These are some questions I normally ask clients when I am looking to develop a website.
I will expand on this post later to add in more details.
1. What is the website for?
Brochure, E-commerce, Business card, reinforcement
[Why: to see what the site need to include and what technologies should be involved]
2. Who are the customers?
What do they do
What is their job title
[Why: to try to profile the customer so that site design and content can be created to suit the audience]
2a. Who is the competition?
[Why: so we can look at their sites and see what we can learn about keywords, expected layout etc]
3. How would you expect the customer to find the site?
Search, word of mouth, literature/business card
[Why: to see how much emphasis needs to be placed on SEO/SEM]
4. If search, what would they be looking for to find the site?
[Why: so that keywords can be checked to see if there are more available]
5. What sort of device would they use to access the site?
PC, netbook, phone
[Why: to see what technologies need to be involved/avoided, to look at creating specific content for a device]
6. Where would they typically access the site from?
Office, home, out and about (using public wifi or mobile connection)
[Why: to see how much bandwidth the site can take without inconveniencing the user]
7. Are you geographically based?
What are the limitations you want to put on area.
[Why: to make sure content is written to make this clear, make sure Google is aware of this and to see what type of hosting is required]
8. What type of site are you thinking about?
Examples of sites that you like.
What do you like about these sites?
[Why: to get an idea of what you expect from the site]
9. What tone do you want to set with the site?
Professional (typically more subdued), light hearted, fun
[Why: to make sure that the tone of writing matches that of other literature or the image the company is portraying]
10. Do you have other literature/business cards?
[Why: so we can make sure the site matches the style and creates a total company image]
11. Would you want to be able to edit the site content?
All content, a blog, social media
[Why: to see what technologies we need to use and what you expect from updates]
12. What timeframe and budget is the site required in?
[Why: Timeframe will set what is there is time to do in terms of design and interaction, also whether the designer can actually do it or not. Budget will set again set what is possible to do].
[Note: Budget is always tricky as the client will not want the designer to design to a budget. Possibly ask for a range, or look at requested features and say roughly what each will cost].