Website design RFP

There are more than 79,000 web design companies in the United States alone.

When you have a web design project, the best way to narrow down your options and choose the right agency for your project is through a website design request for proposal (RFP).

If you’re not sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place!

Here, we’ll share everything you need to know about a website design RFP, from how to create one to how to send your RFP to prospective agencies and evaluate submissions.

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What Is A Website Design Request For Proposal?

A website design request for proposal (RFP) is a document that includes a detailed outline of your new website’s requirements, project scope, goals, timeline and budget.

In addition to website design, an RFP can also focus on:

How To Structure Your Website Design RFP In 9 Steps

So how exactly do you create a website design RFP? We’ve broken the process down into nine simple steps:

1. Introduce Your Company

The RFP process starts by writing a short introduction about your brand.

This includes a short “about” section of your company, why you need a new website design and a brief outline of what the project will cover.

Keep this section short and direct to avoid overwhelming potential vendors — agencies receive 150 RFPs per year, on average!

2. State Your Budget

Your budget is an important part of the RFP, because it allows vendors to determine whether they can provide the scope of work within the desired budget and respond accordingly.

Your web design cost will depend on three main factors: the expertise of the team members who will work on your project, the agency’s hourly rate and if you will choose a custom or template website approach.

You can also read blog posts, online forums, or client reviews that mention project budgets to better understand how much your web design project should cost.

3. Specify Your Project’s Timeframe And Deadlines

Providing a realistic timeframe and expected launch date for your website design project allows vendors to determine whether they can complete the project by the desired deadline.

Ultimately, a timeframe sets a clear direction for tasks to be completed and keeps everyone involved in the project on the same page.

Ensure that your timeframe also includes hours for reviewing, revisions and approval.

Here are the different deadlines that are important to note on your RFP:

  • RFP Release Date: State your web design RFP’s release date for vendors to see how recent your RFP request is.
  • Response Deadline: Place a cutoff date on your web design RFP to notify vendors when you expect to receive an RFP response from them.
  • Vendor Selection Date: Put a date on your RFP for when vendors should expect a reply from you about your decision.
  • Project Kickoff: Add a date to your RFP for when vendors and their teams should expect to start working on your web design project.
  • Desired Launch Goal Date: Set a realistic date on when you would want your web design project to launch. Typically, a website project can take up to 14 to 18 weeks to complete, depending on its complexity.

4. Define Your Goals

Whether you want to increase sales or educate potential customers about your brand and offering, defining your project goals emphasizes your required design services and the scope of your project.

List your primary goal and secondary goals as needed.

Your web design goals might include:

  • Generate more qualified leads
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Improve your online presence
  • Improve engagement with existing and potential customers

5. Provide Website Examples and Inspiration

Get visual and list examples of websites you like to help paint a better picture of how you’d like your website to turn out.

List around five websites that you like, including their specific URLs and the features that you like about them.

You can also list your competitor’s websites to show vendors what your competitive landscape looks like.

6. Define Your Target Audience

Before designing your website, it’s important to define your target audience.

Your website should address your target audience’s needs and expectations to increase engagement and conversions.

Ensure vendors know who your target audience is by adding user personas and your target audience’s demographics to your request for proposal.

Include details about your target audience, such as purchasing habits or preferred content.

7. Include Your Web Design Wish List

Illustrate your ideal website by including “must-have” web design features along with features that would be nice to have, if possible within the allotted time frame and budget.

These features might include:

  • Visible contact details
  • Sticky navigation
  • On-brand color palette, typography and visuals
  • Engaging and relevant content
  • SEO strategy
  • Social proof such as client testimonials or media mentions
  • Live chat
  • “About Us” page

8. Set Your Criteria for Vendor Selection

In this section of your RFP, explain the criteria you’ll use when selecting your vendor.

Your criteria for vendor selection might include agency expertise, years of experience, portfolio, capabilities and relevant projects.

Clearly stating your selection criteria will help you weed out agencies that are unable to offer everything you’re looking for.

9. Detail Your RFP Submission Requirements

Outline the requirements you expect from responding vendors who want to take on your web design project and detail how they should send their response (usually via email).

Typical details you should request from vendors include:

  • Agency name, email, address, website and contact details
  • Company’s years of experience, size of the team, certifications and awards
  • Approximate hours and timeline of the project from start to finish
  • Client references
  • Five of their best, relevant projects that include links to each case study
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Website Design RFP vs. Website Redesign RFP

Let’s differentiate website design RFP from website redesign RFP.

A website design RFP is a document that specifies goals and requirements for a website for your brand.

On the other hand, a website redesign RFP is a document that outlines the existing challenges of your website and the extent to which your website should change.

Website areas for improvement might include content, format, structure and navigation.

Why Is A Website Design RFP Important?

Now that we’ve talked about its meaning, let’s dive into an RFP’s importance.

A web design RFP enables you to reach out to multiple agencies at once and allows you to review vendor submissions to find the agency that’s the perfect match for your website design project.

When Should You Create A Website Design RFP?

Now you know the importance of a website design RFP, but when should you create one?

It’s time to create a web design RFP when your project:

  • Involves a complex scope
  • Requires factual data
  • Needs a proposal from a qualified agency

How To Send Your Website Design RFP To Agencies

Now that you know how to structure your website design RFP, the search for your agency is on.

There are several different ways you can send out your website design RFP:

  • Publish it on your website: Build a landing page that includes every detail related to your web design project that will serve as a reference page for potential vendors. Position your RFP as a downloadable file.
  • Showcase it on the RFP Database: The RFP Database is a website portal that allows you to display your website project to different vendors. To display your RFP on the site, simply create an account, click the “Add an RFP” link and fill out the short form.
  • Search for agencies on Google: Web design agencies that come up first on search engine result pages (SERPs) are likely knowledgeable about search engine optimization. Does the agency implement SEO best practices such as using an optimized title tag, headers and meta description? Do they rank well for keywords? If SEO is a crucial factor for your web design project, find an agency that optimizes their own site, first and foremost, but using SEO best practices.
  • Ask for recommendations: Ask other companies about their experiences with outsourcing a web design agency and see if it worked for them. Once you get positive feedback about their experience, you can invite the agency to bid on your website design project.

Wrapping Up On Website Design RFP

A website design RFP outlines the important details of your project so you can find a qualified agency that’s the perfect fit for your website design.

To recap, your website design RFP should include your:

  • Company background
  • Budget range
  • Project timeframe and deadlines
  • Website goals
  • Website examples and inspiration
  • Target audience
  • Website must-haves
  • Criteria for vendor selection
  • Submission requirements

Once your detailed RFP is created, it’s time to send it out!

Position it as a downloadable file on your website, showcase it on the RFP database, search for agencies on Google or ask around for recommendations.

Once the submissions are in, weed through the responses, shortlist several agencies, conduct interviews and partner with the best agency for the job.

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