By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

You want to put your marketing plan to paper for your website design before you launch it, just as you would want to crunch numbers and run what-if scenarios before launching any new company. Collect information on these 25 top items when submitting your project scope to a website designer for a price quote:

  • Company information, including name, address, phone, and e-mail

  • How long you have been in business

  • The primary goal of your business (what you sell)

  • A description of your business in 25 words or less

  • A list of three groups of people who might benefit from your product or service

  • Your branding slogan

  • The main domain name for your website (go to uownitdomains.com for available domain names and then register them)

  • A list of at least three websites that you like and what you like about them

  • A list of at least three websites that you dislike and what you dislike about them

  • A list of at least three competing websites

  • A description of your potential customers’ demographic profile, which you can find by searching Quantcast for a high-traffic website related to your target industry

  • Whether your potential customers are Internet savvy or technically challenged. (You find this out by attending seminars or networking events where your target audience is present and talking with them.)

  • What you would expect if you were one of your potential customers

  • The goals of your website (sell product online, generate leads, and so on)

  • Whether visitors ever need to print pages from your site

  • What the top navigation buttons will be

  • What the left navigation buttons will be

  • What special features will be displayed in the right navigation area

  • What should be included in the footer of every page of the site

  • Whether you will supply photos, or whether the designer should include photos in the quote

  • Whether you will supply content, or whether the designer should include copywriting in the quote

  • Whether you will supply a logo, or whether the designer should quote a price for logo creation

  • Whether the website will require an online shopping cart

  • Whether you already have an Internet-capable merchant account

  • Whether you will offer an online newsletter sign-up form on the website