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Home > Blog > Design > How to write a website brief: Where to start
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How to write a website brief: Where to start

A short guide to some of the essential points that we look for in a website brief.

Jack Ogston


If you’re after a new website, it can seem like a daunting process. Where do you start? If you’ve got an idea in your head, sometimes the prospect of communicating it to someone via an email or a contact form can border on impossible, so we have put together a guide to some of the essential points that we look for in a website brief.

You don’t have to get it all down in one go, and it’s rare that the initial brief is exactly the same as what ends up being the final website, but there are always certain bits of information that we find super useful.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but is designed to be a guide for anyone looking for a place to start!

1. About your business

First up, it’s handy to get an idea of who you are and what you do. This gives us a good starting point for the website packages and systems that might be required, for example, whether you’ll need an events booking system. If you have a current website, this can give us a good starting point with designs and content too.

2. Requirements and objectives

It’s definitely a plus if you can give us a suggestion of what you’re looking to achieve with your website. Maybe you’re making the transition from a Facebook page to having your own site, or maybe you’re just looking to refresh and update what your online presence looks like – whatever the reason, it’s useful for us to know what you want it to do. Are you looking to drive footfall into your shop, increase bookings at your holiday cottage, or you want to move to an online order system from Facebook Messenger? All that info is good to know.

3. Your audience

Let us know who you’re looking to target with your new site. Is your customer base local, or are you looking to appeal to a nationwide audience? Is there a specific age group you want to appeal to, are your customers mainly male or female, or are you looking to target families? These factors can help us out with the design for the site, as well as the content, and gives us a good idea of who you’re trying to reach.

4. The market

It may seem counter productive, it’s helpful for us to know who your competitors are. If there are local or national businesses within the same industry who are doing what you do really well, then we can look at the things that stand out. Let us know what you think makes you stand out, or if there’s anything that you feel you’re missing – letting us know where you sit in relation to others in the same trade can give us a good indication of what we need to showcase.

5. Your style

Details that can help us define your style are especially helpful to the design team. It could be a layout, a particular colour, or even the way a website makes you feel – it’s all useful. If you already have an existing brand and logo, then we can incorporate the branding guidelines into the designs, but if you’re starting from scratch having a concept of what you like and why will come in handy.

6. Content

If you have any content already written that you want used in your new site, it can be advantageous to incorporate this into the designs too. If there’s certain headings, quotes, or images that you’d like to use on certain pages, then these can be factored in at the design stage as well, if necessary.

7. Budget

It’s really helpful if you can give us a rough suggestion of budget when we’re starting out, although more often than not this becomes clear as a result of the brief itself. We’re not talking exact figures here, but it’s handy for us to know if you’re a startup looking for a website that just has a couple of pages, or a big business with lots of clients looking for all the bells and whistles.

8. Timeline

We always have a lead time when it comes to designs and website development, which varies depending on how busy we are. It’s worth letting us know if you have a certain deadline, for example if you’re working on a brand relaunch or have a specific opening day, so we can factor that in.

9. Contacts

Let us know any key contacts for the website. For example, you might have different people working on the content, or you might need to include certain members of staff in the training. It’s always useful to know who’s doing what from the first instance.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and you don’t have to provide all the information above. Sometimes an idea becomes clear as you’re working through it, so you don’t have to have everything finalised from the get go!


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