So, you need a new website. Perhaps you are launching a new business, or perhaps your existing business has outgrown your old website. Either way, chances are that your biggest challenge in getting your new site ready to go live is communicating to your web design team not only the look and feel of what you want for the new site, but also all of the functionality you need it to perform.
You might see a competitor's site that you like and want to copy the structure and functionality of and may think it's a good idea to transfer this across to your own site. However, this has its pitfalls as you're never going to get a bespoke product that fits your business. The best thing to do when engaging a web design agency is to create a brief of your own specific requirements as a business.
Here is a guide to creating a web design brief that will make the process as streamlined and straightforward as possible, ensuring all of your requirements are captured.
Make sure your web design agency knows not only what you do, but also who you are as a company. This includes the basics such as your current site, location etc, but feel free to go as in-depth as you need in order to ensure the agency knows what you're looking to achieve. Give them a good feel for your your culture, your ambitions and the direction you want to go in. Context is always helpful, even if it won't feed directly in to the designs or web build itself.
Be sure to include:
Arguably one of the most important steps when putting together a web design brief for your agency is ascertaining what the objectives are for the site. What are you looking to achieve? What counts as "success" or "failure" of the site? How are you looking to convert users; whether that's through a purchase, having them sign up to a newsletter or even informing them with the unique content on your site.
Give the design team a few bullet points of your short and long term goals. Be as specific as you can as this helps lead the direction the site will go in. For example, if your primary objective is to have users sign up to a newsletter, your web design agency will be able to meet this objective by, for example, ensuring a simple and straightforward site structure with clear Calls To Action (CTA's) leading users to sign up to the newsletter .
Whether you are an established business or a startup, the logo and brand identity play a crucial role in how your website is designed. You may have an existing logo and brand identity that you're wanting to stick with. If this is the case, the logo and brand guidelines should be provided to your web design agency to allow them to make sure everything they create meets these guidelines.
If you are a new business, or if your branding feels slightly out of date, your web design agency may advise refreshing these. When building a new site - this is likely the best opportunity to do so!
The target audience demographics can be very helpful for a web design team to be able to gauge what direction your new website should take. While your existing demographics are very important, it is also worth bearing in mind potential reach for new customers. Once these are ascertained, your web design agency will be able to build your site to suit the key demographics you want to target.
You are changing your website design for a reason, but are there any elements from your existing site that are currently working really well for you? Is there anything you want to transfer over to the new site in terms of functionality? Equally, are there elements you really don't like/don't work well for you at all?
Give your web design agency as much information as you can on your competitors as well as the market your company resides in. Outline the strengths and weaknesses of what your competitors are doing. Feel free to show them examples of websites you like, even if they are for a different product, just always bear in mind that what they build for you won't look identical, but should be more bespoke to your requirements.
Functionality requirements are a major part of the design project. If you wish to have items like a blog, discussion forum, e-commerce, account registration, or specific payment requirements make sure the web design team is aware of them. This is true even if you plan to add something like a newsfeed or a blog in six months. Let the designers know at the beginning of the project, as this will allow them to make the site more future-proof.
Any good web design agency worth its salt will build a website with one eye on SEO. This means the site's design will be structured around what will suit Search Engine algorithms and ultimately ensure your new website is in front of as many relevant users as possible. Ensure your agency has access to your Google Analytics so they are able to optimise this as much as possible to suit your audience.
Having the content for each page of your website before the design process starts can play a big role in how the site is developed, even if it is in rough draft form.
You may already have a plan for hosting, but if not make sure to mention this to your agency who will be able to advise you on your options and the best way forward.