How to write a website brief

Olivia

Head of Marketing

If you’ve never been responsible for a new website before then the thought of writing a brief and getting starting can be exciting and daunting all at the same time.

The brief is the starting point for the project but a well written brief can guide and support the whole process from initial enquiry and scoping through to the design, development and launch process.

What to include in your brief

Background

Include information about your business, who you are and what you do.

What is the current position? Will this be a brand new website for a new venture? Perhaps you already have a website which is outdated or isn’t working for you? If you are looking for a new website what has prompted this? Think about whether your business or your industry has changed and how that could inform the type of website your organisation needs. What do you like about your existing site and what don’t you like? An agency will be able to glean huge insight into what you are looking for and what your priorities might be by understanding what you don’t like and what doesn’t work on your existing website.

Audience

Give an overview of your target audience.  Who are your customers and who would you like to reach? Do you see the new site playing a role in reaching a new audience? Include demographic information which paints a clear picture of the audience you would like to reach. How will this audience access your site?  Is it predominantly desktop or mobile or a combination?

Functionality

What will visitors use the site for?  Think about what the website needs to do, now and in the future.  Will it be ecommerce?  Do you need a search box? A portal?  Perhaps you want to gather data via the site with a sign-up facility for newsletters or to request a call back?

Does the new website need to integrate with any existing databases or software?

Will the site be updated in house? Consider who will need access and whether training on updating content should be included as part of the overall plan for the website.

Style/Look and feel

Think about how you would like to site to look. Are you trying to convey particular strengths or values? If you already have brand guidelines include these with your brief along with any other marketing materials which show how you like the organisation to be presented.

Do include details of sites you do like and the sort of style you’d like to achieve. This doesn’t need to be competitor sites.  It could be a completely different industry but a style which your feel would fit your organisation.

Timeframe

Be clear if you have a specific deadline. For example, do you need the site to be ready for an event or to coincide with the start of the Christmas shopping season.  A professional agency will tell you if they can’t meet your deadline saving everyone involved a lot of time, energy and frustration. If there is no hard and fast deadline then an idea of the sort of timescale you would like to work to should be included so everyone has an idea of your expectations.

Budget

The cost of a website can vary dramatically. Including an idea of the budget you have available is always helpful. This can be a set budget or a budget range. This will enable a web agency to look seriously at your brief and consider how they can fulfil your wish list within the allocated budget and timescale.

If you are considering a new website then take a look at our work to see some examples of web design and development projects we’ve worked on.  Or get in touch to discuss your new project and how we can help.