What to Expect in the Website Discovery Process
(5 minute read)
If you’re considering a new website for your business and are ready to talk with us about your project, this article will help you know what to expect and how to prepare for the discussions we are about to have.
This article intended to be read before our first discovery meeting, and before we are working together in a paid engagement. It will prepare you for what to expect in that first meeting along with what it looks like as we decide if we will work together in a paid engagement.
This blog is part of a series that describes each phase of our website process. If you want to read ahead to learn about the full process, you can navigate these blogs below:
- (this blog) What to Expect in the Website Discovery Process
- Website Strategy & Site Architecture Process
- Website Content and Design Process
- Website Development & Testing Process
What to Expect
Building a website is similar to building a house or commercial property. There are a lot of intricate pieces and technical parts, and you may not feel educated on most of them. That’s why you are looking to hire professionals who know how to do it well.
We understand this might be new to you and we’ll guide you through the process.
There are many people and agencies who can build a website for you. Some of them are really good. Some of them are pretty bad. The agency who is best for you might not be best for the company down the street. It can be hard to determine who is the right partner for you.
My advice is that you ask a lot of questions throughout the discovery process, and expect to answer a lot of questions so that we can understand what the goals are for your website. This will help us determine the right solution, features, functionality and cost for your website, and will help you determine if we are a good fit for your project.
It’s helpful for you to learn upfront what types of websites we build at LimeLight, and what we don’t do so that you can quickly determine if we are a potential fit for your website.
We build goal-oriented websites that are intended to rank on Google, generate leads, and convert sales (for ecommerce sites). We typically provide strategy, copywriting, UI/UX, SEO, design, development, and testing as part of the project scope. Our projects are collaborative with clients and include goal-setting discussions, copy reviews, design reviews, and will require some time from your team to participate in the process.
We build websites that are intended to drive business growth, so our processes, our team structure, and the tools we use are designed to best serve mid-size companies who want a website that helps drive business growth.
We are not a puppy mill website agency that cranks out hundreds of websites in days or weeks. We don’t take ‘orders’ for websites and design/develop them in a box for you to eventually see the final product.
Think custom. Think partner. Think collaborative.
As such, our pricing for websites starts at $15k and goes upwards of six figures.
If this is what you are looking for, keep reading.
Much like a contractor can’t quote the cost or timing of building your home until they fully understand what you want and desire, we can’t tell you what it will cost or how long it will take to build your website until we have that same understanding.
Our discovery process starts before you ever hire us, and typically includes two to four meetings. During these conversations we will seek to understand what you need from your website to meet your business objectives so that we can identify requirements, have an idea for the number of pages and content structure, understand your expectations from a visual and user experience standpoint, and ultimately create a statement of work and estimate if we mutually agree that we are a good fit to work together.
The goals of the first discovery meeting are to:
- Meet one another if you are new to working with us
- Learn about your company and why you are looking for a new website
- Understand what gaps exist in your current website that you want to improve
- Gain high level insight on the functional requirements for the site
- Discuss options for handling content
- Learn your desired timeline
- Discuss budget options
If we mutually agree to proceed in the discovery process after the first meeting, in subsequent discovery meetings we will:
- Review 2-4 websites that you like, and what you like about them
- Discuss functional requirements of the site in more depth
- Talk about user experience goals as it relates to site’s business objectives
- Align on a high level site structure to estimate page count and set direction for the content plan
- Consider the level of customization that is best fit for your project
- Set a budget for the project
From there, we can create a proposal with the budget and requirements we’ve agreed on.
How to Prepare for Discovery
Before the first discovery call, you should be prepared to answer the following questions:
- Why do you want a new website?
- What are the gaps in your current website that you want to improve?
- What is your desired or mandated timeline to build the site?
- What is your budget for the website or do you want to collectively build the budget together?
- What is the decision making process for hiring an agency process and who is the decision maker?
- What is your timeline for making a decision to hire an agency partner?
If you are ready to take the conversation a step further, you can be prepared to share:
- 2-4 websites that you like, and what you like about them.
- Technical requirements for the website – what do you want it to be able to do?
- An estimated number of pages, or a general idea of what topics/information you want on the website.
- Business goals for the website (e.g. KPIs/sales/growth).
Just as you can build a house for $75,000 or $7,500,000, you can build websites in a significantly wide price range. And just as those two houses will look and function dramatically differently, so will websites at opposite price ranges.
That’s why it’s important to be very open when we discuss the budget. If you can’t afford or don’t want to buy the $7,500,000 house, let’s take that off the table. And if you don’t want the $75,000 house, let’s not go there.
LimeLight builds websites that start at $20,000 and go upward. If you are looking for a lower price site, we are happy to refer you to others who are a good fit.
There are two options for how we will come to a budget for your website:
Pricing Option 1:
You tell us your budget and we can tell you what we can deliver for that budget to maximize your goals.
Pricing Option 2:
If you don’t have a specific budget we can work together through the discovery process to build the budget for your website based on your goals, functionality requirements, and design / user experience desires. This works well if the budget is flexible and you want it to be based on choices you make about the site. In this approach, we’ll start with a cost range in mind so that we know what makes sense for your company based on your revenue and general budget.
The discovery process typically takes 2-4 weeks to get to a website scope of work and quote. It can be accelerated if you have a tight timeline and can provide answers to the above discussion points more quickly.
The timeline required to build your website will be dependent on multiple variables, such as the size of the site, the complexity of the design, and the business objectives we are working toward. Generally speaking, it takes months to build the types of websites we build – not days or weeks.
In the discovery process, we will learn about your desired timeline and let you know how long we anticipate it will take to build your site. A ballpark estimate without specific details for the average site is about 12+ weeks.