Nothing replaces perfect documentation during website designing projects. The documents can include statements of work, deeds or proposals. You can choose to call the documentation you want, but the content of it will determine the net outcome of your project. Irrespective of the size of your business, you will need a solid documentation to support your website design requirements. You will require documentation to execute a site that will meet all deadlines.
What are the preliminary requirements for qualifying RFP replies?
You must have already come across plenty of recent posts on creating website design RFP. When you decide to rebuild your website or to create a new one – RFP is an important part of the process. However, there is not much on evaluating the agency responses and reviewing them against your proposals. Each company has unique needs, and it would be wrong to say that there is a standard equation that can help you assess each response. In case, your team has sent out proposals to a large number of design agencies; it would be indeed daunting for you or your manager to go through all the replies and meet a stipulated deadline. That is the leading reason we ask our readers to shortlist their prospective agencies before hitting the “send” button. This will limit the frequency of proposals, keep the responses pertinent and speed up the screening process.
What questions should help you with the RFP response assessment step?
Apart from the short list, there are a few preliminary questions you need to consider to make the selection process smooth and effective.
- Did the web design RFP response come within the deadline you mentioned in the mail?
- Is the response formal and well structured?
- Did the prospective vendor put in effort while writing the response?
- Does the project proposal response consider the mentioned budget?
- Is the agency confident about the timeline?
- Does the agency have similar websites and design work in their portfolio?
You do not want to begin work with an agency that is not professional, tardy and expensive. The six questions will help you eliminate all prospects that do not fit your bill.
In fact, a response that is significantly below your budget should raise red flags as well.
What are the requirements that should guide your evaluation process?
Once you have screened the responses based on these six questions successfully, you need to consider the other factors that can help you review the other replies.
- Project plans – all project plans should include detailed lists of the tasks. The flow of design, development, and discovery should be parts of your project plans. The management tools that will help you manage the tasks, owners and dates should also be a part of the detailed plan.
- CMS and fundamental technology –content management system is ubiquitous to any website. Almost all current business sites have dedicated CMS. Therefore, the rebuilding process requires migration of data or the creation of a new CMS. Beware of proprietary CMS packages and data management technology. These can add a hefty price tag to your project.
- All deliverables – these include your website templates, content migration, plug-in authorization, and add-ons. These validate what you should receive from the design agency when your site is about to go live.
- SEO – you need to confirm that your website design agency knows how to manage search engine optimization. SEO checklist will help you with that. Without keyword research, link building, on-page optimization and 301 redirect management, your site will not reach the new markets. Organic SEO is indispensable, but you will need technical SEO for the extra visibility boost.
- Responsive design – Google has already declared its preference for mobile-first indexing and websites ready for a mobile experience. In a world where almost every adult has at least one smartphone with internet connectivity, you will find it difficult to survive the competition unless your site is mobile-ready or 100% responsive.
- Third-party APIs –enterprise companies include multiple software packages and dedicated systems. Avoiding third-party APIs is almost impossible. If you are facing a decision about choosing between agencies that offer third-party API integrations, always ensure that you get complete control over the data points and data transfer.
- Payment terms – you can never evaluate an RFP response completely without weighing the payment terms. The smaller site projects demand a 50% advance payment during the commencement of work and 50% at completion. However, you need to ask specifically about additional SEO charges and maintenance charges per month, if you need such services.
- Expenses – payment terms and expenses are distinct. If you need the agents and designers to work in-house, their travel charges and lodging charges will be extra. Additionally, you will also have to pay the domain fees, plug-in licenses, hosting fee and the stock image charges.
- Warranty period – when other products in the market come with a guarantee or warranty periods, why should your website not have one? The warranty of a business site from any reputable agency covers bugs in the CMS software, security threats in the core code, or bugs within the sire. It should cover the coding and not the third-party extensions.
- Post live support, as per requirement – it is almost like ongoing maintenance, except it assures the owner that they will find expert advice during the hour of need. Not all companies have the resources or the infrastructure to provide 24/7 post-live care. This kind of service usually comes with an hourly charge, and the agencies usually manage the rush via live ticketing system.
Once you have completed the review process, you will end up with a selected few suppliers and vendors. While appointing a website design team, you should ask them about their retainer policies. Get into a contract for long-term services in case you need regular maintenance and post-live services.
When a prospective team does a commendable work with project scoping, you should understand that they have the experience to conduct this project. Negotiations and the remaining documentation can become a formality instead of a failsafe.
The evaluation process of the RFP responses can help you find the team and agency that will rejuvenate your website and boost the returns on your investment.