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It’s (Going to Be) a Wonderful Website: Must-Have RFP Questions

     -     Dec 11th, 2017   -     Web Design   -     0 Comments

(image: RFP365.com)

The positive impact of a brand new website – when it’s done correctly – can’t be understated. But when it comes time to choose a vendor, what exactly do you need to know to make the best decision? For some marketing professionals, it takes considerable time and particular facts to convince partners and stakeholders that a new website is warranted. When you get the green light, it’s important to ask for all the information you need to make the best informed decision for your firm.

Here are a few things you may wish to include as you create your firm’s website request for proposal (RFP) – with a little inspiration from a popular old movie:

  • Show Me the Way. Setting the stage upfront about what differentiates your firm and who you hope to reach with the new website is vital for your future website vendor. If it’s not important to them, they are not the right choice for you! Every website is geared toward reaching prospects, but how do you define them? Are they high net worth individuals, construction firms, Millenials or another demographic? Does your firm want to highlight its long history or its cutting edge processes and technology? All of this background can help your future website vendor get a better grasp on how to structure your site – and therefore propose with greater certainty.
  • You Want the Moon? We’ll throw a lasso around it (or at least try). It’s important to state your intended objectives and what you want to accomplish as a result of the new website in the RFP – whether you just need a refreshed look, want the site to be/be more mobile friendly, move from a template to something custom for your firm or something else. Unfortunately, unlike Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, the sky is not always the limit. Be specific – but also realistic – about your goals for the new site based on your budget, time constraints and other limitations.
  • “I wish I had a million dollars. Hot dog!” What are you wishing for in terms of technology or functionality of the website? Getting specific about what you need and asking how that would be worked into the new site is an important factor. Do you need an events calendar, blog integration, ecommerce, ability to upload documents securely (e.g., client files or resumes)? The more complicated the site, the more you need to rely on the expertise of your vendor. Also, if you wish to focus on certain aspects of the business or recruiting, for instance, those sections might become more of a focus. Asking how the vendor would handle these requests will help you choose the best one for your project.
  • Don’t Get Stuck in Potter’s Field. The platform used for a website can be very important, especially when it comes to your experience post-launch. There are pros and cons to every platform, but WordPress is one of the most flexible, user-friendly choices and one we swear by. Find out potential vendors’ plans and why they suggest that particular solution. If you want to have some autonomy after your website is completed, also ascertain whether you will receive training on the platform and what level of expertise is necessary to manage their chosen solution.
  • Here’s Your Hat. What’s Your Hurry? You’ll obviously want to understand how long the website project will take from start to finish. In addition, consider asking how your firm will need to be involved and the time you and other stakeholders will need to set aside – whether for design meetings, content creation and review or testing prior to launch.
  • Mama Dollar and Papa Dollar. Along with asking for the vendor’s fee for your project, you may wish to clarify whether that fee could vary based on certain factors. Some will give you a fixed fee, which means they have done their homework and are prepared to commit to the stated fee. Others may give you a “not to exceed” fee, which at least prepares you for the worst-case scenario. But if the fee given is only an estimate, you need to understand what factors could add to or subtract from that fee so you aren’t caught unaware at the end of the project.
  • No Man is a Failure Who Has [References]. Asking for references from your potential vendors is typically a given, but it would help you even more if you ask for specific examples of their work (if available). For instance, if you want your website to have a strong social media presence or integration, ask for an example of how that was accomplished for another client. Or if you want a focus on the team, ask for example sites that showcase the leadership team and careers.

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This is a small sample of the elements you may wish to include in a website RFP, but the crucial part is being clear about what you need so potential vendors can best explain how they can make that happen and price your new website appropriately. If you have questions about creating a new website or need help with your project, contact us.


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