If you are thinking about a new website development or revamping your old one then it’s crucial that you provide a well thought out brief for your web developer. This needn’t be a long and complicated document, a carefully composed paragraph is often enough, but you need to have thought about your main objectives. We have tried to come up with a list of the main areas to consider.
Define your goals
We can agree that every business needs a website but like any investment of time and money you need to think through carefully what you aim to achieve.
Breaking it down into these four areas should help:
- Technical goals – do you want to sell online, an online brochure, do you want or need to update the website frequently.
- User experience (UX) goals – make it simple to navigate and improve the customer journey
- Design/branding goals – stay ‘on brand’ with your company image, create a
- Metric-led goals – your website is a valuable commercial asset – make it pay its way
How can your website achieve to generate a good Return On Investment (ROI). For example in April 2015, Google’s mobile friendly update meant that websites that are mobile friendly would be boosted in the search engine results for mobile or tablet users. If your website is not mobile friendly then you will miss out on web visitors.
Ultimately your new website should drive sales and increase revenue.
You need to have an idea of what you want the website to do:
- What is the call to action – do you want visitors to buy a product, sign-up for information, fill out a form, join, download something, view something or a combination of all the above.
- What are your competitors doing – are there ideas that you can ‘borrow’ or avoid.
- What are the technical requirements – do you need a simple to use but powerful Content Management System like WordPress or are there more specific requirements.
- If search engine ranking important and this should be built into the brief from the outset.
Once this process is finished, you can think about target launch dates. Is there an immovable date that the website has to ready by, for example to coincide with an event or particular or time of year? Can you afford any downtime to switch over to the new website and what is reasonable?
Website copy and keywords
Know what your existing visitors are doing on your website using the website analytics. Here is an example list of useful information you can glean:
- Popular pages
- Path through the website
- Most popular time of day and day of the week
- Platforms used, mobile desktop and tablet
- Operating systems and browsers
- Referring sites
- Search queries
You should also research the keywords used by potential customers to find your website using tools like Google’s keyword planner or Wordtracker. These tools enable you to plug in a lists of known keywords so you can view the relative search volumes. Crucially they also provide alternatives so you get valuable information about what terms non-expert might be using to find services or products that you offer.
Once you have this then you can construct a website structure using knowledge based on current and potential users of the website.
The test platform
Make sure your web developers have a test area so you can view and test the website development. The test platform should not be accessible by search engines or easily found by wandering visitors to your website.
Evolution not revolution
A website is not like printed promotional material where everything has to be perfect before you start printing. Websites can be launched when they are fit for purpose with the understanding that some elements may be changed or introduced at a later stage. Sometimes that great idea you came up with hasn’t worked as well as you hoped and you need to rethink. Continuously review your website data to understand what is going on and whether you are meeting objectives.
A new website development should boost your business but you need to do the groundwork. Your web developers should be able to help with this process and it always useful to get them involved as early as possible so you can get the benefit of their knowledge of what is possible and the latest trends in websites, search engine updates and technology.
Get in touch with Dinesh on 07941 686113 or contact us for advice about search engine optimisation and the extra ranking factors for search engine visibility.
For more information
Visit this blog article: Ten Considerations for Briefing Web Developers