- Read time: 7 mins
- Tech level: low
- Key point: Your website project will run smoothly and you'll enjoy better results when you start with an effective website briefing document.
- Key resource: go straight to the 'Website brief generator'.
A website brief plays a critical role in any new website project
If you’ve ever been on a long road trip, you’ll know how important it is to plan ahead. Not having a solid plan can mean spending more than you need to (such as paying double the price on last-minute hotels) and wasting time (like not planning your route, which can lead you down dead-ends or stuck in hours of traffic).
In the same way, having an effective website briefing document will ensure your upcoming project will run smoothly. A strong website creative brief will:
- Ensure everyone is on the same page from day one
- Save big on time and money down the line
- Convey the unique selling points and culture of your organization
- Lead you to a distinct and compelling website.
You’ll receive more specific and relevant deliverables when you have an effective brief. By highlighting the values of your organization in your personalized website creative brief, it will be easier to communicate those values on your website. That way, when people visit your website, they’ll know they’re on your website.
Want to save time and effort when writing a website creative brief?
It’s clear how beneficial having a convincing website brief can be, but starting a document like this from a blank page can be difficult. However, this process can become much more manageable by using our user-friendly website brief generator. You can save time, money, and effort with our website briefing document tool because it’s a guided experience and you can start creating your own brief now.
If you’d prefer to start from scratch, then these are four steps for how to write a website brief that will lead to better results.
Step 1. Document your personas
Describing your personas will lead to an increase in conversions and sales and will also help you (or your content producers) produce relevant content that will draw in your target audience.
Defining your personas is essential for your website brief. A persona gives an identity to your ideal customer and gets you to think about them as real people you can empathize with rather than simply numbers and dollar signs.
You can have industry-standard personas with the click of a button when you use our persona generator tool. You will have all the information you need to truly understand and get to know your persona in just minutes, meaning it will be easier and faster for you to finalize your website creative brief.
It’s crucial that the goals laid out in your website brief take your personas into account. Whatever those goals may be, your personas will be the ones on the receiving end of your final deliverable. As your personas are the most important people in your process, all of the content needs to revolve around them.
Step 2. Describe your organization
Your overarching strategy
Your final output/deliverables will be congruent with the values and ideas of your business when your overarching strategy is clearly defined in the website briefing document.
All organizations have a collective goal that they are striving to achieve and that goal must be included in the website brief. It could be becoming the most widely-used flower-delivery service in the nation, having 100 five-star google reviews, making two million dollars in profit, etc. Whatever your strategic goals are, it’s important that you include them in your website brief.
It’s essential that your organization’s goals and how the new website will contribute to it are outlined and explained in the brief. These descriptions have to be clear from the start so that the agency doing the project knows what the new website is trying to accomplish.
When your whole company is working towards a common strategy, it can be easy to forget that outsiders aren’t on the same page as you. This could lead to assumptions about what you think an outside agency may know about your company, but in reality, they only know the information that you provide them. If the main strategy isn’t included in the brief, then the new website won’t be working towards the main goal of the organization.
The final deliverable will better fit within your organization’s brand when you define your brand in your website creative brief. Highlighting what makes your company unique is what helps you stand out from your competition.
By describing your brand in your brief, you will help the outside agency customize the work and make the transition to your new/improved website seamless. Your organization has a tone and voice that your audience has come to expect. It’s like your organization has a personality and the people who come to you for your services/products do so because they like that personality. If the agency completing the project doesn’t know what tone or voice you use in your content or in your designs, then they could hand you a deliverable that doesn’t fit within your organization because it doesn’t sound or look like you.
Step 3. Document your specific goals and/or problems
You can help ensure that the final deliverable matches up with your expectations by defining and documenting the goals of the project in the website creative brief.
Digital agencies aren’t mind-readers (AI isn’t that advanced...yet), so it’s important that you define and articulate the goals of this project so that the people completing the work know what to focus on. Include your organization’s answers to some of the following questions:
- What do you want to see at the end of this project?
- What do you not want to see?
- What will disappoint you?
- What will impress you?
- What does success look like for you?
- How will you be measuring success?
Establish primary and secondary goals
Once you’ve defined your goals, separate them into primary and secondary goals.
Establishing which of your goals are primary and which are secondary is beneficial to the agency so they know where their priorities lie and where they should focus most of their resources. Your primary goals are essential, and your secondary goals, while still important, are not as critical.
A website revamp is a great way to make clear what sets your organization apart while also communicating why you are the obvious choice for what your customer/client is looking for. This is why you should include chief competitors in your website creative brief. This will show the digital agency how you want to stand out from the crowd with your new website.
You don’t want to get lost in the shuffle, and keeping an eye out for your competition gives you opportunities for how you can improve your own organization. However, don’t focus too much of your energy on your competition. Remember, your organization should always be your main priority.
Step 4. Define your scope and timelines
To ensure that your final deliverable meets your expectations, document what you want included in-scope as early as possible. Include what you consider to be the prospective scope of the project in your website briefing document.
Services in scope
If you know you require specific services for this project to meet your desired goal, outline them in the brief. Obviously, the services will depend on the project, but some common services in a website redesign include:
- Content creation
- Content training
- Creative design
- CMS implementation
Similarly, if there are specific services you know you won’t need, you can list those as well.
While specifics such as these can be helpful, you still want to leave room for the experts to come up with a proposal for what they think will be the best way to help achieve your goals. After all, they are the experts and there’s a reason you’re contacting them.
The next step in ensuring the final outcome meets your expectations is defining timelines and deadlines in your website creative brief. Relevant proposals fall within your expectations if those are defined in the brief.
Will this project be spanning over several years and cost several million dollars, or will it be over in two weeks? Most projects will fall somewhere in between these two extremes, but you have to indicate exactly where on the spectrum your project sits in order to receive relevant proposals. If it’s a quick, low-maintenance project, you don’t want solutions that take triple the time you had planned for it.
Typical project milestones include:
- The date the brief and request for quote is sent
- The date the proposal is due
- The launch date for the project.
You should also detail what resources will be needed from the vendor you’re contacting. You may need a full-time content matter expert for three months, or just a weekly one-hour meeting while the project is in progress to fulfil your expectations. No matter the case, establishing what you require helps the agency better use their resources and set the project up for success.
Writing an effective website creative brief leads to a smoother project that will yield a successful final product. Each website project has different goals and services, so each website briefing document should be as unique as the project. To get started on your project faster, use our website brief generator. Our generator creates a quality brief that will be helpful to you as well as the outside agencies who will be working on the project. If you don’t want to use our generator, this article has given you the tools for how to write a website brief on your own.