Website Design Brief

While each website we build is unique, most share at least some things in common.  To aid us in designing your website, we have put together some key points and considerations that we would need to understand  to build the website you need.

Section 1: About [Your company]

Business background

[What sort of business are you in? ] Bricks and mortar or online? Retail, service, charity, corporate etc.

Your Elevator Pitch

[this is critical: when you’re asked to describe your company, what do you say? From this will come your website keywords and marketing message – make sure you include your target audience in the sentence

Some examples: “We make custom small business websites for a fixed price” “We offer low cost fixed price accountancy services for small business” “We make unique hand-crafted mosaics aimed at consumers – usually female” “We supply easy to use, professional quality candle making kits to consumers” “We provide an online theory test and hazard perception training service” “We provide domestic plumbing services to households in the Winchester area”]

The Competition

[List your competitors and their website addresses. Are there any aspects of their sites you particularly like, or any you particularly dislike]

Current Marketing Situation

Current Web Provision

[Do you have a website at the moment? If so, please provide the URL along with a list of those things about the existing site you like and those you don’t. Which of the existing features do you definitely want to keep? What’s wrong with your current site? What traffic levels does it get?]

Current Marketing

[Please describe all forms of marketing you use: everything from newspaper ads to direct mail and radio spots.]

Target Audience

[Define your target audience by age, gender, disposable income, interests, jobs etc. Whatever’s needed to design a site that will attract your potential customers.]

Section 2: The New Website

The purpose of the new site

[Is it to sell products/services, attract new clients, generate leads, publicise a bricks/mortar business or event?]

The Site Format

[There are 4 main types of commercial website: brochure, shop, lead generation, membership]

A brochure website is exactly what you’d expect and is often based entirely on a printed brochure. These sites are popular because they’re cheap and quick to put together but they have almost no value when it comes to marketing. This is because there is little relationship between a printed brochure and an effective website. Brochure sites often commit the cardinal sin of piquing the interest of their visitors (often paid-for traffic) only to disappoint them by providing limited further information. When creating a printed brochure, you’re limited to the number of pages and also you want to protect against the data going out of date quickly. Neither of these is true in a web site. A brochure site is a wasted opportunity.

Shop websites, again, are pretty obvious. The best example is Amazon. Ecommerce has been long established and we have plenty of experience of creating sites that integrate with the main payment processors including Paypal and Nochex.

A lead generation website is what a brochure site should be. The aim of a lead generation site should be to get into a business relationship with potential customers. What this means is that, usually by giving something away, you get permission to contact these customers with special offers and further information. This works just as well for bricks and mortar businesses as it does for online businesses. For example, a coffee shop could offer a discount voucher to anyone typing in their email address. This means that, over time, you can continue to provide value to your customers and keep them coming back for more. Borders the book shop does this. This site is a lead generation site. For any client coming to us for a brochure site, we almost always recommend enhancing it so that it becomes a lead generation site. The additional cost is small, the benefit huge.

The aim of a membership website is to get visitors to sign up to gain access to information or features that are worth paying for. Many profitable websites are based on this model including PassYourTheory. The key to this model is having something your potential customers value enough to pay for. Remember that most people expect everything to be free but if you have valuable information or a facility your customers will pay for, this can be very profitable as the running costs are very low.

Marketing

[How do you intend to market the site? Every site should be built with Search Engine Optimisation in mind from the beginning. Are you thinking of using sponsored listings (eg Google Adwords and its equivalents on Yahoo and MSN)? In most cases, this is a good idea even if done very cheaply just to generate some interest. Do you use Adwords etc at the moment? What monthly budget do you have in mind? How many visitors do you aim to attract per month? How many will buy? How much will they spend, on average?]

Feature List

[What features do you need or want for the new site? For example; eCommerce, user registration, online test, newsletter, blog… Do you want a Content Management System that will allow you to edit the site yourselves?]

Design Preferences

[The easiest way to go about this is to list 5 sites that you like the design of (or elements of the design) and explain what it is that you like. These sites do not need to be from your industry although it’s certainly worthwhile looking at sites aimed at your target audience.]

Additional Services Required

[Which additional services (apart from design and development) are you interested in?  Do you want a quote for providing Adwords services, Copywriting*, Flash animations, information architecture etc.]

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