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The Importance of a Web Design RFP

A website RFP is what companies use to assess their needs so a web design or redesign project can be submitted for a proposal. A great RFP is a well-crafted document that maps out overarching goals, and key specifications for your project.

The problem is, the website RFP process is in need of a major upgrade. Most requests are too long, too limiting, and way too confusing. Currently, the RFP process prohibits any relationship between your brand and the web design agency, and the structure of the document is usually focused on broad goals rather than the review and selection processes. 

Still, you will need to create a RFP to get your mission, values, and message across to the web design agency. a web design RFP is sometimes your initial contact with an agency. With this in mind, here are some tips for enhancing the RFP process in order to achieve better website redesign outcomes.

What Exactly is an RFP?

Essentially, an RFP (request for proposal) is a document written by your organization and give to prospective web design agency. It's an invitation for these agencies (or "creative partners") to bid on your web redesign project, evaluate your brief, and provide you with a proposal for your project — the outlines, timeline, costs, etc.

Why Do I Need to Create a Web Design RFP?

A Web Design RFP will help you:
  • Detail your company's needs for your website redesign project.
  • Analyze and prioritize your organization's priorities.
  • Improve transparency (especially if you work for a government agency or non-profit).
  • Create benchmarks in order to measure your project's success.
  • Test a web design company before you enlist their services.
If you want to find the right web design agency partner, you will need your RFP to be:
  • Well-organized.
  • Full of detail.
  • Specific to your needs and goals.

At the very minimum, you will need to include sections for an intro, selection criteria, requirements, timelines, and processes. Most of these sections will have subsections.

There are a few key elements you should definitely include in your RFP. These are:
  • Your business overview (the products and services you offer, etc.).
  • Your brand elements and approach to the public.
  • A logo and brand book, if applicable.
  • What sets your organization apart from your competitors.
  • Your company goals and objectives.
  • Information about your target audience.
  • Information about key team members involved in the redesign project. (Don't forget to include their contact information!)
  • Your current site map.
  • Evaluation Criteria.

Then there are the functional and non-functional requirements of your design project.

Include these functional requirements:
  • Information about what your new website should do. For example, if you own an e-commerce site, include details about the POS system, customizable product pages, and other elements that will make your website function.
  • Include detail about the pages that you want that you don't already have and which pages you want to consolidate.
Also, include these non-functional requirements:
  • Response times and reliability requirements that improve performance and ease-of-use.
  • You can also include optional features that you are thinking about. These will help the web design company to return a proposal with more accurate cost estimates
Technology requirements:
  • Integrations (MailChimp, HubSpot, CallRail, etc.)

What Other Information Should You Include?

Timeline and work processes

Provide a realistic timeline for completion. You can divide your project into various phases if you'd like to make consistent steady progress towards achieving all project objectives.


This is important. You won't want to skimp on new website design, but you might not want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, either. Be honest about your budget requirements so each agency can manage your expectations on their approach and full scope of work that can be covered for that amount. If you don't, this could result in delays to your project.

Example: The budget for our new website is between $60,000 – $80,000. Our annual budget for ongoing support and maintenance is $65,000.

Payment schedule

Include information such as payments schedules and fiscal year limitations.

Services required pre or post-launch

A great looking website shouldn’t be the end of your marketing efforts, be sure to include services you'll need post-launch, such as:

  • Brand Identity Design or Refresh
  • Brand Guidelines
  • SEO Strategy
  • Technical Audit
  • Social Media
  • Marketing Automation
  • Digital Marketing
  • Copywriting
  • Video Production
  • Ongoing Website Support
  • Website Hosting

What You Need to Know

An RFP is not an RFQ!

Remember, an RFP is not a request for a quotation (RFQ). Sure, you will receive a quote from multiple web design agency partners when you send out your RFP, but this document is much more than that. It includes a request for information about timelines, deliverables, action plans, and the like.

Engage with web design agency partners face-to-face

Human interaction will facilitate the website RFP process. Think of selecting a web creation partner as hiring a potential employee. You will want to make sure the right web designer is suitable for your project, not just when it comes to experience and salary but personality and temperament, too.

A quick conference call isn't enough. You need to set aside enough time to really get to know your new digital partner. Your selection process should focus on dialogue and conversation rather than bids. It's a win-win for both parties. Your web design agency will better understand your character, values, and vision, too, when they engage with you on a deeper level.


In general, website RFPs are outdated and limited, but your approach shouldn't be. You want your digital agency to employ a great deal of time and care, if not more. However, you will need to be realistic and open-minded, especially when it comes to your budget.

In the long run, you will benefit from finding a partner that has the interests of your business in mind.

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