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Redesigning the Site Redesign RFP: Eight Do's and Don'ts

by Eric Anderson  |  
January 10, 2012

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Five things to ask for in your site redesign RFP
  • Three things your site redesign RFP should not request from agencies

Is a site redesign among your company's New Year's resolutions? Marketers who have delayed much-needed site overhauls during two years of recessionary budgets may be looking to shape up their Web presence in 2012. But like so many other resolutions, site redesigns are much easier to commit to than to actually undertake.

This year, resolve to redesign your request for proposal (RFP) process along with your site. There's never been a better time: Big changes in the digital marketing landscape over the last several years demand a fresh approach to the RFP to ensure that you end up with a site that's built to last. The risk of rapid obsolescence is real: A site redesign in early 2012 will launch onto a landscape with up to 70 million tablet users in the US alone—a trend that was entirely unforeseen just two years ago.

Future-proofing your redesign starts with the RFP itself. A well-crafted RFP vets the responding agencies' capabilities in areas of innovation, such as mobile design. But just as important, a well-crafted RFP aligns your own organization behind those needs, ensuring that IT, Marketing, and upper management share common goals for the site's evolution.

With that in mind, I offer the following RFP guidelines—first the do's, then the don'ts.

What Your RFP Should Ask For

1. Mobile Integration

A site redesign is the most natural opportunity to address a brand's mobile presence, because mobile's role in the customer journey (i.e., when customers use your mobile site, mobile app, and desktop website) is best uncovered in the user research that accompanies a redesign. If the mobile and desktop sites will be managed via a common content management system, the RFP should address that requirement as well.

2. Content Sharing Features

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Eric Anderson is a partner at digital agency White Horse and the author of Social Media Marketing: Game Theory and the Emergence of Collaboration.

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  • by MBA Depot Tue Jan 10, 2012 via web

    I would add another very important item (though you can argue it is a part of the SEO item), namely that if any canonicalization (fancy way of calling the system for naming your pages) changes are to be made, the old links must redirect to their new locations. So many sit re-designs neglect this and it is such a shame. See the relevant MP article:

    Never Break the Chain

  • by bc:IDEAS Tue Jan 10, 2012 via web

    Excellent suggestions for the RFP. We find that too many clients demand an on the shelf CMS like Wordpress because they fear being tied to the developer for simple changes. The reality is that unless they make the commitment to become CMS experts they get the worst of both worlds, a potentially weak CMS and still outsourcing content updates

  • by grace Wed Jan 11, 2012 via web

    I totally agree with bc:IDEAS.

    Additionally, an important point that I believe should be included in the list of "DOs" is a user-centered design approach. An agency that has proven experience conducting user research and also testing a product prototype as part of the design process is an agency that is more likely to build websites that are focused on a sound user experience. An agency that skips those steps is only guessing, and no organization should risk putting a website like that out into the world.

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