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10 Must Do’s For Writing A Website Brief

When you line up your web agency for the first meeting or read their tender document, you’re hoping to be wowed a bit. You want to walk out of the presentation, having read their submission, and know full well that these folks can do the job for you. But are you being fair to them?  Are you giving them enough information in your website brief about you and your business so they can bring their ‘A’ game to the table?

The more informed the agency is, the happier you will be with your site – that’s guaranteed. So, give your web agency a chance to wow and woo you. Start by giving them the full story.

writing a website brief

# 1. Describe Your Business

Talk about your business and put down in writing everything you do, contact details, business name, what industry you operate in, what products/services you are primarily looking to promote on your website – your website does not have to promote/sell all your products and services it can be very focused on specific items.  Give the web agency as much detail as you can so they truly understand your business.

# 2. Objectives of your Website

Do you know why you’re getting a new website or if this is your first site, what are your aims, objectives and expectations? If you can’t tell the agency, how do you expect them to deliver a top class website?

# 3. Current Statistics

You probably have already gathered visitor numbers, bounce rates, traffic source data etc. Supply all the data you can to give an accurate picture of your online presence.  It is also a good idea to give them details of targets you have for the new website, growth in visitor numbers, sales via the website and sales via specific traffic sources.

# 4. Overview of all products/services

List all products and services as this will have a direct bearing on your site structure.   If you have a lot of products and services detail what categories and sub categories of products you have so they can gauge the scope and size of the project and cost accordingly.

# 5. USPs or unique selling points

These form an integral part of your marketing message. This part is all about message and your agency should understand your message comprehensively and visualise how they can communicate that message to the online world.

# 6. Target Markets

It is advisable that your agency knows who your target market is. They may never know it as well as you do but a solid knowledge of your target audience will enable them to design with confidence.  Give them as much detail as possible, break your target market into location, gender, age, socio demographic etc

# 7. Navigation, Wire Frame & Internal Linking

In order for them to present a coherent, online solution, they must be aware of a preferred wireframe or indeed your preferences regarding navigation.

# 8. Content Management System Requirements

If you want to update your own content, you will need a CMS (content management system). Tell your prospective supplier this and ensure it’s something they can supply.  Be specific with your requirements,  if you prefer one platform over another let them know.  Wordpress is an easy to use CMS and a large per cent of businesses use WordPress for their website and/or blog.

# 9. Website Copy

Who will supply the copy and written content for your website? Will you write your own content or will you require a copywriter?  This is an issue that must be agreed beforehand.

# 10. SEO & Social Media

Keep your web agency informed on this level too. They will need to know your thoughts and targets with regard to SEO and social media.   Give them a list of your top 20 target search terms, list the top search terms for your existing website so the optimisation for these can be retained in the new site.   Give them a list of your current social media accounts and where possible let them know what your strategy is for your social media so they can build elements into the site to compliment this.

These are just the top ten. Essentially you must keep your prospective suppliers in the loop as they can only design the website you want – if you tell them what you want in your brief you will get the website you need at the best cost.

So remember – full disclosure ….and the wow factor could be closer than you think! Have you any more suggestions for writing a website brief?

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Images:  ”3d web design concept /

has a passion for all things digital and when Sandra set up her new business in 2010 her main objective was to empower businesses to manage their online marketing in-house at an affordable cost. For 12 years Sandra has been providing online marketing services and a suite of online marketing training programmes for training organisations and SME's in Ireland.

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  • Hi Sandra, thanks for these great pointers. I think the process of developing websites could now be more accurately described as digitising businesses and business models.

  • I’m going to send this on to a couple of people I know Sandra – they asked me what that they had to do to get a website built and you’ve provided the starter list perfectly. Thanks for a great post

  • Sandra, great post.

    I’ve got some things I think are worth adding. A lot of these are very important to protect your investment. My apologies if this is a bit long.

    Every business website should at least have the goal of capturing visitors’ information. Giveaways, newsletter etc. I’d ask them about integration of services like AWeber and Mailchimp.

    You should definitely be asking about how they will be make your site fast and if they can recommend a good hosting platform. Google looks at page speed.

    If they are suggesting a custom or proprietary CMS or management system you need to know what happens if they disappear (has happened before).

    To prevent any delays and excuses, ask them if they have absolutely everything they need before they start.

    Ask how they are going to make sure the site is secure and stays secure, sites get hacked all the time.

    Will your site be mobile responsive or will you have a separate mobile version.

    Will they ensure it’s compatible with all popular browsers (try to avoid flash).

    Do they conduct useability testing or can they recommend someone who does.

    One thing a lot of people assume is looked after is backups. It’s critical you know your data is backed up (offsite) and what to do when there is a site down situation. Your site will go down at some stage, no one has 100% uptime.
    You mentioned SEO above, but it’s worth asking if the site will be built to make SEO easy. Some platforms are better than others.

    If your site is well designed and trafficked it will become very important to your business. Make sure it’s done right and you will sleep well.

  • Thanks Sian, I hope they find it useful.

  • thanks for those great points

  • thanks Niall, yes better description alright. Cannot wait to see what 2013 hold for us 🙂 Happy Christmas

  • Thanks Sian. I appreciate the feedback!

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