Marketing UPDATED: 30 June 2023

5 Essentials of a Well-Written Web Design Proposal

Yauhen Zaremba

11 min read

There’s no denying that writing web proposals can be a time-consuming and laborious task.

Unfortunately, to stand a chance of success, your web design proposals need to be well thought out and well written.

For designers who just want to get the job done, this process can feel like a difficult uphill battle. After all, you know you can produce killer web design, so why should you have to propose your ideas?

Web Design Proposal

But fear not, the process doesn’t need to be difficult or a waste of anyone’s time. In this guide, we’ll show you 5 essentials of well-written web design proposals.

What is a web design proposal?

Within large-scale businesses or even ambitious startups, new projects need to be proposed before they can be put in motion. This goes for the web design aspects too. It only makes sense that you provide a summary of what you’re bringing to the table with your solution.

But what exactly is a web design proposal?

A web design proposal is an official outline of your intentions and input for the web design aspects of a project. It will include your plan, how you intend to implement your plan, your pricing (if freelancing), and anything else that needs to be covered.

In short, your proposal is a quick breakdown of what you’re going to achieve for the client and how. It’s your chance to demonstrate your skills, creativity and innovative approach to the project.

Getting your web proposal right is crucial. It could be the difference between getting the green light on a project or failing at the first hurdle. The aim is to install confidence with the client and prove why you’re the one for the job.

Generally speaking, there are no definitive rules when it comes to writing a web design proposal, but there are some essential tips you can follow to give yourself the best chance of success.

Let’s take a look.

1. It all starts with the introduction

Right from the off, you need to make it clear who you are and what your proposal promises.

Your introduction should cover any initial discussions you’ve already had with decision-makers about the project’s needs.

Some important things to get in your introduction include:

  • Your name and job title.
  • The name of your client/company.
  • The name of the project and an abstract.
  • Important contact details.
  • Date of submission and other key dates.

Your introduction should include an abstract/overview of the problem your web design will go towards solving. Your client should be able to read your introduction and know exactly how you’re going to help, how long it will take, and when they can expect to start seeing results. You’ll need to have conducted thorough research to include everything in your proposal that decision-makers might want to include. Make sure you use any industry-specific jargon to get shareholders on board and filled with confidence that your proposal is a winner.

Remember, setting the best impression from the off will give you the best chance of having your proposal accepted. That’s why your introduction is crucial. Get it right, and you’ll put the key decision-makers at ease from the start. But get it wrong, and you could find yourself fighting an uphill battle to get the proposal approved before the project has even started.

2. Explain the key deliverables you’ll bring

Every good proposal contains key deliverables that it promises to deliver. You need to outline these in detail to show exactly what you’ll be bringing to the project.

Setting out clear deliverables could really help decision-makers make their final decisions, especially if you’re bidding against another web designer for the job. But before you rush ahead listing out all the things you can deliver, you’ll also need to consider some of the things you can’t deliver straight away.

For example, perhaps you’ve included a section on how you’d like to incorporate the brand logo into the website in key areas to boost visibility and brand awareness. But you later find out the brand doesn’t have a logo yet. Or maybe they’ve had trouble choosing the right domain name which is preventing you from getting started. These are common issues with startups. You’ll have to make sure your deliverables are all achievable and that progress won’t be interrupted and slowed down by unplanned occurrences.

Make a document outlining your key deliverables. Share it with those in the project who you’ll need to liaise with further before you can achieve the objective. Within this document, note down what deliverables are waiting on external input. For example, you may be waiting for the marketing team to get some content finished for testing on the homepage. Ask users to sign the document each time there’s an update. You can find out how to electronically sign a Word document here.

3. Map out how you will provide the solution

Show the project leader exactly how your solution intends to help achieve their goals. It’s crucial to demonstrate your innovative approach that will address their needs.

Once you’ve set out your deliverables, it’s time to outline exactly how you’ll start building the website and how it will help the client reach their goals. Your outline needs to go into detail at every stage. You should also set a timeline of when you expect certain objectives to be completed.

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One thing you shouldn’t do is use an old proposal as a template. While the thought of saving time could tempt you initially, it will probably result in delays further down the line. That’s because, depending on the client, the reasons for designing a new website and the available budget will be completely different from one another. This means your mapped-out plan will need to be specific and shouldn’t simply copy previous work. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a project to find it has strayed from your initial outline.

Remember, your client or team leaders are likely to refer back to the web design proposal throughout the project to monitor progress, that’s why it’s crucial you map everything out to show them you’re keeping on task, on time, and within budget from start to finish.

4. Talk money

It all boils down to this in the end…money!

The difference between a successful project and a project that never started, available expenditure has a part to play when it comes to getting a proposal over the line.

Even though we’ve included this as number four, you should really have a good idea of available budgets before you even begin planning your web design proposal. This way, you’ll be able to keep within reasonable costs and provide a cost-effective solution for the business.

Discussing the available budget beforehand is good for both you and the client/business you’re writing the proposal for. For the client/business, they’ll gain a better understanding of your needs, while you’ll gain a better understanding of what they’re willing to spend and what they expect from the available budget. If you’re planning on implementing processes after the website launch, for example monitoring your website with an analytics suite, then you’ll need to let them know as it’ll need factoring into the budget allocation.

Quite simply, it’s impossible to guess what the available budget will be, so having these initial talks is important. If you try to guess, you might easily end up losing the proposal, or even massively underpricing yourself. At this point, you may even decide that the project won’t be financially worthwhile for you.

But how do you talk about money?

We recommend sending a document to the client/business beforehand to present a breakdown of costs in a coherent way. You can also consider presenting the client with a few different costing options in your proposal. This ensures that you’ll meet their project and budget needs as well as giving you a chance to highlight how optional extras can add value.

Remember, budgets aren’t always set in stone. Perhaps you’re designing a new website to promote the company’s new contract lifecycle management software, and as more customers sign up and become paying subscribers, the allocated budget for the project may increase too.

5.   Tell the client/business how to proceed

Once you’ve pitched your proposal to the client/business including your introduction; key deliverables; a summary of your plans; and a section on budgets, it is time to prompt the client/business to take the next steps. Ultimately, the acceptance of your web design proposal so the project can begin.

Ideally, you want to give them a way to efficiently sign off your proposal with speed and ease. This can be tricky if you’re sending your proposal as a PDF document, a Word document, or Google Doc, as these don’t really have integrated acceptance or e-signature features.

To fix this, you can use a third-party document generator tool. You can check out how much two of the best providers cost here with this PandaDoc vs DocuSign pricing guide. These tools will let the client sign off your proposal with an official signature.

Using a document generator tool is the way to go in 2022 and beyond. Don’t make your prospect have to print off your web design proposal, sign it with a pen, scan it back into the computer, and then send it back to you. This is time-consuming, especially if they don’t have immediate access to a printer and need to go out of their way to use one. Plus, besides being long-winded, it’s not eco-friendly to print off multiple copies of a web design proposal when it’s not necessary to do so.

Making things difficult for your prospective client could be the nail in the coffin if they have a list of proposals to choose from. If you’re already making them jump through hoops at the start, they’re less likely to pick you for the project.

Final thought

Hopefully, this guide has got you thinking about all of the key things you need to cover to produce a well-written web design proposal.

There are no two ways around it, writing a winning web design proposal will take time and effort. But by following the steps outlined in this article, you can produce a well-thought-out and well-written proposal that your client/business will love to accept.

When drafting up your proposal, put yourself in the shoes of the end-user and build the whole experience around them. At the end of the day, although it’s you that will be designing the website, they will be the ones using it. That’s why it’s paramount that your website serves them primarily. So, strategically plan your website design for ease of use.

You won’t always get your proposal right the first time. But don’t be disheartened. With a few revisions over time, you’ll land on that perfect pitch. To give you the best chance of hitting the ground running, it’s a good idea to use document templates. This can be really good if you need to include specifics in your proposal and show that you really have thought of everything.

For example, you could use a free NDA agreement template and insert it into your proposal to save time if this is something you need to include. There are templates for just about everything online, so take a look, it could save you hours and bring greater focus to your work.

Good luck with your next winning web design proposal!


About our Guest Author: Yauhen Zaremba is the Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc, all-in-one document management tool for almost all types of document including this PandaDoc home repair contract template. He’s been a marketer for 10+ years, and for the last five years, he’s been entirely focused on the electronic signature, proposal, and document management markets.

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