[thelist] How do I build a proposal for a website?

Janet Green JGreen at desmoinesmetro.com
Thu Aug 7 08:43:45 CDT 2003

>>>How do I create a proposal for such a website? Does anyone have a sample, advice, ideas as to how I should proceed?<<<

The trick here is that it sounds like he is asking you to do the "creative" work as part of a proposal, which means he may or may not select your proposal, which means you will end up having done all this planning and creative work for free. Your goal, then,  is to create a proposal "package" that keeps the creative work to a minimum but gives them enough info to make a decision. It should include the following: 

- A letter thanking them for the opportunity to present your ideas, with your business card
- A summary of the website plan outlining who the audience is, the key/critical content elements, the timeline for completion, and an outline of who is responsible for what (meaning, YOU are responsible for designing/coding pages, HE is responsible for approving materials in a timely manner, supplying graphics and relevant materials, etc. - think through each step and decide who you want to handle that step, and lay it all out so there's no question later on) 
- A page containing brief backgrounders of anyone you plan to bring into the project with you
- A couple color prints of a proposed design scheme (meaning, mock up the main page and one or two - at most - interior pages) so they can see your creative concept without you having to build the entire site just to get the job. Be sure to include something here that references the data sheets so you can show how they will be incorporated into the site. You can mount these to some sort of presentation-weight cardboard cut to about 10x13 if you want them to look a little more impressive. Be sure to mark these discreetly as "copyright 2003 Sylvia Braunstein. All rights reserved."
- A budget summary for developing the site, including all his wants/needs as far as Swish/Flash and other special effects
- A page with "references" - links to other sites you've worked on
- A "work order" or contract, something they can sign which states that they accept your proposal and wish to work with you, that they are bound by the contract to pay you, that you are bound by the contract to provide the work as outlined, etc. - your standard work agreement. 

Pack all of this in a nifty envelope that has your business card attached to the outside (the office supply stores have some attractive plastic envelopes these days that look niftier than the plain manilla variety) and give it to them. If you have to make a live presentation as part of your proposal, even better, because you can explain all the elements and give more detail. A live presentation would also be a good time to discuss the perils of Flash/Swish, thunder-and-lightening effects, etc. :) - just make sure they know there are risks involved with those (some users won't be able to view them... they may not contribute anything content-wise to the site, etc.), and your goal is to not let anything interefere with users getting the most critical information from the site. 



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