Website Client Questionnaire

CopywritingLet’s start a conversation

Writing content for websites is not unlike going on a blind date. It’s important to build up a rapport and understanding as quickly as possible.

The best way to do this is by asking questions; the alternative is a lot of awkward silence.

Please try answer as many of these questions as possible, if not all! 

Building websites and populating them with content is a collaborative process and requires client involvement at all stages, so please tell me a bit about you and your business.

Once you have completed this please cut and paste a copy and email it to me at roger@abstractassociates.co.uk. Mark the subject as New Website Copy and the name of your business/URL.

Company Contact
Address Email
City, St, Zip/Postcode Phone#
Phone# Are there other decision makers? Please specify.
Website address – or desired Domain(s)

 

 

About your business

Please give a brief overview of the company, what you do, sell and/or produce?

What is the purpose of the site?

This section covers the general purpose and goal of the site.

Please put an X next to the planned for outcomes that apply to you.

The site is designed to:

  • Explain products and services
  • Bring in new clients
  • Provide customers with information on a certain subject
  • Deliver news or a calendar of events
  • Carry a blog that addresses specific topics/interests
  • Sell a product/products online
  • Provide support for current clients

Is this site already online? Or is there a time frame or deadline to get this site online? (If there’s a specific deadline, please state why.)

Target market

Who will visit this site? Describe potential clients. Young, old, demographics, interests etc.

Why should visitors do business with you rather than with a competitor?

What problem are you solving for them?

What action(s) should the user perform when visiting your site?

People who visit this site should be moved to do something. Please, put an X next to those actions that apply to you.

  • Call
  • Fill out a contact form
  • Fill out a quote form
  • Sign up for a mailing list
  • Search for information
  • Purchase a product(s)/service(s)

Content

  1. In three seconds, describe what your business offers?
  2. Why do people need what you are offering?
  3. What needs do you believe you are fulfilling?
  4. The goal of a home page is to encourage people to dig deeper into the website. Can you, therefore, describe two or three calls-to-action that should drive people to different aspects of what you are selling?
  5. What do you offer that can’t be found elsewhere?
  6. Can you list all the sections/pages you think that you’ll need (see below)?
  7. How will customers benefit from your content, products, and/or services?
  8. What message do you want to get across?:
    1. Do you want to inform prospects about the full range of services to gain additional sales?
    2. Do you want to inform prospects about what makes you different?
    3. Do you want to persuade prospects to change their brand loyalty to your firm?
  9. What tone of voice do you want to convey with the words?
  10. Who are you (NB people tend to buy people, they don’t buy agencies)?
  11. How do you work (NB what makes it easy for clients and gives them peace of mind)?
  12. What is your unique selling proposition?
  13. What is the benefit of using you over any other similar business?
  14. What is your competitive edge that would persuade clients to choose them over anyone else?
  15. Do you have any testimonials from happy clients?
  16. Have you won any awards?
  17. What are the Products/Services you offer?
  18. What are the benefits of each of these?
  19. What can be said about each of these that will inspire a good first impression?
  20. How is your site different from your competitor sites?
  21. Do you have any testimonials from happy clients?
  22. Will/do you have landing pages that speak to specific subjects?
  23. Will/do you have pictures that help tell your story?

The Individual Pages

(Samples below are just an example to get you started, please fill this section out as completely as you feel able.)

Page Content Notes
Home
Contact Us
About Us
Services
Products

 

Do you already have any written content?

Do you have images/photographs prepared for these pages?

What are the websites of your closest competition?

Please include at least 3 links to sites of your competition. What do you like and don’t like about them? What would you like to be done differently or better?

What websites have content you like?

Along with putting down the site address, please comment on what you like about each site’s content, eg style of writing, the tone of voice etc. These do not have to have anything to do with your business but could have features of which you approve. Please include at least three examples.

What are the Keywords people use to find you?

If someone is searching for your product/service, what types of search terms (single words or phrases) might they use?

Please list all the possible search terms you can think of.

Once you have completed this please cut and paste a copy and email it to me at roger@abstractassociates.co.uk. Mark the subject as New Website Copy and the name of your business/URL.

 

Test Your Boundaries

It’s as if the passage of time has passed by Minnesota’s Boundary Waters. Roger Wilsher discovers what the world used to be like by jumping in a canoe and being inspired.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness measures 1.1 million acres. The area is one of the most protected wildernesses in America. There are no roads. No towns. No airports. All you see is water and woods.

The lakes and forests here come directly from the Ice Age . It was 12,000 years ago when Paleo-Indians were navigating the lumps of melting ice left behind by the retreating glaciers and hunting woolly mammoths and caribou around here.

Mastodons – distant relatives of today’s elephants – saber-tooth tigers and beavers that weighed 500lbs were roaming the region. It wasn’t until the 17th century that Europeans first entered this wilderness west of Lake Superior. They were looking for a route to China and the huge beaver pelts that could be sold for a fortune. The only safe way to travel the waters then was in a canoe.

The reason this is called the Boundary Waters is the United States-Canada border that meanders anders along the region’s northern edge of the region.

Not much has changed in the past 300 years or so. The area has been well protected by legislation, including the 1964 Wilderness Act, which returned this vast Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to its pristine backcountry heritage.

Outboard engines are outlawed on almost all of the 1,000 lakes. The roads and people who lived here have disappeared. Aircraft are not allowed to fly less than 4,000ft high. In their place have been established  about 2,200 campsites and 1,500 miles of canoe routes.

There are around 250,000 visitors annually but you would not know it because the place is so vast. The signs of human presence are few and far between. Look down when you fly high above it and what you will see is a green carpet, cut into occasionally by a few glaciers. When you are on the water it feels like you are in another time. Nature becomes the world and we humans are lucky guests.

The local Ojibwe (aka Chippewa) tribe still lives in the way it did when it arrived in the 1500s.

What to wear

When you plan to canoe in the waters the advice is to travel as light as possible. For clothes yo8u should bring a pair of pants, a shirt plus one insulating layer and a windbreaker.

When you stop for a camp dry shoes will be appreciated, but staying light is the key on a Boundary Waters trip. When you leave civilization behind, remember you will have to carry whatever you bring and with a canoe on your shoulders! Expect to do a lot of lugging with gear on your back and feet on the trail because you will often have to carry your boat between navigable waters. There are literally dozens of these portages as they are known between the lakes. The majority of portages are just a few hundred yards, but some can stretch for up to a mile.

On top of your few items of clothing you will need a canoe to explore the water, a tent, sleeping pad and bag for sleeping, and a portage pack for your food and kit. It’s also a good idea to ziplock your food and label it by meal and day so you don’t lose track. As you are likely to discover losing track out here is not an uncommon hurdle.

Before you start in earnest, it’s advisable to paddle a section of the International Boundary Route to get used to what is to come. To get to the start of your adventure it is sensible to take a water taxi for the first miles through the perimeter lakes, where motored craft are still permitted .

There’ll be plenty of opportunity to propel yourself. The canoe routes in total measure 1,500 miles. With two people paddling, it’s possible for a Kevlar canoe to average three miles an hour. Rest assured, the rhythmic  motion becomes second nature after a short while.

Everything around you is water or stone or wood. The shorelines is covered in red pine. Granite splits the forest in to two parts. Indeed there are granite bluffs that stand a good 10-storeys high and rise from the depths. In addition, there are flat rocks the size of tennis courts cresting a few feet above the water.

The lakes that make up the Boundary Waters are mainly lined with granite. There are fault lines running through the Kahshahpiwi and Man Chain Lakes, creating perfectly straight greenstone and granite shorelines. Vera Lake is surrounded by jasper, an opaque reddish-brown semi-precious stone. Pink Batholith granite is all around Ensign Lake, and boulders blown off the side of a prehistoric volcano lie at the bottom of Kekekabic Lake.

In one granite cliff between Crane and Sand Point Lakes there is a series of dull red pictographs. These handprints and depictions of a large moose are many hundreds of years old. The Ojibwe artists created the images by combining hematite with sturgeon oil. This mixture chemically binds with rock and is reckoned to last for thousands of years.

Into Canada

When you go through Canadian Customs, you’ll discover it’s not just canoeists who frequent the Boundary Waters. There are fishermen here hopefully landing some of the best bass in the world. If you get the chance for a “shore lunch” it’s an experience. It typically begins with hunks of fresh cornbread smothered with butter and washed down with lemonade. Next expect a platter of breaded and fried walleye, or North American pikeperch, with tartar sauce and potatoes. Dessert can be something like turnovers with rhubarb and strawberry topped with whipped cream.

The border is marked by a silvery benchmark spike embossed with U.S. on one side and CANADA on the other that has been driven into a boulder on the rocky islet on the southern end of Lac La Croix. In the middle of the island there is a pile of rocks that was once a native-American lookout station. It is placed in the middle of the fur traders’ route, so an Indian scout could see any Europeans approaching and signal this to his tribe so they could prepare their valuable furs.

Heading south there are a dozen or so islands where there are campsites. Here, it’s possible to see the  Milky Way’s arc, which is known to the Ojibwe as the Path of Souls, until it disappears into the canopy of shadows on the lake’s other side. The air has the scent of pine and campfire smoke.

Although this is known as the land of 10,000 lakes, it probably has nearer to 20,000, when lakes of less than 10 acres are counted in the total. The Minnesota shoreline measures 45,000 miles. Fully, 8% of Minnesota is water and the other 92% houses on average just 67 people per square mile.

Ely is the capital. Here you will find all manner of craft from sea kayaks and canoes, through skiffs and powerboats, to dories and dinghies leaning against the town’s buildings and in the driveways that line Highway 169.

There is one current threat to the pace and tranquility of the region. After more than 10 years of lobbying, a Chilean mining company, Antofagasta, wants to build a huge sulfide-ore copper mine adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The fears are that the wilderness’s currents could carry toxic pollution from this mine into the lake area .

The Forest Service along with tens of thousands of Boundary Waters’ supporters have made their concerns known, and the project’s future does look less likely every month. But the fact it has even been considered a possibility underlines doubts people who know this place have about the integrity, values and good sense of the 21st century’s so-called civilization.

When you are on the water thoughts like this seem so far away. However, when  you pull up at the end the sounds that return, which can be as simple as a car door shutting, seem so unnatural.

After just a short time in a canoe on the Boundary Waters, everything that isn’t pure nature feels very strange. But, there always has to come a time when we’re beckoned back in to the modern world.