It is time for some change. A new website can turn the business around for a company. Depending on how user-friendly and tech-friendly a site is, the visitors are likely to dedicate more time and spend some money on your products. When you notice the need for a new website, you should approach a design company with design ideas and a quote. However, it is not as simple as browsing cabinet designs online and picking out one for a new bathroom. Website design is intricate, and it will determine the user experience (UX) significantly.
The beginning of a website design is a request for proposal (RFP). The quality and nature of your RFP will determine the success of your website design project. It should be transparent, easy to understand and informative. The vendors should be able to estimate the time, cost and labor of the process before making their proposals.
The harsh truth about RFPs
Plenty of RFP templates can guide you through the process. However, most of them miss the mark by a hair’s breadth. You need a website design RFP that will be articulate, precise and interesting. “How to write a RFP” is an easy question, but the answer requires considerable research, practice, and review. The vendors should not look at it and feel the need to chuck it in the trash. While it requires elements of commerce, it should not read like a blatant sales pitch. An excellent RFP should cover your preliminary requirements, and it should also ensure that you get positive responses from the vendors you approach. The voice, tone, and language of your RFP will have a significant impact on the outcome of the proposal.
Do not feel discouraged, but some of the most popular website design companies do not like going through RFPs or responding to them. Unless you have something compelling for these parties, you can forget getting a second look. They are notorious for not participating in the process once they receive the RFPs. Therefore, while writing your proposal, always highlight who you are, what your brand values are and what kind of services you include. It is not just another business proposal. It is a mode of communication with the website owners and designers. You should include enough reasons in the proposal for them to give you a second thought.
What is the preliminary structure of a RFP?
Apart from adding structure to your proposal, you need to add a few touches of expertise to it. The structure of a RFP is standard for a myriad of website types and purposes. It should include –
- Intro and project overview
- The company overview
- Introduction to the audience of the site
- The objectives of the new website and an honest review of their current site
- Details about their e-commerce features
- Transparent details on the budget
- Timeline details of the project and RFP
Including these elements in your RFP structure will help it meet the professional norms. It will not make your proposal exceptional. These are standard practices for all web design RPFs. So, what do you need to include to make your proposal stand out from the crowd?
Establish the new website goals
How will the new website differ from the older one? Will your new web design meet the objectives of informing and educating the target audience? Will it help you sell more products? Will the ROI increase in the next few months owing to the new site designs? A business website should have multiple goals, but you should be able to prioritize them. While writing your RFP, always put the primary goal on top, although you can include several secondary objectives.
Always be honest about the site you have now
Do not criticize your current site too harshly and do not promote it without enough reason. For example – you cannot just state that your site is not working well enough for your brand or business. You need to explain why you believe your site is not meeting your business goals. That will help the vendors understand what your new site requires to meet the business objectives. If your current site receives regular complaints from your customers or users, you need to be able to highlight those in your RFP. These are the things you can hope for your new website to exclude.
What will be the core functionality?
How can you design a RFP without mentioning the core functionality of a site? Each website has some priorities and core functionalities. You cannot hope to impress a website design house or attract their attention with an average proposal that does not pay any attention to the list of preliminary features of a site. At the same time, including the optional features that will be a part of the site as well or aid the primary functionalities. For example – a store locator is a primary function, but the interactive map that comes along is a secondary feature.
Showcase your personality
Like people, brands have archetypes or personalities. The type of personality will determine the colors, navigation options, animations, and transitions on your site. For example – an attorney’s website will exude a reliable, professional and credible personality. These websites command standard web fonts, muted colors with a touch of maroon, brown or blue. A website can set up the expectations of your audiences, and you should be able to communicate your personality through your RFP.
Speak about your budget openly
Not mentioning your budget can throw the vendors in a tizzy. Website designers do not like to work with companies, who cannot discuss the expenses and payments from the first point of interaction. Your RFP should ideally include your costs expected along with objectives and necessities. That will help you find the vendors, who fit your bill. You will be saving the time and effort of the ones that are above your budget.
Always include a cheat sheet. That is a set of relevant information like deadlines, timelines, budget, launch date, contact information and current site details. You should always include that on top of the proposal. That will help the vendors go through every bit of essential aspect at one glance. An excellent proposal has multiple factors. Perfecting one takes time and tons of research. Apart from social media, you should be able to gain insights on the ideal RFP by asking your peers about their web design experiences.