website brief

The success of a web development project depends on how well you wrote the website brief. Anyone building a website needs to make sure they know how to create a website brief. If you begin writing your website brief on the right foot, you will face minimum obstacles in developing an appealing website using an effective project management system.

Whether you are a professional web developer making a site for their client or building a website for your own business, you need to know the requirements and obstacles early on. This helps you agree on the deliverables, objectives, and expected outcomes of the web design project.

When you create a website brief template, you can achieve your targets and goals more quickly. The website brief serves as an outline of what your website will cover and allows you to stay on track throughout the project. It provides you with a guideline that helps you outline the scope and manage the expectations based on what’s decided and agreed upon in the beginning.

a Strikingly user's web design

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

In this article, we will discuss what a website brief is and why it is essential for anyone working on creating a website. After that, we will have a look at the steps involved in writing your website brief.

What is a Website Brief?

A website brief is a document that outlines your web design process. This process may include website requirements, template details, features it will have, tools that you will use, timelines for finishing each phase of web development, and a snapshot of the outcome you’re supposed to get.

The purpose of a website brief is to give you and your client a clear understanding of what you’re doing and what you’re expected to achieve. Your website brief will include the deliverables and milestones, your project workflow, and the agreed-upon post-launch maintenance services if you are a developer.

A website brief also serves as a guide for clients to make an almost accurate estimation of the financial resources required to get their website up and to run. It also gives them an idea of the timeframes of each milestone in the process of website development. When they know the requirements and deliverables and have discussed them with the developer, they can be at peace and monitor the web design process in peace.

Who Creates a Website Brief?

A website brief is usually prepared by the web design business, an individual professional web developer hired by a firm, or the owner of the business looking to get a website developed to showcase their products or services. A contract is signed among all parties involved, and the key information is identified and shared with everyone. This is to help all stakeholders stay interested and on track with the project. All these stakeholders are welcome to participate in creating the website brief template. The final document is sometimes referred to as a web design proposal, but most of the work is done by the one developing the site.

How is a Website Brief Important?

A website brief can serve as a tool for project management in the process of building a website. Without it, the people involved might lose track of the expectations and the exact design required to produce. The brief helps avoid unintentional expansion of the project’s goals and scope, leading to wastage of time and resources.

a project overview or website brief looks like

Here are a few ways a website brief is important for you and your business.

  • It clarifies the direction that your web development process should take.
  • It ensures no time is wasted, as it mentions the timeframe for each task involved in the process.
  • It reduces uncertainties regarding the terms of communication among all parties.
  • It acts as a reference point between you and your web designer.
  • It allows you to identify the long-term goals for your company and your website.
  • It lets you understand and acknowledge the primary purpose of building a website and how it will serve your business.
  • It describes the key features of the upcoming website in detail.
  • It outlines what is necessary to have on your website.
  • It indicates roughly who the target audience of your website will be.
  • It highlights your website’s communication functions to enable your site visitors to get in touch with you.
  • It ensures the standards are met in the website quality as agreed upon from the start.
  • It clarifies the objectives of the overall website building process.
  • It makes the web designer feel good while working on the project.

How to Write a Website Brief?

An effective website brief is clear and thorough. It is better not to leave room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation. Accurately writing your website brief helps you avoid project revisions and save both time and money.

Following are seven points or steps to include in writing your website brief.

1. Provide a Description of the Company or Business

The main part of a website’s content will be a profile of the company or business the website is for. That’s why the entire web design team must be familiar with your business and what it offers. Everyone involved also needs to be familiar with your company’s vision, mission, and values. Hence, these have to be included in the website brief.

 company or services profile of a Strikingly user's website

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

When you provide a business overview to the web design team, it is better to include any expansion plans for your business. The design team can set a foundation for any expected changes in the web design for the near future.

2. Prepare a Project Overview

This is the step where you define the scope of the project in the website brief. You also specify the deliverables and the timeline. Here’s a list of the major things included in the overview.

  • Whether it’s a project for redesigning a website or creating a new one from scratch
  • Any potential obstacles in completing the project on time, and how you can resolve them
  • Details of the deliverables and any additional assets besides the website itself, such as custom email accounts, logo design, web content, etc
  • A brief explanation of what’s not included within the agreed scope of the project
  • The amount of involvement of each stakeholder, especially the business owner, in the overall web design process

Landing page of a Strikingly user's website

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

3. Define the Project’s Objective and Goals

Before starting any project, it is important to know the objectives and goals it is supposed to achieve. The same applies to web development or web design project. As part of your website brief, you’ll have to define why the website is being built in the first place so that the features that are created within the site are in line with the purpose it has to serve.

If you are the web designer, you’ll need to make sure the website design is effective, serves the website’s purpose, and can be prepared within the project scope. You’ll need to focus most on aspects of the design that are the most important to the client.

Examples of some objectives and goals of building a website could be as follows.

  • Increase brand awareness and brand equity
  • Build an email list through website subscriptions
  • Establish a solid online presence for the brand
  • Sell products online through a simple store attached to your website
  • Generate leads and receive inquiries or feedback
  • Serve as a platform for providing key information to the audience about the business.

If the business has had another website in the past, and if it’s still alive, it is better to include a section about it to tell the audience that now you have a new website because your business has made progress. This gives a good impression of your business growth. You can also share information on what worked out well for your business and what didn’t. People like to hear stories of successful entrepreneurs and businesses to get inspiration and imitate their growth.

4. Identify the Audience Targeted for the Website

Next in your website brief, you need to identify the kind of customers your business is targeting. Based on that, come up with the demographic and lifestyle profiles of the targeted audience for your website. This is important for SEO purposes. Once the website is ready, you would want to drive traffic to it. For that, you need to know who you would be targeting and what kind of people you want should visit and browse through your site.

A Strikingly user's website describing who the site owner is targeting

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Once you have identified these details, you need to make sure that your web design matches the preferences and is geared towards attracting your targeted audience. It is worth it to conduct a little bit of research to ensure you do this part right.

5. Research Your Competitors

It is always a good idea to conduct a competitor analysis to find out what others in the industry are doing and how they are operating to make their website a success. You can learn from your competitors’ experiences and avoid making the mistakes that they have made in the past and shared. You can also observe the features some of your successful competitors have built on their website, and try to imitate or improve on those to include in your website. It is best to include the details of your competitor analysis in your website brief.

6. Create a Project Timeline and Schedule

This step is quite self-explanatory. Your website brief must include a schedule and timeline for project completion.

7. Set a Total Project Budget

The budget is essential to be agreed upon between the web designer and the client. Anything that exceeds the budget as agreed in the beginning will be considered out of the scope of the project. These details must be stated in the website brief.

If you are writing your website brief prepared, it means you are looking to get a website developed for your business. We have good news for you. You can save yourself from all the hassle and cost of getting a web designer to do the job for you.

Instead, you can create a website for your business all by yourself, using the ready-to-use templates we provide at Strikingly. You wouldn’t need to know any programming languages to build a website on our platform. Once you sign up with us, all you need to do is select a suitable template from the options given and start keying in or uploading your web content through the site editor, using our drag-and-drop feature.