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Website RFP: How to get started and what to expect

The success of a website design project starts with a solid website RFP. Your business or career could be on the line, and choosing the best partner is critical. That's why many companies choose to create and send a request for proposal (RFP) document. A well-structured RFP process can be the difference maker in being able to compare based on your company's specific needs for its website.

As a web design and development company, we have been on the receiving end of many RFPs from potential clients. Some are better than others in terms of explanation the vision and providing necessary information. This post will help you create an excellent RFP for your website redesign. This RFP template will allow you to quickly and easily compare potential web development partners and make the best choice for your company's website design project. Included in the downloadable document are sample word templates for the Proposal cover letter, the actual website design RFP, and a rejection letter.

We recently updated the website RFP template for 2023. We hope you find this useful.

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Do You Need an RFP?

Do You Need a Website RFP?

Even though a well-thought-out RFP has many advantages, it isn't worth the time for every company. If you aren't sure what you want you with your redesign project, try having a brainstorming session with a web development company you can trust. This open-ended dialog lets you bounce ideas back and forth, making sure you are more focused on the goals instead of just specific deliverables. The RFP remplate provided can help to add clarity and direction to your brainstorming sessions.

Consider the size and cost of your project. If you are looking for a redesign that is only $1,000, it probably doesn't need an RFP. If you know what you want, have a project with a lot of moving pieces, or you are required to get multiple bids, then an RFP is an excellent choice for your web design project.

See our specialized RFPs for Manufacturers

What RPFs should include:

A request for proposal, or RFP, ensures that your business gets the best partner for your project. It can also procures the most competitively priced web design and development services you need for your business. It's not just about cost, but finding the right web development company who understands your needs and vision. An RFP requires the same thoroughness as any project where you are comparing multiple vendors. The importance of an RFP for website development is that it helps vendors best gauge your website needs, and allows you to compare more standardized proposals. When you begin receiving the agency's proposals on your web design project, you'll be able to score competitors on cost estimates, skills or references, and reviews. The next step is on you and your company to compare service providers and find the best web development agency for your project. The downloadable guide above will allow you to enter your company s information and needs. Use the information below to create your own RFP document.

Statement Of Purpose

Why does your company need a new website? Is your current site lacking functionality? Does it not integrate with particular software? Does it have an outdated look with a bad user experience? Maybe it is a combination of all of those issues. In the RFP's statement of purpose, you want to include the reason and general goals of the project, including giving a general overview of what your company is all about. This should also specify who the key players at your company are for this project. Include the name of the person you wish to be the primary contact for questions related to this RFP and how you would like the bidders to ask questions. Other helpful information is how your company currently goes to market and your value proposition.

Project Scope

Give specific details on the project, including all required deliverables. Be as detailed as possible. The more specifics you provide, the better aligned the proposals will be to your needs. If you have been through the web design process before and have an idea of what the project might cost, you may even want to include an estimated budget for the project. Your proposal should, at minimum, include the following deliverables inside the new fully functional and tested website:

  • Sitemap development and site planning
  • Wireframe mockups for the new site
  • Creative design services
  • Mobile-friendly design
  • Robust and easy to use Content Management System (CMS)
  • Auto-generated sitemap
  • Site migration plan

In our sample RFP for Web Design, we have added several items most websites require.

Approach To Services

In the RFP, be sure to ask for an overview of how your project will be managed, along with the different phases of the development process. This should include approximate time frames for each phase. There are a lot of moving pieces with designing and redesigning a website. You don't want a company that doesn't have tested processes they can showcase.

Samples Of Work

Ask the company to provide a portfolio of similar projects they have completed for you to review. You will want to ensure that every website isn't designed the same, with the company only changing out images and text. This will help you identify the companies that will take the time to identify the specific needs of your target audience and create a custom website that focuses on the user experience. Keep in mind that because the design is subjective, you don't have to love everything they send. The best designers can adapt to client specifications while incorporating the user experience. The past work will give you insight into the creativity and adaptability of your potential web agency selection.

Evaluating Effectiveness

Have each prospective company describe how they plan to evaluate the effectiveness of the finished project. In the answers provided, look for them to mention tools like analytics, conversion rate optimization, and search engine results. If your prospective website company doesn't have a plan for keeping and improving traffic to your site, throw out their RFP. No matter how good your new website looks, if no one visits, you've wasted your time and money.

Training And Ongoing Support

Most new sites require some amount of training and ongoing support, especially if you plan to make your own updates. Define your expectations for training sessions, materials, and ongoing support after launch. You don't want to be forced to rely on your web development company to make simple changes

Key Staff And Company History

Knowing the team and company's history can help build trust. A company with a proven track record is more likely to deliver results. Have your prospective vendor provide a brief history of their firm, as well as bios on the key personnel at the company. Have them describe their previous experience in providing services to other companies similar to yours. Again, if you're close enough, a company visit would be a great idea. Some companies like to leave the impression through their website and marketing materials that they have a large staff, but the reality is most of their "employees" are freelancers, leaving them with limited control over production timelines, quality, etc.

Knowing the staff involved can also provide you valuable insight into the type of agency they are. Some are staffed more branding and design, while others are more technical and staffed by developers. It is important to make sure the agency you choose specializes in all aspects of web design and development.


Just like a car, websites need maintenance. New browsers and devices come out all the time, and a site that worked when you launched it often develops issues over time if not upgraded and maintained. You should understand how long after the launch your potential provider plans to ensure the website functions and what, if any, ongoing costs for maintenance might be. Also, how they monitor your site for critical security and version updates that are common in today's CMS platforms.

Quality Assurance

Before you launch a new website, you will want to ensure that the site has been thoroughly tested across multiple devices and screen sizes. If you have any unique functionality, like a shopping cart or store locator, all of that needs to be verified by numerous users. Also, all contact forms should be extensively tested to ensure that they arrive in the correct mailbox.


Are you looking for a time and material bid on your project or a fixed fee for the entire scope? Define your expectations in the pricing section of the RFP. Ask the prospective contractor to give a thorough breakdown of the pricing. This breakdown will help you ensure that they have provided a detailed consideration as to what it will take to complete the project.

Client References

Spend some time calling any references your prospect may have provided. Ask about the quality and timeliness of the work, whether or not the project stayed within the initial budget, and any successes they may have experienced with your prospective development partner.

Terms And Conditions

These are important in protecting your investment in your new website. In the Terms and Conditions section of the RFP, you can let your prospective website redesign bidders know how you plan to award the contract. You can also let them know what your terms are for payments on the project. We recommend you set milestones and attach payments to the completion of those milestones. Make sure your terms and conditions include language as to who owns the finished product. See the sample RFP for an example entitled "Ownership of Work." Over the years, we've seen web development companies try to hold their clients' hostage by saying they own all the creative and code behind the website. It's crucial to address ownership of the finished product upfront. The terms and conditions are also a great place to state your expectations for quality assurance after your new website launches.

Submittal Instructions

Give a clear timeline of when you expect the proposals submitted when you would be making a decision, and how you wish to receive the RFP documents.


Depending on the size and importance of your project, you may wish to schedule a face to face meeting with bid finalists. Define the "whens" and "wheres" of how you would like to facilitate this meeting. While it may be convenient to have your vendor come to your office, you may want to go to their offices and meet the actual people that will be working on the project. In today's market, it's not uncommon for small web developers to outsource much of their work, putting your project at the mercy of independent contractors. Based on experience, we highly suggest you find a digital agency with an all in-house team to work on your web development project. If you have a web design project, feel free to contact Foremost Media today. We can provide help with your RFP all the way to the finished product.