To help with the estimate process for websites, I like clients to have initially answered this general set of questions. The answers form a baseline of requirements that suggest how complex a project will be. Often for the client, working through these questions helps them get a better idea of the scope of their project.
What is the website for?
Why are you creating a new website? Why should people care?
What type of website is it?
Almost all websites fall into one of four categories. I’ve borrowed the definitions from Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler’s “A Project Guide to UX Design”.
Brand presence: a constantly present online platform that facilitates the relationship between the company and a general audience.
Content source: a store of information, potentially, composed of several types of media (articles, documents, video, photos, tutorials) meant to inform, engage, or entertain users.
Marketing campaign: a target site or application mean to elicit specific and measurable response from a particular audience or from a general audience over a limited period of time.
Task-based application: a tool or collection of tools meant to allow users to accomplish a set of key tasks or workflows.
How many pages will the website have? If it’s a large site, how many templates will you need?
Do you have a sitemap prepared?
What is the business need of each area of the site?
What specific tasks, if any, does a user need to be able to perform on each page?
Examples could include submitting information through a form, interacting with a map to find a location, signing up for an account, uploading content, etc.