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Table of Contents

What is a Website Development Proposal?


A website design proposal is a document that details your proposed solution to a prospective client. Most freelancers use a project proposal as part of their sales process. It helps them communicate their development services and project terms to new clients seeking a web designer or developer.

Note: You can start customizing a killer web design proposal for free when you sign up for a Bonsai account. We have several proposals and related templates to help freelancers win more clients.

What to Include in the Proposal for a Web Development Project 


If you look up a project proposal example, you’re sure to find hundreds of different styles and formats. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure where to begin writing your own unique web design proposal template.

Fortunately, you don’t have to overcomplicate the process. You can certainly tailor your web design proposal template to fit your needs, but at the very least, it needs to cover the essential elements.

Executive Summary & Problem Overview

You should always start your website design proposal with an executive summary, sometimes referred to as a problem overview. The executive summary serves as an introduction to a client’s problems and why they need your web design services.

In some cases, you might use this section to present an opportunity instead of a problem statement. If you’ve noticed that the client’s business is missing out on a chance to improve their website, this would be the place to mention it.

Regardless of your approach, the overview must grab your potential client's attention. It’s your chance to demonstrate your knowledge of their business and needs. It also allows you to explain how you can help them. 

After reading your executive summary, your potential client should feel confident in your abilities. They should also walk away with a clear understanding of your responsibilities and the magnitude of the web design project.

Project Outline with Solutions 

Once you’ve defined the problem, you must present your solution. We know that it’s easier said than done, but this is one of the more critical parts of your web design proposal template.

Though you could simply create a list of project deliverables and move on, your clients will get more value from a detailed outline. It should include all of the web design services you will deliver, along with an explanation of how it will solve their problem(s).

You must focus on the benefits of your solutions and the positive impact on their business. The more specific you can be, the better.

For example, you could mention how your web design solution can increase their conversion rates by 50%. You could also mention increased brand awareness, engagement, sales, and more. 

When you take the time to create a detailed outline, you can prevent disappointment or frustration in the future. Not only will it give your client a better understanding of what you are offering, but it will help protect you from scope creep.

Project Timeline with Milestones

You have a few options for handling the list of deliverables and milestones. Some prefer to include the list of products and services as part of the outline. Others might like to see it on its own or combined with the timeline section.

If you choose to incorporate it with your schedule, we recommend that you list it in order of completion. From there, you can list the number of days each deliverable will require. You may also consider including a list of materials or processes that will need to be done before you can complete another item.

In some instances, you may have to outsource work to graphic designers, copywriters, or other freelancers. If that’s the case for your project, you should be sure to indicate which deliverables will be outsourced.

Based on the details of your web design schedule, your prospective clients should have a clear idea of how the workflow will operate and the timeframe of the overall project. They shouldn’t doubt when they will receive any drafts, prototypes, or tests. The schedule should also clarify any milestones.

What are Milestones?

A milestone is a step used to determine the overall project's progress. In most cases, it is associated with payment based on the percentage of work completed up to that point. We’ll discuss payment options in more detail next.

Pricing & Payment Terms

There are many ways you can handle payment collection for your web design company. In some cases, you may prefer to be paid upon completion. Other web designers might require 50% upfront. You could even utilize the milestone approach to get paid incrementally based on your progress.

No matter your preferred method, it should be clearly defined in the website proposal. Your prospective clients should be able to understand all of the payment terms, including:

  • When to Pay You
  • How to Pay You
  • How Much to Pay You

Just as you can have different methods of handling the payment, you can have a unique pricing structure. Never assume that your client knows how much they could end up spending on the project. Instead, you should consider creating pricing tables that you can easily include in your website design proposal template.

The pricing table should have a thorough enough breakdown to justify your costs. We recommend detailing how much time you will spend working on wireframing, graphic design, or search engine optimization.

Mockups

You could write in as much detail as possible, but it still won’t be able to get your ideas across as well as a mockup. Therefore, it should be the final section of your proposal template. 

While it might be tempting to skip this step to save time, it could ultimately be the factor that wins over your prospective clients. Fortunately, there are many programs available that can help you create a quick mockup for your web design proposal template.

Benefits of Mockups

When you create a mockup, it allows your potential clients to visualize what their new website could look like before committing to you. Depending on the project, you could choose to include a design for mobile devices, desktops, or both.

If you are a freelancer pitching against a web design agency or other web designers, including the mockup can help you seal the deal if the client happens to like your approach better. If you fail to include one, they won’t see what you can do compared to your competitors. 

How to Write a Web Development Proposal 


In most cases, you aren’t the only freelance web designer submitting a proposal for a project. Therefore, it’s important that you craft a professional proposal that stands out from the rest. In fact, a web design proposal can make the difference between winning over a potential client or not. 

How can you make your web design proposal template more successful?

It takes more than just including the right elements. You must also write the web design proposal in a way that showcases your abilities. We recommend following the steps listed below to optimize your website proposal.  

Find out Exactly What the Client Wants

Before you can begin to tailor your web design proposal template, you need to know exactly what your potential clients want and need. The best way to understand their business is by conducting a discovery meeting.

It may take more than one meeting to get all of the information you need for your website proposal. If you would like to move through this part of the web design process more quickly, we recommend sending a list of questions to your potential customers ahead of time. This gives them more time to think about their goals and prepare for the meeting.

Questions to Ask at Your Discovery Meeting

The following questions serve as a great starting point for your web design project:

  1. What does your target audience look like?
  2. What is the purpose of your new website?
  3. Are there parts of your current website that you want to keep?
  4. What makes you different from your competitors?
  5. How do you rank in search engines with your current website?
  6. Do you need to match your website to match other business materials?
  7. What elements of other websites do you want to avoid?
  8. Where is your website hosted, and do you have full access to it?
  9. How many pages do you need?
  10. Who will provide website content?

These questions are just scraping the surface. You will want to ask more to dig deeper. Don’t stress over not having enough questions, though. As you go through the interview, you will think of follow-up questions more specific to their web design project. 

Highlight What Sets You Apart 

From your cover letter to your web design services, you should strive to show what makes you different from another design agency. However, you shouldn’t veer from the focus of your design skills. 

If you aren’t sure where to start, think back to your discovery meeting. Was there something important that your client mentioned that you are particularly good at? If so, you’ll want to highlight those skills.

Need some more inspiration?

Ask yourself: Do you work faster than the average web designer? Do you offer any free services in your package? All of these factors can set you apart from the other design proposals in their inbox.

Focus on Providing Value and Clarity

When you create proposals for potential clients, you should always make sure that you are clear and concise. The proposal is the last step before they sign a legally binding agreement with you. 

After reading your proposal, they should understand exactly how the web design process will work and the deliverables. Your clients should also know the price of your services and how to pay you.

We suggest that you also keep the focus of your web design proposal on the value you are providing. Avoid any fluff that will take away from your business and services.

Keep the Design Simple

We know that it's tempting to add a ton of colorful graphics to grab the attention of potential clients. You should avoid going over the top, though. You must find the balance between showing your creativity in your web design proposal without distracting from the main focus.

Successful proposals do so by including quality graphics and charts that support your claims. They also use color carefully so that it is in line with your branding. You can even create an impressive cover letter by including branding elements like your logo or header.

Tailor Links and References to Each Client

While a web design proposal template is a great resource to help you get more business, you shouldn’t send out the same proposal to every client. We recommend that you tailor all of your links, references, and portfolio items to each unique project.

For example, a client who sells children's clothes online would be less interested in seeing samples from a home remodeling brand. If you don’t have any portfolio items in their specific industry, we recommend finding links as close as you can get. In this case, including a mockup in your web design proposal would also be helpful.

Think About Any Possible Integrations 

In most circumstances, a website design project isn’t just about the website anymore. With today’s technology and social media, there are many different integrations your client may require. We recommend that you consider these possibilities and discuss them ahead of time.

Types of Integrations

On a basic level, you might have to connect the client’s social media accounts to their website for a live feed of updates. Others need more technical integrations to manage the backend with a CMS. 

Your client might already have integrations with their current website. You will need to find out if these integrations will carry over into the new design or not. While it might seem early to be having these discussions, they can save you time in the long run or help you get more work. 

Creating a Website Design Proposal is Simple with Bonsai 


You don’t have to write proposals from scratch every time when you sign up for Bonsai. We offer a free web design proposal template that can easily be customized for each client. In fact, our online proposal software makes it easier than ever to create new proposals for the following reasons.

Choose from Several Template Options

We offer several free template options so you can choose the layout design that best fits your proposal needs. You can even pair your proposal with other business documents, including a written agreement or contract. Whether you need an event proposal or graphic design contract, we have you covered.

Quickly Edit Your Website Design Proposal Template

With your free website proposal template, you can quickly edit your proposals for every project. It’s never been faster or simpler to change the details to fit the exact needs of each client. 

You can simply add or remove sections, customize the colors and logos, and tailor your samples. From there, you can simply save it and send it.

Send Automated Notifications to Clients

After you take the time to personalize your free website proposal template, you want to make sure that your client saw it. Our software automatically sends you updates when your proposal is received and read. 

You can also set up automated reminders to send out to your clients. You can send professional notifications directly to a client, whether you want to remind them to sign the contract or make a payment. 

Conveniently Sign Contracts Online

When you sign up for Bonsai, you can forget about printing, signing, and scanning a website design proposal template. We make it easy to add an e-signature to your PDF file so that you can move things along much faster. As soon as your client has read through your proposal and agreed to the terms, they can sign your agreement. Then, you can finally get started.

Website Development Proposal FAQs


Are you still feeling confused by the process of creating a winning web design proposal? If so, you’re not the only one! 

Should I Include a Disclosure Agreement?

Including a disclosure agreement with your web design proposal template isn't entirely necessary. However, you should discuss it with your client in your discovery meeting. This could be something that they require in order to protect confidential information or a new business idea. 

Do I Need a Severability Clause in My Web Design Proposal?

We recommend that you add one to your website proposal template because it provides you with protection. Without it, your entire agreement could be declared invalid due to a single provision that has been deemed unenforceable, invalid, or illegal. The affected provision would be removed with a severability clause, and the remaining provisions would stay in effect.

Website Development Proposal Template

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