This post originally appeared in the November 14, 2019 issue with the email subject line "Are you, like, good at Instagram?" and an essay about Instagram engagement metrics.

Back to web, my favorite medium!

Social content is spontaneous, and as noted above, you can just change it if it’s not working. Even magazine redesigns, which are well-thought-out rebranding exercises with plenty of research on their own, have a certain air of “Gah, we can change the design next month if it reminds us of our high school American lit class.”

But as we prepare for the great content tech shift of the 2020s, a good website redesign that’s intended to drive value for your business requires a significant amount of prep. Not only are we designing for content consumption across devices and contexts, we’re shifting our back-end systems to concepts like Headless and Decoupled. We’re looking for new revenue models for web-based content. We need to deeply consider privacy, accessibility and security. And we realize that for a website to provide value, move fast and look good, we have to get our information architecture ducks in a row.

If you redesigned with a responsive skin-only look last decade, it may be time to evaluate the future of your web content. And if you think you only need to consider the look and feel, rather than the information structure and content design… well, you’ll be spending more money on another redesign in a year or two.

But if all this feels like too much! Rest easy. The talented developers at Postlight put together a handy tool to help you understand what your needs will be for the website RFP process.

RFP Builder at a glance

Visual review of Postlight's RFP builder: strategic (puts ducks in a row); improves efficiency; at the monthly price of free. This tool is finely tuned, useful for single-users and teams, and intuitive.

The RFP Builder clearly comes from a true digital agency, one that actually wants their clients to seriously consider what their resources are before they jump to say “yes! we can help you!”

I imagine this tool was birthed when the new biz team was super tired of looking at garbage RFPs that said “We want our current design that is responsive and also our budget is no more than $3,000.”

If you are thinking about redesigning a content-driven website in 2020, please look at the RFP builder well before you begin to write an RFP. Look at all the requirements that are outlined: these are all details your business needs to consider.

The RFP builder is for strategists, project managers and business leaders who:

  • Are starting the process of a redesign and want a checklist to make sure they’ve crossed Ts and dotted Is
  • Want to make sure your technical considerations are thought through so that you aren’t wasting money going back-and-forth with a development agency during the redesign
  • Enjoy when your business is aligned on common goals, like what the website is supposed to do
  • Are familiar with only one part of a website redesign process (i.e., front-end or SEO or UX) and want to understand the whole kit and caboodle
  • Want to understand all the considerations that go into building a website and why it costs so much. (It costs so much because it requires a lot of work and highly specialized expertise)
  • Demonstrate to stakeholders that you, the lone digital strategist in the organization, are not the only one in the world who thinks about considerations like authorship and maintenance and third-party integrations and server capacity
  • Want to shout, “Yes, we really do need to spend time on this! Websites don’t just happen and we need to set ourselves up for future success so we don’t keep burning our digital dollars!”

You know how there are sentences you wish you’d written? I wish I’d penned this graph: “The goal of a site build isn’t to solve every SEO or marketing problem but to put you into a solid place so that you can adapt to a very rapidly changing market. An ounce of planning is worth a ton of cure.”

So yeah. here’s the official endorsement: The RFP Builder from Postlight will save you a lot of money and time.

Aubrey Plaza as Ingrid says, "It's going to be so fun!" [gif]
Fun fact: I discovered this tool within hours of finishing a custom website RFP for a client. It would have saved me time and effort for suresies. But, now I have the RFP builder for the future. (And it’s also validation that my RFP was on the right track.)