So, you have decided you need a new website. You are now left with a daunting to-do list and a long string of questions. One of the questions most commonly faced is how to explain to the web design agency what you want- if you even know yourself yet! Here are a few key pieces of information that will help create a straightforward brief for your web design agency and give you the kick-start you need for this journey.
1. YOUR GOAL
The best way to establish your own goal is to ask yourself the following questions- What is the most critical commercial goal of your website and what exactly is it that you need to achieve over the next 2-3 years? Technology changes quickly, so your website will most likely need to be updated sooner than you think. It is therefore important that you know what, from a commercial point of view, it is that you want to achieve. This will ensure that your new website is as future-proof as possible.
2. YOUR BUSINESS
Although it may seem that you’re stating the obvious, it is important to give a clear explanation of your business and what you do to the web design agency. The designer may not know that you have a multiple award-winning spa or a championship golf course that draws hundreds of tour groups each year. By detailing the property’s key USPs and outlining what makes it unique, you will give the designers a better understanding of its personality. In this process you should emphasise the priority business segments such as weddings, corporate business, leisure travellers etc.
The next point of discussion should be how you want your brand to be portrayed. It is often the case that when a business decides they need a new website, they also decide to re-brand. It’s important that the re-branding happens first so that it’s signed off before website design commences. People can be easily distracted within the website design stage so it’s important to have a clear starting point in terms of the branding. If you are re-branding, tell the agency when it will be finalised.
3. YOUR CUSTOMERS
Who are your customers? Google Analytics will give you a plethora of information about who your customers are, which you should pass on to your design agency. Again, this information may seem obvious to you, but knowing that most of your customers are aged between 25 – 35 and use mobile devices is key information for designers. Likewise, it is equally as important to know if your customer has an older demographic and if the majority of conversions are on desktop. These nuggets of information can encourage a certain design that appeals to that demographic. Reverting back to the first point, if it is the case that your commercial goal is to change your demographic, this information is influential to the design.
For more information on Google Analytics Reports check out our article on Reports for Hotels.
4. YOUR WEBSITE
Explain what drove the need for a new website. Was is technology based? For example, was your current site unresponsive, difficult to navigate, or did it use flash? There are multiple technological factors that can hinder your website. Or perhaps you are undergoing a re-brand. Is the hotel under new owners? Or do you just want to give it a spruce up and be the best among your competitors?
On the other hand, you might love your current website but feel like a new one is necessary due to its limitations. Tell the web agency what it is that you love about your site. Explain what features and functions you would like to retain or renew from your current site.
5. YOUR NEW DESIGN
Describe how you visualise your new site. At this point you should spend some quality time researching other websites. This will help you to establish what it is that you would like for your site and how you would like your property to be portrayed. As important as it is to tell your web design agency what you like, it’s also important to say what you don’t like. If there is a certain trend of design that you really dislike, don’t keep it a secret! Tell the agency. This will save time in the long run. Provide samples of designs on sites that you like and don’t like. Also, let the Agency know who some of your competitors are.
How would you like to be perceived in the marketplace? What is the tone and feeling for your new website? If you have offline collateral, share this with the agency. It’s important that your marketing material marries well together.
6. THE TECHNICALITIES
Make sure to note down what your domain is, if it will be changing, and if you own it. Do you require the web design agency to host the new website? Do you have any third-party integrations on your current website or will you have on your new website? These are the questions that are useful to consider when discussing the technical side of things.
7. BUDGET & SCHEDULE
What is your timeline for the new website? Do you need to launch the new site on a pre-determined date because of brand launch or end of previous supplier’s contract? It can be surprising how long a bespoke website design can take, so it’s good to have everyone on the same page in terms of expectations.
In terms of the budget, be clear from the off set what exactly you need from your new website.
More often than not, a new website comes hand-in-hand with an abundance of options and decisions to be made. This can potentially lead to confusion and misunderstanding between you and your web design agency. By putting these guidelines into use, you can avoid this completely, setting a clear, detailed plan for them to put into action! Let us know in the comments below if you have any other ideas to help make the process of creating a new website a little smoother.