26 Aug

How to Create a Website RFP That Sets You Up for Success

Have you been given the task of creating the RFP (request for proposal) for your company’s website? Congratulations! That is quite the undertaking. However, you have probably realized by this point that this is not as easy as it sounds.

Maybe you have the basic ideas in place, and you know what your end goal is, but all the details that go into creating a website are still all hazy and unclear.

It’s okay! We’re here to help you create a great RFP!

Not having a clear outline of your requirements makes it considerably more difficult to explain your vision to a website design and development company.

Properly putting together an RFP for your company’s new website is something that needs close attention and thorough detail. It’s important that you are putting the correct information into it.

Investing your time and energy into creating a proper and clear request for proposal now will undoubtedly save you a nightmare of confusion down the road.

If the information you’re trying to get across is not articulated properly, it cannot be properly translated or clearly understood by the website designer and developer.

Perhaps you’re having trouble getting all your ideas in order in a way that can be understood by others.

You’re not alone if you’re having trouble deciding what you want for your website!

Anyone who has been given the job of creating an RFP has been there. While every company is unique and has their own specific needs and requirements, the most critical aspects of building a successful RFP for a well-functioning website come down to some basic elements.

There may be times when you have absolutely no idea how to create the features that you want. That’s okay! Allow the website agency to figure out the technical details of how to specifically create your vision.

However, when communicating with a website company, it’s important that you have a clear idea in place of the core elements and functionality you want on each page of your website.

Being able to clearly identify the end goals and vision you have for your website is essential in the RFP creation process.

For example, you may be saying “We want a way for our new website to be able to do X, Y, and Z.”. That’s perfect! As long as you’re able to clearly identify the core elements and functionality you want for your new website, you can count on smooth sailing as soon as the website company clearly understand your requirements.

The Importance of an RFP

An RFP is the most important communication piece in making sure that you get your desired website. Not only will it save you time and money, but it will make it easier for your website design company to know exactly what you want out of your business with them.

It can also help you create a long-term relationship with that particular website design company so that, in the future, they are more familiar with what you look for in a professional relationship.

The Communication Problem

The main issue when it comes to the communication between a company and their website developer is this: two people can look at the same thing and see that thing two completely different ways.

Before sending your website requirements off to a developer, it’s essential to have a Solutions Architect come in and provide clarity for every aspect of your new website.

What is a Solutions Architect?

A Solutions Architect is a professional that provides the necessary technical language, so that your ideas and vision for your new website are clearly understood by the website designer and developer.

By working with a Solutions Architect, there’s no confusion or information that is lost-in-translation when the information is given to the website designer and developer.

The Solutions Architect takes your words and ideas, and transcribes them in a way that can be fully understood by the designer and developer. They then have all the proper information to get started on the website project right away.

Basically, if you do not take the time to iron out any confusion when it comes to the requirements for your website project, you are essentially asking the website design company to create your new website for you based on their understanding of what you meant to say, not what you actually said.

They will be left to guess the features and functionality you want your site to have, rather than just knowing and completely understanding. This can be a dangerous line to walk, and will most likely lead to a storm of issues down the road.

It’s like going to a home builder and saying “Build me a home. It needs to have a roof, some bathrooms, kitchen, living room, dining room, foyer, sunroom, lots of bedrooms, maybe a nice fireplace, laundry room, I want to be able to easily walk throughout the house in any room, it needs to look good from any angle of the home. It needs to look pretty. How much will that cost and how long will that take you?”.

Although the home builder may know certain features you want, they will not know how you want those features put together or any functionality details you need.

You need an architect first that can help define the exact specifications of your new home. Well, when it comes to your website design, the Solutions Architect does just that.

It’s Important to Know What You Want to Begin With

The website company is there to fill in the gaps and provide technical solutions, but it’s still important that you provide them with the information they need to get the job done for you—the way you pictured it.

The last thing you want is to end up with a website that needs to be heavily revised or even rebuilt because you didn’t specify your needs and requirements clearly to begin with.

Where Should You Start?

The key components that should be included in your RFP are as follows:

  • Background information about your company
  • Overall company goals
  • Design and functionality of your current website
  • Desired design and functionality of your website (ie: pages, functionality, end goals, etc.)
  • Outline of the pages you want on your new website.
  • Required functionality for each page on your website.
  • Main goals and ideas for your website
  • Current issues with your website
  • Target audience for your website
  • The features you want your website to have

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you want e-commerce?
  • Do you want it to have a “quick view” or “zoom” option?
  • Should customer purchasing profiles be auto-generated?
  • Should there be “buy it again” options?
  • Should you include a “get a sample” form that auto identifies each product?

And that isn’t all! The possibilities with your website are endless. That’s why it’s so important to remember that setting an end goal, and then working backwards from that, will make the website creation process much easier for both you and your website design company. Once the developer has a thorough understanding of your exact requirements, they can create exactly what you’re looking for far more easily.

A Caveat to Avoid

In the past, we’ve noticed clients hire a Solutions Architect that will build them the infrastructure of their site, documenting everything required for a successful website project, only to then hand it off to a local based website designer or developer that promises they can build it faster or cheaper—or both.

Don’t do it!
The last thing you want to do is hire a local based website designer or developer that you THINK will give you everything you need to fill in the gaps of your website—process, flow, design, technical expertise, solutions, etc., simply because you handed them the document that the Solutions Architect created for you — only to have the cheaper local based website designer or developer create a sub-par website for you.

Thus, you’re left having to rebuild your entire website all over again 6 months later because it was never built correctly to begin with from the local website designer or developer. Only causing you headaches and frustration, and costing you massive amounts of unnecessary time, energy, and money.

When it comes to roofers, plumbers, painters, etc, by all means, you need to go with a local based company that’s been around for a long time. However, when it comes to website design and development, local does NOT equal better!

There’s more than meets the eye!

Described more in detail in our recent blog post The 7 Things You Need To Know BEFORE Hiring A Website Design and Development Company, just because you have the proper blueprints for your new website created by the Solutions Architect, doesn’t mean the cheaper local based website designer or developer will have any idea how to correctly create your new website.

The value that comes with a website agency that can provide you with exactly what you need to create the perfect website is unbeatable. Once you find a website company that can create the plan you give them, you will never want to let go.

What’s the Solution?

The best thing you can do is find a website design and development company that can not only create the exact website you’re looking for, but that can be your Solutions Architect as well!

The Key

Find a website design and development company that also provides Solutions Architect services!

The role of the Solutions Architect is only there to provide technical solutions and help with the overall design flow of your website. If the Solutions Architect has already worked with the website design and developer—because they are involved in the same company—the communication between them is more understood, more efficient, and better overall.

That means that you get a better website out of the deal.

The Solutions Architect will still need you to provide the exact features, requirements, and end goals you want your new website to have in order to translate that into a technical project specifications document for the website designer and developer.

Before you speak with your Solutions Architect, it’s important that you take the time beforehand to figure out exactly what you want and what features you want your website to have.

After that, you can work with them to clearly articulate the vision you have. They will help you translate these visions into a language that the website designer and developer will clearly understand.

The Solutions Architect can help you iron out any details so that—when you take the RFP to the website design company—there is no doubt that they have the information THEY need to create the website YOU want.

Thus, saving you tons of time, energy, and money!

If you can define and describe EVERYTHING that you want, it will be a breeze for the website design company to create your perfect website.

Get Started Today!

Once you have your website RFP ready, we can be your Solutions Architect to help communicate exactly what you’re looking for!

Contact Levi Marketing today! We’re with you each step of the way! We’re here to create the perfect website for you!

Get Started Today!