eSites Network Website Design


How to Write a Website Development RFP

What is Website Design RFP?

A web design RFP is a request for proposal where you send a document to several website design firms for the purpose of them all competing and bidding for the chance to work with you. An RFP can range from being just a few pages to as many as 20 to even 100 pages, which depends on the scope and complexity of the project.

Who needs a Website Design RFP?

Not everybody needs to put together a website design RFP. Here is who a web design RFP is right for. If your project is in the $10,000 or above range and or you are looking to work with a large agency, then your best bet might be to use an RFP. RFPs are a more formal instrument and because of this they are more suited for corporate or government type websites.

Who doesn’t need a Website Design RFP?

If on the other hand you have a budget under $10,000, or your company culture is more relaxed and easy-going, you may not actually need an RFP to choose the right design firm to work with. For most small to medium-size businesses, simply filling out the contact form on the website design company’s page and initiating a telephone call is all you need to do to get the ball rolling. During this phone call, the design firm can typically get a sense of your needs and then send you a proposal based on the needs and goals determined in your phone call.

What experience are you going for?

When it comes to submitting an RFP, the question you want to ask yourself is what is the experience I want to go for? Designing a new website is ultimately a creative process that involves discovery, intuition and outside the box thinking. Some RFPs can be so daunting and intimidating that they are more likely to be completed by more business oriented design firms rather than truly creative companies who might be put-off by the laborious effort of filling out a 10 page RFP.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that most people do not need to put together a formal RFP when initially contacting a web design firm. A one-page e-mail detailing your specific needs for the project is often the perfect amount of content to get the ball rolling. Also, one last thought: the best indicator for the quality of work that a firm does is in their portfolio. Beware of a great proposal from the firm that has a mediocre portfolio. At the end of the day, you’re looking to get any website and if the websites delivered previously by this firm aren’t great, the chances are that yours won’t be either

Major Topics to cover in your RFP

“I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.”

- Rudyard Kipling
With all of that being said, if you decide to move forward with your RFP below is a list of topics you might want to cover. Again, don’t go overboard, but be specific with exactly what it is you’re looking for in a new site, and exactly who you’re looking for in a firm.
  • Who
    • Who are you?
      • What does your company do?
      • Where are you located?
      • How many people work at your company?
    • Who are you looking for?
      • A large agency?
      • A local design firm?
      • A single man shop?
    • In the RFP, you may ask the firm to describe themselves and include the following:
      • Company history
      • Number of employees
      • Employee bios
      • List of references you can contact
  • What
    • What kind of site are you looking for?
    • What is your budget for the project? (larger design firms typically don’t take you seriously if you don’t have a budget in place)
    • What type of design?
      • Show examples of other sites with the design you have in mind
    • What functional requirements do you have?
      • CMS – Do you need a Content Management System?
      • Will the site require a backend database?
      • Will the site require payment processing?
      • Are there other features you need? Reference other websites to describe the function you have in mind
    • What features do you want to include?
      • Responsive Design
      • Search Engine Optimization
      • Home Slideshow
      • Contact Form
      • FAQs
      • Email Signup
      • Gallery
      • Video Integration
      • Custom Map Integration
      • Blog
      • Social Media Integration
      • Payment Processing
  • When
    • When will you need to receive questions from designer by?
    • When will you need the proposal submitted?
    • When will the project commence?
    • When is your anticipated launch date?
  • How
    • How many pages will the site be? (very important for the designer to be able to clearly define the scope of the project)
    • How many page templates will the site have? (a page template is a group of pages with the same design and layout, but with different content)
    • How many people from your organization will be involved?
    • How many rounds of revision will you need for the project?
  • Why
    • Why are you having the site designed or redesigned now?


If you’re wondering what format you should use for the RFP, a simple Microsoft Word doc will suffice. Some people use Google Docs or a PDF, which are both fine too.


So there you have it, everything you need to put together a web design RFP. I’ve attached some sample RFPs that you might find helpful, just click just click the link below to view.