How to Identify A Client's Ultimate Challenge Before Building Their Site

Jennifer Barker

Senior Business Development Strategist

Building websites is a rewarding experience, but there are always those projects that just don’t seem to go right. Whether it was a lack of communication on the client’s part or too many assumptions on yours, it ends up hurting your bottom line. Not only do you have to constantly return to the project, but the lack of communication from either party can also cut into the schedule of your other assignments. Not to mention, you might not be as confident this time around, which can lead to second guessing each design element.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to identify your client’s ultimate challenges before tackling their site. A website has to do more than look good. It must meet the client’s short- and long-term objectives. Before you accept another design project, keep the following tips in mind.

Get to Know the Roots of the Business

It takes time to fully research a business and understand what they do, but don’t rush through this phase. Take all the time you need and ask all the right questions. The website should be an extension of the business; and the only way for this to happen is to know who the business is, what they do and why they’re different.

One tip we’d like to share is to approach each project with a clean drawing board. It’s easy to make generalizations about what related businesses do, but this could end up messing with the design. So, if you’ve signed on another telecommunications business, don’t assume they’re like the last one you worked with.

Understand the Website's Purpose

If you ask the client what they want their site to do, the response is usually something like, “I want to increase sales.” Try to get specific goals as well as secondary goals. For example, if a customer isn’t ready to buy the product, does your client want them to sign up for a newsletter or download an ebook? This information helps you create a design that moves customers through the funnel.

Here are some of the most common objectives that a website is intended to increase:  

  • Sales

  • Inbound leads

  • Brand awareness

  • Customer education

  • Email addresses

  • Social media interaction

Address Customers and Their Pain Points

Even though you are designing a website for your client, it is their customers who will be using the site. So, you must keep this audience in mind when putting together a design. Many clients will tell you that their audience is “everyone”, but that needs to be narrowed down. The more specific you can get, the better.

Work with your client to get more detailed demographics on their target customers. You can then use this information to determine their pain points and create a conversion-focused website. The most powerful designs are successful at naming the issue and delivering a reasonable solution.


When building a website, never make assumptions about what the client wants. It’s an easy mistake to make, not because you’re rushing, but rather because you get excited about an idea and start moving forward with it. However, websites have jobs to perform, and to do them well, you must have all the nuts and bolts intact.


About the Author: Jennifer Barker

Jen is the Business Development Strategist for SEMGeeks and the only team member born and raised north of the Jersey great divide, i.e. the Driscoll Bridge. Her BFA in multimedia design and extensive experience in digital marketing make her both an analytical and creative thinker. Jen has lived and worked for digital agencies in two major cities over the last 17 years but 3 years ago this “gypsy living, free bird” happily put her roots down at the Jersey Shore. The struggle to defend North Jersey to the rest of the team is an ongoing battle. #TaylorHam

Talk With Our Team to learn more about this...


We Love to Educate

Get our stellar design & marketing
tips sent right to your inbox.