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Ten Essential Questions for Creating a Web Design Brief

A website is an essential part of any company marketing tool set. If you want to look credible and established in this day and age, a website is a must have, more than simply a nice bolt on. But if you've never had to design a website before, how can you ensure your web project gets going on the right footing? After all, there's a confusing array of options and you can easily get this wrong, wasting lots of time and money.

Before you get going on your web design project, here are the ten essential questions you should ask yourself in order to write a good brief. Hiring a web design company is the same as hiring any professional designer, the better the brief you create, the more likely you are to get a finished product you are happy with.

1. What specific objectives do you have for your site? Do you want to sell products, generate sales leads, or simply create an online presence for your business and brand?

It is essential that you know exactly what you want to achieve with your site. The difference in functionality, design and cost between a brochure site and an e-commerce site can be enormous. Think carefully about what your objectives are and how you will measure whether your website meets these goals. Your design agency will need your brief to be clear on this.

Tip: think long term. Will your objectives change in the future? If so you might want to build some flexibility into your site.

2. Do your objectives for the website link to your overall business and marketing plan? i.e. will a website support your business goals?

Any marketing program needs to be linked to your business goals in order to be worthwhile. This may seem like an obvious point, but it's surprising how many people jump into building a website, without understanding the wider context or opportunities available to the business.

If you haven't written a business plan or marketing plan yet, then I strongly recommend doing this first. Putting your ideas on paper and spelling out how everything will work (from banking, to premises, marketing, insurance and more) will help you to decide how important your website is to your broader business activity. It will also help you to create a realistic budget for your project.

Tip: Try to keep your business objectives SMART - Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time bound.

3. Have you reviewed the websites you like and dislike and listed the reasons why?

The best place to look for inspiration in web design is obviously the internet. There are millions upon millions of sites online, with many more being added each and every day. If you take the time to look closely you will easily be able to pick out the styles and functionality you like and importantly, what you don't like. These ideas should form part of the brief you deliver to your design agency.

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