5. Look & feel
Following on from looking at your competitors, or pages that you like – try and describe the ‘look & feel’ of the new site.
“The website is aimed at athletes so we want a clean, modern, and sporting look. A red/white/blue colour scheme like zzz.com would work well and we think this will give a really fresh feel to the site. Cool fonts like the ones on yyy.com might look good. The whole website just needs to ooze sports, fitness, and wellbeing.”
Pay attention to any nice user interface features you like. Do you like lifestyle photography or illustrations? How much of a free reign do you want our designers to have?
6. Technical features & requirements
This section is very important for larger projects. In order to avoid scope creep later into the project (and additional costs) be as thorough as you can here.
Does the site feature user logins? How will registrations be handled, authorised, and managed? What will be on the user dashboard? Describe every single bespoke feature that will be required.
Is the site e-commerce? If so, describe product categories and variations, payment/checkout methods required, shipping cost calculations, shipping tracking, discount codes, any referral discounts etc
API Integration – Will the site need to integrate with any external feeds or APIs – if so, we’ll need thorough detail and actual examples of these.
User profiles – What data will be included? What search criteria?
Established institutions may have in-house coding guidelines – we’ll need to see these.
Also list the general areas of the site that will be required such as:
Social media feeds
7. In-house requirements
Describe how the site will be managed on a day-to-day basis. How regularly will you be updating and adding content? Will any form of data export be required from the site? Other than standard Google Analytics, do you need to gather any more on-going data from the site?
Will you be providing new content for the site? If so, it will be a good idea at this point to plot a rough sitemap in your brief. How many pages will there be in total?
Be clear on who makes up the team for producing this content, and what the approval process is. Supply of content is very often a sticking point in delaying website launches, so start considering this from day 1.
What photography, illustrations or graphics are currently available?
9. Hosting, support & maintenance
Typically you’ll want your chosen agency to host the site for you, alternatively you may have other hosting arrangements – please detail these. How much on-going support do you think will be required for the site? What might you need help with moving forward?
Any modern hosting setup should be secure, provide regular backups, and most of all provide a website that is fast.
10. Online marketing & SEO
So you finally set your amazing new website live, and you don’t get a single visit all year – because nobody knows it’s there. Digital marketing is absolutely vital to the success of your new website. If you already have marketing plans in place, it can be helpful to summarise them.
There’s nothing worse than investing a lot in your brand new website, but then forgetting that you’ll actually need to drive visitors to it. SEO (search engine optimisation), pay-per-click, social media & email marketing have never been more powerful, and any new website requires a well thought out and planned online strategy. Also don’t forget traditional forms of advertising such as print, and definitely don’t forget word of mouth.
Sometimes a timescale might not be of importance – and the project can take as much time as it needs to get right. In other cases, there might be an absolutely vital deadline.
Letting an agency know your timescales will help them better plan resources and run a smoother project from day one. Unsure about how it long it takes to build a website?
12. The future – measuring your success
How will you judge the success of the new website? Do you have sales or visitor targets? A good agency might be able to offer tips and services to help achieve these.
Think of some goals for the first and second year that you’d like to hit.
Yes, your budget! Why do we need to know this?