The first stage of any new website project is to write a web design brief. This will give the web design agency an overview of your business, your goals for the site and the features you are looking for. Various stakeholders are involved in developing a new website and it’s important that everyone has a clear understanding of the project. A website brief not only ensures clarity for digital agencies but also provides a structure for strategic thinking and helps prevent things from being forgotten. Getting the brief right is important as it will affect the outcome of the project and limit the number of amends needed. But knowing exactly how much information to include in the brief can be a challenge.
Here are the key points you need to consider:
This is important background information for your web design brief. What products or services do you provide? How big are you? What are your core values? What is your USP? What are your plans for the future?
Who is likely to use your website? Are you B2B or B2C? Try to summarise who your clients are – what are they looking for, how old they are, their values and beliefs. Are you looking to target someone new? How will they find you?
3.Goals for the Website
What are you hoping to achieve with the new website? Some goals could be:
–Increased brand awareness
–Better online presence
Knowing exactly what you want from a website will help the design process. If you already have a website explain which parts you like and don’t like, what works and what doesn’t.
Who are your main competitors? What do they do that you admire? What don’t you like? Include both your current competitors and businesses you plan to compete with. Provide a list of links to websites that you like.
How do you want your website to look? What themes are you looking for? Have you got a colour scheme in mind? What are your branding guidelines? Think about where you might source images for your website – do you have a collection already, will you hire a photographer, or do you need the agency to source photos? Do you have a specific font that you want?
6.Technical requirements and features
–Do you want a blog and news pages?
–Will you be taking online bookings?
–Do you want to include video or audio clips?
–Does the site feature user logins? How will registrations be handled, authorised, and managed? Describe every single bespoke feature that will be required.
–Is the site e-commerce? If so, describe product categories and variations, payment/checkout methods required, shipping cost calculations, shipping tracking, discount codes etc
–API Integration – Will the site need to integrate with any external feeds or APIs – if so, we’ll need thorough detail and actual examples of these.
–Do you have a preferred CRM system?
–Is your site likely to be targeting people with special needs or requirements? I.e. limited mobility, colour blind, deaf, learning difficulties etc.
–Considering your existing website’s analytics – do you have a particularly high proportion of mobile users?
–Who will be responsible for updating the website?
Resist the urge to duplicate your existing content in your new site – if your existing site is letting you down in some way, the chances are that the content is no longer up to scratch. Having thought about your target audience, take the opportunity to review whether your content still meets their needs.
Don’t put this off until the end of the project – start thinking now about how you’re going to produce the copy text. Do you have the resources or skills to create and supply the text to go on the website? If the answer to these questions is no, you will need a copywriter.
Have you thought about SEO? Do you need help with that?
Do you already own the domain name? Do you require hosting for the website? If you have a hosting already you need to provide details? Who will be responsible for maintenance and updates? How much support do you think you will need? Any modern hosting setup should be secure, provide regular backups, and most of all provide a website that is fast.
Is there a deadline for completing the website? When do you hope to go live? Having a rough timescale is useful for a design agency so they can allocate resources accordingly.
Do you have a budget in mind? How much do you want to spend on your website? See our guide to how much a website costs. Remember that you’re paying for a service as well as a product. Your brief needs to include guideline budgets so that agencies can best plan how your money can be spent to achieve your website goals.
Briefing a web design agency well is important as it will help them create the website you are looking for in the time frame required to the budget allocated. Remember it is only a starting point, not the finished product, if it generates more questions that is good. For help with your next web design project call us on 01202 650 333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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