The Importance of a Complete Brief, when Having a New Website Designed & Built
Posted on March 28, 2018
In this digital-heavy day and age, everyone really does need a website. Whether you’re a personal trainer, an online fashion clothing store, barbers, a fortune 500 business or any other kind of business – one thing they all have in common, is the need for a high-quality website.
Embarking on the process of having a brand-new website built (or your current one significantly updated) can be an exciting prospect, that fills you with hope & optimism for the future of your business. However, it can also be somewhat daunting, as the majority of people do not have the required skills and knowledge to create a website from scratch.
So, with that in mind, it really is great that so many Web Design & Digital Marketing agencies are out there. The job of these agencies is to take the pressure off you and provide their expertise and industry honed skills to take the web project on and provide a stellar job from start to finish.
Here at Blue Shark Design, we are one of these fully-encompassing Web Design agencies that have successfully provided hundreds & hundreds of fantastic looking websites, that also work incredibly efficiently.
Over the years we have developed a very strong customer base, with clients coming to us for a website build and being so impressed by the work produced, a level of trust has been established, and they’ve come back to us, to commission further projects.
While the vast majority of our customers are new to us, having come to us via word of mouth, referrals, Google searches, etc, we do get clients that have come to us on the back of a bad experience with another agency. When these clients come to us they are often angry, upset, hurt or panicking, because they have paid a lot of money and received a website they were not happy with – this is most often caused by the agency not providing an open channel of communication and a detailed website brief/specification.
Here at Blue Shark Design we have dealt with many clients in this exact position, and it annoys us that there are so many agencies out there, who are not at the very least providing their dedicated customers with a new website brief.
So, with that in mind, we would like to make it easier for any business to clearly understand what they should ask their new agency.
Below we have detailed all aspects that should be included in the website brief, including what should be discussed in great deal throughout the on-going design and build process, and why a constant open channel of communication is so important:
Every website design is unique, so with that it means every project is completely different. However, the creation and presentation of a complete design brief should always be included without fail.
Here are the key aspects that should be in every briefing, no matter what services the client provides:
- Project Description (what exactly is the client asking for and can the agency deliver the request)
- Project Scope (exactly how many pages, what functionality, what features, what software needs to be implemented)
- Services Required (is it new logo branding, new artwork, a complete website overhaul, UX development, etc)
- Target Audience (who is the website to be aimed at? Who will be using the site? Who does the client want to attract to their website?)
- Does a New Logo Need Designing (Is the new website design work to be based around the current logo, or does a new logo need creating, which then matches the rest of the website)?
- Overall Style & Look (How exactly does the client want the website to look and feel – an in-depth follow up discussion with the web designer would be required)
- New Branding (with a brand-new website, aspects such as brand guidelines, fonts, logos, colours, styling, etc will all need to be outlined, detailed and agreed upon)
Before anything is agreed and signed off, the agency should provide a fully detailed breakdown of all costs associated with the entire website design and build project.
This should also clearly explain & detail the cost of any additional services that are not provided as part of the project (eg/ if the website is to be SEO optimized as part of a separate digital marketing campaign, this should be clearly identified for the client)
Previous Work Portfolio
Without doubt the agency should be able to present or provide the client with a host of different examples of previous websites they have built (if the agency can not do this, it is time to consider your options).
This allows the client to get a feel for the quality of the agencies work and allows them to judge their abilities for the job on previous work – if the website portfolio is of high quality, the client will undoubtedly feel more comfortable that they’ve chosen the right web designers.
Here at Blue Shark we provide exactly this – https://blue-shark.co.uk/portfolio/
The website design brief should detail whether or not it will be built using a platform template (do all the agencies websites look & perform in the same way)?
Or is the website going to be a completely custom build?
Content Management System
The website brief should detail what content management system will be used – is it going to be built on WordPress, Magento, WOO Commerce or a completely bespoke platform?
Once that has been established, the brief should also detail whether or not the client will be in a position to make website changes & manage content themselves, or will they be relying on the agency to make changes on their behalf (and if there will be a cost involved each time)?
If the platform allows for the client to make changes themselves, the agency should include some basic training, so that the client fully understands the process and is able to carry out edits.
Will the new website be optimized for mobile and tablet devices?
Despite more and more people now turning to their smart phones and tablets to surf the internet, many websites still aren’t designed to account for different screen sizes – ensuring the new website has been mobile optimized is crucial.
Mobile optimisation examines a website’s design, site structure, navigation, page speeds and much more, as it looks to provide the customer with the best user experience possible and not turn mobile visitors away.
Will the new website be search engine optimized, or does SEO form part of a separate digital marketing service, that the client would need to pay extra for?
If SEO is included in the price of the website design & build, the following should be included in the work:
- The set up of Google Analytics (including the implementation of a UA Tracking Code)
- The set up of Google Webmaster Tools/Search Console
- The set up of complete XML Sitemaps
- The correct set up of Robots.txt, so that Google is able to crawl and index the website
- Meta Titles to be SEO optimized
- Meta Descriptions to be SEO optimized
- Meta Keywords to be SEO optimized
- Heading Tags to be SEO optimized
- Alt Text to be SEO optimized
- URLs to be SEO optimized
- Webpage content to be SEO optimized (by providing written content that is truly unique)
The client should be provided with a direct line of communication with the specific Web Designer & Web Developer who have been tasked with designing and building their website. If the agency is on the larger scale, the client should be assigned a specific Account Manager, who can report all progress and answer any questions during the process.
The original brief should also include a section that details just how the performance of the new website is going to be measured?
The client should outline a set of KPIs (key performance indicators) that will need to be achieved in order for the website to be regarded as a good ROI (return on investment). These KPIs may well be: an increase in online traffic, an increase in online conversions, an increase in brand awareness, etc.
The brief should also very clearly outline the process involved, incase the website breaks or is hacked. If this happens, will the agency fix the identified issues for free or will there be a set price that needs to be paid?
Will the agency have reliable and secure systems in place to prevent this from happening (eg/ a HTTPS version of the website being built)? If so, is there an extra charge to have these systems put in place on the client’s website?