How to Write the Best Request for Proposal for a Website
Web&Tech

How to Write the Best Request for Proposal for a Website

Writing a good Request for Proposal is imperative if any organization is to even glance in your general direction in the quest for services they need. Websites also find themselves in need of certain services such as upgrading their web presence or creating a fresh one.

You may get detailed instructions which spell out exactly what a website needs. However, sometimes you may not be so lucky. That means that your client expects you to come up with the details yourself. This is because web technology is dynamic and therefore difficult to keep up with. Websites look out for experts whose job is to keep up with the changing technologies.

Writing an RFP is not easy, especially if creating websites is not your full-time gig. However, with clear directions, you should be writing a spectacular RFP in no time. Therefore, here are a few tips on how to write an RFP:

Components of Style

The following is the operating procedure:

  • Clients decide on a range of ideas for the job to be done.
  • They consider the costs and the timeline.
  • They search for vendors who can propose a solution. The vendors must also convince the client that they are the best ones to provide the solutions they need.

There are a few important points to consider when you decide to draft a Request for Proposal. The format is easy to follow and you should be able to get some notes down as soon as you are done scanning the points below.

The Outline

Project synopsis in brief

This is where you introduce your company and state why you need the RFP. You must be clear not only about what you want the vendor to do, but also why. If you are looking to have your website refurbished, state what is wrong with the current design and why you want it changed.

At this point you want your needs to be well understood. It is therefore essential that you articulate your needs as clearly as possible.

The Background of Your Organization

Define your organization, what it does and what you do. Chances are you have no presence on the WWW, which is why you need a website created, so there is nothing the vendor has to go by. Let your service provider know everything that is unique about your organization, for instance, your values and what makes you stand out. This is important because you are likely to land on an organization that specializes in building websites.

Project goals and target audience

What do you hope to accomplish? That question when answered leads to ideas on how the website can be designed to achieve the results you have in mind. If you are looking to generate more business or to have more subscribers for your newsletters, you should communicate that too. You must also have a target audience in mind.

What you can deliver

More details about the project must be included here. Give the details about why you want to contract a web team. For instance, you might want them to create a website for you. If you want the team to redesign your site, you will be paying for things like visual design, content strategy, copywriting, illustrations, SEO, CMS, HTML, mobile device optimization, software training, advertising, testing and quality assurance, project management and so much more.

This is important because of pricing. Knowing exactly what the team will be working on means you will get an estimate that you can understand.

Timeline

Timelines give service providers the motivation to work towards completing a project. If you decide not to give a timeline, then your project may not be received with the urgency it deserves. It is therefore important to work with a schedule. However, you need to be aware of what it takes to create or redesign a website. You do not want to give a timeline that is too short. If, for instance, you plan to launch your product in 6 months, you might give your service providers 5 months to work on your website:

The main point of contact

The writers of the RFP are expected to lead the project. In case that does not happen, there might be others involved that can be contacted. You might even have worked on other projects with them previously. Identify them and also ascertain whether you have the final authority or you must present to a team for decision making.

Making your expectations clear is important, and the sooner you do it, the better. Also, it is important to indicate how often you are available.

Technical Requirements

You must be clear about the limitations and requirements, if any, in advance. Working on a website is mostly technical work as it is a software product. Therefore, you need to be aware of technical requirements such as:

  • E-commerce
  • Content management software
  • Web integrations
  • User accounts
  • Back-end programming language
  • Legacy browser support
  • Accessibility
  • Mobile responsive design

This section may turn out to be the longest on your RFP, but it is necessary. This is because there is a lot that could impact the capacity of the job at hand. Also, details help when making an estimate, thus many details give a better estimate. You also want the vendors to be aware of the technologies you require so you can pick only the qualified ones.

Budget

Giving an estimate of how much you are willing to spend on the project is important. You could also work with a range, say you could spend $500 but are willing to spend a maximum of $700. There is always someone willing to work with your budget, but if you want something done well, aim for the professionals. They may be pricier, but they will give you value for your money.

There are many more details you need to include in your RFP such as a timeline for the proposal, retainer, analytics, web hosting, example sites and criteria for selection since you are going to receive a number of proposals.

Remember that the better your RFP, the better the proposals you are going to receive since the vendors will conclude that you want professional work done and will give the best and most detailed proposals to have a chance of being selected to work on your website.