How a RFP is Like an Online Dating Profile

If you have ever needed a new website, then you may have written a request for proposal once or twice, otherwise known as an RFP. An RFP minimally consists of information about the company, project requirements, and a proposed timeline. It is a lot like a dating profile in that you are not just soliciting potential web design agencies to respond to you but you are also hoping that they pick you as well. You are trying to intrigue them to learn more about what it would be like to have a relationship with you. Just like online dating, you can get a sense if the prospect is the fit or not just by reading the RFP.

Although some creative agencies argue that an RFP limits communication, there is nothing stopping web designers from asking pertinent questions. Since everyone is given the same information, it keeps things fair. Having been in a happy long-term relationship that started on, I have a lot of faith in this type of selection process.

At Kwok Design, we receive and respond to a lot of RFPs. We have encountered everything from the convoluted and vague to the detailed and focused. Here, we will walk you through all the key components of a straight shooting RFP so you can get the most relevant responses from the agencies on your short list.

Project Overview

Briefly describe the types of services you require. Do you need web maintenance and / or SEO post-launch? Just like online dating, be transparent about whether you want a one-time fling or if you are seeking a long-term relationship.

Company Overview

Just like your profile, you need to show off who you are really are and what it is like to have a relationship with you. Whether you are a sophisticated and upscale hair salon or a young, laid back high-tech mogul, you need to exhibit your company’s personality and culture and summarize your products or services and what you want your new website to say about you.

Target Audience

Who should your new website attract? Are you creating a website for senior citizens or tech-savvy hipsters? Their motivations and pain points should be at the forefront when developing an effective content strategy, website design, and functionality.

New Website Goals

Do you want users to buy from your ecommerce website? Do you want to educate them by having them subscribe to your blog? Or do you just want to generate leads by offering them a freemium to promote the paid-for full version? It is also crucial to differentiate primary goals from secondary objectives.

Current Website Evaluation

Just like on, it is always helpful for prospective partners to understand what your website and life is like now. Are you converting enough traffic from your website into sales? Is your website fast-loading and user-friendly across mobile devices? If you often get complaints about your website being down, you could be losing a lot more business than you might realize because most people might just leave out of frustration. Being upfront about what you like and dislike is the key to building a successful website.

New Website Requirements

Your current website evaluation should give you an idea of features and functionality you want in your new website. If this is a new website project, think about what you absolutely need to support your website’s primary goals and capture your target market’s undivided attention. If you want to sell online, here are some things you might want to consider to define the scope of your ecommerce store.

Wish List & Questions

What are some optional features you would like to help you achieve your website’s secondary objectives? Be sure to ask open-ended questions to take advantage of this opportunity to milk these professionals for valuable recommendations who live, eat and breathe websites for a living. Instead of asking “Which Facebook plugin would you use to use to stream your posts”, you might want to ask “How would you integrate social media into your website?” If you are still unsure, list some websites that you like in regard to their design, functionality and/or usability and explain each of them.


Be brutally honest about what you can afford because oftentimes clients claim that they do not know but when we come back with a quote, they tell us that it is way too much. If you provide a reasonable budget, creative agencies can come back and provide you with recommendations you can afford or customize your website to fit your budget. If you do not know what a reasonable budget is, call around and ask local web designers for ballpark quotes based on your website requirements. Remember that a successful web strategy consists of more than just a nice-looking website. You should also budget for SEO, web maintenance and web marketing so that the right people can find your website. Just because you built it, doesn’t mean they will come.


Finally, you need to include deadlines for questions, proposal submissions, and your website launch. Keep in mind that design and development for a custom responsive WordPress website takes at least 6 weeks and an ecommerce website minimally takes 20 weeks so if you have a 2-week deadline, chances are that no one will respond because it is not feasible. You should also include your contact information in case there are questions.

In Conclusion

You can definitely add more to your RFP but the above components are the essentials to getting an accurate proposal. We recommend that you conduct initial phone meetings with local web designers you are interested in to get a sense of whether they would be a good fit as responding to an RFP takes a lot of time. Sending your RFP to say more than 4 or 5 companies would be overkill.

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