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The more you put into thinking about your future website project, the more you will get out from your final product. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Getting a website created for your business means a little bit of work from your part to ensure the best possible results are achieved. By writing a detailed website design brief you can give your freelance web designer (and yourself) a good idea of what the project may involve and what the desired outcomes of the project are.

By planning the site early you can also save a lot of headaches later down the track. Investing time at the start of the project to really think about what you need, often helps produce a much better website, so get a pen and start putting your ideas down in writing!

There are no right or wrong answers here, so put down anything you think my be relevant or useful and don’t worry of you don’t have all the answers as we can fill them in later where needed. Below, you will find some of the things you should consider when putting your brief together, so use this as a guide to start piecing together your web design brief.

Describe your business and your services and solutions.

So lets start with the basics of who, what, where, why, how…Here is your chance to give an overview of what you and your business is about. Why should people do business with you rather than with a competitor? What are your unique selling points? If you have an elevator pitch then let’s hear it. Do you have a slogan or tagline that clearly describes what you do? Who are your main competitors offering the same services (and what are their websites)?

What is your target market/potential customers?

Who will be viewing (or who do you want to be viewing) your website? A website for teenage girls will need to look very different to one for corporate high flyers! If you are not sure then just describe your ideal clients. What are the demographics (such as age, sex, income levels, location, etc.) How will your target audience mostly be accessing your site (via their phones, tablets or desktops)

What is your budget and timeframe for this project?

This can be a touchy subject for some, but by being open with your budget, it means we can get a realistic idea of what is achievable with your budget and make sure a suitable solution is suggested. This is not included so a web designer can just quote whatever your upper budget is, but rather so that they can suggest relevant ideas and solutions on how to get the best bang-for-your-buck!

If you have a set deadline for a project then make sure it is known from the beginning. A “standard” website usually takes 3 weeks from start to finish, but the process can sometimes be fast-tracked where needed. Delays are usually caused when clients fail to provide feedback or content on time so make sure you also have the time to contribute as needed.

What are you looking for?

Why are you getting a new website and what is the big picture for what it should do for your company?

What is the websites purpose? It could be to raise awareness of your services, increase brand engagement, increase inquiries and sales or simply to catch up with the competitors who all have websites already. If you are replacing an existing, outdated website, where was it failing and were there any aspects that should be kept?

What does the website need to show and tell?

Think about what pages you need, what each should do and what content needs to be displayed on each page. Do you need photo galleries, a blog, contact/subscription forms, maps, file downloads etc? Do you need integration with 3rd party services such as email lists, ticket sales or social media?

Do you need to be able to update content and how often? (just a blog, or page content too) What staff will be involved and do they have technical experience with websites? 

How should the website look?

Do you have any current branding such as a logo/business cards/corporate colours? Do you have a particular design style in mind? Do you want a clean/modern/corporate/funky/bold/unique style?

Can you list a few other awesome websites that you like and why. (It doesn’t have to be in the same industry and can even be colours from a photo or layout from a magazine – every little idea may help getting a design you will love!) Are there any styles you do NOT want on your site.

Some extra things to consider

Where is the website content coming from? Is it ready as a final draft? Do you a copywriter, or need content proofing. Do you need a domain name and/or hosting? How many emails are needed? Do you have an budget for marketing the site? (SEO/adwords etc)

And finally, remember that any information you can give can be useful, so put down as much info as you can.