We’ve seen our fair share of RFPs (Request For Proposal) and it seems as if all of them miss one or more important elements. Elements that we, the web design service provider, need to know in order to respond. So I have included our recommendations for writing a website design (or redesign) RFP. We hope this will help you when preparing your next web design RFP.
Company Information and Background
This should be a brief overview of the company, its history, services or products, business focus, marketing objectives and market demographics. These are just a few elements you could include here. Give as much information here as possible to create a complete business profile, but also keep it neat and short. Also include how decisions about the RFP will be made in this section. Is there a committee review process? Include the members of the committee here with their title and role in the committee.
Project Background and Objectives
This is where you can outline the project objectives, but not the scope or requirements, that will come later. Give the history of the website and how it currently used, both internally and by the general public or your customer base. Address how you see this use changing with the new website. Outline search engine visibility requirements, search engine marketing objectives and/or social media marketing goals. What are the goals for the website and how will you measure success?
Requirements and Scope of Project
This is probably the one area where businesses do not include enough information about their website design project. Start by addressing elements of the current website that should stay. These include any interactive applications, shopping carts or web forms to be transitioned to the new site. Include information on any other systems that interface with the website, or should interface with the website. These include things like an intranet, CRM (customer relationship management) system or email marketing system.
Provide an outline of how you want the content to be managed, by whom and what access they should be given. Specify where content will come from- whether imported from the current site, newly developed or a mix of both. Who will be responsible for generating content prior to the launch date and after.
Outline new applications and functionality as well as design requirements. Be sure to include relevant items from your brand standards guidelines if you have them.
Website Hosting Requirements
This is, by far, the most overlooked piece of information when compiling an RFP. We have lost more than one bid because we provided a solution for a Linux host and the prospect wanted the website hosted internally on their Windows server. If it truly does not matter to you then at least include a statement that hosting is up to the vendor.
Web Design and Development Experience of the Vendor and Key Staff
Ask for testimonials and/or references of other websites the vendor has designed or developed. Ask them to outline their responsibilities for the project. Request identification and resumes for key personnel who will be working on this project. Request information on their web design and development approach including items like revisions, design iterations, scope changes, standards and technologies utilized.
This is the second most overlooked element of web design RFPs. Make sure to include your anticipated schedule. Even though these will often change as the project progresses, without one your project may never finish.
This should include a detailed outline of all costs, both one-time and recurring, for the website redesign and development project.
How and when should the vendor respond to your RFP? Be sure to include the deadline and the format for submission, as well as who it should be sent to and at what address.