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How to Write a Website Brief

December 20, 2015 - Fifteen

So, you’re in the market for a fresh new website, but you don’t know where to begin. Hopefully this little guide will give you some valuable insight into how to draft your very own website brief.

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.

Company Overview

Write a short description about your company, how long has it been in business, what you do and what sectors you work in. Make sure to also include any details about your ethos/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 supplier 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.

Project Overview

Explain to the agency what your current web activities are, does your website generate enough sales or enquiries, is it responsive to 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, pass this onto the agency.

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.

Project Goals & Objectives

This section is very important; as it gives clear milestones and outlines what you are expecting from the service you receive.

Try and include some of your marketing and business objectives here as well, as your website should become a key marketing tool for your business and all elements will need to align to make the investment worth while. Things like the following could be mentioned here:

  • Improved user journey to generate more enquires/sales/donations?
  • Aim to take X% increase through the website in 2015.
  • Improved design and website structure.
  • Mobile Responsive Design.
  • Increase users time on the website, and interaction with the business.
  • Improved SEO visibility.
  • Keywords you want to be recognised for?
  • Provide valuable and relevant information to users.

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.

Technical Requirements  

If your website has some key functionality such as payment gateways, donation integration, school software integration etc please 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, a booking system perhaps, adding  in multi-lingual pages, client logins etc.

If your marketing team have already had a discussion about the website, give an estimation as to what size the site will be, how many pages and sections do you think it will have?

Do you have all the content and images ready to be supplied or will the agency need to supply these for you? If you want to sell products/courses, how many do you have?

Do you have a Google Analytics/Webmaster Tools account that you plan to measure your visitors with?

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 you 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.

Usability Requirements

Does the website require any accessibility features? – IE – ability to change text colour and make text bigger?

If there is any usability testing that needs to be done (outside of the agencies Web Testing), such as testing with internal systems or user testing with key user groups this should be outlined here.

Proposal Responses

Outline what you expect in the proposal, and when you want the proposal by, what format should the proposal be in, and the next steps after the proposal has been submitted.

Proposed Budget

You might have a rough idea of how much you want to spend 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.

Do you need a full breakdown of the costs involved?

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”, enabling you to narrow it down to those who can complete the project within the timeframe and to your budgetary requirements.

Top Tips

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.

We hope the above has been helpful for you, and if you would like Fifteen to take a look at your next Web Project, please get in touch with us.
With our years of experience and expertise in the digital sector, we have many services on offer to match your requirements, whether it be technical or design lead.

Call us today on 0115 932 5151 to discuss your website brief with our team today.

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