Get The Website You Want
Get The Website You Want
So you roughly know what you are looking for in a website – but how do you get those ideas out of your head and onto paper? A website brief is essential in not only helping you get the most out of your developer, but also giving your developer a clear idea on what you are looking for. A good brief will focus on the needs and wants of your business, your colleagues and your clients and will show a developer exactly what you want your website to achieve. Need some help getting started? Read on:
What does your business do?
- Never assume the web company knows what your business is. Break it down into an elevator pitch and cover the basics. Make sure you explain your USP clearly.
- Put yourself in your customers shoes
- Think about what motivates your customers to buy from you
- What do you offer that is different to your competitors?
Who is using your website?
This is a key question to the look, feel and usability of the site. A site for over 50’s will be very different to one targeting teens. If your site is targeting multiple people then rank them in order of how important they are to your business.
- Use your sales and customer data, include details about your customers such as age, gender, income, geographic location and spend
- Write down your customers buying motives
Scope out the competition
Who are your main competitors? What does their website offer that yours currently doesn’t? Or, more importantly, what does their website lack? Use their flaws to your advantage.
- Write a list of your main competitors
- Visit their websites and use as a customer, try to order, make an online enquiry, follow up with a call to see how fluid their on/offline offering is
- Write what you like about the site, write about what you don’t like and why
Know roughly what you want
Details, Details, Details! Now that you know what you are all about, who you are trying to talk to and why you are the best at what you do, you can get into the functionality of your site. Mind Dump. Get it all down, you can edit it later.
- Write a simple workflow of everything you need your site to do
- Involve other departments/team members (if available) as they will see your site differently
- If you can invite your customers to help, you will very likely pick up brilliant and useful advice from them and after all you are creating a site for them
Share your style
There are endless amounts of applications you can use to save examples of work, so get creative! Use Pinterest and create a mood board featuring examples of websites and other work you like, include photography, think colours, design, illustration. This will give your developer a real sense of your design style and the look and feel you are aiming for.
- Collate together visuals and think about good service experiences you have and how it made you feel
Have a clear timeline
Be realistic. Most development companies work to a lead time of 4-8 weeks, so if you send in a brief that wants the job live in 3 weeks’ time you are likely to get few responses or have to pay through the nose. A sensible timescale means the work isn't rushed and deadlines can be met.
- By doing all of the above you will start to get a real sense of the amount of work involved so it should help you be realistic with your timescale
Let's talk money
It may seem too revealing to put your budget in the brief but it really speeds up the pitch process. It allows web development companies to accurately understand your financial requirements and come back to you with what you can get for that money. Be prepared to get pitches that you use up all of the budget.
Marketing is just as important
When thinking about budget, always allocate spend for marketing. A new website will look great and be great to use but this isn’t enough by itself. You will need a strategy to drive visitors and this can be online and offline. In our experience, using experts in their field is most beneficial. E.g. A web company builds the site, a marketing expert gives you strategy, digital marketers give you online presence, etc.
- Write a list of all of the marketing activity you currently do and a list of all the marketing activity you would like to do
- Write down how many more customers/sales you would like
Future proof your project
Ensure that all IP is to be transferred to you at the end of the project. If there are elements that can’t be transferred (such as a CMS system, etc.) make sure you are happy with the terms of any breakup and what the process is. ‘Open Source’ systems are a good way to ensure that you can take the whole project to another developer if you have to.
Think long term
Where do you want your business to be in 2yrs, 5yrs? Are you hoping to expand, add more products/services, attract more staff? Who will manage your site and the content, how skilled are they? Your website should evolve with your business, the more honest you are at the start the easier it will to prepare for some of the forthcoming changes.
- Align your business plan with your web brief
- Allocate budget for future development
- Allocate budget for training
Need more advice?
Writing a web brief can be challenging, there is lots to think about. We have been designing and developing bespoke websites and software solutions for 15 years, the key to a successful project that runs smoothly and to budget is having a well written website brief.
We are impartial, certified and confess that our commitment is to safeguarding your accomplishments.
If you’d like to talk more, we’d love to hear from you: Contact: Ross @ Innershed:
Norwich: 01603 735576