Gathering all the background information so that you can put together an RFP for a web development project is no easy task. It takes a tremendous amount of time, effort and focus. There are so many facets of a project that need to be identified and given attention to. Not to mention the various stakeholders who need to make sure their influence is felt. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a checklist you could follow to make it easier to gather the appropriate information? …
Wahlla!! Here it is! A list of items and questions that can be utilized to ensure you have all the information to draft a thorough and complete RFP, which of course goes hand in hand with attracting the most qualified respondents:
What are the Details of Project?
• Describe your company’s background
• Provide a brief overview of the project
• Do you already have a website or is this a brand new site?
• What problems will the new website solve and what capabilities will it provide to the company?
• What is the approx budget and timeline? Are these numbers/dates flexible or are their critical milestones or hard budgetary limitations.
Who is your Target Audience?
• Who is the main audience and secondary audiences for the site?
• Where are they located geographically?
• How technically sophisticated are they?
• Do they generally use a desktop, mobile, or tablet device to access your site?
• How much monthly traffic are you currently receiving? Do you have access to the Analytics (and are you willing to share this)?
What are the Goals and Objectives of the Website?
• What is the main objectives and goals for your website?
• What do you like and dislike about the current website?
What are the Web Design Requirements?
• Do you have a branding guide or color palette and/or style preferences?
• Do you need a logo?
• Do you want this website to be optimized for mobile and tablet usage?
• Who are your competitors? What do you like and dislike about their sites?
• What are some other websites that you like and dislike. Explain why?
• Do you want to purchase stock photography or do you need professional photography done?
You’re in the thick of things now! Is it easier to respond to an RFP or to gather the RFP background info? Gosh they’re both tough!
What are the Content Requirements?
• Approx how many pages will your website have? What are the main ones? How will they content be organized?
⁃ Landing Page, Product page, Company Info, About Us, Contact Us, Terms and Use, etc.
• Will you be using new content or reusing existing content?
• Will you be creating content or looking for vendor to supply this?
• How will the initial content be setup or moved from old site to new?
• What types of content will this website have? (Video, Audio, Images, Docs, PDFs, etc.)
• Do you want to be able to easily update it yourself?
• What are the main calls to action you would like your visitors to follow?
• What social networks (if any) do you want to be integrated with?
What are the Technical Requirements?
• Do you have a hosting provider in place or do you need assistance and costs for establishing hosting?
• Do you have access to your current web hosting account?
• What browsers and versions will the website need to be compatible with?
• Do you have a preferences as far as development languages and platforms and frameworks utilized?
• Will you need integration with any 3rd party applications or email platforms?
• What functionality are you looking for? Shopping cart (shipping/tax), membership, registration, calendar, forum, blog, email capture, etc.
• What options / capabilities does this functionality provide? As example if you sell shirts you could reply we have 10 different style shirts that each come in 4 different sizes and 5 different colors?
• What are your expectations for Search Engine Optimization?
• How will testing be performed?
• What kind of warranty and ongoing maintenance support are you looking for including service level agreements (including response time) do you expect?
How will Project Management be handled?
• Who are the stakeholders on the project and who will be the main point of contact on your staff?
• What expectations do you have in terms of demonstrating progress, coordinating requirements, designs and meetings with the development team?
At least when you have all the RFP Info gathered, writing it will be a breeze!
What should Vendors submit in RFP Response?
• Outline the following information that interested vendors should submit as part of their RFP Response:
⁃ background, history, staff, size of company, clients, portfolio of comparable sites, references, project management methodology, support process, capabilities and qualifications
• How should RFP responses be organized and structured?
• What is the criteria for awarding the project?
• Will you consider vendors from a different country? Are local vendors strongly preferred? Will you consider freelancers? Do you prefer small or large companies?
Who is the contact person and what dates are important when submitting the RFP Response?
• When is the response to the RFP due?
• Who should receive the response and how should it be sent in (typically email)?
• Are you willing to answer questions by phone/email prior to vendors submitting proposals?
• What are the important dates in the selection and development process?
Now that you’ve gathered all the details all that you need to do is actually write the RFP! That’s beyond the scope of this article, but I do want to wish you good luck!