A Request for Proposal (RFP) is a document that companies use to invite bids from potential vendors for a project.

For a website design project, clear communication between the client and web developer is essential to ensure accurate bids. The RFP serves as the foundation for project requirements, allowing vendors to price their services accordingly. By presenting a clear RFP to vendors, you can compare “apples to apples.”

This article outlines the typical components of an RFP for a web design project, providing a basic set of information that developers need to submit appropriate proposals. While not all topics may apply to your project, it is important to be as thorough as possible.

Just like building a house, a web development project requires a solid understanding of the client’s goals. This understanding is best achieved through the development of a blueprint, or in this case, an RFP.

An ideal RFP clearly outlines all requirements for your website, enabling developers to present tailored proposals. The more details your RFP contains, the more accurate the proposals will be.

The RFP should include components such as project scope, a brief company background, project description, budget, time frame, target audience, design requirements, functionality/programming requirements, site size, ongoing site maintenance plans, RFP response deadline, contact information, and budget.

It is also important to clearly indicate any optional aspects of the project and to share your future plans with the developer.

Writing an RFP takes thoughtful planning, but it is essential for a successful website design or redesign. It helps you focus on your goals and how to achieve them.

If you need assistance in constructing your RFP or want to submit your RFP for a bid, contact us.

The Following Components Should Be Included in an RFP

Project Scope

  • A brief background of your company.
  • A brief description of the project.
  • Budget — what is the anticipated budget for the project. It’s helpful to include a detailed budget which developers can use to scope and scale your solution and save you time.
  • Time frame — include any project deadlines you may have. Are there crucial meetings, milestones, cut-off dates, etc. that the developer should be aware of? Be realistic with a time frame. It’s also good to anticipate and state how flexible you are with the project’s completion date.

Target Audience

  • User demographics — who will be the main users of your site?
  • User comfort level with technology — how technically savvy is your audience?
  • Will users have high-speed connections?
  • Do you have an idea of how “up to date” your audience would be as far as operating system?
  • Audience base — how large do you expect your user base to be?

Design Requirements

  • Are there any color palette and font preferences?
  • Do you have corporate identity guidelines that must be followed? If so, how will the developer be able to access these?
  • How should the site “feel”? Include some adjectives to describe what your site should communicate.
  • Provide examples of sites you liked or disliked, and why. This is VERY IMPORTANT and a good exercise to do for you and valuable for your designer.

Functionality/programming Requirements

  • Will there be forms on the site? If so, how many? How should they be handled? (e.g. e-mailed to recipients, stored in a database, etc.)
  • Will the site require tools to manage content/information (e.g. ability for staff to add content such as press releases or quarterly reports)?
  • Will there be any e-commerce on the site?
    • If so, who will be entering data on products offered?
    • How will transactions be managed?
    • How many products are there?
    • How do you handle your shipping?
    • Do you currently have a merchant account (ability to take credit cards)?
    • How do you currently handle sales payments?
  • Are there any other interactive features the site should have? What are they, and how do you envision them to work?

Site Size

  • Anticipated number of pages (it’s useful to create an outline of the different topics you want covered on the site – that’s always helpful in determining number of pages).
  • Do you have images you want to use? How many? Do you want a gallery or slideshow?

Ongoing Site Maintenance Plans

  • How often will the site be updated?
  • Will you be self-maintaining or will you be outsourcing maintenance services?

RFP Response Deadline and Contact Information

  • When is the response to the RFP due?
  • To whom should the response be sent?


  • What is your budget for the project? Determine your budget for the project and your priorities for selecting a Developer who can meet your budgetary requirements.

Additional Tips

  • For all items listed above, be sure to clearly indicate if you must have any item(s) bid as an optional aspect of the project. It’s a good idea to get your entire “wish list” on paper and give to the developer. A good web develeper can help you determine what parts of your project are feasible in the initial stages or what could and should wait for a later time. In any case, it’s handy for the developer to know what you’re thinking about for the future.

Writing an RFP is a good exercise for anyone thinking about a site design or redesign as it takes thoughtful planning to specify and construct a website. A well thought out, quality RFP is essential to a successful endeavor because it helps you to focus on your goals and exactly how to achieve them.

Contact us for help in constructing your RFP or if you’d like submit your RFP for a bid.