How to write the ultimate website brief in 2023.

What is a website design brief?

The purpose of a creative website design brief is to provide a clear-cut understanding of what’s expected from the website project. They provide an in-depth look at your business, your objectives, desired features and deliverables. As well as a thought-out schedule and a post-launch support plan.

Why is it important? 

Having a captivating website that delivers a positive online experience is pivotal to business success in this day and age. To highlight the importance of a good website for your business, take a look at these eye-opening statistics:

  • First impressions on websites are 94% design-related.
  • 75% of consumers admit to making judgements on a company’s credibility based on the company’s website design.
  • 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.

In order to develop a well-functioning website that relates to your business, you need a write a thorough website design brief.

How to write a website design brief?

1. It’s all about YOU!

Your website should reflect you as a business. It’s a creative space to express yourself. So, in order to help designers understand your business write out an overview of your business. Including a mission & vision statement, values, future plans and the brand image you want to promote to your audience. Make it specific, emphasising what differentiates you from your competitors such as your unique selling point.

As well as this, remember to include your contact information and any stakeholders. It will improve relationships and communication throughout the project.

2. Project Overview

What’s the big idea? A project overview should consist of what you actually want to achieve from the website. What type of conversion do you want from it? This should include the page-for-page content, branding and tone of voice you want to implement.

Old website owners only: If you already own an existing website then you’ll need an additional step. Analyse your current/old website by looking at any technical issues (page errors, mobile responsiveness, poor UX, loading speed etc) and functionality. Looking at how you can improve navigation, presentation, usability and accessibility.

3. Define your goals

Thereafter, you’ll need to set yourself some SMART targets. Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based goals that will help you measure success. This will further help designers understand what you want to achieve. For example, this might be:

  • Increase conversion rate by 2% in the first 6 months of the website launch.
  • Increase time spent on the page by 5-10 seconds in the first 3 months of the website launch.

4. Identify your audience

Identifying your target audience is pivotal to a website design brief. Otherwise, how else will the designers customise the website to their needs?

Include an in-depth customer persona which includes; demographics, psychographics, geographical and behavioural information. Having an insight into what their pain and gain points are can help take user experience to the next level. It can be helpful to imagine the journey your ideal customer would take on your website.

5. Identify your competitors

Additionally, you’ll need to do some competitor research. Looking at their websites and the features/functionality they provide. What works? What doesn’t? What’s their USP? How can you differentiate yourself from them?

Top Tip: Don’t just look into your competitors. Look outside of your industry at other websites. This can give you a fresh perspective of design and functionality.

6. Specifications

Now that you’ve identified your target audience and website purpose, you’ll need to include a full features/functionalities list. Are you an eCommerce store that needs an integrated payment system? What are your shipping requirements? Do you want to include a customer portal?

There’s a lot to consider so do it thoroughly. The more you include the less cost you’ll incur later in the process. If you are not too sure what you’ll need write down the basic requirements and then discuss it with your chosen agency to help you identify what’s best for your business.

7. Make a schedule

Be organised. Set a website development timeline that includes who’s doing what and by when. It’ll help you determine what’s achievable in a given time frame.

Top Tip: Be realistic. The results will be better for you and the agency if you give an attainable time frame

8. Set a budget

Your budget influences what functionality and features you have. So, setting a budget guideline will help the agency depict what your best options are within your price range.

9. Identify your marketing activity

Embedding an overview of your marketing plan will also provide additional support. You need to think about how you’re going to market the website once it’s ready. Consider these channels:

  • Social media
  • Email campaigns
  • Link building
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Direct-Marketing
  • Microsites
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Display advertising

Whilst it’s necessary to a website brief, it’ll help create a cohesive online experience that’s consistent with your brand.

10. Create a maintenance & hosting plan

Finally, you’ll need to write down your hosting and maintenance requirements. Most agencies offer hosting alongside building a website, but, if you wish to go elsewhere make a note of it. Additionally, if you are targeting audiences in different countries then make note of the countries you require servers in. Importantly, hosting must be secure, fast and provide regular backups.

On top of this, make it known to the agency how much maintenance support you’ll need. Do you have someone in-house person to keep track of website maintenance? Or will you need ongoing maintenance from the agency?

Looking for secure Hosting? Find out more here.

Wrapping up…

Writing a thorough website design brief helps all parties involved have a clear understanding of what’s required. It enhances communication between you and the agency to derive the best possible results. As well as highlight any issues early on.

If you are looking for a new website, our specialist developers have decades of experience between them and can help transform your business into a thriving digital presence. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch, or take a look at our portfolio here.

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