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What to include in a brief for a new website

What to include in a brief for a new website
March 19, 2019 Amy Cooper

what to include in a new website brief

Instructing a marketing agency on a new website can feel like a scary job; you want it to come in on time and on budget and, of course, to knock the opposition out of the park.

A key component in the success of your new website is the time you spend getting the brief right, as the marketing experts at V Formation explain.

By spending some time at the outset of the project to pull together a decent briefing document, you can help your agency get off on the right footing and ensure that what they deliver is in line with your expectations. In this ‘how to’ guide, we set out some of the key questions that your website brief should answer.

12 points to include in a website brief

1. Target audience and users:

Who is the website aimed at? What are their motivations and interests? Why might they be visiting your website?

 2. Objectives for the new website:

What do you want your website to achieve? Is it to raise awareness; sell products; generate enquiries and leads; promote events; share information; build a community? How will you know if the new website has been a success?

3. What works well with your existing site:

Make a list of the aspects of your current site that you like and work well, as well as a list of things that you really don’t like about your current site and would want to avoid in the new site.

4. Share details of other websites that you like:

Consider layout; colour schemes; typography; imagery (eg: do you prefer photography or illustrations).

5. Technical requirements:

Will the website need user logins; ecommerce functionality; download areas; website sign up forms; integration with your CRM or email marketing platform; marketing automation tools and so forth.

6. Brand guidelines and imagery:

Do you have existing imagery in-house, or will that need to be sourced? Set out any brand guidelines in terms of image style and usage.

7. Outline site map:

Provide details of the main sections, sub sections and pages. Excel works well for this – you can attach as a separate document or include as a screenshot within the brief.

8. Content:

Who will provide the content for the new site? How much content can come across from the old site? How often will you be making updates? How will the content be signed off? Read our top tips on writing successful blog content.

9. Maintaining the site:

How much do you want to be able to do in-house or would you rather outsource it all? Are there any restrictions or requirements in terms of programming languages?

10. Timescales:

When does the website need to be live? Include any relevant key dates.

11. Budget guideline:

It’s really helpful to provide an outline understanding of the budget so costs can be allocated appropriately. A higher budget allows more focus on the user experience and bespoke imagery; a lower budget will be focused on delivering the core objectives but with less design time.

12. Hosting and support:

Is hosting required? Who will maintain the site from a technical perspective, such updating wordpress plug-ins?

The best briefs are informative and to the point. They don’t need to be lengthy and prosaic, but they do need to clearly set your objectives, requirement and measures of success.

For help with writing a website brief or finding an agency that can deliver your new website, talk to V Formation, we’d be pleased to help.

A sample of three of our recent website projects are below.