Really thinking through your website design requirements before getting in touch with an agency will save both parties time and money. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and outlining what you want from your website will remove ambiguities and allow the agency to give you a quicker, more accurate quote. It will also make you thnk more subjectively about the role the website will fulfill in your business and help identify your goals and objectives.

Design Specification In order to avoid a website which fails your expectations, saps your budget and wastes your time, it is important to document your requirements and then share these with your intended partner. Based on past experience, I've come up with ten areas which I believe you should include:

1. About your business

  • Your company history
  • Location(s)
  • The products and services that you provide
  • Details on current website
  • Social media channels that you use

2. Your target market

  • Who will use your website?
  • The age and demographics of your target market
  • What will they use it for?

3. Your competitors

  • List 2-5 competitors along with their websites
  • Identify what you like and don’t like about their sites
  • What is your unique selling point over your competitors?

4. Project overview

  • What is driving the project?
  • What type of site are you looking for? (e.g. e-commerce, brochure, business to business)
  • Will it have multiple user accounts and logins? If so, who will need to login?
  • Do you need a blog?
  • Will the content be updated regularly? By who?

5. Key objectives

  • List all the objectives that you want the new site to fulfill
  • Think about all the different users of the site
  • If it needs a backend, what will the site administrator need to do?
  • Include marketing objectives (SEO, paid, social)

6. Budget and timeline

  • Even if you don’t want to share the budget, have a figure in your mind
  • Give an idea of when you’d like to launch the new site

7. Web sites that you like

  • Put together a list of websites that you like the look and feel of
  • They don’t need to be competitors sites
  • Say what you like about each site (e.g. colours, navigation, fonts)

8. Things that you don’t want

  • Identify things that you definitely don’t want on the site

9. Key pages

  • Work out what the key pages on the site will be
  • Will they be split into sections – what should each section include?
  • A simple site may include Home, About Us, Products, Case Studies & Contact Us

10. Expertise

  • Lastly, think carefully about the company that you’re looking to hire.
  • Is it important that they’re local to you?
  • Do they have the important skills that you need?
  • Do they have web developers in their team for any bespoke work?
Once you've collated your requirements and put them down on paper, you can refer to them during the design process and update as you go along. This is a living document and you can use it to record the building of your dream website!


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Gary Hall Gary Hall is based in East Yorkshire, England, and has a background in education, marketing and technology.