We all get that our website is like a shop window. It needs to tempt customers through the door and for them to stay long enough to get the information they need, even better to make a purchase. Dressing the window takes a decent amount of thought, planning and the techy bit – a functionality overhaul. And all of this needs a brief – the completing of which can be a lengthy process, but honing what you want to achieve into a simple brief can get the best outcome.

We have just been through this very process to develop our own new website for Vital Agency. After a number of lengthy discussions around making the break from the group website (www.vital.co.uk) and whether to create our own brand or not, we started with…Why?

Why did we need a new name and a new website?

We had been hiding our digital and creative skills within our group site www.vital.co.uk for many years. Our design, content and banding skills were not shining as brightly as they could. Even our existing customers thought of us as more of a technology company than a design agency. We wanted them to see us for who we really are.

What were the objectives?

What was a new website going to bring to the business? For us this is a significant increase in the volume of enquiries across our core offerings: web design, branding and content. Once we have the interest, the team do the job of converting leads into sales. For you it might be key to focus on increasing brand awareness or driving product sales. Defining your objectives is at the very heart of the briefing process.

What does your customer want?

What insight do you have? You’ve got all the content in place and the products to sell or services on offer – but who is listening and what do you want them to do? Don’t assume to know your customers wants and needs, ask them. It doesn’t have to be complicated – we called up a selection of customers to have a chat, sent an email and did a quick survey.

Know what you want and ask for it.

What does the project need to deliver and when by? Be specific if there are essential requirements and/or restrictions? If it’s a complex project, consider providing a full functional specification from the outset. Remember to mention essential elements – your brand guidelines, tone of voice, imagery, social channels, existing blogs. Don’t have these?

Don’t forget the essentials

Have an idea of your budget, if you don’t know how much it’s going to cost – ask for tiered options. Remember any site needs testing, bug checking, user testing in a live environment, post-live work – and most importantly, promotion. Our new website is live now and busy promoting the site through all the relevant channels for us.

A quote from Ismael – Head of Creative at Vital

“When we receive a brief it’s really important that we speak with the client to understand their needs and expectations. It’s our job to come up with the best creative solution, but having an idea of expectations really helps with delivering a collaborative outcome we can all be proud of”

Head of Creative – Ismael

Vital Recommends: if we built your website back in 1996 chances are it’s either up for a long-standing website award…or it needs a little refresh.