Website Development RFP Generator
How to Write a Website Request for Proposal
Take advantage of 20 years of project management and development experience. Our form asks the questions that developers will ask about your project. The result is a document that contains everything a developer needs to create a proposal for your project.
Website Clients and Bid Solicitors
If you are a project manager, marketing manager, or anyone else who may have been tasked with the job of “getting the website done,” This tool is for you.
You probably have a million questions right now:
- What kind of website do we need?
- What kind of websites are there?
- What is a data-driven website?
- What features do we need?
- PHP? ASP? JSP? Are these all code for something?
If you have already endured the daunting task of soliciting bids, you were probably asked questions like these and many others that didn’t make sense. You also probably received a wide range of bids on your project. So how do you know which bid is accurate and which is realistic? In our experience, the number one reason for inaccurate bidding stems from “assumptions.” Without clear and concise information, web developers often make assumptions about your project needs when writing a proposal. Sometimes the assumptions are good guesses, and sometimes they’re not. But they always have the same end result: with every guess, you lose a little control over your project and your project’s budget.
With clearly defined information in a well-organized Request for Proposal document, developers can skip all the guesswork and provide you with an accurate proposal AND an accurate bid. This makes everyone’s life a little easier by asking the right questions that the developer needs to gain a complete understanding of your project. Rest assured – you don’t have to answer every single question. Admittedly, we may have gone a little overboard with the questions. But don’t forget–the more you answer, the more information you provide to a potential developer and the more accurate your bid results will be.
If you are a developer, you’ve probably heard someone say: “I need a website, how much will it cost?” At Pixeldust Interactive, we’ve seen too many one-liner RFPs. We hope this is a tool that developers can also use. Send your clients to the RFP generator, have them fill out the form and then send the RFP directly to you!
The RFP generator was created by Pixeldust Interactive, an Austin, TX, based web development agency. It is our way of helping clients help their developers.
View an example RFP.
Website Development RFP Generator
We receive website RFPs for website design (or redesign) and development all the time. Some are VASTLY better than others in terms of setting expectations and including all the info we need to respond with a thorough and project-appropriate proposal.
We can usually tell whether a company is a good fit for us simply by reading through their RFP. The best ones:
- Clarify the goals of the new website design.
- Explain the criteria for vendor selection.
- Articulate details like functionality, deadlines, selection processes and contact information.
But don’t let this intimidate you — an RFP doesn’t need to have fancy format and pithy jokes, or flowcharts about where it all went wrong with your last website design.
Here’s a secret: Some of best web design companies hate responding to RFPs and will decline to participate once they review the RFP. This means that if you’re using an RFP process to select vendors, you may be missing out on some serious talent.
When you’re writing your web RFP, keep in mind that you aren’t just asking potential web designers and developers questions that will help you pick the best partner — you’re also telling them about who you are and creating an impression of whether they would like to work with you. You’re not just picking a vendor — you’re also hoping that they pick YOU.
The last thing you want to do is lose out on getting to work with a great web design company because they determine that you would not be a good client based on your RFP. Let’s not let that happen!
The Website Request For Proposal Generator
Whether you’re starting a business and need your first website, or you need to update an existing site, you eventually will create a request for proposal, or RFP. Effective RFPs are time-consuming, so we’ve done the work for you. Simply fill out the form we’ve provided and submit it to potential vendors with a cover letter.
What is an RFP?
A website development request for proposal (RFP) is considered the cornerstone for success in development projects. Finding the right development company can be difficult. If you are not a developer, you might not have any idea what they need to know to bid on your project. An effective RFP improves the overall quality of purchasing decisions by allowing buyers to engage in apples-to-apples comparisons across potential vendors. A comprehensive website RFP will help you receive accurate information and accurate bids.
Want to know about Website RFP writing? Here is a comprehensive guide to the nuts and bolts of creating a quality RFP.
Since you’re here, we will assume the time has come for a new website (or website redesign), which requires a website request for proposal, or web RFP. Here’s everything you need to know to do it the right way. In this article we will:
- Provide a step-by-step guide for writing a website design RFP.
- Tell you the information you absolutely must include.
- Cover a few common pitfalls.
- Give tips for using the right voice.
Why write an RFP for your website development project?
We receive website RFPs for website design (or redesign) and development all the time. Some are better than others in terms of setting expectations and including all the info we need to respond with an appropriate proposal.
The best projects usually have RFPs that:
- Clarify the goals of the new website design.
- Explain the criteria for vendor selection.
- Articulate details of functionality, deadlines, selection, and contacts.
Insider TipWhen you’re writing your web RFP, keep in mind that you aren’t just asking potential web designers and developers questions that will help you pick the best bid — you’re also telling them about who you are and creating an impression that will inform whether they would like to work with you. You don’t want to miss out on the best team because they determine that you might not be a good client based on your RFP.
Here are the areas we cover in our RFP generator:
- Intro / Project Overview — In this section, you can include the vital information that vendors receiving the RFP will be looking for to decide whether the project is worth their time.
- Company Overview — Here you can introduce your company in a few short paragraphs. You don’t want to overwhelm readers with unnecessary history, but include enough information to let the reader get a sense of your business.
- Your Website’s Audience — Here is where you can define the audience of the your website, and who you want to transform into long-lived customers. This is critical information for website designers, developers, strategists and copywriters. Your targeted audience will determine functionality, UX, aesthetics, marketing strategy, content writing, and more.
- New Website Objectives — You will identify the primary, secondary, and tertiary objectives of your website. A website with an objective to increase sales-ready leads will look and act very differently from a website with a primary objective of educating investors.What is the most important thing you want your website to do:
- Educate and inform prospective customers?
- Sell products?
- Generate leads for your sales team?
- Provide information and be a go-to resource in your industry?
- Support high-converting landing pages from a PPC campaign you’re managing?
It’s likely that there are several goals you hope your website will fulfill, but make sure you prioritize them. Pick one definite top-priority goal. Add several secondary goals if applicable, but realize that your primary goal comes first.Do a little exercise before you start a wish list for your new site. First, Examples:
“Our top priority is generating sales-ready leads for our sales team. Our secondary goals are educating prospective buyers on our services and providing helpful resources.”
“Our top priority is establishing credibility for potential investors. Our secondary goal is making it very easy to contact team members through the website or through social media profiles.”
- Current Website — In this section you will take an inventory of exactly what is not working with your current website. The more specific you are, the better. If you have an existing site, evaluate it honestly and concisely. Simply saying that your current website isn’t working won’t be enough detail for your vendors — be specific about why it isn’t working!
- Do people not know where to find certain resources?
- Are you not getting enough traffic or conversions?
- Is it aesthetically acceptable but no one at your company knows how to update content?
Be specific about the complaints your website regularly gets, and the things that you hope the new website will change.
- “We can’t find anything on the website the way the navigation is structured. Menu options change based on which page you are on, which is confusing.”
- “The design is visually consistent with our brand, but the tone of the copy is not in line with our brand, nor does it speak to our audience.”
- “Customers regularly tell us they get errors during checkout and must call us on the phone to complete their order (and there’s no telling how many give up and go to a competitor instead).”
- New Website Functionality Requirements — In this section you’ll list functionality that is essential for your new website. The more specific you are on these requirements, the more accurate estimate your vendors will be able to give you. This is different from your new website objectives, which are about goals; this part is about specific functionality.This is the meat and potatoes of your RFP. These are the elements by which the website designers and developers you send it to will determine what they will charge you.It’s crucial to be specific by listing which functionalities are mandatory and which may be optional depending on cost so that vendors will be able to line-item optional features. You can then make a more informed decision.
Remember, you don’t have to be an expert. If you don’t know about a certain aspect, don’t fake it by asking questions or adding functionality specifications that sound good, but you don’t fully understand. Instead, articulate your desired outcome, describe your objective, and ask for recommendations.
- “It’s essential that we have an accurate and functional store locator that works across all devices. Optional feature: It would be nice to have an interactive map with a legend of custom icons for different store features.”
- “We need a blog on our website to share updates. Optional feature: We would love a full resource center with video library and advanced search functionality.”
- New Website Wishlist — Here, you will include optional functionality that is dependent on budget. Separating this list from the requirements will allow you to see line-item costs and empower you to make a decision on functionalities based on budget and timeline impact.
- Ecommerce Details — If your new website will have an ecommerce component, you should list details such as product/SKU quantity and near-term and long-term anticipated growth. These details will prove useful when it comes to designing an ecommerce platform that makes sense for your immediate and future budgets.
- Website Budget Details — YES, you really should include your budget in your RFP! This will save you much time and effort on vendors that are way above your budget. It will also allow vendors that are a good fit to suggest ways to customize your functionality to make your goals work within a budget.
If you aren’t clear about your ballpark budget, vendors might propose a plan that includes everything you asked for but that is out of your price range. However, they might be able to lower the cost if they know your budget. A good design and development firm will engage in further conversation with you if your budget is wildly too low for the parameters you desire. Transparency pays off.Examples:“We have a budget of $60,000 for a new website. We would love to complete the project with $45k and have $15k to invest in content marketing. We would love to hear your thoughts on how to most effectively spend this budget.”“We have a $45,000 budget for this website, and we must bill it before our fiscal year-end on October 1st. We are happy to discuss flexible payment options, and website development solutions that will allow us to add additional features and functionality in our next fiscal year.”Note: An RFP is a bad way to price shop. Responding to a website RFP is a time-consuming process for agencies. You’re asking them to invest a lot of time and effort thinking about your company and envisioning a custom website solution just for you.If you’re shopping for price, just call the agencies and ask them their general pricing for a website of an approximate size and functionality. This will at least get you a ballpark for each agency, and will be far less time consuming for you and the agency if price range is an eliminating factor.
- Proposal RequirementsHere, you should provide an outline of what vendors should include in their proposal responses. Every website design and development firm has a different process. Providing a clear outline will help standardize responses, which will help you compare proposals in the decision-making step.
- Website RFP & Project Timeline Details In this section you’ll reiterate your RFP deadline (which should be included at the top in the project overview) and also let vendors know when they will be hearing back on their responses, should they be selected as a finalist or win the business. You can also include your kickoff and target website launch dates here. Just make sure your dates are realistic.
Finding Good Web Developer Candidates
If you don’t already have a list of website design and development firms, or even if you do, here are some tips to discover quality candidates:
- Use Google: This may seem like an oversimplified step, but if a website design and development company is worth their weight, they’ll have a website that should come up pretty high in search results for their services. Let Google tell you who’s up on their SEO best practices.
- Check the Credits: See a website you love, even though it’s not in your industry? Many website developers will have a credit link in the footer of the site, so you’ll know who to contact for similar workmanship. If a website designer is proud of their work, they won’t mind being held responsible.
- Research on Social Media: Companies that are successful in the website design and online marketing world will be talking about it online. And if their work is good and their clients love them, others will be sharing it, too.
- Ask Around: Word of mouth is the most common method people use to compile a vendor list. It can be helpful to hear from your network about the experiences they’ve had with recent website redesign projects. Supplemented with a little Google and social media research, this can widen your net.
- Be Selective: Asking too many agencies to participate is a recipe for information overload, and you’ll probably end up overlooking some good agencies because of the sheer volume of information you have to sift through. Sending a website RFP to more than 5 or 6 agencies is overkill.
- Conduct a Pre-Emptive Q&A: Before you send out the RFP, you should have a Q&A period with all the agencies you intend to invite. During this Q&A period, explain why you’re sending your website RFP to their agency, and be clear about your expectations of the completed RFP.