Use a Website Redesign RFP to Maximize Your Project’s Success

Web Design & Development
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Travis McAshan
Published Mar 2022
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Your company leadership has decided that it’s time for your website to be redesigned. Maybe it’s looking outdated, not performing like it used to, or lacking in features that your target customers expect. Whatever the reason, you are now tasked with vetting and choosing the right digital design agency to help you accomplish the redesign and launch of a successful new company website.

If you’re feeling unsure about exactly how to best accomplish this task, don’t worry, you’re in good company. For many marketing leaders, finding the right agency – one that can create a great finished product that achieves their goals And can do it within their budget – is the hardest part of the process.

Create a Website Redesign RFP (Request for Proposals)

If this is the first time you’re writing a website design RFP, or if it’s been a while since your last one, you may be wondering what details you should include, how to format it, what to ask for, among other things.

Having read and responded to hundreds of website redesign RFPs, I can tell you the best ones fulfill these three major tasks:

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  • Clearly explain the goals of the new website design.
  • Describe the criteria for the desires and expectations of the new site.
  • Provide the most critical details like functionality requirements, deadlines, and proposal submission information.

I also can’t stress how important it is to make very sure you are sending your RFP to the Right agencies. You want to do your research and be choosy when deciding which vendors are the best qualified for your specific project. Keep in mind that you aren’t just asking potential agencies  to answer questions that will help you pick the best partner — you’re also communicating to them about who you are and creating an impression of whether they would like to work with you.

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What to include in your website redesign RFP

As far as the amount of detail and length of your RFP is concerned, I would categorize most RFPs I receive into 3 categories: Small (2-3 pages), Medium (10-12 pages), and Large (20+ pages). The approach you choose will depend heavily on the amount of detail you have about your current site and customers, and whether you have a lot of ideas about what you’d like for your new site or not. Whichever level of detail to decide to include, each of the following sections explained are important to touch upon in order to get the best responses.

1. Overview & Company Background – To open your RFP and set the context for the rest of the proposal, you should start with a description of your company and products/services, why you need a website redesign, and what the overall requested project includes.

For your company overview, include enough information so that those who have never heard of you will get a sense of your business, but not so much that you overwhelm your reader with unnecessary history. When describing why you need a website redesign, some good points to make sure to address are: What are your biggest pain points or areas of greatest need? and What are the 2-3 main goals of your website redesign? Last, when giving the overview of your project requests, be sure to include what key features or functionalities are most important to you (try for your top 5-7 features or functionalities).

2. Budget Range – Some marketing leaders are hesitant to include their budget in an RFP, but it’s a crucial detail to provide if you want to receive the best responses to your RFP. Knowing your budget range helps an agency recommend solutions that are feasible for your project and plan the best way to allocate their time and resources if awarded the business. It’s a waste of both your time and the time of the agency responding if their services are going to be out of your budget. Providing a budget range also lends more credibility to your RFP and shows that you are committed to the project.

For the agencies responding, having a budget to plan around will help them customize their suggestions for the design and functionalities so they can achieve your goals within that budget. Providing the budget helps to define the playing field for all of the agencies that will potentially respond to your RFP, and make it easier for you to evaluate and compare their responses internally.

3. Timeline & Important Deadlines – Creating a desired, but reasonable timeline for your website redesign is important both for the agencies responding and your internal team. You don’t want your timeline to be so aggressive that you push your team too quickly through important steps, but you also don’t want to let the process draw out and lose steam. Remember to think about whether there are any events or activities coming up where you’ll definitely need your new website. If there is a pressing event, make sure to get started early and allow adequate time for the crucial creation and testing steps to get the polished, effective website you are looking for.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic answer for how long a website redesign will take. A lot of it depends on the amount of pages and content on your website, it’s functionality and the number of integrations needed, and how approvals will be handled. However, a general range for a typical website redesign is anywhere from 3-6 months. 

You should provide a projected timeline with your desired launch date that accounts for multiple rounds of revisions and your internal approval process.

In addition to the timeline for your redesign project, you should also include a timeline and dates for your RFP response process. The most important dates to include here are your RFP response deadline and your vendor selection deadline (so agencies know when to expect to hear back from you). You can also provide details such as your timeframe for shortlisting agencies and your plan for interviewing if those steps are part of your plan.

4. Challenges/Reasons for Redesign- In this section, you should define the issues you’re hoping this new website will solve. In order to provide clear details in this section, if you haven’t already, you should conduct an audit of your current website to help you uncover what aspects are still working well and what isn’t performing anymore (we talk about that in more detail in a previous blog). Your audit should cover all aspects of your site from your content, to SEO, to page performance, to customer journey. As a jumping off point for your analysis, you can use online tools such as HubSpot’s free Website Grader tool to generate a report showing how well the different aspects of your site are currently performing. Make sure to remember that your website audit is an opportunity to discover what isn’t working on your current site, but also to uncover what is working well that you want to make sure to keep. For example, if your customers recognize and enjoy your current branding, you want to carry that over to the new design.

5. Project Goals – You should use the knowledge you’ve gleaned from your website audit and the reasons you compiled for your redesign from the previous section as a basis for creating your project goals. Having a few, well considered major goals for your website redesign will help focus the suggestions a responding agency makes for overall design and functionality. Some common major goals include updating an outdated look or launching a refreshed brand, creating a better user experience, adding new functionality or content, and improving the site’s visibility tactics to increase the number of visitors to your site. For more in-depth details about this, head over to our blog about setting and evaluating your digital marketing goals

Something I always suggest to our clients is to make sure the major goals for your website are tied back to your business objectives. To ensure this, it’s good to ask questions like:

  • What is the primary action you want users to take?
  • What if they don’t take that action? What else could they do?
  • How do these actions support your business model and/or marketing goals?

Once you have set the major goals for your redesign, you should add some more granular goals under each. An easy way to do this is to create an outline that starts with your main goals prioritized in a numbered list. Then you can add sub-goals that define exactly what success in that goal should look like. This should include actual numbers and metrics that your team will use to evaluate the future success of the redesign. For example, if your main goal is to increase your visibility, you could define that goal like this: “Improve average new monthly visitors from X to Y.” Just make sure that the goals you set for your site are realistic- there are some great ideas and suggestions for setting website design goals over at Crazy Egg.

6. Audience – In this section, you should describe who your target customers are in as much detail as possible- include information from any demographic data you’ve collected or customer personas you’ve created for your marketing and sales efforts. Having a clear and thorough picture of the audience you are trying to attract and engage on your website is critical for the agency responding to your RFP. The type of audience you are targeting will influence everything they suggest, from functionality and UX, to content and aesthetics.

Even if you don’t have specific demographic information about your ideal customers, you can provide details about the type of customer they are and why they might be seeking your product or service. Some basic questions to get you started on this process should include:

  • Who is the primary audience? (i.e. customer, partner, investor, etc.)
  • Who are the secondary audiences? (i.e. vendor, employee, etc)
  • What pain point, circumstance or unmet need has brought them to your site?

7. Desired Website & Requirements – At this point in your RFP is where you finally get to describe to your reader exactly what your ideal website would look like and do. Providing clear, detailed descriptions in this section is crucial to receiving RFP responses that tick all of your boxes. When you are drafting your desired list of features and functionalities for your new site, be sure to identify which are “must haves’ and which would be ‘nice to have’.

Make sure to be as detailed as possible when describing specific features you want included, and better yet, provide urls specific websites that show examples. Be careful not to use ambiguous terms like “modern” or “interactive” because they mean different things to different people. To help the responding agency better understand your desires, include a list of competitor and non-competitor websites that you like with notes about the specific aspects that caught your eye, along with a list of the sites you don’t like and why. If you are requesting something like copywriting, provide details on the type and amount of copy required (i.e. sections, pages, headlines, etc.). The more specific you are in your RFP, the more specific responses you’ll get in proposals.

Functionalities of new website

The list of functionalities you are requesting is different from your desired website features. A functionality essentially defines what your website can do or how it works. Some details you should make sure to include in this section are where your current site is hosted, whether you currently use a CRM or marketing automation platform, and if there are any other third-party integrations you need to make sure are carried over to your new site.

Some common examples of website functionality requests include:

  • In-site search
  • Blog/news feed
  • Photo/video library
  • Forms
  • Event calendar
  • Social sharing tool
  • Location map
  • Customer portal
  • eCommerce/Shopping cart

It’s a good idea to create two separate lists of functionalities – those that are absolutely required, and those that are desired depending on the budget. Separating your ‘desired’ from your ‘required’ will help agencies give details about the differing cost and timeline options for your situation.

Proposal Requirements and Selection Criteria

It’s a good idea to round out the end of your RFP by clearly explaining how you and your team will be evaluating the proposal responses and making the final selection for your project. Providing an overview outline of what you’d like responding agencies to include in their proposal responses can help you save some time during the evaluation phase. Don’t forget to include the contact information for proposal responses, such as where the proposal response should be sent and who to contact with any questions.

For more tips on how to draft your website redesign RFP, check out the examples and template in RFP360’s blog article.

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Choosing the right agency for your website redesign

The RFP process can feel intimidating and time consuming. But by following these tips, you can improve your process and develop an RFP that gets the best responses and helps you position your redesign project for success.

A website redesign is a big undertaking that requires a good deal of time and a sizable investment to make happen. With that in mind, it’s important to choose the right partner—an agency that has the expertise and capabilities to do the work, and an agency that your team will enjoy working with.

At Glide, our team of designers, developers, and project managers invest their experience and personal drive in helping our thriving customers make the process a smooth one. If you’re up for it, we’re more than happy to discuss potentially working together and redesigning your website.

Ready to take action?

At Glide, our team of designers, developers and project managers invest their experience and personal drive in helping our thriving customers make the process a smooth one. If you’re up for it, we’re more than happy to discuss potentially working together and redesigning your website.

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