How to Properly Brief Your Web Builder

It’s Your Website – Know What You Want

When you’re planning a new website you probably have a vision.  It may not be a well defined vision, but to some degree you probably have a feeling for:

  1. What you want it to achieve – what response you want
  2. How you want people to find it – how you will drive traffic to the site
  3. What information you want to include – what pages you will need
  4. How the navigation should work – how people will travel through the information
  5. How it’s going to look – colours, layout, graphics and so on.

If you haven’t got at least a feeling for that, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board before you even think about looking for a web builder.  Your web builder isn’t psychic (probably) and if you can’t describe precisely what you want, then you could end up with anything.

Don’t Rely on Your Web Builder for Strategy

There are lots of great web builders out there who have a firm understanding of online marketing principles and who will be able to guide you through the process of envisioning and creating an effective website.

And there are some who are quite capable of building you a beautiful website, but don’t necessarily have the marketing know-how to design the strategy behind the site.

It isn’t always easy to tell the difference between the two (or between the third kind of web builder who I’m not going to even mention in this blog!).

Even though you’re relying on your web builder for creativity, and possibly for some strategy, the more you communicate in terms of your expectations, the more likely you are to get an effective website that you love.

The All-Important Brief

Don’t start any creative process without a written brief – unless you love surprises.  Your website is a strategic tool intended to steer your business in a clearly defined direction, and you’re not going to get what you need unless you can articulate the following:

  • Company description
  • Your brand
  • Your audience
  • Objectives
  • Site Map
  • The functionality you need now and in the future
  • Interaction
  • How you plan to generate traffic
  • The response mechanisms
  • Look and feel

The last point may be the toughest – after all, aren’t you going to a web designer so they can work out what it should look like?  Yes and no … it’s their job to come up with something original and creative, but it’s your job to give them some idea of what you want.

Start by finding websites that you like.  They don’t have to be in your industry, and you don’t have to like everything about them, but you need to convey what you like, and why; what you would change and why.  Look at those sites from the point of view of the Home Page layout – what information does it give you room for, and how does it enable you to lead people to other pages.  Is the navigation clear and compelling.  How does the site use graphics? What ability would that design give you to showcase your product or your benefits?

Need some help defining what you need, and making sure it’s done right?  Call 403-816-6255 or email wendy@wordsbywendy.ca and ask about strategic brief writing services.

As a copywriter and strategic marketing consultant, Words By Wendy has the expertise to help you plan your website and communicate your requirements to your web builder.  Get the strategy right, and the design and response will follow.

Call 403-816-6255 or email wendy@wordsbywendy.ca for more information.

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