Now that you have taken the time to outline who you are and what you are looking for, it is time to dive into the details of your website requirements and functionality.
Assuming that your company doesn’t specialize in Website Design and Development (then why would you need an RFP!), you probably don’t know all the details required to develop one. There are many activities that go on behind the scenes in order to produce a visually pleasing, functioning website that still serves the purpose of telling people about your business and what you do and offer.
Design and Brand
The more information you provide upfront about your brand, design, and technical functionalities, the easier it will be for website designers to evaluate your project and respond with an appropriate and accurate proposal. The design and look of your website should reflect your existing brand. Be clear about what aesthetic you currently aspire to, what inspirations you draw from. This allows graphic designers to see what kind of feel to incorporate in their mockups. Be prepared with websites within and out of your industry that have a design you like, and specify which parts of these sites you especially like (or don’t).
Content creation is often a collaborative process between a client and a website development company. In your RFP, it is important to outline how these responsibilities will be divided, and what process will be used to approve new content or changes to existing content. In order to give a good idea of the size of your website, address how many pages you expect, and what they will contain.
Web developers often speak a different language than the general public, and this can cause frustrating miscommunications and differing expectations. In order to get everyone on the same page, there are a few things you can include in your RFP. Be clear about any features or functionalities that you want to be included in the Frontend Development of your website. A last minute addition of an e-commerce or interactive calendar can drastically change the timeline and budget of your website, and cause unnecessary stress and friction for all parties. If you lay out your vision upfront, companies can provide you with an accurate quote and timeline based on the features you want.
The Backend Development of a website can be tricky to understand for those who are unfamiliar with coding and programming. Some easy things to understand that translate well for developers involved how you want to be able to use your site, and how you want others to be able to find and view your site. What kind of Content Management System (CMS) do you require? Will it be an open sourced platform such as WordPress or Joomla, or do you want it to be custom built around your needs? Identifying what you, as the administrator, want to be able to do will also clear up a lot of questions about what will be built into your site. How you edit content, track traffic, optimize for searches, and host your website can all be tailored to your specific needs, if you take the time to ask for it.
Website Testing and Quality Assurance
Since you probably won’t understand all the nuances that go into the technical development of your website, you should require multiple website tests and quality assurance measures before the site goes live. This would also include any security or privacy information you need to consider regarding your information or your customers’. For instance, if you work in the medical field, making sure all the information sharing is HIPAA compliant is a large concern.
After your site is live, someone will need to maintain and upgrade the website as needed. If you prefer to do this yourself, ask for training and maintenance to be included in your proposal. The last thing you want is to be left high and dry when something goes wrong.
The more upfront you are about your expectations and requirements, the better your partnership will turn out. By providing these specifics about your website, your potential partners can craft a proposal that is satisfactory to them, and to you.
Don’t know where to start? Find out How to Write an RFP: Introductions.