Embarking on a website rebuild or redesign journey is an exciting prospect. It's like renovating your digital home, breathing new life into your online presence and potentially unlocking a higher level of engagement and conversion. But before the bulldozers of code and creativity arrive, a crucial step lies ahead: crafting a clear and informative brief for your chosen development agency. The briefing document isn't just a formality; it’s one of the elements that create the foundation for a successful collaboration, ensuring your vision translates flawlessly into a website that exceeds expectations.
So, before hitting send on that email, we’ve highlighted in this article some useful key points to remember when briefing your development agency.
1. Business and Context:
- Your Story: Begin by introducing your business, its values, and what sets you apart. Share your unique selling proposition (USP) and highlight your target audience. This context helps agencies understand your brand's essence and tailor their approach accordingly.
- Current Landscape: Analyse your existing website's strengths and weaknesses. Identify pain points for both users and your internal team. Have you user research or analytics data available? Then share it! These insights guide agencies in prioritising improvements and avoiding past pitfalls.
- Competition Check: Briefly introduce your main competitors and their online presence. Point out what you admire about their websites and where you see an opportunity to differentiate yourself. This helps agencies understand your competitive landscape and position your website for success.
2. Goals and Objectives:
- Beyond Aesthetics: While an aesthetically pleasing website is essential, a strong focus on your overarching goals is essential. Do you aim to increase brand awareness, generate leads, boost sales, or improve user engagement? Clearly defined business goals and KPIs help agencies measure progress and ensure their efforts are aligned with your needs.
- Layout Your Goals: An effective way to approach this is to employ the SMART framework (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) to lay out and detail your goals. For example, our goal is to aim to "increase online conversions by 20% within Q2" instead of a vague "get more leads." This level of detail gives agencies a more precise roadmap to follow.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Identify the metrics you'll use to track progress towards your goals. Common KPIs include website traffic, bounce rate, conversion rates, and customer engagement metrics. By sharing these with the agency, you establish a shared understanding of what success will be.
3. Defining the User Experience (UX):
- Personas: Describe your ideal website users, their demographics, needs, and behaviours. Building user personas helps agencies design an experience that resonates with your target audience, ensuring every element caters to their expectations and pain points.
- User Journey: Map out the key steps users have to take to achieve their goals on your website. This could involve researching products, signing up for newsletters, or making purchases. Understanding the user journey allows agencies to optimise every touchpoint for seamless navigation and conversion.
- Content Guidelines: Share your brand voice and tone of voice guidelines. Do you prefer a casual or formal approach? Informative or witty? Providing clear content guidelines ensures your website's messaging aligns with your overall brand identity.
4. Functionality and Features:
- Must-Haves: List essential features the website needs to possess. This could include e-commerce functionalities, user logins, content management systems, or integrations with third-party tools. Be specific about desired functionalities and prioritise them based on importance.
- Wish List: Don't shy away from sharing additional features you'd love to see, even if they're not top priorities. This gives agencies insights into your future vision and allows them to propose creative solutions within budget constraints.
- Technical Considerations: If you have specific technical requirements, such as a preferred Content Management System (CMS) or hosting platform, be sure to mention them. This helps agencies assess compatibility and avoid future integration headaches.
- Legal and Compliance Requirements: If your website needs to comply with specific legal standards (like GDPR in the EU), make sure to discuss these requirements. Compliance is not just an add-on but a crucial part of the website’s foundation.
- Security and Data Protection: Security is paramount. Ensure that the development agency understands the importance of data protection and has plans to implement robust security measures. Highlight any other security requirements specific to your business or organisation you might also have.
5. Setting the Stage for Collaboration:
- Budget and Timeline: Be transparent about your budget and desired timeline for the project. While flexibility is appreciated, providing a realistic range helps agencies develop proposals that fit your needs.
- Communication Channels: Define preferred communication channels and frequency. Do you prefer weekly meetings, email updates, or a project management platform? Clear communication channels ensure everyone stays on the same page and fosters a smooth collaboration.
- Feedback Mechanisms: Establish a clear feedback loop for sharing your input during the development process. Whether through wireframes, prototypes, or regular demos, having a defined feedback mechanism ensures your voice is heard and incorporated into the final product.
To summarise, by addressing the aforementioned key points in your brief, you will lay the foundation for a successful website rebuild or redesign journey and also mitigate risks. Remember, clear communication and shared understanding are key. If you invest the time in formulating a comprehensive brief, then you'll set yourself up for a rewarding collaboration with your development agency, ultimately leading to a website that not only looks visually appealing but also drives remarkable results and improves business efficiency.
Interested in learning more? Then why not get in touch to have a one-to-one session with one of our experts?
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