6 Essentials for a Web Design RFP

6 Essentials for a Web Design RFP

As an agency receiving web design RFPs frequently, we can tell you that upfront inquiries like, “What would you charge for a website”, can be a slippery slope.

This is primarily because clients coming from sundry industries are often unaware that web design projects vary immensely in scale and complexity.

That’s the reason initial communication with most clients is fraught with uncertainty.

Here’s putting together six essentials to include in your RFP, so your expectations are aptly understood by design agencies.

You think I'm a kid RFP


1)Don’t Just Ask for a Makeover, Include Measurable Goals!


Most goals focus on makeovers such as, getting a responsive web design, revamping the old look, brand building, repositioning or improving sales conversions, which is great; but sans any measurable targets in sight.

Here’s the thing, a responsive web design is aimed at tapping into the mobile and tablet audience to up your sales. Likewise, a new website would give a fresh lease of life to your brand eventually boosting conversion. So, the real reason you’re sending out an RFP is because you want to move ahead from where you are and it should reflect in your bottomline. Can you measure it?

Well, yes you can. Note down the conversion rate of your current website and set a conversion goal higher than that in your RFP. Then see which bidder can claim to help you achieve it and how. May the best man (read: agency) win.


2)Budget Can’t Be a Hush-Hush: Include It to Straighten Things at the Outset!


Looks like you want a website without disclosing your budget to save some bucks.

Fair enough. However, in this case, it’s a double edged sword. We empathize with you that there are scores of unprincipled web designers who’d always quote higher than what you offer. But that’s a separate league, which more often than not won’t get into the nitty-gritties of your brand, product or services.

On the other hand, there would be those who’d respect what you can afford and genuinely try to create whatever best is possible in that budget. That’s where we come in. Of course, there might be constraints and we may have to suggest you to exclude a few things, but that only makes the situation more conducive, by letting us focus on what’s important. It is an indispensable part goal setting.

3)Steer Clear of Mass Mailers If You Want to Find the Best!


For soliciting the best agency’s response, you need to employ the best tactics. Sending mass mailers to 30-40 agencies is not one of it.

Home in on 3-4 reputed agencies instead whose work you admire. Include a personalized note along with the RFP, to introduce yourself and build a rapport. Ask them how they could help you by citing the essential attributes of your business. Chances are you’ll receive a couple of persuasive RFPs instead of 10-15 ineffective ones.

And if you don’t find your best fit from these, you can certainly shortlist 3-4 again and approach them.

Apart from their craft, you also need to look for other qualities in your prospective collaborators, like soft skills, entrepreneurial traits, etc.


4)Timeframe, Tasks and Technology preference!

There must be a timeframe in your mind for seeing your new website live; whether it’s a specific date or if you have a flexible timeline, mention it. Every agency has to manage its time optimally, so they can bring out maximum productivity. Not mentioning timelines can make you appear nonchalant, passing off as an exercise to merely invite quotations and go for the last bidder.


Make it amply clear what you want to get done. Are you looking at designing and development or both; whether you want the agency to create/migrate the website content and procure images too? Do you want the agency to provide all this along with project management or if you want them to collaborate with your in-house team?


It’s the company’s responsibility to tell the agency in prior how adaptable (or unadaptable) is it in technological preferences. Which programming language you would prefer (php, .net, asp, etc.)? Which CMS do you want, the number of pages, layout, etc. Do you need hosting and domain name too?

If you don’t want to get into these details and leave it to the agency, you should make that clear too.


5)Help the Design Agency See the Project from Your Standpoint!


Are you really putting your perspective on paper or is it getting lost in translation? Rock solid documentation is the bedrock of a successful project.

Many companies we work for are non-technical w.r.t. web designing and are neither willing to get into it. However, some non-technical clients come to us after wrapping their heads around it, after conducting their fair share of research, including seeking advice from their trusted people. This means they’re better equipped to understand what they want from us. Believe us, it’s not so difficult to tell the difference between run of the mill and attractive web designs.

Also, provide us as much information as you can about the project. Supply us with documents, history of your brand, mission statement, client case studies, et al. Apart from that, share with us your search engine traffic, lead generation statistics etc., for us to sink our teeth into the project.


6)Keep the Standard Points, but Don’t Let the Agency’s Creativity Stifle!

The finest agencies won’t reply to RFPs overloaded with procedural details, because that’s all they’re brimming with’standard procedural details!

How about starting with introducing your company (not just including your website About Us link) and the project goals in thorough detail? Employ your best writers to do the job. Include what you need, the requirements and expectations; explain in detail, but don’t make it a manuscript.

Do you think for an agency to unleash its creativity, weave the heart and soul of your product/service into a web design is possible without lucid communication?

An RFP sets the tone for finding a common ground and the success of your business website.


Final Thoughts


We understand that creating an RFP doesn’t always get the right attention due to time constraints and several other reasons. Many a times, a company executive is handed over the job of researching and producing a web design RFP, as the top management is too tied up. But, think of it this way, the whole rigmarole is for your benefit.

Like, Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise), the eponymous protagonist in the movie Jerry Maguire says to Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr), help me help you.

It is for your own growth! So, why shouldn’t the best minds in your organization get involved?

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