Putting together a website specification

Posted by Martin 29th August 2012

We get a lot of potential clients approaching us and saying “how much would it be for a website?”, although we’re very good at what we do we’ve not quite mastered the mind reading part!!

Writing a specification for a web site is a collaboration between the client and designer/developer and get’s a far better end result as both parties know exactly what’s happening and in which direction the project need’s to go, ideas, functionality and thoughts can also be discussed before any work happens which means the project will no doubt be alot smoother and timescales kept to a minimum.

If we look at this from a different angle, with builders for example, we wouldn’t have them build a extension to our houses without getting everything confirmed before hand and if they put a door in the wrong place it’s not always possible to fix it without major modifications and an increase in price, this is another great thing about having a specification, there’s no nasty surprises in price and function unless new features are added which weren’t originally included.

Planning / Wireframing

So what do we need to discuss to get the ball rolling?

We usually get the clients ideas first before we make our suggestions and write up the final specification, what we usually discuss is the following:

  • A run down of your business, what you do, the way you do it and the ethos of the company, if you are bright, colourful and fun company your web site will look a lot different to a more corporate looking company.
  • Your target market, who would the web site need to be aimed at?, Wht do we need to do to make it appeal to your target market?
  • Is the web site to be an e-commerce site, a brochure site to show off services or maybe a portfolio to show off the work carried out previously?
  • A run down of the pages you think you would like your website to house (ie home, about us, terms and conditions etc). You may have to tie this in with the details below if certain pages need different functionality, does the site need a content management system, to decide this we’ll look at the content you need to change on a regular basis and see what the cost implications are to integrate the CMS or to have us carry out the updates on your behalf.
  • If you require any special functionality, for example if you would need to be able to add your own products or if you would like your clients to be able to perform tasks on the site such as paying invoices online. It’s key to list the functionality you would need as the site owner and the functionality you would like for your clients.
  • Any of your competitors sites which you think we should take a look at to use as a benchmark and also your comments on the sites given.
  • What are expectations/aims for the web site, what do you hope it will bring to your business?
  • What processes can we help shorten whilst we’re building the site, for example Sharon currently types out all our address labels manually, we can save hours buy making the web site do this automatically.
  • How is the site going to be promoted? We can build an incredible site but if it doesn’t get the traffic it’s not going to perform.

Once we have discussed the site and gathered the information we need time is then spent drawing up a full specification with our ideas on how to build the site and how to get the website seen by potential clients.

Of course if any of the above scares you please don’t hesitate to give us a call or book in a visit to our studio in Mansfield and we’ll talk you through anything you don’t understand, we 100% understand this can all seem like a daunting process but it doesn’t have to be.