How to write a good website brief

The successful outcome of a website design and development project is intrinsically linked to the quality of the brief. the better the brief, the better the outcome. At 6rs we receive briefs for web projects on a daily basis, and some of them fall way short in terms of detail, scope and rationale. But writing a good website brief is not easy to do, so we thought we would put together some handy hints to help you put together a water-tight directive that will get the best out of your agency.

Purpose – What is the objective for the website? Is it to generate leads? Or perhaps to sell products and services? It may be that you just want it to serve as a brochure site and be a source of information for your prospective customers. What role do you see your website playing in your business? In any case, there needs to be a clear objective and purpose for your website. This will inform the style of design, layout and functionality.

Target audience – Who is going to be using your site? The more we as an agency know about them, the better. What sort of demographic do you service? What is their personality? What influences their buying decisions? How do you want them to use the site?These are all key questions that help us create a website that is tailored to their requirements.

Brand – Think about your brand and how you want it to translate online. Consider your tone of voice and the way you communicate with your target audience. Who are your competition and how do you want to differentiate yourselves from them? What is frustrating you about your current site? All of this will influence the look and feel of the website.

Optimisation and analytics – Are you currently running an Adwords or SEO campaign? Do you have Google Analytics installed on your existing site? We want to preserve any content with optimisation value and learn as much as we can from the performance data available.

Structure – How many pages will the site have? Can you create a basic sitemap of the different sections and the number of pages within them? What are the pages that you need? For example, you may want Home, About, Services, Contact and Blog pages. This helps us to work out the different layout designs that you will need.

Features – Will your site have any special features or tools? Do you want an image gallery? A social media feed? Or perhaps an interactive map? Provide details of any features and how you would like them to work. Have you seen some inspiring new technology that you would like to harness? Give examples where you can.

Integration – Does your website need to work in conjunction with a database, CRM system or any other third party software? You might be a recruitment agency using Broadbean to post jobs or a hotel with a booking system that needs to update in real time. This kind of integration represents an important factor in the development of a new site and developers will need to explore how these different systems can work seamlessly.

Content – How much content do you have? Do you need copywriting services? What about imagery, is there a photographer on board or do you need stock imagery sourced? Do you want the ability to add content to the site yourselves via a content management system or would you prefer the agency to make updates on an ad-hoc basis?

Timescales – “ASAP” doesn’t really cut it. What is a realistic timeframe for the project? Do you need to align the launch of the site with an event, promotion or location change? Be as accurate as you can.

Budget – We understand that some people want to play their cards close to their chests but if you have a set budget in mind and can share it then it allows us to tailor a solution to meet that budget. It can also save a lot of time going backwards and forwards during the quoting stage.

Having trouble writing your brief? Get in touch with us at [email protected] and we’ll help you put it together.

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