How to write a website request for proposal

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If you are searching for a new website design agency, chances are you will be writing an RFP and sending it to potential suppliers.

This can be challenging for many reasons:

  • You are an RFP virgin
  • Unsure how much you should put into the RFP
  • Unsure of requirements

If you are in the third reason, consider taking on board a consultant before issuing the RFP. Don’t use the RFP as the process for finding this out – you are more likely to choose the wrong supplier. It is normal for a project to have evolving requirements but you must have a clear goal and vision for the end result. If you don’t know what the overall objective is, then seek professional website advice.

RFP virgins

If the RFP process is new or you’ve never written one for a website, we’ve put together an outline to help create one.

A typical RFP format is:

  • Company and project information – this outlines the company, its objectives and why you are doing the project.
  • Requirements – what you want the end result to be/do.
  • Agency response – areas and questions you want them to address/answer.

Common mistakes

We’ve seen a lot of RFPs in our time. Frequent mistakes we see are:

  • Wrong dates – always check the calendar to make sure the date is not a Saturday or that you’ve put the right month for the deadline or project end.
  • Lack of detail around requirements – you must be specific about what you want. Vague explanations will get you wishy-washy responses or the agency will misinterpret what you want. This can lead to inaccurate budget estimates.
  • Lack of instructions – if you want potential suppliers to detail a specific aspect of the project, e.g. how they would build a certain area, then state this directly. If you end up with skimpy proposals back, then it’s because you were not detailed enough. No one wants to send you War and Peace to read so the instinct is to be brief rather than ramble.

Be specific about what you want

Writing a good RFP is difficult but it will pay off. You will receive better response and be able to make a more informed decision about the supplier you want to work with.

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