A good web professional should be asking you questions like these as part of their service. But frankly, I would advise you to consider these questions ahead of time for the following reasons:
- Become a more knowledgeable consumer (saving yourself money)
- Make your provider's job easier (saving yourself money)
- Reduce the risk of your website project failing (saving yourself money)
Is saving yourself money important to you? Well here you go then.
1. What is your web site going to do for you? Tip: Try to identify specific sales, marketing and customer service challenges or goals.
2. What is your web site going to do for your users? Tip: Think like a customer, a very impatient and critical customer with many alternatives.
3. What is the value of successfully accomplishing the goals from #1 and #2? Reality Check: Your web site project should makes fiscal sense.
4. What is required (internally and externally) of your web site to deliver on those goals? Warning: A common pitfall is to start listing features before defining goals, leading to a bloated feature list.
5. List the top 3 things you want users to do. List the top 3 things users want to do. How do these lists compare? Reality Check: Its a red flag if these two lists don't look very similar.
6. How will you identify and measure success on first day your site is live? Example: Data entry is automated and the manual entry process is eliminated saving 10 hours each month.
7. How will you identify and measure success 1 year after your site is live? Example: We currently receive an average of 17 new product ideas each month from customers via the web.
8. Why will your customers and users tell their friends about your web site? Reality Check: Faerie dust and hope are not reliable.
9. Why will your customers and users repeatedly return to your web site? Tip: Regularly deliver something new and valuable to your customers and users.
10. Does your investment support #4 (requirements) and make sense with #3 (value). Reality Check: Make sure your aren't strangling your web site before it even has a chance.
Are these questions helpful to you? Do they make sense? For my fellow web professionals, do you have any suggestions or additions that are valuable to you and your clients?