Research says that it takes 7 seconds for brands to make a first impression. Another one shows that 94% of users mistrust a business website on account of poor design and functionality.

Your website is the first interaction point between potential consumers and your business. It’s highly imperative to have a visually attractive, easy-to-navigate, high-quality website that reflects your brand’s products/services benefits alongside your unique value proposition (UVP).

To materialize this goal, finding the right web developers to build your website is the key. This journey starts with a well-structured website development RFP (request for proposal) that includes every detail of your project down to a T.

Having already looked into the RFP meaning, we’re now moving to another chapter - the requests for proposal for different types of services. Today, we’re discussing the RFP for website development, including its primary components and the format you need to follow.

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What is a Web Development Request for Proposal?

A web development request for proposal (RFP) is a document that a service buyer needs to create in order to find the right website development company that can supply the platform that suits their business needs and goals.

This official document includes your specific project requirements and deliverables alongside your company and contact information. In this article, you will learn which are the essential components of a website development RFP as well as the required steps for writing one.

A well-structured RFP will allow you to compare different web development vendors that submit their bids in an RFP response.

The RFP process, together with your RFP document, will offer an objective perspective upon vendors which will help you select the best provider for your project’s goals.

Why Should You Create an RFP for Website Development?

An RFP for website development simplifies and improves the process of how companies connect with potential providers by offering all the required information to them.

With the help of these concise and finely structured documents, clients seeking to outsource web development services will have the best chance of finding that one provider that fits their project needs and requirements. It also helps in maximizing the project budget or optimizing the timeline.

A solid, well-written website development RFP also streamlines the communication between you and the development supplier while addressing your future expectations and their competencies.

In short, this is how RPFs are useful for both clients and vendors:

  • Simplifies the search and selection process for the web development company
  • Reveals the positives and negatives of each potential vendor
  • Optimizes the website development time and budget
  • Accelerates the price negotiations process
  • Offers providers the chance to acquire a new client

What Does a Website Request for Proposal Include?

Just like other RFPs, a website request for proposal contains the essential procurement information such as your company overview, your project scope and requirements, your website goals and more. Scroll down to the next heading to unwrap each component of your RFP in more depth.

The mandatory elements of RFP for website development are:

  • Project summary
  • Company background
  • Your website’s current inventory
  • Your website’s audience
  • New website goals and objectives
  • New website functionality requirements
  • Extra functionalities
  • eCommerce section
  • Budget
  • Project requirements
  • Project deadlines
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How to Format Your Website Development RFP in 10 Steps

Every website development RFP is different to suit each buyer’s unique needs and specific requirements. However, these documents always follow a similar template for each desired service that checks process consistency and accurate reporting to vendors.

Here’s how you properly format your RFP for website development in 10 essential steps:

1. Provide a Project Overview

Start your RFP by giving a high-level overview of your web development project. Provide the essential information about your project so that prospective vendors are hooked and continue reading your document.

In this section, include information such as:

  • A short introduction about your company (name, purpose, industry)
  • The reason why you want to create a new website/ revamp your outdated website
  • The end goal your company is looking to achieve with this project

2. Share Your Company Background

Dive into your company’s background and explain your business in a clear and concise way. Make potential web development vendors understand what your company is all about.

Mention aspects like:

  • A brief history about your company
  • Business values and brand mission
  • Products/services provided
  • Brand image and positioning in the market
  • Unique value proposition (UVP)
  • Target audience and existing customers
  • Niche market
  • Competitive landscape
  • Key stakeholders
  • Web development project’s leader
  • Location
  • Links to your online presence (website, social media)

3. Discuss Your Current Website

This is where you expand on your existing website situation - how it performs, what it lacks and the bits that are not working properly. Map out what issues your future website will solve.

Don’t be afraid to list all the complaints you received regarding your website. Alongside your current traffic and conversion rate, make sure to bring up website issues (if any) about:

  • Navigation
  • Menu
  • Messaging
  • Design
  • Checkout errors
  • SEO
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • And more

4. Zero In on Your Target Audience

Defining the type of audience is a highly valuable component of website development. It’s vital information for the web development company you will hire.

The web developers, designers, strategists and content writers who will work on developing your website must know who you want to convert into paying customers. Your target audience will play a key role in the design and development process, from functionality to design, UX and content.

Make sure to include all the available data you have on your audience, such as:

  • Basic demographic info (age, gender, location, income, education, etc.)
  • User persona/ideal clients
  • User behavior:
    • Pain points
    • Challenges
    • Goals
    • Purchase habits
    • Preferred content
  • And more

5. List Your New Website Goals

After listing your existing website problems and describing your audience, it’s time to identify the prime objective of your website, followed by any secondary ones you may have. In other words, outline your short and long-term website goals.

These website goals may be:

  • Educating and informing prospective buyers on your products/services
  • Selling products/services
  • Building brand awareness
  • Generating more online sales
  • Providing thought-leadership content to attract potential investors
  • And more

6. Itemize Your New Website Functionality Requirements

In this section, you will make an inventory of your desired requirements - being very specific on the new functionalities needed.

It’s important to highlight your wishes according to their priority. This will provide you with a snapshot of your new website plan. It will also help prospective providers submit more rigorous responses, with a breakdown of costs for each service needed - which will further help you in making a more informed decision.

A few examples of new functionalities for your website could be the following:

  • Blog
  • SEO strategy
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Sticky menu navigation
  • CRM integration
  • Live chat
  • Subscription offer
  • Lead generation magnets
  • Social media icons
  • Store locator
  • Interactive map
  • Customer service interaction
  • Internal search feature
  • Downloadable files
  • Access control
  • And more

Whatever how your wishlist looks like, make sure to list your new requirements as informative and concise as possible. And don’t forget to prioritize them!

7. Include eCommerce details

If you happen to want to build an eCommerce platform, take into account that this type of project usually takes considerably more time to complete - around 15 to 19 weeks. The hours put in development will also dictate the total cost of the project.

In this case, your website development RFP should contain eCommerce specific details like these, among others:

  • Expectations and conversion goals
  • Cart and checkout new user experience
  • Product quantity/stock-keeping unit
  • Mobile compatibility
  • And more

8. Present Your Budget

It’s vital to bluntly present the budget for your website development project. This will help you receive punctual and accurate responses from specialized vendors.

Prospective providers will also be informed about the exact set of services you need so they will follow suit with their responses.

Present your budget in a transparent manner and express your openness to pricing negotiations.

It’s important to have in mind that the cost for web development services varies from one company to another, based on these factors:

  • The company’s reputation and size
  • The number of developers involved in the project
  • The scope and complexity of your project
  • The number of features and functionalities

9. Communicate Your Project Timeline

In this section, make sure to offer realistic dates on your project deliverables and try to specify whether the deadlines are fixed or flexible.

These dates should refer to:

  • The suggested dates for project kick-off and completion
  • The deadlines for each stage of the project cycle
  • The proposed website launch
  • The duration of the project

Additionally, be sure to include the timeframe for the entire website development RFP process, including the dates of:

  • The RFP document distribution to prospective vendors
  • The interval during which you will accept RFP responses
  • The date when you will narrow down the most qualified web development companies
  • The date when you will contact the winning website development vendor (and those that were not selected)

10. Give Your Contact Information

In the end, remember to let potential vendors know who is the main point of contact for your website development RFP. Take this opportunity to further state the deadline for your web development project.

Website Development RFP Takeaways

The format provided for creating an effective and exhaustive website development RFP can also be applied to other types of industries and services such as:

No matter which kind of RFP you need to write, remember to include the key members of your team as they can play important roles in providing valuable information or insights that could contribute to your website development project's success.

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