Case Study: Planning brief for design / develop new website or update / improve current site

New Website development and website design brief

You need to plan and structure what you want and what you need your website to accomplish, whether your building your own using website design templates or briefing a website developer.

I suggest you document a planning brief for creative and technical development of a new website.

We used the following framework as a planning brief for a new website with a client (Freeman Schwabe).

  1. Business Background
  2. Business Goals and Website contribution / strategy
  3. Website status / performance
  4. Website Challenge / Opportunity
  5. Target Audience
  6. New Design Requirements
  7. Website Positioning – overall look / style
  8. Business / Brand Architecture
  9. Website – specific Needs and Capabilities
  10. Site Map

Website Design Case Study – Freeman Schwabe - Mid 2012

1. New Website – Business Background

Freeman Schwabe is a global OEM of the highest quality die cutting presses and compression molding machines, including the world-renowned brand of SCHWABE presses.

2011 breakthrough year for Freeman Schwabe business.

Top line Sales Revenue increased significantly, with new customers making up 40 % of the overall revenue.   Business Goal is to maintain this level of sales growth.

2. Website Strategy / Internet On-Line Visibility

Freeman Schwabe competes on a global basis in a highly competitive market, and is updating its product range continuously, the website is critical to communicate with past, present and potential future customers. The website contributes as the main contact point for people Requesting a Quote or More Information about Freeman Schwabe products.

3. Current Website status / performance

The significant increase in website traffic in 2011 was a key factor Freeman Schwabe sales growth , the number of visitors to the site doubled in 2011, achieved from better rankings and online visibility with more sales enquiries / sales leads received and converted.

A number of other key factors contributed to overall outstanding business performance:

- manufacturing die cutting presses as OEM in Cincinnati, which required company reorganization and expansion, and quality hiring

- improved cash flow / wise investment of resources with broader development of “in-stock inventory”

- the Schwabe brand name and specialist products e.g Model D clickers, was promoted stronger

- new Blog continues to grow each month

4. Web Site Challenge and Opportunity

  • The goal of the website 2012 is to continue to deliver more Contacts and Leads / RFQ’s, to do this we need to get more Qualified Visitors to the site and convert more of them to Contact Freeman Schwabe or RFQ
  • We need to re-assess what are the Key Topics visitors are searching for, and make Menus easier and quicker for them to navigate – remembering
  • The key challenge is selecting the Top Menu Topics which (along with  related content) get the best ranking / visibility i.e. the site doesn’t have to represent 100% of the Freeman Schwabe business,
  • All the Top Menu Tabs should focus the Key Products & Services
  • Selection of which Keywords to promote is also critical as we noticed in 2011 with popularity of “schwabe” “herman schwabe”

5. Target Audience 

Current Customers and Potential New Customers

Buyers and other people that influence the sale

People searching for cutting presses and cutting systems

People referred to FSM site by friends / colleagues

People to influence the which is a broad from Top to Down business levels and demographic profile

  • senior executive managers
  • finance managers
  • operations / manufacturing managers
  • maintenance managers
  • engineering managers

6. New Website Requirements

The Design should explore new looks and new images / icons to replace the word, especially as people search becomes more mobile.

Draft Menu Structure and Home Page Layout after detailed discussion with client input / feedback

Draft Website Menu Strutcure and Layout 2012

7. Website Positioning – creative overall look / style

- Style: Clean, Clear, Crisp, Contemporary

- Brand Image =  SCHWABE Efficient, Technology, KPI,

Move towards using Capital Font for SCHWABE and using Bank Gothic Font brand image

Eye-catching graphics and specific color-oriented designs to excite and draw in the target audience and from there

  • Shortest clicks / click route to get what information they need
  • Easy to follow

8. Business / Brand Architecture

Brand Architecture Online Visibility Infographic

Brand Architecture Online Visibility Infographic

9. Website – specific Needs and Capabilities

Summary - Specific Needs and Improvements

General – on Every Page

Fresh Clean Clear layout – main content 2/3rd of width of page

(i.e., Google News,………white and space)

Info on every page:  Address, Phone, Address,

Social Links on every page Blog, You Tube, FLickr,

Easy / Impactful Links to RFQ request

Use above the fold more effectively / reduce size of “Featured Item”

- Featured Item should rotate to different subjects

Increase visual Impact of Search Site facility

Front Page

  • Fast track Link to Contact RFQ page

Keep simple and Ideal for Mobile (less tekkie)

  • Icon Images more visible

Differentiate between New Visitors and Returning / Existing Customers

  • Contact Page / RFQ

Differentiate between NEW and EXISTING visitors

  • special incentive for NEW customers?

Incentive to send email

More data collection to identify specific needs

10. Site Map

  • Home
  • Freeman Schwabe – Overview
  • Herman Schwabe – innovator
  • Customers – Testimonials
  • Press Releases – Media
  • Site Map URLs
  • Presses
  • SCHWABE Presses Machines Systems
    • NEW Roller Press
      • Product Spec / Cut Sheet
    • Straight Ram (SR) Beam Presses
    • Clicker Presses Model D, DF, DS
      • Spare Parts Kits – Model D Clicker Presses
      • SCHWABE Clicker Spare Parts Manual
    • Molding Presses Model DG DGHD
    • A7A Auto Traveling Head
    • Jigsaw Puzzle Cutting Press
  • Die Cutting Presses
    • Clicker Presses
    • Envelope Cutting Press
    • Full Beam Press
    • High Speed Press
    • Receding Beam Press
    • SCHWABE SR Straight Ram Beam Press
    • Traveling Head Press
      • Traveling Head CNC 3 Axis with Nesting
  • Compression Molding
  • Kiss Cutting Presses
  • In Stock Presses for SALE
  • Customize
  • Design Build Examples
  • Rebuilds, Retro-fits, Conversions, Upgrades
  • Automotive Interior – Die Cut Parts
  • Cutting Materials Applications
  • Medical Devices Products
  • Accessories
  • Cutting Surfaces
  • COBRA Systems
  • Hot Melt Roll Coaters
  • Support
  • SCHWABE KPI Dashboard
  • Machine Safety Features – FAQ
  • Machine Maintenance Tips – FAQ
  • Technical Service Agreements
  • Contact / RFQ


While there were a number of revisions based on user research and management preferences the new site was launched mid August 2012, and is performing well in search and visitor conversion.

Visit NEW Freeman Schwabe website and send me your comments and feedback.

John Cullen email 




About John Cullen

Internet Marketing, OnLIne Visibility and Social Media Consulting Services.
Experienced marketing professional, with over 25 years experience in global brand marketing, now focused on Internet Marketing.
Living in Cincinnati, Ohio and working with Clients in USA and UK.
Enjoying my new career in SEO and SEM and connecting with people and the speed of a changing world.
Family, Travel, Friends, Painting, Creativity, Celt,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Gravatar Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s