This is a post for you, the client. So you want a new website, the old one looks a bit dated and doesn’t do anything fancy. You ring up a web designer and say “I want a new website”, all’s going well so far. Then the designer asks if you have a design brief, which you don’t, at this point the designer may well whip out some prepared question for just such an occasion. However, the only answers you can come up with on the fly are “fresh”, “Clean” and “Wow Factor”. Many a website designer has spontaneously combusted on hearing these words. Though this is good for the job market it does tend to leave a bit of a mess in the office. So with that in mind here are some things to think about when you are getting a website designed.


These are some terms that your web designer may throw at you without realising you have no idea what they are talking about

Blog – A website on which an individual or group of users record opinions, information, etc. on a regular basis.

CMS – Content Management System in this context is a web based program that allows you to easily update and add new content to your website. The most common CMS used is WordPress.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets is a web language that a web designer will use to make your website look pretty.

Development Server – Is a remote computer where your Web Designer will host your website while building it.

Domain Name – Is an the address that associated with your website, e.g.

Field – A large outdoor area of grass often covered with cow excrement, but in this context a small excrement free area inside a Form that you can type data into such as a name or email address.

Form – A set of fields.

ftp details – File Transfer Protocol is a way of transferring files too and from the website’s server. The details are simply the login information.  This consists of Host, Username and Password.

Hosting – A Host is an organisation that owns the server where your website is. They will give you login details in order to access the files that make up your website.

HTML – Hyper Text Mark-up Language is a way of grouping and tagging content to give it semantic meaning and to allow it to be interacted with by other web based languages.

Keywords – Are the words people enter into a search engine.

Linux / Windows – Are two types of operating system used by a server.

Lorem Ipsum – Are nonsensical Latin words used as place holder text to show how and where content may appear.

Responsive Design – This is a relatively new term and relates to how a website will display on a mobile device.

Rotating Banner – normally refers to a combination of images and text at the top of the homepage that change to another image and text after a number of seconds

SEO – Search Engine Optimization is a technique used to try and get your website to rank highly in search engines. And is not in any way trying to get as many SEO keywords into as small an SEO space as SEO possible SEO, SEO.

Server – A remote computer where a website is hosted.

What has the website got to do?

Let me rephrase this question. When people come to your brand new website what do you want them to do? Do you expect them to read something and then call to book an appointment or do you want people to be able to buy products online. Maybe you expect people to come to your site to get the latest information about something.

Having the sites purpose clear in your mind at the beginning will really help your designer structure the build process and prevent frantic rewriting of all the code at the end.

Who is your audience?

Who you are targeting will help determine the style and feel of your new website.

What other websites do you like?

This is a great opportunity to check out what your competitors are doing. Have a look at their sites and note down what you like about them. But don’t just stick to your sector, get the surf board out and surf the web for other things that interest you. An hour here could save loads of time later.

Mood Board

It is sometimes difficult to put into words the style and feel you want your site to portray, so why bother. First, collate all your logos, company colours and marketing literature and send them over in an email. Next accumulate some images of textures, shapes and objects that you think depict how you see your brand.

Content & Images

Your average web designer is not a copywriter and as they are “Arty” are probably dyslexic to boot. As the web design is there to present the content in an appealing easy to view way, it could be argued that the content is the most important bit. So don’t leave it until your website is finished before you think about what to want to say on the website.

Web Hosting

Many projects can be held up at the last minute by the question of hosting. If you already have a website then it must be hosted somewhere. So it is a good idea at the beginning of the design process to find out who is hosting your site and what your account login details are. And while you are at it find out the ftp details and whether your hosting server is Linux or Windows.

If you don’t understand any of the words in the previous paragraph have a look at the glossary.

In conclusion

Web designers are awesome…

Even so you can really help them out with a good design brief.

A good design brief is key to getting the right website at the best price in the shortest amount of time and it saves lives.