If you’re thinking of having your website redone, one of the most important things to consider is how to effectively evaluate bids from multiple design and development agencies. Considering that web development is a vast field with thousands of professionals to choose from, you must take a strategic approach to evaluating vendors.

An essential document companies use when evaluating potential website development partners is a website development proposal. These proposals are provided by the agency and contain information such as your goals and objectives, the scope of the project, costs and other vital details to ensure that all stakeholders are aligned on the project scope before the contract is signed. After the client and web design agency finalize the terms, the proposal, or key parts of it, are attached to the contract for easy reference later on.

Here’s an overview of web design proposals and the process involved in receiving and reviewing one.

Preparing for Your Website Design Consultation

Before you receive a website design proposal, you’ll need to have your team internally align on the objectives of the web development project. While complicated projects (think enterprise-scale) require a website design RFP (request for proposal), most web developers gather essential project details during a consultation.

The main topics discussed in a consultation or covered in a website RFP include:

  • An overview of the company: A description of offerings, markets and verticals served, etc.
  • Goals and objectives for the new design
  • Current website pain points
  • Key features and functionality required in the new website
  • The desired project timeline and applicable milestones

Receiving Your Website Design Proposal

After you reach out to website design agencies to request a consultation, if an agency is interested in the project, a team member will reach out to schedule a discovery call. Once the agency gathers preliminary information, it will send a web design proposal, which contains fundamental details such as how the agency is able to assist your business, the deliverables it would provide, project timelines and cost estimates. While there’s no specific ideal website proposal length, a well-thought-out website proposal will be at least a few pages long.

Regardless of your level of technical expertise, it’s important that you know what to expect from a website designer, so you know the right questions to ask when evaluating your options. It’s a good idea to look at website proposal examples before you start, but there are a few things you can have in mind going in. To help you understand what to look for in a web designer, we’ve created a glossary of the top website terms you should know and compiled the guide below, which covers the key elements of an effective website design proposal.

3 Essentials of a Web Design Proposal

All of the critical elements of a good design proposal fall under three key areas.

Key #1: A Clear Understanding of Your Needs

If you’re planning a website redesign, one of the essential questions to ask a web designer is how their expertise can be used to help you meet your goals and objectives. Many agencies address this question in their website design proposals with a Goals and Objectives section. This is where the agency provides its understanding of your company, a summary of the key challenges your business is facing, and a high-level overview of the solution the agency can provide.

Many website design proposals also contain sections that provide a brief overview of the company’s offerings plus details about the experience and expertise of key team members on the project. Examples of relevant work should also be included. This section is invaluable as it enables you to get more visibility into how the company has executed in the past and how that experience is relevant to your project.

Key #2: A Comprehensive Project Roadmap

After laying the foundation for the project discussion, the website design proposal should cover the technical details of the proposed solution, an itemized scope of work and/or a requirements list. A question to ask a web designer in the proposal phase is how they will approach delivering the project.

Given that websites are complex and have a variety of moving parts, it’s not ideal for the designer to build everything in one shot, only for you to then request significant revisions. When working with a web designer, it’s better to have the deliverables broken down into components. For example, design agencies often have clients sign off on a website design mockups before they begin writing the underlying code.

Payment schedules are also frequently tied to project milestones. For example, a web designer may break a large-scale project such as a digital website overhaul into four phases. In this case, you should expect to split the project into four payments. For smaller projects such as creating a landing page, the designer might require 50% up front and 50% of the payment upon completion.

The website proposal you receive from a designer should provide information on the methodology they use to process feedback and the desired review intervals. For example, Trello has a blog on how breaking projects into stages helps keep work on track by having stakeholders provide input throughout development, rather than after completion.

On that note, another question to ask a web designer is how revision requests are handled. Does the designer allow revisions at no cost, or do those carry additional fees? Many website designers will offer at least one round of revisions in their proposals, but the exact amount is frequently determined by project complexity. Effective website proposals document the included rounds of revisions in writing.

Key #3: A Plan for the Future

Websites are not always something you can set and forget. A website requires periodic maintenance and attention, and if you want to realize the full potential of your site, you’ll also want to promote it with some form of digital marketing services. At the very least, the website design proposal submitted by agencies should contain information on where the finished site will be hosted, a recommended content management system (CMS) and options for maintenance packages.

If you’re also looking for assistance with digital marketing, many agencies will touch on their approach to marketing in the website design proposal. In many cases, they will provide an overview of your business challenges related to marketing, a proposed solution to help your business grow, a high-level project roadmap and price estimates. In other instances, they provide à la carte options, enabling you to choose the specific solutions for your needs.

Choosing the Right Web Design Partner

Since websites are an essential part of all modern businesses, it’s important that you choose to work with a web design agency that will support you today and throughout your business’s evolution. By understanding how website design proposals work, you will know what to expect of a web designer, which is essential to vetting potential design partners.

Whether you are looking to build a new website or need a website redesign proposal, the team at Orpheus offers a variety of website design and development services. Instead of offering cookie-cutter solutions, the Orpheus team works with each client to understand their company vision and goals, and then applies that knowledge to provide deliverables that boost conversions and brand awareness.

To get a website design proposal for your company, contact the team at Orpheus today.