Set clear and detailed requirements for your website.
How to Create a
Having a website brief will make your search for a website designer a lot easier.
The process for commissioning a website is not as complicated as you may think, so long as you know what to ask for and what your designer should be asking you. A good website brief sets a clear and detailed list of requirements for your website and lays out what you want your website to achieve.
Let's create a website brief.
About your business
A good design company wants to know all about your business. When I talk with clients, I want to know the history of their business, its present positioning, and where they want it to go.
When writing your website brief, think about including the following:
100 words about your company
How long have you been in business?
How large is your company?
How many people work for you?
A description of your services or products
A list of what makes you different from the rest
About your audience
Your website designer needs to know who your audience is, both now and in the future. Who do you want to attract with your new website design?
List or describe the type of people that need to be influenced by the new website, and describe your current audience.
Your current website design
Website designers learn a lot about what you want when you break down what you already have.
What is wrong with your current website?
What works well on your current website?
How much web traffic do you get?
How old is the current design?
How do you update your content?
Your new website
You have a number of reasons as to why you need a website rebuild. Now that you've established who you are, who your audience is, and what you currently have, it's time to outline your aims.
What do you want your new website to do?
Increase your web traffic
Increase your brand awareness
Add a new functionality, such as a booking calendar or a blog
Make more sales
Become mobile-friendly (this is called a responsive website)
Offer more intuitive contact forms
Who are your main competitors, both locally and nationally?
Are you rebranding?
Will you be adding new content as part of the rebuild?
Who will be creating this new content?
How many pages do you think the new website will require?
Is this more than your current website design?
People who are shopping around for a website often don't want to mention what their budget is. However, if you approach a website designer with a budget, you can make sure you're getting what you want.
A quick Google search will tell you that websites can be built from as little as $25 to 6-figure sums. Provide a price bracket. You may have a budget of $2,000 or $12,000, and that will affect what you get. Tell your designer how much you can spend.
With honesty about your budget, and the same brief sent to every website designer you're considering, you will get similar quotes, but potentially very different solutions.
What budget do you have in place for your new site?
Do you require further marketing to launch your site?
Will you require ongoing support or maintenance?
Is training required for your content manager?
Online and offline marketing
How are you going to let current and new customers know about your new website? Give your website designer as much information as you can. Consider the avenues you will use to promote yourself:
Content-based marketing strategies (blog, news, video)
Your opinion is crucial
One thing that really helps your website designer to gauge your preferences is to see what you like. Provide two or three examples of websites you like, and why. Is it the navigation? Do you like the colours used, or the feel of the images? Is it the voice they use to engage visitors?
Websites you like do not have to be from your industry. A wide selection of sites is helpful. Take time to look around and research, see what is out there. It's also helpful if you provide examples of websites you dislike.
Every client has an idea of when they want their new website to be ready to launch. A considered and thorough website takes a bit of time. Are you launching your new website in conjunction with a product launch, exhibition, or seasonal event? Provide your website designer with a completion date so that your deadline is met.
Most delays are caused by a client agreeing to supply all of the content, then discovering that doing so is quite a task. Your designer can provide content for you, but you must request it upfront so that costs can be factored in with a discount, rather than admitting halfway through the project that you are struggling and can't get the content in.
Photographs take time. Text, headlines, calls to action, and a marketing strategy for new websites take time to create, to amend, and to settle on. All of this needs to be considered in your budget as well as your deadline.