How to write a Website Design/Development Brief & free Template
By Mauricio Escobar, Senior Digital Marketing Specialist and Corporate Trainer – eDigital
A website can be a very costly exercise if it is not developed right from the very beginning. Some business owners try to save money by getting websites design and developed the cheapest way possible with no strategic thinking on what the business really needs to get out from a new website.
QUESTIONS BEFORE WRITING A WEBSITE DESIGN / BUILD BRIEF
It is extremely important to have defined:
- Objectives: Your top 2-3 business objectives objectives/ goals
- Key products: Your top 2-3 products/services that generate most of your revenue.
- Sales: Expected online sales via your new website.
- Competition: Your competitors websites’ offering and how you can make that offering even better.
- Website Depth: Amount of product product pages and content pages you expect your website will have in the next three years.
- Content types: Does the website needs to support live chat, video, podcast, images (at what resolutions), infographics, pdf, eBooks, excel documents, word documents, etc.
- Content Management System type: free (wordpress) or paid (Shopify, Bigcommerce, etc) Easiness to update/change content on all pages.
- Internal Users: Amount of administrators and users your new website will have.
- Customers: What are your top 2 customer segments and reasons they buy from you.
- Key Customer interactions: The top 3-4 customer interactions that can be enhance via the new website. A proper wireframe will help on this.
- Key workflows: The most effective workflows for these customer interactions.
- Customer expectations: What’s the expectation from current and new customers when dealing with a business such as yours via online.
- Screen types: does it need to be ready for Mobile and tablet devices? which ones in particular?
- Languages: Does the website needs to be published in different languages?
- Browsers: When testing, which are the top 2 browsers that need to be tested on? Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.
- E-commerce platform to be used: Are you planning to use Magento, Woocommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, other? which criteria you will use to define this.
- Ad placements: Do want to place ads? via Ad server (Double Click for Publishers)? OR via ad network (i.e. google Adsense)
TECHNICAL AND SEO
- Subdomains: How many subdomains do you need and why?
- Web Hosting, Speed and Security: Which hosting will you be using, what speed do you expect? does it need https protocol? why?
- Test server. This is important because it lets you get everything right and test without screwing it up in real time. Even if you have a current website and you are doing the switch without a test server, there’s almost nothing you can do that you can’t recover from, but it’s still best practice to have a plan and have everything tested ahead of time.
- Crawling data of current website so that you know the current state of the website and for comparison purposes.
- Create or update canonical tags. you might say, what the hell is this? well, it is pretty much telling Google some pages are the key parent pages which you want all the SEO juice to go to.
- Update hreflang tags if your current website uses them, or any other tags such as OG tags for that matter. Again, most CMS systems will take care of this, but it’s best to QA it just in case.
- Update any plugins/modules/add-ons to make sure nothing breaks and that nothing contains insecure content. I commonly see internal site search and forms missed.
- Site Map: Create a site map and pass it to Google via Google Search Console.
- Analytics: Google Analytics code to be implemented.
- Social Share buttons and counts
- your robots.txt file needs to be check and most importantly that is not preventing Google from indexing your new website .
The answers to these questions will be fuel when writing a website design/ development brief and discuss it with your website designer/developer.
OK! Youa re now ready to get the website brief template!
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Mauricio Escobar Mármol (BBsMn & MCom) is eDigital Sydney SEO Consultant, Social and Digital Media Specialist. Mauricio has over 11 years experience helping companies to earn new customers and prolong customer lifetime value by effective execution of structured Digital Marketing strategies and executions. Mauricio worked as Digital Marketing Manager for some of Australia’s most visited websites. Mauricio expertise focuses on Website Optimisation, Social Media, SEO/Networks Acquisition Strategies (SEO, SEM, Affiliates, Display) and vendor reviews.