Website Design RFP's - Phoenix Website Resurrection
by Brian Rideout • May 27, 2016
Attempting to give your Phoenix company or organization website a resurrection? Here's some tips on developing an RFP (Request for Proposal).
First, decide if an RFP is really the right approach to find your next Phoenix Web Designer. RFP's tend to be a very impersonal way to start a relationship. Generally a letter that goes out via snail mail or a .pdf via e-mail with a list of requirements that may or may not be the best approach for the website project, it's not exactly a friendly way to start a relationship. Relationship? Yes, whether you realize it or not, creating a long term relationship is the best way to build an Internet presence that will be your most public method of marketing and interfacing with the community. The Web design company you hire today will likely be with you for years to come. They'll help you grow, guide you using best practices, and may ultimately be a big factor in the success or failure of your business to generate new sales or your organization to get donations and buy in from the community. Now, with that in mind, is a form letter really the right way to start? Would your spouse have married you if your first contact had been a list of requirements that might have included cooking, cleaning and taking out the trash? Probably not. So why start your relationship with your future Web designer that way? Wouldn't a face to face get together to get to know each other be a better solution to start the relationship? I certainly think so.
However... if you are dead set on issuing an RFP, here's some guidance in drafting one that actually allows a response...
#1 - At the end of the day, your Web designer needs to know what they are building for you. Much like a contractor needs a blueprint to know what type and size building he's putting together for you, your Web designer needs a sitemap that shows what pages and functions are contained in the website you are asking them to build. Vague descriptions of goals and mission statements don't provide good direction. A visual representation of what the website should contain is the BEST way to communicate what the site should include. I've included a small websites sitemap below for reference.
Something like this is easily built as an organizational chart in PowerPoint or Word. You can color code different blocks to represent areas of the site or to show what areas of the site need to be secured using SSL. Pages that will have forms of some kind should be indicated in some manner, you'll note in the sitemap above we have indicated a Thank You page which is the results page of a form submission. What happens then should be indicated somewhere as well... send an e-mail? To whom? Or store the data in a database or CRM system, or perhaps insert a name and e-mail address into a contact database for an e-newsletter which is the purpose in this sitemap. With a diagram like this there is much less confusion as to what the RFP proposal should include.
#2 - If there are any 3rd party systems to be integrated make sure to state that clearly. We recently were given an RFP that said "... integrate with current e-mail marketing software". Great... whose? This is not the time to be vague. Not being specific when drawing up the RFP is either going to get you proposals that don't meet your needs, or disappointment later when you are told... "That wasn't in the RFP!". Web designers are talented people, but we aren't mind readers. Which leads me to...
#3 - Make your self available for discussing the RFP. Unless you are the best darn RFP writer out there we'll likely have questions. If you don't make your self available one of two things are likely to happen. Either we are going to guess, maybe correctly, maybe not, at what you meant. Or we are going to pitch your RFP into the trash and not respond. At that point you've wasted both our time and you still don't have what you need. Perhaps at that point you'll pick up the phone and call your list of Web designers and say "We are looking to redesign our website. Can you come into the office so we can discuss the project with you and see if it's a good fit for both of us?"
Which is what I really recommend. For your convenience, our phone number is 602-427-5626 ext. #1 for sales. Thanks for reading!