What is a website proposal?
A proposal template is a carefully prepared document that details how you can assist clients with their websites. It's more than just an estimate of how much the work will cost, though. A great website design proposal will focus on what solutions you can provide for the key problems they're facing. It's always client-specific and tailored to the project in question.
It will also include information that demonstrates your suitability for the role, highlights your previous experience, details the approach you'll take to the work, and explains how long you expect it to take. This may all seem a little too general, so let's take a more in-depth look at precisely what your website design proposal should include.
Note: Searching for clients? Sign up to Bonsai now for your free website design proposal template and begin drafting your perfect pitch.
What to include in web design proposals
Usually, a web design proposal will contain seven or eight sections, though this will vary depending on the job's specifics and what you feel you need to include. It all starts with the cover page.
Your cover page is the first thing potential clients see when they look at your proposal. Consequently, it needs to make a good impression. Some are formatted as an introductory cover letter that gives the client a brief explanation of what makes you suited to the job.
Other web design proposals forgo the cover letter format and limit themselves to key details, such as your name and job title, the project title, your portfolio site, the name of your contact within the client’s organization, and the date you submitted the web design proposal.
The style you choose is entirely up to you, and one isn't inherently better than the other. Just make sure you keep it simple and don't overwhelm with too much information. If you need some design inspiration, you'll find great examples here.
Designing the cover page
What's more important is the way your cover page looks. As a web designer or web developer, you probably already understand the importance of aesthetics. After all, how a website looks and the visual impact it has will determine its success.
The same goes for your cover page and the web design proposal as a whole. This is an opportunity to show off your skills, demonstrate your eye for detail, and put your business branding front and center - so don’t waste it.
The next thing you'll cover in the design proposal is the problem statement. This section will set out the problems the client wants to resolve.
Here, the main aim is to demonstrate that you understand what the client wants and needs. This ensures you're focusing your efforts on the right aspects of the work, should you get the job. A well-written problem statement will be based on thorough research. It needs to address each of the client's pain points and explain what's wrong and why it's wrong.
To do so, you may need to discuss with those in the company responsible for the project. This allows you to go into specifics. If the client repeatedly mentions that they want a new website designed with SEO best practices in mind, your focus needs to be on SEO.
Just remember - you’re trying to show that you understand the size, scope, and nature of the client’s problem. You’re not explaining what you personally think could be improved.
Having detailed the client's problem in the previous section, you're now going to explain your suggested solution. This will probably be the largest and most comprehensive section in the entire web design proposal. Your solution should be consist of two parts:
- Explaining what work you’ll undertake to resolve the issue
- Explaining the business benefits associated with your work
Think of it this way: for every part of the web design project you mention in the solution section, you need to detail what benefit it will have for the customer.
For instance, if you talk about redesigning the site to reflect the latest search engine optimization best practices, make sure you back it up with a business benefit. In this case, increased traffic to the website, greater visibility in Google searches, and a likely increase in leads/revenue.
Though these benefits may seem obvious to you, ensuring the client knows you understand why the project is valuable to them doesn't hurt. In fact, by couching your web design proposal in business language, you're connecting with the companies' long-term strategic goals and demonstrating that you could have a role to play in helping them to grow further in the future.
In the deliverables section, you'll break down the work you intend to do and list all of the project's components. This guarantees that both you and the client understand exactly what the project entails and what you will deliver to them upon completion. Essentially, this is a more comprehensive account of the solution you provided in the previous section of the design proposal.
Getting deep into deliverables
When writing a deliverables section for your next web design project, you must think in specifics. What you include here is what you’ll be expected to deliver for the fee you’ve proposed.
If you're too vague, you may find that your expectations differ from the client's, causing friction and potential problems further down the line. You don't want any room for argument when it comes to submitting your project, so be clear and comprehensive now.
Many web design projects suffer from scope creep - whereby the scale of the project gradually grows, and you have to put more and more work in for rapidly diminishing returns. The best way of preventing this is a carefully considered deliverables section.
The web design process
Next comes your overview of the web design process. This is where you cover the various steps involved in delivering the project. At the same time, you’ll give the client a basic timeline explaining when they can expect each step to be completed.
You'll also need to notify the client when the project will require their input and factor in a reasonable response time. For instance, if you send over an initial design draft, the client will need time to check it over, provide feedback and approve you moving on to the next step. This all needs to be worked into the timeline.
All web designers have their own unique approach to web design services, and every project will differ from the last. As a result, you should take your time with the process section and include everything this specific client needs. Neither you nor the client wants the project to drag on because you forgot a step, and your entire timeline was thrown into disarray.
A quick process checklist for your web design project
If you’re unsure how to explain your process, consider the following steps. Are they applicable to your project? Are there any steps missing?
- Design research - what users, competitor comparisons, etc.
- Wireframing - a basic plan for the website
- Sitemaps - an explanation of how the pages are ordered, connected, and organized
- Initial design - a rendering of the wireframe, giving the client the first glimpse of their website
- Development - the actual building process
- Setup and configuration - any steps you need to take to get the site online
- Testing - ensuring all pages work as they should and meet the guidelines laid out in the project brief
- Training - educating the client on how to use the website and any new features it contains
Pricing and fees for web design services
Though you will have already done a lot of challenging work, the cost and pricing section may be the most difficult part of your proposal. While most companies will try to balance cost and quality, there's no denying that your project fees will have a significant impact on whether or not you get the job.
How do you know what your fees should be? It's a good question. While experienced web development specialists will know how long they need to complete tasks and charge accordingly, newer web designers may struggle to settle on a fair but competitive rate.
A good way of establishing whereabouts your fee needs to be is by asking the potential client what their budget is. Some people find this difficult and uncomfortable. It shouldn't be. Negotiating on price is part of commerce and can benefit both you and the client.
Breaking down your costs
Your cost section should also include a breakdown of how you’ve come to your chosen figure. You may organize it so that there's a transparent fee for each deliverable in the project, or you might prefer to work on an hourly basis.
If you choose the latter, the timeline in your approach section will be a great help. If you do work on a per-hour basis, you'll be on sturdier ground should the project overrun due to complications on the client's end. This is because you can easily demonstrate that you've worked more hours than initially budgeted for.
Call to action, company info and sign-off
Your final section is essentially a summary page, and different designers will use the space in various ways. Some prefer a simple call to action, while others provide company info and contact details. You may want to do both.
If your proposal template has designated the page for one purpose or the other, don’t be afraid to change things around. After all, it’s your document to do with what you wish.
A few finishing touches can be applied to this section. For instance, you may want to link to a pre-prepared contract that the client can e-sign immediately.
Alternatively, you could include a direct ‘Accept’ link that allows the client to click and inform you of their decision. The most important thing is that you don’t provide the client with a contract that they have to print out and sign. You’re a web guru - show off your digital skills!
Finally, we recommend providing a link to your portfolio website. It gives the client something else to look at and backs up the claims in your proposal.
How to write a website proposal
Now that you know what you need to include in your website design proposal, it’s time for a few tips and tricks on how to write it.
Start with a web design proposal template
Using our web design proposal template is a great way to get started. Rather than building from scratch, a template gives you a basic framework from which to work. Not every website design proposal template is alike, though.
We've designed our version to reflect the advice given in this guide and ensure you have the best chance of succeeding with your web design proposal. Not only is it quicker and easier to use a proposal template, but it also ensures you include everything you need.
Use your best ideas in all your proposals
Not every web design proposal needs to be written from scratch. While each should be tailored to the specific client you’re pitching to, you can reuse and recycle large sections, saving you a considerable amount of time.
We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to use your proposal to really sell yourself and highlight why you’re the best person for the job. Clients will be looking for freelancers who stand out from the crowd and are a step above the competition, so don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet.
It’s a balancing act
Writing a good web design proposal is a delicate balancing act. You want to demonstrate your skills without being arrogant. You want to include all the information the client needs, but you don't want to get bogged down in trivial details.
Striking this balance is largely a matter of experience. As you spend longer in the web development industry, you'll better understand what clients want to hear and why they're interested in you.
Focus the web design proposal on the client’s needs
We've mentioned this once already, but it's worth repeating - your web design proposal must be centered on the client's problems and needs. It doesn't matter whether you think there are other issues with their website; you're here to solve their problems. Find out what they want, demonstrate that you can give it to them, and your proposal will be good to go.
Creating a website proposal is simple with Bonsai
Using a web design proposal template is the easiest and most efficient way of creating your proposal. It's even more straightforward with a Bonsai proposal template. Let's look at a few reasons why:
The hard work done for you
A Bonsai web design proposal template does much of the heavy lifting for you. You don't have to do too much research, design, or formatting. It's all pre-prepared. Instead, you can focus on selling your web design services.
When you use a web design proposal template from Bonsai, it’s been checked over and vetted by our experienced team. We know you demand quality, so we only use the best templates available.
Experienced freelance specialists
We work with freelancers in a wide variety of industries, so we understand the problems you face. Our web design proposal template is based on what you and your prospective clients want to see in a proposal.
How long should a web design proposal be?
It depends on the project. So there's no right or wrong length. Build on the website design proposal template and, when you've finished your first draft, go back and consider whether you've included all the information your potential clients need.
If so, you’re probably good to go. Remember - the client doesn’t need to know every little detail. Just enough to ensure you’re both on the same page and have the same expectations.
How should I submit my web design proposal?
Most potential clients will provide you with contact details that include an email address to which you can send your web design proposal. We would always recommend sending it digitally rather than in paper form. Why? Because you're a website designer and digital is where you work best.
Where can I find other web design templates?
You can find all the templates you need to deliver first-rate web design services right here on Bonsai. We have an extensive collection of templates, so take a look and see what you can find.