It’s one of those questions we get asked a lot, normally in response to us asking, ‘have you written a brief yet?’ and yet it doesn’t have to be that daunting task you put to the bottom of the list.
If you are tasked with running any kind of digital project, the better your brief, the better your project will run from start to finish.
First and foremost you need to know what you want to achieve with your digital project, and the best way to do this is to write a brief. It doesn’t have to be War and Peace, but the more information you give the better and the more useful the advice you get back will be.
Don’t worry if you don’t, or you haven’t got that far yet because your agency can help with all of this. But the more you do include the better.
If this is a website redesign project, firstly, write down your company website address. Then write a short critique of the current site. You should be thinking about where the site succeeds and where it fails.
Listing your main competitors is always useful, along with detailing some of the creative requirements. You might not know where to start but you could send over examples of sites you do like, and sites that you don’t. The agency you end up choosing can help you narrow down the creative direction of the new project and the more insight they have of expectations at this stage, the better the service they can provide. If you have seen some design trends or samples or styles you want to emulate, put that down too.
Absolutely critical to mention is the budget for the project. You may think keeping this to yourself will help you get the best price – it won’t. All that will do is potentially waste your time. It’s no good investing hours speaking to, and potentially meeting with, an agency to find out you can’t afford them. A lot of agencies will not discuss your project without an insight into your budgetary expectations.
What is the new website going to be worth to you? How will it impact your business if it hits all the KPIs? How will that affect your bottom line if you don’t run this new project?
In most cases a website is business critical and if executed correctly, it’s the focus point for all of your digital marketing activity. Run right and it will have a massively positive effect on your business. Run badly and it simply won’t. Having a realistic budget from the start lets you narrow down the right level of agency that can work within your budget requirements, and of course dictate the potential solution.
If you genuinely have no idea how much you need to spend, then work out the range that you are able to invest on the project. Many agencies can adapt the solution to fit the budget, so it is important to be open about this from the start.
When considering the budget. You also need to think about ongoing costs. These will be for maintenance and support of the site or app, plus hosting and any third-party systems you might be integrating with.
There are also the ancillary services you should be considering, such as ongoing search marketing, paid advertising, creative design work, updates, metrics and analysis. You might not know what to expect going forward, so make sure you ask all these questions when selecting your agency.
The decisions on content and site structure don’t have to be fixed in concrete at this stage but a rough sketch of the site architecture, or base content requirements, will be needed. Your agency will advise you on fine-tuning this during the project itself, but do give thought at this stage to how much content you think you need.
Beyond the content, next up are any functionality requirements. You will be wanting the website to be mobile responsive for example, if you want it to work seamlessly across multiple devices. If you have specific device or platform requirements, i.e. it has to function with older browsers such as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8, you need to mention this.
What forms, and what features do you require? It’s often worth putting together a wish-list of everything you think you might need. Think past pure content: forms for data capture, registrations, search, listings, booking systems, whatever it is that’s required. The more detail you can add at this stage the better.
We have a basic questionnaire that is sometimes useful to get the ball rolling in terms of building a brief for these types of projects. You can download a copy of that here.
Click the download button to get your PDF copy.
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