7 points to consider before writing a term of reference for website development

When you need a new website to promote your business, it is crucial to write a technical task to develop the resource. Like a business plan, terms of reference is a detailed document that guides you through the project. Unfortunately, there is no standard of the same type for writing such a term of reference.

Writing a technical task before starting a project is vital for fixing the conditions. Some of the short instructions focus on explicit details, while others focus on business values ​​and philosophy. In principle, the TOR should cover everything that the client wants from the developer. He can explain and direct the creative team to what the client wants to do down to every single button on each page.

Most often, the studio receives such a task incomplete or contradictory. To avoid this situation, take the time to provide all the necessary information to the developer. You can create a stylish short document in various formats, such as PDF, Google Document, PowerPoint, or Google Presentation, including such a task.

Company and business information

A brief description of the website’s terms of reference should include background information about your company, as the developer needs to know everything about your business. Describe your company’s mission, history, locations, and plans. This information will help the design team better understand you and your business.

Goals and technical details

What are you looking for for a new website? Be specific in your website design style. You may want to raise brand awareness, improve your online presence, increase sales, generate leads, and more. Make your goals clear. You can share your old website to show which parts you want to keep or what not to leave.

If your project is more extensive, you should provide specific details about the website’s specifications and requirements to avoid unnecessary work and additional costs. What will be in the user dashboard? Is this an e-commerce website? If so, you should describe the product categories, payments required – verification methods, shipping cost calculations, delivery tracking, discount codes, and more.

Define your target audience and users

What do you want to achieve, and who is your customer? Describe the type of people you want to target through the website. This way, a new website can be designed for them. You can do some marketing research for existing customers. To identify the customers, you want to reach with a campaign or project on this new website. You need to share demographics and behavioral ideas with the development team.

Design and style

The new style and design of your website should be in line with the brand and its goals. These key elements should also be relevant to your projects and what you are trying to achieve.

Remember the strategic positioning and key links you want to provide to your customers. If you’re going to create a landing page to enter a contest, you would probably want a website with a “live” design to attract and inspire people to view.

Know your competitors

Know about the main competitors in your industry and see what they do, what trends they follow, and then make comparisons. You can tell us what you like about designing their websites, what you would like to borrow from them.

Terms and budget

In the short term of a reference, you can set a specific timeline for your project. During the first meeting with the developer, you can discuss the deadline. If its cost estimate exceeds your budget, you can agree on what you can save without significant losses for the result.

Hosting and maintenance

Formulate your requirements for the website and get recommendations from the developer on hosting. We have already written about the choice of hosting for the website.

Hosting settings should be convenient, secure and provide you with regular backups.


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