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How to write a website design brief

Posted by: Clare Rose

Are you looking to upgrade your current website or create a brand new one for your business? Well, we can give you a valuable insight into the process. One; we’re a web design company, and two; we have experience of both spec’ing and tendering for all manner of web projects.

One of the most important elements to starting a website project is to nail the brief. You may know what you want in your head, but getting it down on paper is always the best method. Here’s a comprehensive check list which will give you the basic structure for formulating a brief, ensuring you cover all necessary steps for your preferred web design agency.

About your company:

Your chosen web design agency will need to know a bit about your company in order to get a feel for how they should build your website.

  • Indicate your USPs and the products you sell
  • What services do you provide?
  • Who is your main demographic?
  • Where do you operate? Locally, nationally or internationally?
  • When was the company founded?
  • B2B or B2C?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • Where do you see the business in five years?

Your current website (if you have one):

  • What don’t you like about your current website?
  • What do you like?
  • What platform is it built on?
  • How old is the website?
  • What would you change?
  • Who are the admin users?
  • Where does your website traffic come from? Tablet, mobile or desktop?

You should consider your user customer journey. Skilled agencies have UX designers that will carry out careful wireframing and planning - before a line of code is written - to ensure your website delivers a positive customer journey.
Are you aware of the search impact of changing the structure of your website and the concept of a redirect strategy? A competent integrated agency will handle all this for you ensuring you don’t lose important Google rankings.

The new website:

Write down your aims and what you would like to see on your new website.

  • Do you want to build brand awareness?
  • Do you want to increase traffic?
  • Do you want a more engaging design?
  • Do you want to reduce your checkout abandonment rate?
  • Do you want to reduce your page bounce rate?
  • Do you want to widen your customer base?
  • Do you need a faster website, with heightened performance?
  • Do you need an ecommerce or a CMS-based website?
  • Does your current ecommerce website need to hold more products?
  • Do you require a Magento development?
  • Do you require a rebrand?
  • Who do you aspire to? Give examples so your managing agency can take inspiration.
  • How do you want to ‘sell’ your USPs on your website?

Online and digital marketing:

You want to increase your Google rankings so you’ll need to factor in a digital strategy which will be properly supported by the new website design and build. Keyword analysis, content calendars, competitor analysis and targeted direct marketing will help increase your search ranking and drive customers to your site.

  • Do you need brand new content?
  • Do you need help populating your website with content that you will supply?
  • How about imagery?
  • Can you supply your logo in a high resolution vector graphic format?
  • Do you currently invest in SEO, paid search (PPC, product ads etc.), social media or email marketing? And how important do you feel each channel is to your business?
  • Have you undertaken competitor analysis?
  • Have you undertaken keyword analysis or will you need this handling for you?

Integrated agencies often have the ability to handle all of your marketing capacity from branding and digital marketing to web development, so content and digital strategy is definitely something you should include on your brief.

Getting technical:

The technical requirements of a website are as important as the design and layout. Here is a list of things you will need to address:

  • Do you already have a domain name?
  • What server are you currently on?
  • Will your chosen agency need to provide you with hosting services?
  • If your site is ecommerce, which payment gateway do you currently use?

Budget and timescale:

Having an idea on your spending capacity will enable an agency to match your desires with your spend.

  • Do you have a budget for web development and design?
  • Do you have a separate budget for digital marketing?
  • Do you have a realistic timescale of when you would like the project starting and completing?

If you don’t have a budget, that’s totally fine. An agency will be able to match your desires with a mutually agreeable figure.


Don’t forget to end your web design brief by stating what action you would like the digital agency to take next and how you would like to be contacted.