My apprentice blog writing given a whole new outlook!
published by: Jordan
date published: 20 Mar 2018
published by: Danielle
date published: 22 Mar 2018
If you are reading this, you have probably been asked to write a brief for either a new website, or a revamp of a website. Where on earth do you start?? Here are our TOP 9 things to think about and include when giving your website designer your brief.
This might seem like a really simple starting point - but it’s absolutely key to the brief! Never assume your digital partner will simply understand what it is your business or product does. This does not need to be song and verse - just a brief description on what your business does and how you set yourselves apart from your competition. The digital partner you work with will have plenty of customers who each offer a variety of services, so if they understand at this point exactly how your business operates, you will be able to benefit from their experience in similar service operations.
It's a really easy question, but it is one rarely thought of at this stage. What do your clients need your website to do - what function do they need? Do they buy from it? Do they download from it? Do they even know you have a website?!?! (yes, this has been known!) We would suggest you speak to your customers and get them involved in the brief process. Ask them how they think a new website may improve your working relationship with them? Is there something they miss from your current site? Involving your customers in the brief stage will also make them feel a bit special! (yes, I am a BDM so customer relationship is always at the forefront of my mind!!!)
Why? Ask them! Your employees may have some fantastic ideas on how they would like their best sales tool to work. This is a stage very much overlooked. Ask key members of your staff; from the sales team who send out the website address to new and potential clients, to the office team who update the site and add the content. Ask your Managers how a website could free up their staff members time - as this would then allow them to focus on more important tasks - usually winning clients!!!
Note down some websites that you like the look of. Not purely because they look pretty (even though we do love to know the sort of style and images that you like!!!) but because of the functionality of how they work. Have a look at your competitors sites - is there a function within their site that you think your new site would benefit from? Try to be as specific as you can here, as your digital partner will get a great feel of how you want your new site to work. On the other end of the scale - note down any websites you really don’t like too!!!
Why do we need to know this at this point? Designing and building a website does not happen overnight. There are detailed processes in place not just from your Digital Partners side, but also from your side. Who writes the content? Who agrees the design? Who signs off the design? Who pushes the button to go live? Are all your managers and Directors going to be in the same time at the same place to go through designs? BE REALISTIC. Present accurate timings to your digital partner from the start - this will result in a far smoother project. They will then also be able to give you a start to finish timeline from conception to go live! (thats the best bit!!) This will also allow you to think about your website launch and any events or PR you want to schedule in around it!
A what what? Do not worry if you have no idea what this means. (Content Management Systems incase you didn’t know) Find out what platform your current website is built on, the easiest way you find this out is to ask the person or persons who update it - its as simple as that. You may have heard of the CMS system “ Wordpress” which is a themed based platform. Let your Digital Partner know this at the brief stage as they can then advise you about other CMS platforms, like Umbraco and Magento to name but a few (yes, there are HUNDREDS of different platforms!) At this point, your Digital Partner will be able to tell you which platform will be best suited to your business. Do not stress at this point - whichever platform your website is built on - you will receive full training from your digital partner on how to use it!!!
Do you currently measure this on your site? Has it worked? Has it done what it should have done? Did you know you could accurately measure this? Thinking about this at brief stage for your new site will encourage you to be precise in what the current website issues are. This way you will be able to address exactly what you need from the new site. Communicating this to your digital partner at this stage will help them understand all the factors needed to achieve your perfect website.
Why do you need to think about this? Very simple - how do you want the site to progress in years to come? Is there a company vision, to go from a brochure site to an e-commerce site within the next 5 years for example. Also think about ongoing support required - have you thought about SEO or Google Analytics? Have you scheduled in any PR for the new site launch? Do you require ongoing marketing support from your digital partner? Social Media support? Tell them this now, as they will be able to include their experience and expertise into their proposal for you.
This is quite possibly the most important part of the brief, and also one that clients never like to tell. If you don’t have a specific budget, then specify a price range you are happy to spend - “between £5000 - £7000”, “£10,000 - £20,000, or we have a Digital marketing budget of £75,000 for the year” for example. Do not worry, your Digital Partner will not just use the highest figure (or at least they shouldn’t!) They will use this to better tailor their recommendations to you within their proposal. If you do have an unlimited budget though - they will easily be able to spend it!! So please do try to be as honest as possible. Even if you only have a few thousand to spend - they will come up with the best solution/s you can have.
Please do not forget to include us on your list of companies to tender for the development work!! We would love to be your next Digital Partner here at VOX Digital.