How To Create a Website Brief

Looking to develop a killer website? Would you like to know what’s the first thing to do while creating a website for your business? It is having a website brief because it is the backbone of your project; the guideline by which you know how to proceed with the task, what to include, what not to and so on.

A website brief is something for which you have to put in serious thought because it is the milestone through which you work. So before hiring a web agency, it is important to draw a very detailed brief to know what all you are targeting with a website

While creating a website brief, it is important to include these points:

1) What is the aim of the business?

Of course, the main reason why every business asks for a website is because they want to attract more people, and more sales. But there are some specific reasons that should be highlighted. The more specific they are, the better the end result would be.

So have clear objectives on what you need from a new website, because you need to explain that to the agency. In fact, this should probably be one of the first sentences in the brief. Next, you can set targets for your project. Are you looking to increase sales, attract more traffic, scouting for conversions?

2) Explain the business

The designer should understand what exactly your business is about, how it is done, what your short-term and long-term goals are, how the brand should be portrayed and where the company is headed? You must answer these questions while preparing the brief:

  • What is the nature of your business?
  • What are the products and services?
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • What is the vision, and how the company is planning to uplift itself in the next 5 years or so?
  • What is the Annual turnover?
  • Who are the main competitors, and how they market themselves online and the success rate of their websites?

3) The need for a website

Are you looking for a fresh new website or a revamp of an old one? If it is a revamp of the old version, you need to be specific about the changes, the design, content etc. These are just some of the many questions that will be addressed in this segment of the website brief.

4) The features needed within the website</strong

Discuss (with the agency you are planning to hire) the important features and functions in the website. Here are some of the important functions that should ideally be included in the brief:

  • Gallery
  • Search Box
  • Integrations to existing systems
  • Forms
  • Google maps
  • Social media
  • Blog
  • Newsletters
  • Membership
  • Ecommerce
  • Sliders

5) The people you are targeting

The main reason for having a website is to have people come to it. Those are your users, and you will be targeting a specific group of people, depending on their age, preferences, lifestyle, geographical location, etc.
The website brief can create a mockup of their profile so it would be easier to know more about them and their needs. For example, this would help you focus on why they should visit your website. This could be Research, Information, Downloading something, Purchase, Comparison, Entertainment, News etc.

6) The content to go in

An important content of the website brief is the content itself. Perhaps you might need to review the old content in the website, and discuss at length on how the new one should be developed and created. And of course, be specific about the images, graphics and multimedia content to be included and their placement. You can also mention the type of content that must go in the website, the frequency of blogs, and the writers/authors, if you have preferences. If not, the agency can always help you choose writers. The crux of this discussion must be mentioned in the brief.

7) The design

The brief should contain details on the website design. It is important to portray your brand’s colours and images in the design and the colour combinations should match your business’s goals and aspirations. Practically, everything that you see in the website is about design, so mention it clearly in the brief.

The design brief of the website will talk about the following:

  • The USP of your company
  • The main attributes that define your company
  • Highlighting the company values

8) Maintenance

The website’s maintenance details must be mentioned in the brief. Maintenance support also covers backups, security, regular updates and so on. The website maintenance will of course depend on the size of the site, it’s structure, hosting server etc.
Who will be performing the ongoing maintenance?
How frequently do you need to update the website?
Who will be the cloud provider?

9) Technical requirements

It is important to know what kind of a website is required, the platform to use, whether it would be an intranet or a regular website that would be hosted on a platform of your choice. If your website is intended for people with limited mobility, for example, people with learning difficulties, hearing impaired and the blind, then a number of technical details will have to be covered. Set a payment provider for e-commerce websites, but this is a process that could take weeks to finalise, so mention that in the brief as well.

10) The budget and timeline

And last, but definitely an important aspect in the timeline would be budget details, and deadline. It would be ideal to maintain a realistic deadline in order to make it work.

Closing Thoughts

The brief is a vital component in website designing. When you take time to document the requirements needed for a project, you can always use it as a point of reference to have a desired outcome.

If you are not sure about the format, then you can always download a free template and just fill in the details. This would save you time, and you agency will find it easier to refer during the course of the project.

Interesting Articles:
Download free templates for creating a web design brief
Interesting of Lewis North on How to write a Brief for a website

Picture Source: REINIER BLONK/ Eran Sandler

The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

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