How to write a website brief

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November 7, 2017 | Strategy, Thoughts from the team

You’ve decided you need a new website – you’ve found a great agency or web designer, and you’re ready to go! Then they ask you to write a website brief…

Should be easy enough, right?

When I first started working at Storm, I was asked to write a brief for our partner company’s website update. I’ve worked in Marketing for quite a while, so this wasn’t exactly my first website redesign, but even still – I didn’t want to look stupid and write a sub-standard brief for all these techies I now work with. Surely I should know exactly what I’m talking about?

It’s easy to get so caught up in the idea of what you want, that sometimes you forget to communicate some of the crucial information your designers and developers actually require.

Here’s our top tips for writing a website brief:

  • What does your company actually do?

Providing a bit of a background to your company can be really helpful – a common mistake is thinking that your agency already knows everything about you. We love to know how you describe yourselves!

  • What do you want your website to achieve?

Is the function of your website to drive online sales? Is it a marketing site acting as the online shop window into your business? Think about the ‘call to actions’ you need for your website so that we are all focussing on the right message.

  • Who are your customers?

Your website needs to be built and designed with your target audience in mind. Who are they? How do they use your website currently (e.g. do they use it mostly on desktop or mobile)? Web analytics can be super helpful in helping you find out that information.

  • Do you have any existing brand guidelines or a brand personality?

Make sure the designer gets a feel for your brand – give an example of your logo, preferred colours, the images you use. It’s all about understanding your brand’s personality and making the website a reflection of that!

  • Consider your existing website (if you have one)

What do you like about it? What do you dislike? This can be anything from the look of it to its functionalities.

  • What content and pages do you need?

Make a list of the pages or specific content you need included on your website. It’s also worth having a look over any stats or analytics you may have for your existing website to see what your customers are actually looking at.

  • Pull inspiration from other websites

Give examples of other websites that you particularly like. It doesn’t necessarily have to be from a direct competitor or even your industry, just note down things you’ve noticed on any site and think are a good idea – even if it’s just the feel of a website!

  • What maintenance is required?

Who is going to keep the website content up to date? How much of the website do you need to have access to in order to make changes? This is particularly important when it comes to building your Content Management System (CMS).

  • Budget and Timings

Even if you don’t have a specific set budget, maybe provide at least a range (e.g. £20-50k) so that expectations can be managed from the offset. The same goes for any deadlines you may have. Is the launch of your new website date sensitive?

 

So there you have it! It’s nothing ground-breaking and it all sounds very obvious, but at least it will give you somewhere to start if ever you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of explaining your new website idea!

Got a new digital idea or would to talk through a website redesign? Give us a call on 01225 580500 or email hello@stormconsultancy.com. We’d love to hear from you.

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