How To Write A Web Development Request For Proposal And Why It Is Important

Dyachenko Anastasia
Dyachenko Anastasia
CEO at Cadabra Studio. UX expert and business consultant

Website development is one of the activities where misunderstanding may damage everything. So it is strongly recommended to discuss each minor detail with the software development team before the website building is initiated.

An RFP, or request for proposal for website development is the right thing you need. Using an RFP, you will minimize all possible risks and get the most accurate feedback and estimate from the development team. Ok, let’s not beat around the bush. We are going to shed more light on the RFP definition, its purpose, and steps to write the RFP structure wisely.

What Is A Web Development RFP?

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How To Write A Web Development Request For Proposal And Why It Is Important

An RFP is a request for a proposal for any service that contains detailed information about the project, including budget and timelines. Also, an RFP shows goals, project or product requirements, quality criteria, and describes the requirements to a service provider. 

Some people think that RFPs are similar to common email letters with the description of project particularities. Well, an RFP can be a simple email if you need to order a batch of knives. But it won’t be enough for website development. Website design and development RFPs should contain a lot of necessary information. 

So, the main points that should be included in website development proposals are the following

  • scope of the project;
  • project development time;
  • cost of development;
  • tech stack and equipment needed to create the product;
  • main possible roadblocks;
  • specific requirements.

In simple words, it’s a document that captures all the details about the project, the desired outcomes and development goals, as well as all the contact information that any of the parties might need. Well-structured and readable RFPs are essential for decision-making and resource evaluation.

The development of a website cannot be estimated within one hour. The development team needs to consider every minor detail since it may have a significant impact on the final quote. That is why you should build a request for a proposal. Website development costs will be estimated more precisely and faster. Besides, an RFP allows developers to understand better what your website should represent. 

Let’s Look At Some Stats

Nothing speaks better about an RFP than statistics. For example, according to recent research, development teams believe that the main advantages of such documents are

  • improvement of content storage – 65%;
  • time saving – 63%;
  • automation of manual tasks – 53% of respondents.

In addition, most teams use a website RFP template to create requests for proposals. Other popular services include graphics services and content libraries. More than 80% of respondents believe that such tools significantly increase productivity and are extremely useful.

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How To Write A Web Development Request For Proposal And Why It Is Important

The Purpose Of An RFP And Its Importance

As it is clear of the previous section, an RFP implies the detailed description of the future website requirements or requirements for the redesign if you already have a website, and you want to give it a second wind. The purpose of an RFP is to provide the web development team with all the features and particularities of your website. 

Are you not sure about the proper list of requirements your website may need? This is not a problem. A troubleshooting Cadabra Studio company will help you deal with it, just contact us!

The request for proposal helps save time since you don’t need to spend your time on additional meetings, discovering details of your project. Thus, it is a useful option both for developers and for clients. Besides, when you are writing an RFP, you dive deeper into your project, you understand better what you need, and you formulate your demands more accurately. 

A well-structured and convenient RFP document significantly improves communication between the client and the development company, as it takes into account not only the technical data, but also the competence of each  process participant and the customer’s future expectations.

Among other reasons, creating the right RFP

  • Helps to evaluate different perspectives of product development and the team’s experience and, based on this, choose the optimal approach to development.
  • Systematize individual proposals based on project requirements, and define clear roles and areas of responsibility.
  • Document the development process properly and clearly, including establishing indicators of team performance and the product’s success.

So, this way, you get all important information in one place and a clear project timeline to track the entire development process.

When You Need A Request For Proposal

An RFP is an ideal option when you want to create a new website or improve the existing one and make a redesign, but you haven’t found a service provider yet. However, even if you already made a choice and you know what company you want to entrust the project to, a request for proposal makes it possible to take all options into account. 

An RFP for website development paves the way for building better relationships with a software development company. The company follows your demands, accurately implements your quotes, and everything is performed much faster. And you, as a business owner, know that time is money, so the development process may be initiated as early as possible. 

An RFP is the best solution if you are dealing with a large and complex project that has a strictly defined budget. Whether this is a web or mobile app, in order to fit within the expenses framework, it is necessary to have structured development guidelines, a list of requirements and goals, etc.

Such documents help to quickly select a team of necessary specialists, weeding out those who do not have the necessary technical skills or experience. In addition, they are useful to better define the specifics of the project and set priorities.

A Website Development RFP And Technical Description: The Difference

There is a chance that requests for proposal can be confused easily with technical descriptions (TD). Some readers may consider an RFP as a short version of a TD, but it is a wrong conception. Let’s clear the situation out. 

A request for proposal implies the project description, its conditions, budget, deadlines, etc. Its main goal is to receive a precise estimate from the development company and its business proposal. While a technical description is a document that was drawn up with a particular service provider, and it contains the conditions previously agreed between two parties.

The main purpose of the RFP is not just to inform, but also to immerse the audience in the context of the development, to convince readers. Also, such documents have a balanced level of detail and a minimum of complex technical information. At the same time, the TD is the most detailed technical document, because the development’s quality depends on its detail.

So a TD and an RFP have different goals, they are not the same. A TD is used already after initial negotiations, while an RFP is sent to providers who even haven’t seen your project before.   

How To Create A Website Design RFP: Steps And Template

Now we need to answer your question like “how do I create an RFP for my website?”. An RFP for web design and development can be created quickly, especially when you have a form to fill. You will find a link to the website development RFP template at the end of the article. And here we will cover the steps on how to write a website RFP.

Add The Overview Of Your Business

For a start, describe your business history and what your business provides people with. Software development company may get your ideas better when it delves deeper into the industry of your business, its peculiarities, and capabilities. Besides, even if you just start your business, describe your plans and current marketing situation — it also plays a crucial role in further website development. 

Make the overview concise but detailed so developers can share your values and get to know your business’s essential nuances.

Describe Your Project

Here you pay rapt attention to all the details of your new website (or the redesign of an existing site). If it is a new website, describe what features it should have, how you see it, so this point is the main in the web design request for proposal. Tell your potential developers what you want them to implement. 

Apart from the website, you may need mobile apps as well. Don’t hesitate to share this information with the Cadabra Studio team — our staff includes both web and mobile developers. Get in touch with us.

Describe Your Target Audience

This point is also vital since the development team needs to know the target audience that will use your website.

The list of mandatory features, product availability parameters, appearance and user interface, etc., depend on it.

Moreover, all marketing efforts are built based on the characteristics of the target audience and its needs. The more accurate the data about it, the better the product will be advertised in the future, and the more accurately it will meet the needs of the user.

So, research before you write an RFP because if you target the right audience, it will increase the chances for success. And the understanding of a target audience will help developers and UX/UI designers choose the right approach to development & design. 

Define Your Goals

Determine what goals you plan to achieve with a new or improved website. What challenges exist and how your project may assist the target audience in dealing with these challenges. The more clear goals you have, the higher the chances are that your project will be successful. 

So, pay attention to defining your business goals and objectives. In this way, you will significantly simplify the process of forming optimal functionality and solving existing problems.

Outline The Existing Website And Reasons For Redesign

If you want to improve the existing website, mind to describe your requirements  first, make sure that developers and designers can look them through in detail. Describe all do’s and don’ts of your website and list all the reasons to redesign your website. It doesn’t generate the required amount of leads, it is outdated, or it lacks some features, etc. Why do you want to enhance the existing website? Add this info to your request for a proposal for website design. 

Detail The Requirements For A New Website

This point allows the development company to estimate the cost of website building or redesign. It is essential, so add the list of must-have features for a new website along with additional features. Also, mention what design particularities you need, outline content and SEO strategy, and other related information. 

However, you may face some obstacles when you create a plan for your future website and its features. Thus, you need to find a troubleshooting company that can assist in the web development strategy and build the right approach to your website creation. The Cadabra Studio team has substantial experience in making excellent software.

Build A Sitemap Structure

Properly built user experience is half the battle. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you need to create the UX of your website before you contact a software development team. But it is recommended for you to make a few sketches and draw a rough sitemap of the website. That is, pages like Contact us, Blog, Portfolio, About are usually available on many websites. 

So think about this issue, in case you need any guidance our specialists at Cadabra Studio will always help you build the right structure. 

Reveal The Budget Details

Include your budget details, describe what budget range you may afford. The team will consider these details when it comes to a detailed estimate. Even if you don’t know how much money you will need to invest in the development of a new website or redesign, the company will know your expectations. 

Cover The Project Timelines

Mention when you would like to receive a business proposal with an estimate from a development company. Also, if you have a specific date when you want a website to launch, indicate it. But don’t forget that website development is not an immediate process. So be realistic, high quality is not equal to the fast development process.

And, finally, don’t hesitate to ask. Questions mean you want to know more, and each detail may play a key role. So add your questions at the end of your RFP.

Common Sections RFP Includes

Summarizing all the things that were said above, we can determine which common things most website development proposal examples include.

  • Project overview and brief introduction. This section gives general information about the proposal, and this is the part where most customers decide whether to continue reading the document.
  • Presentation of the development company. Here is brief information about the company’s experience and expertise.
  • Target audience data. This a very important point, because it determines many of the following components. User needs and UI/UX design of the product are formed, requirements are determined and marketing strategies are created based on the results of the target audience research.
  • Existing web product overview (if it concerns website redesign). Description of outdated and poorly functioning components, shortcomings and advantages of the existing product. In other words, this is the point that defines the website’s current state and what needs attention or changes.
  • Development goals: new and existing. Here, the main goals of the product are determined, structured and prioritized.
  • Functionality: mandatory and desirable. Mandatory features listed here are determined based on target audience needs. Also, this section may include a list of features that can be added optionally, depending on the budget.
  • General timeline and deadlines. Here are realistic product development dates and timelines for each individual phase.
  • Answers to questions. This section provides answers to specific customer questions.
  • Budget details.

Depending on the project scope, product features, industry, etc., the document may have additional sections.

Things to Avoid 

A request for proposal usually contains a lot of information, so it’s pretty easy to get lost in the chaos. Of course, such a document should have a logical structure, concise content and clear data prioritization. Sometimes it is easier to achieve these goals if, in addition to the knowledge of the most important components, you also have a list of things to avoid when preparing an RFP.

Mixed Goals

Whether it is a neobanking system or a parking app, the goals should be clear, precise and sorted by type. Business goals, project goals, and technical tasks should be listed separately and not mixed into one section. 

In this way, it will be easier to allocate areas of responsibility, control developers’ performance, and track achievements. When everyone involved in the process has their own tasks and goals, the development is faster, and it is easier to identify and eliminate shortcomings.

Lack of Design and Accessibility Guidelines

Web design agencies work not only with the appearance of the web product, but also with the requirements of usability, engagement and accessibility. These parameters directly depend on the target audience and its needs.

That’s why you shouldn’t forget about design and accessibility recommendations based on your user’s portrait. This applies to the type and size of fonts, imagery, accessibility for people with sensory or age restrictions, etc. If you don’t indicate this in the RFP, you may face a mismatch between expectations and the budget in the future.

No Issues List

When redesigning, scaling, or updating tech products, having a clear list of points that cause problems and need improvement is critical. Unfortunately, it is not enough just indicate that the website needs improvement.

The document should contain specific issues and often the reasons for their occurrence, especially when the team should deal with specific product elements. The more precise these data are, the easier it is to define goals, allocate responsibilities and priorities, and create a budget.

No Content Requirements

A website or application’s textual and graphic content is essential for the correct perception of the product by the target audience. Therefore it is necessary to indicate at least a concise list of requirements for it in the request for a proposal.

Whether the content is provided by the client or created by a development agency, it is a crucial element of interface design and user experience. Therefore, such requirements as tone of voice, style, method of communication with the audience, etc. should be indicated. In addition, it is not superfluous to add some content management system requirements.

Too Much Data is Confusing

Even though data is the basis of the popularity and success of tech products, you should not add unnecessary information to the RFP. It can distract from the main goals and tasks.

It is worth choosing only the most critical data directly related to the quality requirements and the project’s purpose. Everything else can be saved as additional material.

It is also worth thinking about the structuring of information and its reliability. The data affect the project scope, so you need to be careful and meticulous in this case.

Brief Summary

A request for proposal is not just a technical document, but a kind of announcement about a project that helps to search for vendors for development. It should contain information about the target audience, goals, technical and business requirements, etc. This is a project description that immerses the reader in context.

The RFP is written to find the best contractor and explain all the nuances of the product. The better the goals and requirements of the business are specified, the more chances to find the optimal vendor.

A Web Development RFP Template

As you can see, the request for proposals is an extremely important document that defines the direction, terms and scope of the development. However, it is very difficult to create it yourself, especially if you do not have enough expertise in working with various tech products.

Since we have relevant experience and have a solid system for writing such requests, created based on our own mistakes and successes, we will be happy to help. The easiest and best option for various businesses is to use a ready-made sample RFP for website development.

We want to simplify the process of the RFP writing, so we added a website RFP example.  The template will help you create an RFP for website design and development faster, and it will save you time. Also, if you have some sections and points you would like to add, feel free to modify the template per your needs. 

Let’s wrap up. With this guide, you can write an ultimate RFP for website design and development 2021. However, you may still come up with many questions since the software development world doesn’t stand still, and everything is changing every day. Send us your RFP or drop a line right now if you need a troubleshooter — our Business Development consultants are standing by!

Frequently Asked Questions

The Healthcare industry is known for complex processes explained by the high level of responsibility.

The cost of medical app development depends on several factors like your needs, set of features, technology stack, and so on. Though our business analytics make sure to not spend an unnecessary penny.

To make a mobile app screen, you need to create a user flow diagram for each screen, draw wireframes, select design templates, and colors, create layouts, and create an animated prototype.

We usually take our clients through the following steps:

  1. Planning and Research; 
  2. Prototyping;
  3. Design;
  4. Development;
  5. Testing;
  6. Release;
  7. Maintenance.

You will participate in every stage of the development process and get regular updates.

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