How to write an RFP for a website redesign
Here are some tips to help take the anxiety out of writing a website RFP.
A request for proposal (RFP) should set the framework for the specific information you need to help you select a vendor for your website project. The details you include will help you get accurate responses from vendors, so a little planning goes a long way.
Take an honest evaluation
It helps to start by taking a look at your current website before you begin:
- What parts of your current website are working well?
- Where are your website’s weaknesses?
- What is preventing your online growth?
- What are the expectations of your stakeholders that are not currently being met?
Next, think about what your ideal website would look like. Here are some things you’ll want to consider:
- Better user experience.
- A content strategy.
- A stronger brand identity.
- Accessibility and compliance.
- Additional features, such as ecommerce, a physician directory or an enhanced calendar.
- Lead generation.
- A blog.
- Site architecture.
- Search engine optimization.
- Social media integration.
- A more intuitive content management system.
Focus on formatting
Just as it’s important to find the right vendor, it is also key to identify those who are out of your budget, cannot accommodate your project size or are unable to provide the features you require. The more details you can get up front, the better you’ll be able to determine the right fit.
The structure of your website RFP should include these critical components:
- Project overview: Define your goals and the intent of the project.
- Company background: Describe your organization and your role. Communicating company values and culture will ensure that you are more likely to find a vendor that’s a good fit for your goals and processes.
- Goals of your project: State the project goals clearly and note the specific challenges you are trying to solve and why your current solution isn’t working. Don’t forget to describe what success looks like.
- Estimated budget: By providing a budget, you can quickly find out if a vendor is out of your price range. Be sure to note if there’s any room for negotiation. When you identify your “must haves” and itemize other optional items as add-ons, a vendor can suggest specific solutions within your budget.
- Project scope: Here’s where you want to provide the most detail about your project. What are you looking to achieve? What does your ideal website look like? Who are your consumers and how do you define a successful conversion? A well-defined scope will ensure more accurate budget quotes.
- Timeline and important deadlines: Create a realistic timeline for deliverables, as well as for receiving and evaluating proposals. Include proposal deadline, evaluation timing, a selection date, a date to notify vendors that were not selected and a completion date for the entire project.
- Possible roadblocks: Make vendors aware of any potential obstacles they may encounter during the project implementation. These can be anything from lack of resources to multiple stakeholders with different goals. This can help eliminate bidders who are not up to the challenge.
- Website examples: Including links to websites you like can be helpful in identifying a look or functionality that you envision. A good website vendor will want to evaluate the competition in your market, so include links to some of your competitor’s websites.
- Submission instructions: This outlines the criteria you will use to evaluate proposals. Does the proposal need to be submitted in a particular format, such as Microsoft Word or PDF? Does it require hand delivery, or can it be submitted via email?
Some additional items you might ask the website vendor to include in the proposal are:
- Examples of similarly complex projects to assess technical capability.
- Client references to assess credibility.
- A project timeline with major tasks and milestones to assess their processes.
Above all, provide clear expectations and transparency whenever possible to make sure you get the information needed to evaluate vendor fitness for your project.