All the best websites have one thing in common, yet it’s something that’s not necessarily visible on the surface. Any idea what it is? That’s right – they all had a thorough website discovery phase.
The website discovery phase is the first step of the website planning process. This is where the client and agency collaborate to identify objectives and find a website solution that best fits their needs. Before anyone can propose a new design or write content for a website, it needs to be clear what success looks like. An organization may pursue a website design project to increase lead generation, rebrand, or increase enrollment. It is critical to identify the mission, vision, and goals in the beginning stages of the project: What should this website do? How will its success be measured? This collaboration involves critical analysis and thorough research.
Clearly, we have a lot to talk about during the discovery phase! We take a 4-dimensional approach to every project we dive into. Out of all the steps, the most critical is the discovery phase. Without a successful and thoughtful discovery phase, none of the following steps will take the right direction.
Let us break it down for you.
1. Organizational Assessment
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, we take a step back and think about the big picture. During our organization assessment, we ask the following questions:
- What does your company or organization do?
- Who is your target audience?
- What is the purpose of your website?
These seem like generic questions, but creating these discussions helps build the overarching goals of any website design project.
2. Internal Site Review and Analysis
The design step is more often than not the step we want to jump right into. But before we do, we need to learn about the current state of your website – an essential for any discovery phase design process:
- What is working or not working on your website?
- Where does the site excel? Where does it fall short?
- What elements need to be prominently featured? What feedback, chatter, or buzz (if any) do you typically hear around your website?
- What colors or attributes pertain to your brand?
Internal website reviews are the process of dissecting what is and isn’t working on a site. This review process involves the analysis of site analytics and technical audits to build a better understanding of the organization’s needs.
3. Target Audience Assessment
By analyzing the target audience’s needs, we can strategize ways to enhance their experience on the website. These strategies can range from content creation to search engine optimization (SEO). We ask the following types of questions during our target audience assessment:
- How do you describe your brand? How do your customers describe your brand?
- How will you push content once it’s published? How frequently will you update content?
- What search queries would people search for in order to find you on Google?
Answering these questions will help you draft the right kind of content for the right audience.
4. Technical Assessment
This is something your agency partner might take the lead on, depending on how tech-savvy you and your team are:
- Do you need help setting up online security measures?
- Who is hosting your current website?
- Where is your DNS controlled?
- Will you be performing website maintenance?
These questions are crucial to website discovery because it helps us anticipate the technical requirements needed to maintain a healthy and secure website. By addressing hosting and security, we can ensure launch will go smoothly, and that the site won’t be vulnerable once it’s up and running.
These are some baseline questions your web design partner should discuss with you while you outline a website redesign.
A web collaboration with ClickRevolution starts with a Website Discovery Workshop. This is a meeting between you and our team. The Discovery Workshop is designed to let us understand your business’s needs, goals, and plans, and to unpack your website requirements. We ask a lot of questions! That helps us to understand you clearly and lets us both think about your target audience in more detail.