website design brief template & guide

Businesswoman reading a document

Introduction

Welcome to our website design brief template guide. The aim of this article is to help guide you through the process of creating a website design brief. A website design brief is a document that outlines and defines the scope of your new website project. Many business owners make one big mistake and that is not thinking through their business website project.

We have been working in the website design and development  space for over 20 years and this  website  design brief guide is the culmination of our experience. We have worked with many clients over the past 20 years  and we see similar themes happening  with projects  over and over again.

Using this template guide

This  website design brief template guide is exactly that, a guide that you can use to develop a high quality website design brief. Once you have created that brief you will be able to take it to website designers and developers just like us. From there you can get a highly accurate quote and proposal for having your project created.

You can follow the guide creating your brief exactly the way we have outlined or of course take the content and add your own items to develop a more personalised brief. Either way by creating a quality website design brief you will be better positioned then the majority of business owners looking to develop a website project. We have also created a downloadable word document version of the template ready for you to fill in the blanks, download your copy at the bottom of the page

Website development layout sketch drawing

Website Design Brief template Sections

In this section of the guide we will discuss and describe the various sections you will need to complete with your brief. We have set out this section with headings as well as a description and suggestions for each. We suggest that you reference these notes when completing your brief. Perhaps grab our blank template from the bottom of the page and work through it as you go.

1. Background Information

This is the section where you provide background on the website and your website project. There are no limits to how many words to put in here just remember the more in depth your brief the better the end product. In this section you should look to provide the following information:

  • Is this a new website or a replacement website?
  • If it is a replacement website: why are you replacing the website, do you need the website to be built in a staging environment, what is the domain of the current website that is being replaced.
  • What are your business goals for the website, what do you want to achieve from building this website. Remember to make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T goals. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely)

2. Target Audience

This is the section where you provide information relating to your target audience. There are no limits to how many words to put in here just remember the more in depth your brief the better the end product. In this section you should look to provide the following information:

  • Who is your target audience? Describe your target audience taking into account all relevant factors such as age, gender, economic status, where do they live, where can you find them, how do they shop.
  • You may have one or multiple target audiences, make sure to list them all.
  • Do you have an ideal customer profile? if so provide details of your ideal customer.
  • Why will your target market or ideal customer come to your website? Will they come to make a purchase, read articles, write reviews, check pricing, access your contact details or some other reason.

3. Content

This is the section where you provide content information for your website project. There are no limits to how many words to put in here just remember the more in depth your brief the better the end product. In this section you should look to provide the following information:

  • What does your business do? Provide a short summary of what your business does including products, services, business history, and any other relevant information. Try to be specific and focus on breaking down the content items in the summary. Talk about which content is the most important and whether you have photos, text, videos, illustrations etc ready to go. If you need help from a content writer, photographer etc make sure to add that in here as well.
  • Make sure you cover off your privacy statement and terms and conditions as well. Don’t forget these content items are critical to things like your calls to action.
  • If you need to create the content who will be creating it and will it be created with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) in mind.

4. Call to action

This is the section where you provide information relating to your website call to action. There are no limits to how many words to put in here just remember the more in depth your brief the better the end product. In this section you should look to provide the following information:

  • What do you want your website visitors to do when they visit your website? Do you want them to buy from the shop, fill out a particular form, make contact with your business, read your blog posts, sign up to your newsletter or something else.
  • What are the most important calls to action that need to go on your website homepage? Describe these and how you envision them to work from your visitors perspective.

5. Social Media & Sharing

This is the section where you provide social media & sharing information for your website project. There are no limits to how many words to put in here just remember the more in depth your brief the better the end product. In this section you should look to provide the following information:

  • Where do your target audience or audiences spend their time online? Do they watch videos on YouTube or Vimeo, look at pictures on Instagram, follow their favourite influencer on Facebook.
  • Where would you like website visitors to share your content list the platforms and provide links where possible.
  • What social media platforms are you already on, what platforms do you need to have created.

6. Functional Requirements

This is the section where you provide information relating to your website must haves and requirements. There are no limits to how many words to put in here just remember the more in depth your brief the better the end product. In this section you should look to provide the following information:

  • Will you be needing a blog  so that you can create regular articles
  • How about social media streams (embedded social media feeds)
  • How about a members area, learning system or online subscription service.
  • Will you be selling physical products or services using eCommerce.
  • Will you need specific landing pages for different products or services.

7. Design Assets & Design Ideas

This is the section where you provide design related information for your website project. There are no limits to how many words to put in here just remember the more in depth your brief the better the end product. In this section you should look to provide the following information:

  • You should be prepared to provide all of your relevant design assets including logo’s colours, style guide, and any other marketing related materials.
  • If your site is being rebuilt what do you like or dislike about the current site.
  • What are 3-5 websites from any industry that you like the look or functionality of. Be descriptive and explain as much as possible.
  • Who are your 3 biggest competitors and what are their websites? What do you think they are doing right and what do you feel they could be doing better.

8. Technology Details

This is the section where you provide information relating to your website technology. There are no limits to how many words to put in here just remember the more in depth your brief the better the end product. In this section you should look to provide the following information:

  • Who is your domain provider and do you have the passwords and information ready for development.
  • Who is your hosting provider and do you have the passwords and information ready or development.
  • Make sure you have all the information packaged up and ready for transmission once you sign up with a designer and developer.
  • If you have specific email requirements such as Google G-Suite or Office 365 make sure these are documented ready also.

9. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

This is the section where you provide SEO related information for your website project. There are no limits to how many words to put in here just remember the more in depth your brief the better the end product. In this section you should look to provide the following information:

  • Do you have a set of keywords and phrases chosen that you wish your site to be ranked for?
  • Will this be addressed as part of the build or do you need assistance from an SEO provider.
  • How will your SEO success be measured after the build do you have specific metrics? Will you be looking to analyse before and after traffic, referring sites etc
  • Will you be looking at content editing being done with SEO in mind? Will this be done in house or by a third party specialist?

10. Practical Details

This is the section where you provide practical details on your project. There are no limits to how many words to put in here just remember the more in depth your brief the better the end product. In this section you should look to provide the following information:

  • What is your budget for the project? Is it realistic for the site you want to build. What are the priority items and what items can be held over til later if your budget doesn’t cover everything.
  • What is your timeline for the project? Be realistic on how long the project will take and if there is a hard deadline what is the deadline.
  • Who will manage the project? will it be yourself, the design agency or a dedicated project manager?
Web design software

Conclusion

Now that you have worked your way through this website design brief template guide and hopefully created your own website brief as part of the process. As promised the link to download your own blank Microsoft Word template are scattered throughout this page.

If you get stuck or need help with your brief feel free to contact a member of our team. We are more than happy to pass on any additional help to you.

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