Digital Strategy

Writing a foolproof brief for your new website: Part 2

Graeme Ashworth

Hopefully you’ve already read the first post in this three-part blog post series about how to write a killer brief for your new website. In the first post, I focused on how to set the scene of your company and the project, giving key information to enable agencies to understand the context behind your project.

In part 2, we’ll be discussing the importance of getting a shared understanding of where you need the project to go. What will make it a success?

Digital brief

Vision, objectives, and strategy

It’s always useful for agencies to understand the bigger picture. That’s why we would recommend you include a section about your company vision. Here you should share your company-wide objectives, as well as your marketing objectives and strategy.


If you can give clear KPIs, your expectations are set up front. Below are some example KPIs you might set for your project:

Example KPIs:

  • Increase web traffic averages from X to Y per Z timeframe
  • Generate X increase in leads from Y user group in Z timeframe
  • Increase lead conversion rate from X to Y in Z timeframe
  • Increase time on site from X to Y in Z timeframe
  • Decrease bounce rate from X to Y in Z timeframe
  • Increase Net Promoter Score from X to Y in Z timeframe
  • Increase brand awareness from X to Y in Z timeframe

Future solution

This is where you can go into some of the detail about the specific functional and technical requirements you have in mind. This shouldn’t be too detailed, but rather give a flavour of what you think the end product will need to look like. Don’t worry if you don’t know at this point, most agencies should be happy to have a conversation around this to help you understand what the functionality should look like.

No agency could give an accurate quote from the list below, but they will gain an understanding of the type of site you’re looking for and an honest agency will know if they’re geared to deliver this type of solution.

A top level functional specification should include things such as:

Tip: Always ask to see examples of previous agency work and then ask to speak to these clients about what the agency was like to work with, both in delivering this solution and on an ongoing basis.

  • Content Management System - do you have a preference?
  • Ecommerce functionality
    • Integration to fulfilment/ERP
    • Multi-vendor
    • Multi-currency
    • Multi-language
    • Live data such as pricing
  • Membership/accounts area
  • Gated content
  • Triggered email communications
  • Forms
  • Blogs
  • Newsletters
  • Social media integration
  • Integration to other business systems
  • Personalisation and automation
  • Level of accessibility required

Technical requirements should include things such as:

  • Framework preference
  • Mobile responsive/device agnostic
  • Desired page load and under which circumstances
  • Integration with X CRM
  • Integration with any other third party tools
  • Hosting and maintenance
  • Any local market variations of the site

Digital marketing

You may want to think about the digital marketing of your website. After all of the promotion of your website, increasing its visibility and engaging your customers is extremely important to the continued success of the site. Many clients spend a large sum of money to have a website built and then ignore it until it to be needs rebuilt. By investing post go-live, you’re able to make that investment sweat for you and keep delivering returns.

There are a number of digital marketing activities that you could and should consider:

  • Social media marketing
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
  • Email marketing
  • Content marketing - i.e blogs, video content, newsletters, social media
  • Banner advertising on related websites
  • Ongoing keyword research

Do you have the resources and skills to manage these activities in-house, or are these things you would need the agency to support?

By providing answers and insight into each of these things, you will be able to get a flavour of how well an agency is suited to meeting your brief. Do their services align with your needs and do you feel confident they can meet your expectations?

The third and final post in this series will talk you through what you should include around your selection process and the criteria you are using, the budgets you have available, and the timescales you are working to.

For further help on writing a brief for your new website why not give us a call we would be happy to help and also provide a brief template.