So, you’re in the market for a fresh new website, but you don’t know where to begin. Having a web brief will allow you to understand what you are looking for, and what you are expecting from the agency you select. It will give both parties the opportunity to have a clear outline of your expectations and your project.
We’ve put together this little guide to give you some valuable insight into how to write a brief for a website.
Writing a website brief
When you write a brief for a website, with a vision in mind, we recommend thinking about the following headings to ensure you are clear with what you want and agencies can really get to grips with if they can satisfy what you want.
Provide a company overview
Write a short description about your company, how long you’ve been in business, what you do and what sectors you work in. Make sure to also include any details about your ethos and vision, your customer base, any unique selling points and who you consider to be your competition.
By providing this information early on, you will allow the agency to understand the key factors of your business, and provide them with the necessary information to do some initial research before writing their proposal or beginning the project.
Give an overview on your current projects
Explain to the agency what your current web activities are – does your website generate enough sales or enquiries? Is it responsive on mobiles and tablets? Do you have any live digital marketing campaigns?
Outline what may not be working well on your website, as well as any issues or bugs that exist within your current site. Be sure to say what things do work well on your website and if there are any elements that you want to keep or improve. Should the agency think of this as a complete website overhaul (i.e rework the site structure) or should the site structure be kept the same with tweaks as suggested by the agency? If you have a sitemap you want to work from, you should pass this onto the agency.
Be sure to ask yourself; who is going to be using your website? What demographic are you aiming at? Who is the target audience?
Give your main content for the project, and if there is a method or timeline that you want the agency to follow, then outline it here.
Outline your project goals and objectives
This section is very important, as it gives clear milestones and outlines what you are expecting from the service you receive. This should be one of the main components of your web brief.
Try and include some of your marketing and business objectives here as well. Your website should become a key marketing tool for your business and all elements will need to align to make the investment worthwhile. Things like the following could be mentioned here:
- Improve your user journey to generate more leads or conversions
- Improve your design and website structure
- Implement mobile responsive design
- Increase users’ time on your website and interaction with your business as a whole
- Improve your SEO visibility
- Think about keywords you want to target
Outlining these different elements will allow the agency to see what you are expecting from them, giving them the opportunity to exceed these expectations where possible.
Think about your technical requirements
If your website has some key functionality such as payment gateways, donation integration, school software integration for example, you’ll want to outline them here. Your IT department will often know what functionality is involved within the website and what needs to be carried across into a new website.
This section also gives you the opportunity to highlight any new functionality required. You might want to integrate a booking system perhaps, add in multilingual pages or client login pages for example.
If your marketing team has already had a discussion about the website, give an estimation as to what size the site will be and how many pages and sections you think it will have. Think about whether you have all the content and images ready to be supplied or if the agency needs to supply these for you. If you want to sell products or courses, think about how many you have and how this will affect the size of your website.
It’s also worth thinking about how you’ll measure the performance of your website. Do you have a GA4 or Webmaster Tools account that you plan to measure your visitors with? If not, you’ll want to include this in your brief.
Make sure you have some details on your domain and your hosting packages if you have ones already existing, otherwise have a chat to the agency about your requirements. If your website needs to be written in a specific coding language (i.e PHP, .Net. etc) let the agency know. It may be the case that this is better advised by the agency if you’re not sure.
Technical requirements are fundamental when writing a website brief as it also allows an agency to quickly determine if they have the skillset to deliver your project.
What are your usability requirements?
In this section, you’ll want to consider your website’s accessibility features. For example, do you need the ability to change the colour of your text or make the text bigger for your customers?
If you have any usability testing that needs to be done (that is separate to the agencies web testing services), such as testing with internal systems or user testing with key user groups, you’ll want to outline these here.
Give expectations on the proposal responses
So the agency is aware of your expectations, be sure to outline what you expect from the proposal, and when you expect to receive a response by. It’s also worth telling the agency what format you’d like the proposal to be in as well as the next steps after the proposal has been submitted.
Propose a budget
You might have a rough idea of how much you want to invest on your new website. If you outline it here, good agencies will try and aim to provide you with a solution that fits your budget. They may not meet your budget exactly in all instances, but will try and quote as close to the mark as possible. Other agencies may not be able to meet the budget and you may save yourself some time by outlining this from the outset.
Outline your proposed schedule
If you have a deadline or proposed schedule to fit your marketing plan, then outline it within this section. Giving this information, will allow the chosen agencies to either say: “Yes, we can meet that deadline” or “No, we cannot meet that deadline” and this will enable you to narrow it down to those who can complete the project within the timeframe and to your budgetary requirements.
Our top tips for writing a website brief
Above we’ve outlined some of the key factors to consider when it comes to writing a website brief. But here are our top 3 tips for writing your next web brief:
1. Be clear on what you are looking for
Being clear on the objectives for your new website will help agencies to respond appropriately. The clearer the brief, the easier it is for the agency to respond.
2. Be clear on what you don’t want
Being clear on what you don’t want will help you stick to what you believe is right for your business. Always be willing to listen to your chosen agencies ideas and reasons behind their suggestions, as they might say something that will work for you.
3. Do your research
Take a look at what your competitors are doing and at websites you like the look of. Letting your chosen agency know what you like and dislike about these will allow them to make the best recommendations for your business and brand.
Speak to us for help with your next web project
Remember when writing a website brief, have fun! Creating a new website should be an exciting time with lots of opportunity to explore and get creative!
If you think you need help with your web brief or you’d like us to help with your next web project, be sure to get in touch with us. With our years of experience and expertise, we offer a range of different solutions that can help solve your business problems. Take a look at what we offer today.