Delivering a website brief gives you a clear foundation upon which to compare different agencies’ proposals to ensure you partner with the best one for the job. It also serves as a starting point for the web designer, and guides the creative process of building your next website.
Although it may seem daunting at first, the good news is writing a website brief should be a straightforward task, as all web agencies are looking for the same core information.
It’s important to spend some time crafting a website brief that is both pragmatic and specific to your company and its needs. Clearly outlining the requirements and objectives of your new site will ensure your agency can deliver an accurate proposal, and ultimately the best end product.
To help you write an amazing website brief, and to give your agency the best chance of nailing your new site, we’ve created a short guide on what to include.
Most of the information required from a brief falls under these key areas:
Communicating the essence of what your company does makes it easier to imagine what a site might look like and why you might need it.
You should include:
- An introduction to who you are and what you do.
- The industry sector you operate in.
- The services you offer or products you sell.
- Mission, vision and value statements.
- Current website situation (if you have one).
If you have a current website, then include this here. Outline your current site issues, why it needs an update, and where it is being hosted. It is also helpful to know the things that work well with your current website.
If one of your core services is selling online, then it is essential you describe the products you sell. A detailed product overview, including sizes and weights for shipping purposes, is necessary to get your shop set up.
Try and best describe who your target audience groups are, and how they find your website currently (ie Google search, PPC ads, or word of mouth). Google Analytics can provide this information, and 12 months of data is useful to remove anomalies and seasonal variations.
If you have an ideal client or pre-made buyer personas, then they are a great addition to this section. Think about what your audience likes, and what turns them off. Remember, you know your customers better than anyone, so try and impart some of this knowledge in the brief.
A clear idea of who your audience is helps ensure the functionality and design is appropriate. It will help to create a vision that caters to your target audience’s needs and expectations, maximising their engagement with your website.
Goals and objectives
Here you should develop why you need a website. Consider what your company goals are, and how these will be supported by your online presence.
If you are just after a brochure site, why? Is it to share your brand, or inform potential customers of the services you offer?
What journey do you want your customers to take once they are on the site, and what is the end goal? Think about what you would like visitors to do with the information available on your site, and what your main call to action is. It may be a transaction, booking, share to social media, or an email signup.
Arguably the most important aspect of the website brief, you should be thorough in explaining what features your site will include. The functions and features of your site have the greatest impact on cost, so think carefully about what you need your site to do.
Developing further from your company and your website goals, include the capabilities you know your site needs to have, and what are optional functions you think you might like.
An example might be that you need an online store that links with your payment processing, shipping, and CRM system. You would also like to be able to have a video showcasing your product. Other examples might include booking system integration, an interactive map, or Google Analytics insights.
Do you have content ready to put into your site, or do you need your agency to help with this?
If you have content ready, has it been optimised with SEO in mind? The content that populates your site has a huge impact on how it ranks on search engines. When you are investing in a beautiful, bespoke site, it is vital to allocate a proportion of your budget to ensuring your customers will be able to find it.
If you want to create your own content then you need to consider and include how long this will take, and if it will effectively represent your brand. Include any content creators you currently work with, as well as their contact details.
Include a well thought out sitemap. This is the most useful tool to visualise your site, the content, and features needed to populate it.
At Barefoot Media, we are specialists in creating search engine optimised website content to ensure your site is launched on time with a clear consistent tone which engages your target audience.
Branding and design
Are you happy with your current branding and design, and does it reflect your product, service, or company values? If so, great. If not, then it will definitely be worth exploring the branding before starting work on the new website.
Here is also your opportunity to include any inspiration or design ideas you may have in mind for the look and feel of your new website. Any visual examples or links are helpful at this stage (it is often helpful to look outside your immediate competitors or business sector for inspiration). Include a copy of your brand style guide if you have one.
The creative agency will usually manage the project, and this will include liaising with external suppliers such as photographers when needed. Be sure to include the names of anyone else involved and their roles, and a project timeline if you have one.
It takes around three months to create a site from start to launch, so be sure to factor this in throughout your planning.
Including a guide for the budget you have will help the agency to propose the most appropriate solution. Some clients are hesitant to provide an exact figure at this stage, but the more open and honest you are with everything in a brief, the more accurate and detailed quotes you will receive in return. A budget range, however wide, is greatly appreciated.
At Barefoot Media we are experts at creating stunning and effective websites. From branding and design, to content creation and population, we can get your business online. More information on our web design services can be found here, or contact our creative director Ryan McFarlane with any questions – or an expertly written website brief.