What you need to do before starting your website

What You Need to Do Before Starting Your Website

5 min read

Building a website is an exciting time in your business. The best projects come together when there is a good solid foundation of planning and preparation. Knowing what you need to do BEFORE starting your website is crucial to its success in achieving your desired outcomes, being sure in your messaging and helping your clients.

Once you’ve made the decision to go ahead with your website it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at first. There will be so many questions you want to ask:

How do I start planning my website?”

“What information do I need to get started on my website?”

“What tech do I need in place to start my website?”

The ‘Discovery Phase’ is really important to work through as part of your planning strategy before a line of code is even written. When clients work with me, we work together on key areas to build those foundations and quite often what you think you need to have on the website in the beginning, may actually be different to what you actually move forward with.


What You Need to Do Before Starting Your Website

The Voyage of ‘Discovery’

The Discovery phase is crucial to the success of your website. It’s an important building block which reflects how you fully help clients. We closely examine what your business does and how that improves the lives of your clients. Typical questions to explore during this discovery are: –

What does your business do and who do you do it for?

What type of clients do you look after and what does a typical client avatar look like? John Espirian explains this really well in his article about creating your client avatar or ‘Pen Portraits’ as he refers to them.

To truly know your ideal client is crucial to the message you convey and the content you have on your website.

What are the services you deliver to clients and how do clients benefit from them?

Too many times businesses focus on the features and services that they offer on their website but we need to take the client’s point of view on how working with us will benefit them.
List the benefits that your clients will receive by working with you and how that will make them feel.

Emotion drives buying decisions

According to research published by Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman it’s a proven psychological fact that emotion is what really drives the purchasing decisions.

Detail out the services you offer and how they will benefit the client. This will help you think about the emphasis of copy you will produce for your website from a client’s perspective. Knowing that people buy with an emotional decision, write a list of how your ideal client feels before they read your website and how they are like to feel after they have worked with you and you have solved their problem or at least got them on track to resolving their problem.

How can I find out what emotions drives my clients to sign up to my services?

Donald Miller, from Building a Storybrand, interviewed Ryan Deiss, the Founder and CEO of Digital Marketer, 4 Simple Ways to Make Your Marketing More Persuasive (Interview with Ryan Deiss)  and talked about the ‘before’ phase and the ‘after’ phase of when a client works with your brand. Ryan devised a matrix with questions you can ask to think through this by answering the questions in the matrix to help you work out this ‘transition’ from the ‘before’ state to the ‘after’ state.

4 Simple Ways to Make Your Marketing More Persuasive (Interview with Ryan Deiss)


*From Episode 17 of the Building a Story Brand Podcast with Ryan Deiss of Digital Marketer and Donald Miller of Building a Story Brand 


If you took a look at this exercise, what ‘before’ and ‘after’ states did you find out? Let me know in the comments!

Starting Your Website – How can you find your ‘Why’?

‘Start with Why’

  • Do you know why you are in business?
  • Have you really stopped to think about why you do what you do?
  • What gets you up in the morning and gives you a sense of achievement?
  • How do you want to make a difference to someone’s life and in what way?

Knowing the answers to these questions will become the driving force behind your business.

If you have not read Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why then I recommend you do.

If you don’t know why you do what you do then how can you truly help your clients? Click To Tweet

Ask yourself some of these questions: –

  • Why does your business exist?
  • What greater purpose are you trying to achieve and why?
  • What changes are you trying to influence your clients or your community and why?
  • What problems are you trying to help your clients solve and why?
  • Why are these problems important?
  • What do you want to share and why?

By going through this phase of discovery, it will help you get to the core of what you and your business is truly about. Bringing that foundation of knowledge all together will be the basis of how you move forward with your website project and how you can really help your clients make the transformation they desire.

If you are feeling ‘stuck’ and want to build your foundations, get in touch and let’s see how I can help you move forward too.

Imogen Allen

Imogen Allen

I'm a Website Strategist and the creator of The WIF®, on a quest to help stop projects waiting on content for all web agencies once and for all. Passionate about helping others find their website identity and championing websites which speaks to humans in a language they understand.

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2 thoughts on “What You Need to Do Before Starting Your Website”

  1. A nice piece, Imogen, and thanks for including a shout for my pen portraits article ??

    Thinking about the end user should always be topmost in our minds. I can’t remember who I first heard this from, but someone once said “Your website isn’t for you: it’s for your customer.” Spot on!

    Of course, if your personality and preferences happen to match those of your customer, then you can do something that makes everyone happy.

    • Thank you for your comments John and it’s my pleasure to include reference to your pen portraits article. I found it super helpful! It’s a really practical way to approach sureing up your ideal client. Ultimately, our job is to help our clients and that’s what is important and for too easy to lose sight of when planning your website 🙂

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