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How to Build a Brief for Your Website

Being active online has never been more important, regardless of which industry your business sits in or who your target audience may be. From impressing Google with your SEO-driven content, to creating a cohesive journey from social media or email marketing through to purchase, having a plan for your digital strategy is an integral part of success in the modern world of business. 

But in order to build a digital strategy, you need to have an online hub which collects customers and users from every individual journey and provides them with the information and answers they need in order to complete a purchase or reach out to you directly. We are of course talking about your website. 

Your website is the online storefront of your business and is your most valuable resource when it comes to competing in the digital world. So, it follows that getting your website right is pretty important – wouldn’t you agree? That’s why, to help you to navigate the benefits of a great website in the new year, and to support you whether you’re looking for site upgrades, updates, or a whole new look, we’ve created this blog on how to present a great website brief. 

The Importance of a Website Brief

The website brief is what you will provide to your developer or third party design company – such as our team here at Slate. It is the job of a developer and designer to translate your brief into a site which reflects your business vision, portrays your personality, entices your target customer, and ticks the boxes of completing the customer journey to contact or purchase. 

In short, the website brief is your way of communicating what you envision for your website, through to the people who will be bringing that vision to life for you. It is also the touchpoint through which you can ensure that deadlines and timelines and understood and will be your main tool in ensuring that your website is completed to the agreed budget for the project. 

So yes – to cut a long story short, the brief is important.

How to Build Your Website Brief

STEP ONE: Discuss the brief 

Before putting pen to paper or fingertips to keypads, your brief should start with a harmonious understanding of the kind of your website you need for your business. This is a conversation that should be had with all stakeholders, and we recommend that the more insight and input you can gather, the better your long term gain will be – after all, your website will be seen by a great many eyes, and so the more input you can get from different perspectives, the better the odds of creating something that will appeal to the masses. 

STEP TWO: Who are you?

The very first part of your website brief should deal with who you are as a business, what your vision is, and who you want to appeal to and sell to. This deep dive exploration should go into great detail around who the website is being designed for – a decision which will have huge implications on the way that the user experience is designed and navigated during the design and development process. 

During this stage we also recommend communicating information regarding the stakeholders of the business, as knowing this can have an effect on the way certain information is presented. It will also provide your developer or designer with contacts should they have specific questions or challenges further down the line. 

STEP THREE: Create your project overview

Now it’s time to answer some key questions. 

– Is the project a redesign or a new-from-scratch website?

– What do you expect as part of the overall project delivery?

– What obstacles do you anticipate arising, and how can you overcome them?

– What sort of involvement do you expect to have as the client?

– How often do you want the design company to touch base with updates?

– Will you be providing the content yourself, or is it important for your design and development team to have an understanding of your brand’s tone of voice too?

STEP FOUR: Define the goals

What will your website be looking to achieve, and what are your key success indicators with the build and launch of the new site?

This is the information that will help to ensure your design is created and your website is built with its goals in mind – for example pushing visitors towards certain actions, encouraging them to engage, or introducing new products or a new business concept. 

STEP FIVE: Who are your competitors?

When it comes to website design and build, there is a widespread understanding that if something isn’t broken, it doesn’t need to be fixed. In this context, it means that you don’t need to completely redefine the journey or website structure if there are examples of good practice already floating around in your industry. Providing your design and development company with some competitors to your business will give them insight and ideas into how you want your site to look and will let them explore what is already working and driving success in the industry. 

STEP SIX: Your requirements

This is where it gets more detailed, as you need to outline what you want in terms of your design spec, what your ideal timeline is, and what your ideal budget is. This is the step that will likely require some back and forth as both you and your third party negotiate on deliverables and what is realistic and fair for both parties – however, you need to note that work will not be commenced until this is cleared up, so it is an important discussion to have. 

Most design and development companies will operate under set rates for website build projects, so it may be worth collecting a few quotes before deciding on the right company for you. 

To learn more about the website build process, and to collect a quote for your next project from Slate, get in touch with us today. 

Posted: April 2022

Author: Mark

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