Tutorials - How to
write a basic web development proposal
When competing for web design and development or marketing
contracts; a professionally presented development proposal more
often than not decides whether you win or lose the project. A web
design proposal also decreases the incidences of misunderstandings
between yourself and your clients when the project is under way
and acts as a basis for a formal contract.
When putting together a basic web site proposal, you should
include the following elements:
Your background or company history, qualifications, skills, past
achievements and contact details.
The company you are submitting the proposal for, your
understanding of their products and services, the target market,
the goals of the web site and a rough outline of how you will
A description of style of site you are proposing. Elements from
the client's current branding you will utilize or new elements you
such as language, security or other issues pertaining to the
company, site or target market that will need to be addressed.
Web site flow chart:
A diagram showing the different pages of the site and navigational
A detailed description of each web page, how it fits in with the
overall web site theme and the project element it addresses.
This should be a description of each stage of the web projects'
development, the estimated completion date and notes regarding
client consultation and supply of information/feedback from the
client. This may also include milestone payments for involved
projects and site promotion activities. Make it clear that traffic
takes time to build up after implementation and promotion should
only occur after the site has been tested thoroughly. Improper
implementation can cost months of traffic.
A descriptive breakdown of costing and total of quote including an
end date before the price will need to be re-calculated. This will
include items such as domain name registration, hosting fees and
outsourcing for sections of the site you will not be able to
develop yourself. Ensure you take into account items including
travel time, electricity, telephone and consumables.
Factor in the cost of the proposal as well; a good proposal will
take hours of your time and you should be compensated for that. In
your eagerness to gain the contract, you may lose money if you
quote too close to the bone. Bear in mind that things rarely go
strictly to plan in web design and delays can be expected. Time is
money. The going rate for web design services seems to be between
US$25-$75 per labor hour at present; dependent upon the
complexity of the task and the competency of the designer.
Terms and conditions:
Expectations and commitments. It is not unusual for web projects
to be delayed due to clients not supplying feedback or content
necessary to complete sections. It is just as important to be
clear in what you expect from your clients as well as explaining
your commitment to them. Conflict resolution issues and feedback
mechanisms should be described.
Your clients will need to know what will occur if they do not
supply information when requested, or request changes mid-stream
and the action that you will take if you are running behind in the
project yourself. You need to be clear on payment details and
consequences of failure to pay for the services that you provide.
Be careful not to give too much away, just enough to give the
client a good idea of what the site will look like. Ensure
copyright notices and intellectual property statements are in
Ongoing web site maintenance.
Summarize an offer of ongoing site maintenance or the implications
of the client deciding to update or maintain the site themselves
after it has been established.
The above points are usually sufficient to put together a
professional web design proposal for a small to medium project. If
drafting a proposal based on criteria given to you by the
prospective client; be sure to address all the points.
If the client suggests the proposal documentation be a certain
format, respect that. In the culling process, the first proposals
to be binned will be the ones that do not address all the criteria
the client has laid down.
Bear in mind that not all the web design proposals you submit will
be accepted. Be prepared to do some heavy revisions to satisfy
your clients and to find a middle ground where all parties feel
comfortable. A prospective client asking for revisions is a good
sign - they are genuinely interested.
Also remember that some companies will ask you for proposals
purely to use as a comparison against another designer that they
are interested in utilizing; so try and limit the amount of time
you spend on the draft until the client gives indication of
If you would like some information on where and how to locate
freelance web development employment and projects; follow this
Freelance Web Development Employment and Projects
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