Understanding your website needs is our job, but to help us to have a clear idea of what your requirements are, a good website development brief is crucial.
Before you or our developers have a nervous breakdown from back and forth briefing, we have put together a quick few points to follow when beginning your web project.
How to brief a website project
When working with an agency to get your dream website developed, it is often a good idea to give a budget you have to allow the agency to look for he best possible solutions to suit your needs within your specified budget. This information is beneficial and often is not given to the agency. For example, if you require an ecommerce website that has complex custom reporting required on a monthly basis, without a budget, the agency may go ahead and give you a fully automated version that has a high cost associated to it, instead of an option that requires the user to click “Download Report” which would have lower cost implications, both generate the same information, but one has a lower cost because it requires some user input.
Website target audience & what your audience wants
The majority of the time when a client briefs an agency to build a website or update an existing website, the user / customer’s wants and needs are not considered as much as they should be. When building a website, the most important reason for having a website is to convert users into customers and retain loyal customers. Without considering what your customers want to see and how they want to view information, your website can be a disastrous failure. One way to find out what your customers want is to ask them, why not send a newsletter / emailer (click here to find out more about email marketing and newsletters) to your customers asking the type of information they would like to see for example.
Another part overlooked in development of websites is “Does it improve efficiency within my business?”. Depending on the type of website or application being developed, staff members within your business may use the system on a daily basis. If the processes of the website or application do not suit the daily needs of the business and how it operates in a real world situation, then the application is no longer effective as it costs money in time. Consider blueprinting the processes of the application prior to development, this is something CodePilot will do with each project dependent on type of website.
Websites that inspire
This is no different to looking at holiday destinations and making a decision on which destination appeals to you, with considerations given to cost, hotel, your travelling partner etc. When designing and developing a website, we take into consideration all our clients needs and requests, especially the style of websites they prefer. Now, we are not saying send through 100 links to different websites with the subject line “I like these”, we are referring to well thought through information. Example, sending a link to us with nothing other than I like this, could mean you like the background image used or the colours, or the fonts, size of fonts etc. But if you send through the same link and a paragraph mentioning that you like the treatment of images on the gallery page, this specific information will help us define a style guide for your website.
Updating your website
This may seem to be a no brainer, of coarse you want to update your own website! right?
With the majority of clients, the idea of updating their own website is definitely something they would like to do, but it is time consuming. But, if you have the time and dedication then definitely consider a content management system which will allow you or a staff member to update the site whenever you need to. Alternatively, contract an agency like CodePilot to do the updates for you.
Deadlines are a good way to make sure that you receive your website within a timely manner. But this is not only a deadline for the agency, it is something that needs to be considered by the client. Building a website is a task that requires input from multiple people, clearly defining who the person is that the website agency can get approvals from and the process of those approvals will drammatically speed up development time. Another under estimated part of the development process, is the responsibility of content. This can be massively under estimated, as it is hugely time consuming to say the least. Make sure you have clearly set out who will collect the content and when the content will be ready by.
Return on investment
Having a website is a great tool, but without reporting on how your website is functioning and whether or not it is converting users to customers can mean the difference between a successful website and an average one. CodePilot offers a solution to this by setting up Google Analytics on your website and on a monthly basis given your business a comprehensive report on how the website it functioning as well as offering solutions to guide you to online success. Make sure to let us know you would like to have a report generated and advice on a monthly basis with your website.