How to brief a web design agency 

So, you’ve decided that you need to create or upgrade your website? Before you rush to choose a web agency and start the project, our advice would be to take some time to draft a web brief.

The process of producing this vital document will help you define your business objectives, website needs, and the audience you want to engage with. Once defined, this brief will guide you and your web agency in agreeing on the objectives and requirements of the project and keep everyone clear on the expectations.

Of course, this original brief may go through revisions as you and your agency deep dive into the project plan and your understanding of the aims. But it’s a great starting point before you start approaching agencies and will avoid misunderstandings as you move forward.

How do you put together a web brief? It’s not as difficult as it sounds so let’s break it down into bitesize chunks…

When do you need a website brief and why?

You need a website brief if you are both creating a website for your new business or updating an existing website with new functionality or design. If your old website is no longer fit for purpose or you’ve gone through a re-brand then creating a website brief will help your agency clearly understand your needs.

Equally, if you’re adding ecommerce to an existing website, your agency will need to fully understand the scope of your business and products.

What is the purpose of a website brief?

  • Brings your ideas to life
  • Provides clarity on your aims and objectives
  • Cements a roadmap for the agency and you
  • Clearly defines the requirements and deliverables of the project 
  • Gives your agency a clear understanding of your existing brand and your future goals

What are the benefits of creating a website brief?

Can’t I just meet with my agency and talk through my requirements for a website? Of course, but thinking the project through clearly and making a plan before you meet with agencies has plenty of benefits…

  • Saves on time (and therefore budget) later on as your agency will charge for time to create the web brief
  • Manages the expectations of client and agency before you start working together
  • Creates a more efficient workflow as you all work to the same plan
  • Makes for a smoother journey with fewer amends
The image shows an agency meeting taking place around a table with staff members looking at laptops.

What should you include in your web design agency brief?

Now you understand the importance of producing a web brief but what should you include in it. We’ve created a checklist for you below and the more detail you can offer, the better for everyone.

  1. Where you are now – your current business and website 
  2. Where you want to be – your objectives for your web project 
  3. What are the problems that need solving to make your business run more efficiently 
  4. Who are your ideal customers? 
  5. Who are your key competitors? 
  6. An overview of your market – current trends and issues 
  7. Examples of websites you like 
  8. Timing plan for your web build 
  9. Budget for your web build

You should allow flexibility in your timing plan as your agency may not be able to start on your project immediately. Equally, the main part of your site may be able to launch earlier, with other elements then added in at a later date. 

Your set budget will allow your agency to recommend the best approach to achieve your goals within a cost you can afford.  

The image shows a laptop sitting on a table with someone pointing at the screen and is part of the blog, ‘How to brief a web design agency’.

Next steps – getting into the nitty gritty

Your web brief will then act as a guide to help your agency scope out the detail of the project. At the end of your initial meeting and conversations around the web brief, you will receive their recommendations and guidance on the scope of work that needs to be undertaken. We call this our Statement of Work and it details everything we’ll deliver for you and the associated costs.

This may include:

  • Features and functionality of your site
  • Copywriting requirements
  • Photography and design assets needed
  • How ongoing maintenance will be managed
  • Analytics and measuring success
  • SEO and marketing – how to get your website seen by your target market

The building blocks are now in place and, once agreed, your agency will begin working on your website and creating a design that falls in line with the expectations set out in these early stages. A sitemap or list of web pages will be agreed upon. You'll then receive design assets, photography, copy and a test site that can be reviewed and discussed before moving on to the final stages of your project.

It’s important to remember that if you haven’t taken the time to clearly define your vision, there may be elements that arise within the course of the build that you haven’t budgeted for. It’s also important that the client liaison has approval from directors and board members to sign off milestones throughout the build, avoiding any complications further down the line.

The image shows web coding on a black computer screen.

Finish your brew…

Our web team are highly experienced and have been creating websites that are both beautiful, functional and complex for many years.

We’ve worked with more pubs & restaurants than any other digital marketing agency.

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