Writing a website brief can be a daunting task. When approaching a web design company, it makes sense to have clear ideas about what you’re looking for. A good starting point if you have an existing website is to establish what you like and don’t like about your current site. If you don’t have a site, then you might want to look at your competitors and other websites and identify sites that you like.
It’s important to get a clear idea of the role your website will play for your business. So, think about what you want it to achieve. How do you expect your potential customers to use it? What works and doesn’t work for you on your current site.
Identify your target audience, look at who your clients and prospective clients are, is there an age profile, demographic group or geographic location that is key. This information will help your agency understand who the website needs to appeal to.
Focusing on the objectives for the site will bring real clarity to your design brief. It will also then help you to decide on…
Features you need
Features will include everything from online forms and data collection techniques to posting news and event. Unless your site is a brochure style site you will most certainly need a good, professional content management system so you can update and change your content to reflect the changing needs of your customers and the business.
You may want to have an area for shopping online so your can sell products or simply take payments online in which case you will need some form of e-commerce system with secure payment processes in place.
Think about how your customers will interact with your website and make a list of these key functions so that your brief includes the features and processes you need.
All design is subjective. People are attracted to different colours, images, type faces etc. The key to good design online is making sure your site appeals to your customers instantly. You have to make an instant good impression; you have just seconds to engage with site visitors before they click off and go elsewhere. This is why good layout, the right images, navigation and headlines are vital.
Your website designers are there to interpret your vision for the site and your company branding, vision and values but more importantly to design for your customers so that we deliver the perfect experience for them online.
Your existing brand and personal preferences all come in to play as part of the design process so your preference for colour palettes, existing brand guidelines, styles and layouts can all be included as part of your brief.
Take a look at your existing website and note down which pages you think you will need and which ones you feel like you would like to leave behind. Building a new website is a great time to do some housekeeping and decide what is useful to your user and what you think you could do without.
By choosing what pages you are going to have on your navigation, you can then start to build up the content on your new homepage by featuring the content that would benefit your users the most.
Content that’s needed
Imagine what a potential customer needs from your site and why they are visiting you online. Assess what content has proved popular on your existing site, look at any statistics you may have about traffic and visitor behaviour, look at what your competitors are doing, look at what your customers need and why they would buy your products and services. Content marketing is key to delivering the right traffic to your site so make sure you spend time thinking about this.
Your design company will be able to assist you in classifying the content and bringing a logical structure to the information. They will recommend easy to use, intuitive, user friendly navigation structures, which will help customers navigate around your site so they access the content they need quickly.
When mentioning content, most people automatically think of written text, however your content online should also include photographs, video, graphics, audio etc. Its important to consider all types of content and how it can be used to create the perfect customer experience.
Most sites and content management systems will be able to handle a broad range of content types but make sure you do specify in your brief what you want.
Let the design company know if you are supplying all of the content or if you need them to source photography, create videos etc. This will form a key part of any quote you’re are given.
And remember your agency will have the expertise in-house to carry out a full needs analysis and help you formulate what you want.