Here Are The Key Elements of an RFP For Website Design:
Statement of Purpose
Give a general overview of what your company is all about, what the purpose and general goals of the project are, and whom 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. You should also include information on how your company currently goes to market.
Give specific details on the project including all required deliverables. 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. In our sample RFP for Web Design we have included several items most websites require.
Approach to Services
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.
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 and audience and create a custom website that focuses on the user experience.
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 because no matter how good the site looks, if no one visits it, you've wasted your time and money.
Training and Ongoing Support
Most new sites require some amount of training and ongoing support, especially if your new site will be self-updateable. Define your expectations for training sessions, materials, and ongoing support after launch.
Key Staff and Company History
Have them provide a brief general history of their firm, as well as bios on the key personnel at the company. Have your prospect 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. In our local area there are several companies that 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.
Just like a car, websites need maintenance. New browsers and devices come out all the time and a website that worked when you launched it often develops issues over time if not upgraded and maintained. Be sure to define with your potential provider on how long after launch they plan to ensure the website functions and what any ongoing costs for maintenance might be, as well as, how they monitor your site for critical security and version updates that are common in today's CMS systems.
Before you launch a new website you will want to ensure that the site has been fully tested across multiple devices and screen sizes. If you have any special functionality, like a shopping cart or store locator, all of that needs to be tested by multiple users. In addition, all contact forms should be extensively tested to ensure they arrive in the correct mailbox at your company.
Are you looking for a time and material bid on your project or a fixed fee for the entire scope of the project? Define your expectations in the pricing section of the RFP. Ask the prospective contractor to break out or line item the project pricing as much as possible. This will help you ensure that they have given your project detailed consideration as to what it will take to actually complete the build.
Spend some time calling around to the references your prospect provides. Ask about the quality and timeliness of the work, if the project stayed on budget, and if the reference will tell you, ask them to describe some of their successes 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 web development bidders know how you plan to award the contract and 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 important to address ownership of the finished product up front. The terms and conditions are also a great place to state your expectations for quality assurance after your new website launches.
Give a clear timeline of when you expect the proposals submitted, when you will 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 "when's" and "where's" of how you would like to facilitate this meeting. Although it is convenient to have your vendor come to your office, you may want to consider going to their offices and meeting 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 past 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 finished product.
To download a free sample RFP template for your website design project please complete the form below: