What question do customers ask you (or your team) repeatedly?

Conclusion

And that just about covers it for all the important questions to ask in a website creation  questionnaire in onboarding new clients.

Some businesses may choose to add questions related to what additional website features clients want, if the client has not yet paid, or could be paying for add-ons later. But for the most part, I think this covers the basics.

If you have a new client questionnaire and have any questions you think it’s important to include that we might have missed, please feel free to share them in the comments below!

Also, please feel free to grab a downloadable PDF copy of our website creation questionnaire checklist. 

Download our free Website Creation Questionnaire Checklist:

Website Creation Questionnaire Checklist Downloadable
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