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Guidelines to Writing a Web Design Proposal 
October 3, 2011 by Nathan PowellWeb Design 
Writing website proposals is boring. There are no two ways about it, but they’re a necessary evil. 
The proposal is the final push before our client signs on the dotted line. We need to make sure 
we have all our bases covered and that we project, as always, an image of professionalism. 
writing a web design proposalPhoto Credit: Stacey Shintani 
Whether you intend to create your website proposals in Word, Indesign, or use an online service 
to help you out, its important that you know what you’re doing. 
Company Information 
This refers as much to your company as to theirs. Include your contact information in a concise, 
unobtrusive manner. This can be placed in the footer if you like, but I also recommend that you 
include it in full on the front page. Make sure your proposal is made out to a specific person, with 
a name. A proposal to “The Marketing Department” is more of a long shot than a proposal. 
Project Overview: Research your client 
research your clientPhoto Credit: Rafael Anderson Gonzales Mendoza 
The hopes and dreams of your client. What does your client expect to get from this website, what 
are their objectives and goals? Here is where we let the client know that we understand what they 
need, and where they want to go with this project. This can be a brief paragraph setting the 
scene. 
The Client’s Problem 
Usually a client comes to you with a problem. Whether that problem is the lack of a website, or 
that their landing page has a bounce rate of 90%. We need to identify their problem and address 
it. Here we make a list of all the problems our client is facing. Explain to them that they can find 
your killer solutions below the list. Short and sweet. 
Site design is outdated. 
Contact form no longer works. 
Gallery is impractical both to use and update. 
Site was designed using tables and has no CMS. 
Home page has a bounce rate of 90% 
Etc. 
Project Solutions: Research your solutions 
All the above negativity has to be counter balanced with blinding positivity and clear solutions. For
example our client has a very old website that is in desperate need of an overhaul…so instead of 
saying: 
Macintosh Clothing needs their website redesigned. It’s 6 years old, looks very old school, and 
not in a good way. It needs something funky for todays youthful market… 
Try a different approach. The fact that the site is 6 years old makes for many problems, that 
should be addressed individually. What will a redesign do for Macintosh Clothing? Apart form 
aesthetics, why should they update their site? Try something along the lines of: 
Macintosh Clothing is finding that technology has passed them by, and with it the search engines. 
The website was built using technologies no longer relevant to today’s modern broswers. The 
Macintosh Clothing site was built using tables. This creates problems with search engines, while 
also making updates a laborious task. Any updates to such an antiquated system can be a long, 
costly affair. Google reads web sites in the order in which the HTML is written, therefore tables 
can result in… 
You could, and probably should, spend a good few paragraphs outlining your solutions. It’s a pain 
but we can’t afford to be wishy washy. This is where our previous client research pays off. Let’s 
not forget, all that information we got from our project planner wasn’t just to make us appear 
conscientious. 
Other Considerations 
Sometimes there are items that are not necessarily requested but are good to mention anyway. 
You may even make an extra sale! 
For example if you offer hosting, now is the time to mention it. If you offer logo design, now is the 
time to mention it. It’s up to you if you want to discuss pricing here, or save it until the final costing 
estimate. 
I offer maintenance plans to all my customers, some take it, some don’t. I let them know what the 
package includes, and inform them that they can find prices at the end of my proposal. 
Development Timeline 
project development timePhoto Credit: Grufnik 
How long will everything take? There’s a lot to take into account: 
Research, Wireframes, Sitemap design, Initial Designs, Design Revision, Design Approval, Final 
PSD’s, XHTML/CSS, CMS and configuration, Testing & Debugging, Cross-browser fixes, Client 
Testing, Setup, We’re live! 
How you lay this out is up to you. Some use graphs, some text, but make it easy to read and 
don’t forget to inform the client that all times are approximate. It takes two to tango, if your client 
isn’t fulfilling their side of the deal then it’s impossible for you to deliver on time. Make sure you 
have this stipulated in your agreement/contract. 
Costing Estimate 
Ideally this should be laid out in table format, making it easy to scan. The client can see what 
each item costs without the need to dig. Let them know why they’re paying 3.000€, tell them 
what’s involved etc. It’s also handy to add any common items that haven’t been requested…just 
incase. The client should know, that if further down the road they decide to ask for extras then it 
will cost them X. Again, we need to be clear with our pricing structure. There can be no room for 
misunderstandings.
It’s also a good thing to include your pricing schedule. Most designers use a milestone system. I 
usually request 30% upon the signing of our agreement, another 30% upon approval of the initial 
designs, and the remaining 40% before handing the site over to the client. Some people ask for 
50% up front. Go with what feels comfortable. Make sure you do get a deposit. Any client who 
refuses to pay upfront for your services is not worth working with. You can almost guarantee 
problems. 
Again you can use a graph, illustration or simple plain text to let your client know your payment 
schedule. Make sure they are aware of how you work. After all it’s not like going to a shop where 
you pay for the product at the till. We as designers invest a lot of time in our projects, and there is 
always a risk that some people will decide not to pay on time. Get it up front and get it in writing. 
Conditions & Contracts 
signing a web design contractPhoto Credit: Frank McMains 
Here’s where you lay down the law. State what you expect from your client and what they can 
expect from you. Only recently I began including my work agreement (contract) within the 
proposal. If the client is happy with everything, they can sign off that very day, get your transfer 
done and you can begin. Before, I would send the proposal, wait for the OK and then send the 
work agreement. This way I save time and kill two birds with one stone. 
Writing a contract is for another article and can be a bit of a pain, but it’s your only back up, so 
make sure it’s air tight. 
What’s Next? 
Be sure to let your client know what comes next. If they agree to the proposal, what should they 
do? Do they need to sign a print off and email it back to you, or simply respond by way of email? 
Let them know. Don’t make them guess. 
Once last thing I would suggest, even after spell checking your proposal. Get someone to read it 
through. It’s very rare if something hasn’t slipped through the net. 
Online Options 
If you would like to take a look at some of the online options available for creating proposals, then 
check out the links below. 
Bid Sketch 
WP Bids (self hosted) 
Quote Roller 
Quote Robot 
Proposable 
Proposal Pad 
Socket App 
Nusii 
How do you create your proposals, what do you include? Everyone has their preferred method. If 
you have any ideas or comments, jump right in. 
Good luck! 
No related posts. 
Author: Nathan Powell (7 Posts)
Nathan is a visual designer living in Madrid, Spain. He's author of The Designers Guide to 
Freelancing and founder of nusii an online proposal platform for designers and creative types. 
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Website design proposal

  • 1. Home Category Filter Search Speckyboy Design Magazine Magazine Popular Recommended Guidelines to Writing a Web Design Proposal October 3, 2011 by Nathan PowellWeb Design Writing website proposals is boring. There are no two ways about it, but they’re a necessary evil. The proposal is the final push before our client signs on the dotted line. We need to make sure we have all our bases covered and that we project, as always, an image of professionalism. writing a web design proposalPhoto Credit: Stacey Shintani Whether you intend to create your website proposals in Word, Indesign, or use an online service to help you out, its important that you know what you’re doing. Company Information This refers as much to your company as to theirs. Include your contact information in a concise, unobtrusive manner. This can be placed in the footer if you like, but I also recommend that you include it in full on the front page. Make sure your proposal is made out to a specific person, with a name. A proposal to “The Marketing Department” is more of a long shot than a proposal. Project Overview: Research your client research your clientPhoto Credit: Rafael Anderson Gonzales Mendoza The hopes and dreams of your client. What does your client expect to get from this website, what are their objectives and goals? Here is where we let the client know that we understand what they need, and where they want to go with this project. This can be a brief paragraph setting the scene. The Client’s Problem Usually a client comes to you with a problem. Whether that problem is the lack of a website, or that their landing page has a bounce rate of 90%. We need to identify their problem and address it. Here we make a list of all the problems our client is facing. Explain to them that they can find your killer solutions below the list. Short and sweet. Site design is outdated. Contact form no longer works. Gallery is impractical both to use and update. Site was designed using tables and has no CMS. Home page has a bounce rate of 90% Etc. Project Solutions: Research your solutions All the above negativity has to be counter balanced with blinding positivity and clear solutions. For
  • 2. example our client has a very old website that is in desperate need of an overhaul…so instead of saying: Macintosh Clothing needs their website redesigned. It’s 6 years old, looks very old school, and not in a good way. It needs something funky for todays youthful market… Try a different approach. The fact that the site is 6 years old makes for many problems, that should be addressed individually. What will a redesign do for Macintosh Clothing? Apart form aesthetics, why should they update their site? Try something along the lines of: Macintosh Clothing is finding that technology has passed them by, and with it the search engines. The website was built using technologies no longer relevant to today’s modern broswers. The Macintosh Clothing site was built using tables. This creates problems with search engines, while also making updates a laborious task. Any updates to such an antiquated system can be a long, costly affair. Google reads web sites in the order in which the HTML is written, therefore tables can result in… You could, and probably should, spend a good few paragraphs outlining your solutions. It’s a pain but we can’t afford to be wishy washy. This is where our previous client research pays off. Let’s not forget, all that information we got from our project planner wasn’t just to make us appear conscientious. Other Considerations Sometimes there are items that are not necessarily requested but are good to mention anyway. You may even make an extra sale! For example if you offer hosting, now is the time to mention it. If you offer logo design, now is the time to mention it. It’s up to you if you want to discuss pricing here, or save it until the final costing estimate. I offer maintenance plans to all my customers, some take it, some don’t. I let them know what the package includes, and inform them that they can find prices at the end of my proposal. Development Timeline project development timePhoto Credit: Grufnik How long will everything take? There’s a lot to take into account: Research, Wireframes, Sitemap design, Initial Designs, Design Revision, Design Approval, Final PSD’s, XHTML/CSS, CMS and configuration, Testing & Debugging, Cross-browser fixes, Client Testing, Setup, We’re live! How you lay this out is up to you. Some use graphs, some text, but make it easy to read and don’t forget to inform the client that all times are approximate. It takes two to tango, if your client isn’t fulfilling their side of the deal then it’s impossible for you to deliver on time. Make sure you have this stipulated in your agreement/contract. Costing Estimate Ideally this should be laid out in table format, making it easy to scan. The client can see what each item costs without the need to dig. Let them know why they’re paying 3.000€, tell them what’s involved etc. It’s also handy to add any common items that haven’t been requested…just incase. The client should know, that if further down the road they decide to ask for extras then it will cost them X. Again, we need to be clear with our pricing structure. There can be no room for misunderstandings.
  • 3. It’s also a good thing to include your pricing schedule. Most designers use a milestone system. I usually request 30% upon the signing of our agreement, another 30% upon approval of the initial designs, and the remaining 40% before handing the site over to the client. Some people ask for 50% up front. Go with what feels comfortable. Make sure you do get a deposit. Any client who refuses to pay upfront for your services is not worth working with. You can almost guarantee problems. Again you can use a graph, illustration or simple plain text to let your client know your payment schedule. Make sure they are aware of how you work. After all it’s not like going to a shop where you pay for the product at the till. We as designers invest a lot of time in our projects, and there is always a risk that some people will decide not to pay on time. Get it up front and get it in writing. Conditions & Contracts signing a web design contractPhoto Credit: Frank McMains Here’s where you lay down the law. State what you expect from your client and what they can expect from you. Only recently I began including my work agreement (contract) within the proposal. If the client is happy with everything, they can sign off that very day, get your transfer done and you can begin. Before, I would send the proposal, wait for the OK and then send the work agreement. This way I save time and kill two birds with one stone. Writing a contract is for another article and can be a bit of a pain, but it’s your only back up, so make sure it’s air tight. What’s Next? Be sure to let your client know what comes next. If they agree to the proposal, what should they do? Do they need to sign a print off and email it back to you, or simply respond by way of email? Let them know. Don’t make them guess. Once last thing I would suggest, even after spell checking your proposal. Get someone to read it through. It’s very rare if something hasn’t slipped through the net. Online Options If you would like to take a look at some of the online options available for creating proposals, then check out the links below. Bid Sketch WP Bids (self hosted) Quote Roller Quote Robot Proposable Proposal Pad Socket App Nusii How do you create your proposals, what do you include? Everyone has their preferred method. If you have any ideas or comments, jump right in. Good luck! No related posts. Author: Nathan Powell (7 Posts)
  • 4. Nathan is a visual designer living in Madrid, Spain. He's author of The Designers Guide to Freelancing and founder of nusii an online proposal platform for designers and creative types. Next Post →← Previous Post Comments Weekly Newsletter - 30k Total Complete WordPress Theme FrameworkDrag and Drop Web Design for WordPressWin a limited edition t-shirt. Be more fly. Our iOS App by Mobiloud Download our iOS App Enfold - using WordPress Just Got Easier Simple Effective Email Marketingcreate a free website with WOPOPPSD to XHTMLPremium WordPress Themes Popular Recommended knockoutbackbone Backbone vs. Knockout October 14, 2014 trello_thumb 5 Essential Tools to Integrate with Trello for Web Developers October 13, 2014 freebies_sept_thumb 50 Free Resources for Web Designers from September 2014 October 6, 2014 font_resources_thumb How to Use Typography to Align Brand Identity October 2, 2014 android_4.0_gui_templates_03 Free Android GUI & Wireframe Templates 2014 September 26, 2014 View More Popular Posts → Pages About Us Contact Us Advertise Write for Us Recommended Popular iOS App Privacy Policy We are hosted by... We are hosted by MediaTemple Web Hosting ...and accelerated by... We are accelerated by MaxCDN - Content Delivery Network
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