Writing a website brief

*For businesses with an online presence, the reality is it takes just 50 milliseconds for people to form an opinion of your website. What’s more is that 48 percent of people say web design is the number one way they determine the credibility of a business, and 38 percent exit a website if they find the layout unattractive. Lastly, a whopping 83 percent of people say a seamless website experience on all devices is extremely important when researching brands online.

But what does this all mean? Website design, user experience (UX) and functionality matter.


A well-designed website can be your greatest business asset. With a high-quality website, your target audience will be able to find you online and easily access information about your product or service and business, and your website will inspire them to take action. If your website is designed well, your audience won’t get confused or bounce away from the page when they encounter clunkiness or (even worse) website errors.

Your website should function smoothly, follow a logical hierarchy and flow of information, accurately portray your brand, and allow your audience to make purchases, bookings, or enquiries (depending on your marketing goals). The aim isn’t to simply have a website: it’s to have a website that does exactly what you need it to do so that you can meet your business objectives.

As a user, navigating a well-designed website feels simple and straightforward. Yet designing an effective, UX-led site requires very careful planning, research and strategy. Let’s dive into the website design and development process, how to know what you need from your website, and how to communicate your needs to a marketing agency or designer.

Why is having a well-designed website important?

There are plenty of reasons why it’s essential to have a website that works well — both in terms of its functionality and in terms of its marketing power. For one, all roads generally lead to your website. There’s no point investing money in advertising and social media plans that direct traffic to a poorly designed website.

Also, investing in a quality website will mean you won’t have to fork out to develop a new one every couple of years. It’s not just that a substandard website will cost you more money in the long run: it’s also the hours you’ll spend being frustrated by a site that doesn’t function how you need it to, and the potential sales or clients you’ll lose along the way.

What do I need to consider when thinking of developing a new website?

At first glance, it might seem as though your website needs are quite basic. But once you start to seriously consider the various components of web functionality, the picture becomes a little more complex.

When helping clients develop a new website, PIER has an extensive list of questions to ensure the client is clear on their needs and that we know exactly what they’re after. Our clients’ responses help form our brief and associated costs.

Some of the questions we will ask include:

  • What activities would you like your users to perform? These might include purchasing products, contacting you, donating, subscribing to e-newsletters, following you on social media, making a booking, downloading information or filtering blog topics in the resources section.
  • What are your main business objectives? Website design requires at least a basic level of marketing strategy. Do you want to build awareness, generate sales, receive enquiries, build an online community, or become a go-to site for resources?
  • What is your brand personality? This will inform the design choices in terms of typefaces, colour palette, imagery and tone of voice for copywriting. Is your brand playful; professional; luxurious; welcoming?
  • What is your point of difference as a brand or business? A good website will make this abundantly clear — and it starts with you having clarity on this point yourself.
  • What do you like about your competitors’ sites? And what do you like and dislike about your current website (if you have one)?
  • Do you need to organise images or photography? Or do you already have a library that you can supply?
  • Which pages do you imagine you might need for the site? As well as a homepage, your website might include pages for ‘About us’, ‘our team’, blog/resources, case studies/portfolio, ‘Contact us’, media, services and a booking page — plus other options.
  • Would you like to be able to update the website in-house? If so, who will do this?
  • Are there any future plans for the business that we need to consider? Such as increasing your services, expanding into other markets etc.
  • Do you have a budget in mind for your website development? What is it? How did you come to that number?

What’s next?

These are just some of the questions we ask prospective clients prior to developing their website. Of course, you might not have all the answers just yet, and we’re here to help if you need some support in determining exactly how your unique website should function.

Below is a copy of our website brief document that forms our initial conversation with businesses looking for a new website. As you can see, we are very in-depth and we get into the nitty gritty detail — because it means you get a high quality website that is designed to maximise return-on-investment (ROI) and go the distance with your business.

When collecting quotes for your website from designers or agencies, we recommend finding out what kind of information they’ll need from you to develop the site. A good agency or designer will ask plenty of questions before providing a quote. The level of detail they go into will also tell you whether you’re likely to end up with a basic, generic website that has limited functionality, or a design that targets your specific audience and has the functionality you require. A more functional website will involve a larger financial investment — but deliver longevity and a greater return.

If you’re thinking about investing in a new website, reach out for our support to identify exactly what you need and ensure your website ticks the strategic and longevity boxes.


* https://bloggingwizard.com/website-statistics/