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How to Determine Your New Website Requirements

Website Design FAQs: how to define website requirements
Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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Before you build a new website, you need to determine its requirements – what the website is going to look like and do.

This is especially true when you hire a website design company to build your new website. You need to figure out what you want in your website so you can tell the developer and get all the requirements into your contract.

In this Website Design Frequently Asked Questions (Web Design FAQs) video blog, I explain How Determine Your New Website Requirements.

(The article below is a summary of the video, but you’ll get more details and examples if you watch the video.)

1) 1. Define the Purposes of Your Website

The very first step in determining your website requirements is to define the primary purposes of your website. While reaching out to new people and connecting with your target audience is typically a top priority, you need to go a step further and specify how you want your website to achieve this.

  • Do you want visitors to fill out online forms?
  • Are you looking for them to contact you directly via phone or email?
  • Is your goal to encourage physical visits, such as attending your church or school?
  • For businesses, do you want customers to order products and services through an online shopping cart?

Each of these objectives requires different functionalities, so it’s crucial to be clear about what you want visitors to do when they land on your website.

2. Prioritize Your Needs and Wants

While it’s important to define the primary purpose of your website, chances are you will want to accomplish more than just one purpose with your website, and you will want more than one type of functionality to accomplish each.

For example, if your getting a new website built for your church, you may determine the top purpose of your website is to reach out to people in your community. How do you want your website to do that?  With a welcome video? Sample sermon videos? A Plan Your Visit form/system?

And you may determine the second purpose of your website is to facilitate discipleship. How do you want your website to do that?  Do you want a sermon archive? Do you want a way for people for sign up for bible studies and small groups on your website? Podcast?

Start by making a list of the functionality you want for each purpose. Then prioritize these items. Decide which you really want now and which would be better to add later.

However, if you decide not to build certain functionality into your website now, be sure to talk with your web developer about it to be sure it can be added if you choose to do that later.

3. Choose Options That Save Time and Money

When you build a new website for your church, ministry or business, you are investing a significant amount of time, effort and money.  This is a great opportunity to add content and functionality that will streamline operations and save time and money!

  • Online Forms: Customized online forms can replace traditional paper forms and simplify processes like applications, registrations, and information requests.
  • Online Event Registration: If your organization hosts events like workshops or concerts, consider offering online event registration and ticketing to streamline the process.
  • Online Newsletters, Bulletins & Programs: Distributing newsletters, Sunday bulletins, and event programs digitally can save printing costs and make it easier for your audience to access them. Even if some of your people aren’t willing to give up their precious paper copies (yet), many will
  • Online Documents: Put documents like handbooks, policies, and other resources online to reduce printing expenses and enhance accessibility for your organization’s members.

By embracing these options, you’ll not only streamline your operations but also create a more user-friendly experience for your audience.

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Defining requirements is a very important part of the website development processes. While its best to define your requirements before contacting a web developer about a proposal, we understand many web teams have never done this before. We’re happy to help you and your team clarify the goals and requirements for your website.

If you have any other questions about business, nonprofit or church website design or SEO services, we would love to talk with you. Compete the form below to schedule a free consultation!

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  • Are you considering a new website? Where are you in the process of defining requirements?

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    About the author

    Paul Steinbrueck

    Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.

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