Writing a brief can be a minefield. Get it wrong and you will not get the results you were hoping for from your web designer. Here are some headings that may help you start the brief you have been putting off for weeks. Fear of the blank page is real.

Contact Name – An obvious one

Company/Organisation Name – Also easy. Now your are on your way.

Company Contact Details (Email/Phone number/Twitter/other social platforms)

About your business – Tell your designer about your business and core values.

Does your company already have a website, if so what is the address?

What makes your company different to other companies offering a similar service? – The USP can be difficult to nail down for some but keep at it and it will come to you.

Have you seen other websites that you think we should look at and why? – Not that anyone is going to copy but this gives the designer some reference to what you are looking to expect from the design and functionality you may need.

What do you feel are the primary goals of your website? – This could be purely information, a portfolio of work, sales, conversions, etc.

What would you say are the most crucial element/function for your Website? – Ideas are: user friendly, clear call to action, building awareness of the brand, returning visitors etc.

Who is your primary target audience? – This is an important question to answer. Your designer will design something that is fitting visually for your target audience. Will your target audience be mostly Male, Female, or an equal balance? What age is your target audience? Where are they located geographically?

How do you want your customers to perceive your Company? – Again much like target audience this will give your designer good direction.

List a few words or phrases that you feel best describe the essence/feel of the website i.e. corporate, non-corporate, traditional, hip, subtle, dramatic etc. – These can simply be your core values.

Will you produce your own text for the website, or would you like to use a professional copywriter to research, write or simply edit your text so that it suits the unique requirements of digital media? – Mainly for costing and timing purposes.

Tell us about some of the functionality/interactivity you would expect from the site i.e. Blog, Calendar, Photo Gallery, Forum, RSS Feeds, Mailing List, Members’ Area etc. – All important information. Its easier to get all this down in the beginning rather then adding functions later on.

How many pages do you envisage, for example 5-10 / 10-20 / 20-40 / 40 or more? – Again helps with obtaining an accurate quote and timeline.

Do you require a Domain Name and/or Hosting? – You may already have this but many agencies also offer this service.

Do you require a Content Management System (CMS) i.e. a system that will enable in-house website updates/edits? – Most websites are now created with a CMS such as WordPress. This gives you, the client, control of your content.

If yes, are you intending to populate the site yourself or would you like us to do this for you? – Its generally cheaper to populate the site yourself but make sure your agency will offer you some training on the platform.

Will you want to sell online? – Will your site need a shop?

Do you want to integrate Social Media, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr etc? – Normally the answer to this one is ‘yes’.

Do you have a deadline and if so when is it? – Most sites can take 2-6 weeks so be specific but don’t squeeze your timeline. Be realistic.

Will you provide pictures or should the budget cover purchase of stock photography or the hire of a photographer? – Stock photography which is royalty free is popular due to the low cost but you can’t beat bespoke images so you know no one else is using the same image.

Is website accessibility important, very important or crucial to your organisation/business? – Normally yes. Accessibility is important as you need as many people to access your information with ease.

You may be able to think of a few more things to put in your brief but try not to waffle and overwhelm the designer with research, facts and figures that may not be relevant. Of course, if it is relevant then include the information. We hope this is of some assistance to those that are not used to writing briefs. Good luck.