Creating a website briefing document which will be sent out to a shortlist of digital agencies is your chance to pitch your business and invite serious input and feedback about your project.
A well written brief should encapsulate all of your requirements, including creative, marketing communications and any technical aspects. You’ll need to provide some background and reasoning for your requirements which help provide context.
Remember - don’t try and describe the solution. That’s what you want the agency to provide back to you.
This blog post covers 9 important points to consider when putting a website brief together. It’s not a conclusive list, but we hope it’s a good starting point to get you thinking.
Starting with a clearly defined objective will help with a successful outcome. We need to understand what you want. YOU need to understand what you want! When the project is completed, everyone involved should be able to look back at the big picture objective and evaluate the level of success.
Make sure that the whole project team is in complete agreement before sending out your brief to suppliers. The success of a campaign or project is determined within the early stages, so take this opportunity to really think about what you wish to achieve. Don’t cut corners at this stage.
Your brief doesn’t have to be overly complicated, but it does need to include some essential information about your project. It will allow any agency reading it to make informed decisions about the best direction to take.
OK, here's what I think you should you include:
Who are you? What is your USP? Who are your competitors and what do they do well or otherwise?
Are you building a website for a new business? Redeveloping a website to make it responsive or because it's in need of a new look? Building a web app? Refreshing your brand? Provide a quick overview so that the agency can understand context.
What business challenge are you hoping to solve with your project? Are you launching a new service, product or business? Are you looking to target new audiences?
Who are the people you'll be reaching out to? What do you know about their demographic, where and how do they consume content? Have you developed a user persona?
Are you launching in a new region, trying to raise brand awareness, increase sales or engagement? Are you doing well with customer retention, but struggling to find new ones?
What aspects of your current website work well? Are customers always coming to you for great content or resources? Are email marketing campaigns bringing in new customers on a regular basis? Are calls-to-action converting visitors to enquiries?
Do you have Google Analytics set up and analyse data regularly? How are your bounce rate, average session duration, number of pages per session, goals and events looking?
If you're looking to build a website or web app, do you need a login area for customers, enhanced search and filtering or complex forms? Do you need an e-commerce platform?
This one is so important. It's so helpful to get this into the project scope right at the outset. Are you restricted by a budget? Are you working towards a certain deadline because of a product or service launch?
The amount of detail contained within your brief will be determined by the type of project. For example, an agile project will list out user stories as requirements, with some technical considerations. A creative brief might include more information about your company background and marketing analysis, leaving lots of room for creative thought.
The brief will be written for a technical or creative project lead. It should provide a level playing field for anyone reading your brief. Everyone should be able to clearly understand you, your business and your requirements.