When business owners and marketers embark on a web design project, one of the first common steps they take is to develop an RFP (Request for Proposal). An RFP outlines the project, budget, timeline, and overall parameters. Once completed, the web design RFP is then usually sent to firms that craft proposals in response.
SEE ALSO: Website Design RFP Template
But when it comes to really making your document accessible and attractive to a potential firm partner, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Describe the project in extreme detail - This may sound obvious, but being clear and having detailed descriptions of your project requirements and expectations are crucial if you want to solicit comparable bids. Consider providing a site map, how many design revisions you might require, and what technical functions your site should perform: Content Management System (CMS), Mobile Responsive Design, E-commerce, Shopping Cart, Blog, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) etc. The more detail you provide in the RFP, the better.
2. Provide backstory and history - If your website has a meaningful history that might be helpful to the firm. For example, if the website has been in operation for 5 years but it has fallen short of expectations in terms of sales or lead generation, share that. If the site has top ranked search engine placement that needs to be preserved in a re-design effort, make that aware.
3. Describe your technology requirements - If you have non-negotiable technical preferences, be sure to describe them in the web design RFP. At the same time, be clear if you are looking for firms to make suggestions or recommendations for you.
4. Own your code (site) - Code ownership is a simple provision to include in your website proposal but it gives you the peace of mind and legal protection you need in case the project does not pan out as planned. A professional website is not a small investment and you should own your site in return for that investment.
5. Discuss your budget and timeline - Whether your budget is small or large, it is always recommended to disclose your budget and timeline within the RFP. This will ensure that the right vendors respond. Many companies are reluctant to do this because they will miss an opportunity to gain a competitive price, but soliciting multiple bids usually takes care of this concern. From design and technology to copywriting and project management, a web project has a myriad of expertise requirements. You should also be clear about which of these roles you are expecting a firm to perform. If a budget or timeline is not disclosed, many firms may assume that the RFP process. An RFP process should never help you to determine your budget, it should help you to determine the best partner in using that budget effectively and efficiently.
6. Share how you’re going to make your decision - Let the firm know how you are making your decision and when. This might really help you to be sure you find the right fit. It is a good idea to be open about how issues like service quality, price, technical strengths, timing, project capacity and references might influence your decision.
7. Content, Content, Content - A critical part of a web design RFP is communicating how large your site will be in terms of number of pages. This will help firms understand how much work will be required. While you don’t have to state an exact number of pages, providing a range (i.e. 5-10 vs. 100-200) really helps a firm understand how to estimate the resources required for the project.
8. Get personal - In this ever growing technical world, we sometimes forget there are people on the other end of the wire. In many cases, it’s a good idea to send a personal letter along with your web design RFP. List a contact person who they can talk with when they have questions about the project. It is not in your best interest to have the bidders working on proposals with unknown variables - the best thing is for them all to feel free to talk to you and find out what you really want.
By taking the process to a more personal level, the project becomes a partnership between you and the firm you hire. This provides a much richer experience, as both parties tend to work on the same level.