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Twelve tips for a better Request For Proposal (RFP)

1) Get help with your RFP

If you are not comfortable creating your own RFP, consider hiring this out. Many website design companies will, for a fee, assist you with an assessment of your current site, and help you to walk through the process of writing requirements which can be a part of of the RFP. Spending a few hundred dollars on an RFP can save you thousands of dollars.

We offer two sample Request For Proposal documents which you can download and adapt for your project:

  • Basic Website RFP Sample – .doc file, 3 pages, best for very basic website projects
  • Complex Website RFP Sample – .doc file, 8 pages, best for more complex website projects

To download either of our two sample Request For Proposal documents please use the form below and the RFP links will be emailed to you.

RFP Request

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2) Be a part of RFP process

Even if you do not have a detailed requirements document to include with your RFP, provide some input or basic information of what your vision is for your website and how you see a website vendor fitting into the process. Think of the time you invest in creating a great RFP as an investment in your website’s success.

3) Determine a budget for your website

Determine a low, middle and high budget number you can spend for your website project. If you do not have a well defined RFP, chances are you will need or want more features once you get into the project. Having some additional budget set aside for contingencies is always a good idea.

4) Consider building your website in phases

If it’s been a few years since your last website updating or overhauling, and if your budget is moderate, consider phasing in the highest priority items first and working on lower priority features later.

5) Be realistic in your project expectations

If your RFP is asking for a lot of new features and capabilities, but your budget is based on your website cost from several years ago, consider putting some of your requirements into an “Optional” or “Phase II” section and focus on just what is most needed at the moment.

6) Survey your website users

Do not assume that just because you aren’t getting complaints about your website that is working for your visitors. Your website may not have an obvious way to for users to complain or give you feedback. A survey of users combined with studying your website statistics can give you insight into how your website is really being used, now just how you think it is being used.

7) Research competitors’ websites

It’s not that you should copy what your competition is doing, but it’s always a good idea to know what your competition has going for it and to stay one step ahead of them. Look at what others are doing in your industry and look for features which would make your website stand out from the crowd and serve your customers well.

8) Review your marketing plan

How does your website figure into your overall marketing plan? When redesigning your website and working on your RFP, include requirements for features which help you meet your marketing goals.

9) Balance the technical with the practical

Often, complex website features may mean a lot of application customization or original programming, resulting in a complex website. Spending thousands of dollars only to save a few hours updating your site may be as practical as spending thousands of dollars to save you even more over a year or so.

10) Set expectations for your technology vendors

Be sure to state in your RFP the level of detail you require in their proposal. If you are just interested in getting some pricing information based on your RFP, a one or two page proposal from vendors may be fine. If you have a detailed RFP and you’re looking for a comprehensive proposal, state this in your RFP.

11) Allow website vendors adequate time to respond

Your RFP should allow at least 10 working days for vendors to ask questions about your RFP and submit a proposal. While your RFP may be detailed, there may be several different ways to achieve your RFP goals, with different price tags and implications for the project. Potential vendors need enough time to fully understand your RFP and goals before putting together their proposal.

12) Share questions and answers about the RFP

When you receive questions from vendors about the RFP, it’s a good idea to share both the questions and answers with all the vendors you have invited to participate in the proposal process. This way all vendors will have the same information in order to have proposals that are based on the same information.

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Design-First serves Columbus, La Grange, West Point, Duluth and the Metro Atlanta, Georgia area. Phone: 678-969-0448.