How to write a website design brief

We have broken this up into a number of stages to make it more manageable.

If you are reading this, the chances are that you have been given the task of writing a brief for a new website or a redesign of your old website. You're in luck, this set of questions will help guide you through the process. It's not the definitive list of what you will need, but it's certainly an excellent starting point and will serve as food for thought.

Introduction

The web design company will need to know a bit about your company in order to get a feel for how they should design your website. A good starting point would be to list the following:

1.
A couple of paragraphs about your company
2.
The products you sell or services you provide
3. The size of the company. e.g. the number of employees, a rough turnover figure (if you want to provide it – there is a lot of difference between how a £100,000 company and a £100,000,000 company should look!)
4. Are you an international company? If so, which countries?
5. How long have you been established?
6. Describe the company using five or ten words (e.g. young, vibrant, technology-based etc).

The old website

7. If you have got an existing website firstly let the web design company know the URL! (the web address).

Then answer the following questions:

8. What is good about the website?
9. What is bad about the website? (i.e. old colour schemes, out-dated design)
10. How long ago was it built? and who built it?
11. What levels of traffic is it currently receiving?
12. How often do you get a genuine sales lead through the website?
13. Who is responsible for updating the site?
14. In order to meet your requirements, any design agency would need to know where the old website has failed. So also detail anything else that could be relevant.

The new website

You must now examine what you need from the new website. So a good starting point would be to consider the following:

15. Outline the aims of the website (to increase traffic, increase product awareness, generate more sales, offer e-commerce, advertise a new product or service)
16. Who is the target audience? has this changed from the old site? What are their demographics (e.g. Children, Adults, Social Class, Income levels, location etc)
17. Is the new website part of a re-brand or a new product launch?
18. Is there other advertising taking place that the new website should tie in with?
19. What are the unique selling points for your company, your products or your services.
20. What industry are you aiming the website at?
21. Is the market saturated with competition?
22. List a few competitors websites.

The look and feel of the new website

The website should be an extension of any offline media, advertising or branding that you have. It is always helpful to be provided with a brochure, some marketing literature or the annual report to help get a feel for the company, so include them in the brief.

23. In order to get an idea of the kind of site that you like it is worthwhile noting three or four websites that you like. Not necessarily competitors or sites related to your industry – just give a few example sites that you like the colour schemes of, the navigation or the interactive elements.

24. Do you have access to any corporate images? Does your company have an image library? In larger companies, you may find that another cost centre has already spent hundreds or thousands of pounds on photography and used it once. It would make sense to use these images if possible. If your company doesn't have an image library, well it should have and we can build one for you!

25. Another area that is always overlooked is copywriting. Have you got the copy text ready to go into your website? Do you have the resources or skills to create and supply the text to go on the website? If the answer to these questions is no, you will need a web copywriter as well- we can provide this service if necessary.

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