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Website RFP Expert Guide [Examples & Template]

Whether you’re looking to launch a website for your new brand or you’re interested in a redesign, one of the best ways to find a qualified agency for your project is through a web design request for proposal (RFP).

Through an effective website RFP, you can reach agencies that are interested in your project, then review submissions to determine which agency is the best fit, based on timeline, budget and other factors.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about a website RFP, including how it can determine the course of your project. Our experts at Digital Silk have reviewed hundreds of RFPs over the years, and they’re ready to share their tips!

The best part? We also prepared a free template with an editable Canva file you can use for your next RFP. Scroll down to get your copy!

What Is A Website RFP?

A website request for proposal (RFP) is a document a company creates to outline current website challenges, objectives, budget and requirements for a website design, redesign, development or other website project.

Types Of Website RFPs

There are three different types of website RFPs: Those that cater to website design, those that cater to website redesign and those that cater to website development.

1. Website Design RFP

A website RFP details the project scope and requirements of your new website. This includes your budget, preferred timeline and the main goals of your site, whether it should educate your potential customers, sell products and services or both.

2. Website Redesign RFP

A website redesign RFP describes how and to what degree your existing website should change. It should define specific pain points of your current website, and detail the areas you want to improve.

3. Website Development RFP

A website development RFP includes requirements for your website’s navigation, how much traffic your website can manage and your website speed.

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Why Issue A Website RFP For Your Website Project?

Here are three reasons why it’s important to issue a website RFP for your web design project:  

  • Provides transparency: An effective RFP also allows agencies to understand exactly what you’re looking for, and determine whether they have the expertise and capabilities to deliver.
  • Expands your reach: According to a recent survey, there are more than 79,000 web design companies in the U.S. alone. Through a website RFP, you can reach more agencies, giving you a better chance of finding the perfect match for your website project. In addition to contacting agencies separately, you can distribute your website RFP by posting it on your website and informing potential agencies, and/or posting it on RFP websites.
  • Allows for more accurate quotes: The detail in your RFP allows agencies to send transparent and accurate quotes for your project.

How A Website RFP Can Determine The Course Of Your Project

Through a detailed RFP, agencies are able to evaluate the scope of your project.

An effective RFP reveals the key information agencies need in order to estimate the time, resources and budget they need to deliver your website project according to your goals and requirements.

This in turn allows you to collect accurate quotes for your project and review estimated timelines to find the agency that is the best fit for your project.

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6 Website Design RFP Best Practices & Examples: Insights Based On Hundreds Of Reviewed RFPs 

At Digital Silk, we regularly review website RFPs to determine whether our agency is the right fit for a proposed project.

From including straight-to-the-point info to asking vendors the right questions, we’re sharing insider tips from our experts. After hundreds of reviews, they know what it takes to create an effective RFP!

1. Keep It Simple & Direct

While you may be tempted to launch into a five-page introduction about your brand, it’s a better idea to cut to the chase and make your website RFP simple, clear and direct.

You can bet that we’ve seen all kinds of RFPs, and the worst ones are vague, complex and lacking in value.

Effective RFPs are honest and provide specific information, including exactly how you want your website to look, its purpose and the audience it should target.

Example:

“We hope to better understand the landscape of customers, competitors, potential allies and threats as well as how we fit into the workflows of customers and potential customers” vs. “We want an amazing website!”

2. Include A Clear Budget For Your Project

While it may feel like you’re disclosing too much, stating a clear budget in your RFP will help make it easier for you to narrow down agencies, especially since the average agency answers around 150 RFPs per year.

After reviewing your budget, an agency will either:

  • Send a proposal within your budget
  • Send a proposal that recommends a workaround to make your goals work within your budget
  • Disregard your proposal because they’re unable to work within your budget

Whether your proposed budget is a match for an agency or the agency takes the time to recommend a workaround, these are the agencies you’ll want to focus on when determining the right fit for your project.

Website costs can vary based on many different factors, including custom or template design, functionalities, number of pages and more. A transparent RFP will always lead to the most accurate quotes.

Example:

“We have a budget of $55,000 and would like to allot $15,000 for content marketing and blog posts, while the remaining budget is for a new website design. Based on the scope of the project and details provided in the RFP, please let us know if this budget is realistic.” vs. No mention of a budget.

3. Establish Your Specific Goals & Complete Scope

While your budget and timeline are important, your goals and the complete scope of your project make up the heart of your RFP.

These details highlight the scale of how big or small your website project is and the web design services your project needs.

Before you start writing a wish list for your new website, determine what you want your website to do.

  • Should it inform or educate your potential customers?
  • Should it sell services or products?

Choose your prioritized goal and add secondary goals as needed.

4. Ask The Right Questions

While writing your RFP, questions might pop up along the way about specific platforms, functionalities or tools.

Include questions as needed, but limit questions to no more than 10. Ask for recommendations, ensure your questions are open-ended and highlight the output you’re looking for.

More detailed questions can be answered in an interview, should you decide to connect with the agency.

Example:

“Do you recommend that we add social media buttons to the homepage?” vs. “What WordPress plugin would you use to stream a Twitter feed on the homepage?”

5. Be Honest & Precise About Your Pain Points

Be honest with the challenges your brand is currently facing. Are you struggling with generating traffic? Is your navigation confusing?

Addressing issues in your RFP will help agencies pinpoint the key focus areas so they can recommend strategies for improvement. You can then evaluate proposals from different agencies based on their recommendations.

Example:

“Our messaging isn’t consistent across channels, and we think that may be affecting our conversion rates.” vs. “Our website isn’t converting but we have no idea why.”

6. Include Essential Information

From your contact information to your launch goal, here are additional details to include in your RFP so agencies can send you an accurate proposal bid.

  • Contact Details: Include a clear contact name, position, email address, phone number, etc.
  • Website RFP/Proposal Timeline: Date your RFP, include a deadline for proposal responses and a date for agencies to hear back from you
  • Submission Requirements: Include a set of guidelines bidders must follow when sending their proposal, such as a proposed budget and timeline, company profile and case studies
  • Project Kickoff: Include the date that you’d like an agency to begin work on your project
  • Evaluation criteria: Add the evaluation criteria you’ll use to determine the best agency to partner with
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Free RFP Template For Website Design Projects

Download Website RFP Template

Get your free website RFP template with a link to an editable Canva file.
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Takeaways On Website RFPs

A detailed and effective RFP can help ensure you reach interested agencies and ultimately choose to partner with the best fit for your website project.

The six best practices that can help you build an effective website RFP include:

  • Keep it simple and direct
  • Include a clear budget for your project
  • Establish your specific goals and complete scope
  • Ask the right website questions
  • Be honest and precise about your pain points
  • Include essential information

At Digital Silk, we take pride in investing our time and efforts in envisioning a custom website solution just for you.

Our award-winning experts can turn your dream website project into a reality to help you attract your target customers and ultimately, generate leads and conversions.

Whether you’re looking for a new website from the ground up, or a redesign optimized all the way through, our experts are here to deliver a fully customized, on-brand solution.

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