A Website Proposal Template Will Help Avoid Pitfalls

A Website Proposal Template will help an organization avoid the pitfalls of building a website that will be ineffective and will result in a website redesign.

Unfortunately, everyone has an opinion of what constitutes a good website and what the organization’s website should look and feel like.  The reality is that the vast majority of the time a website design or redesign effort that is guided by such an ad-hoc process is not connected to the organization’s objectives or the user experience and is therefore set-up to fail from the start.

Rather than commence a website project by jumping into the tactics of building pages, backup and create a website proposal to build a website that is tied to an organization’s objectives, reinforces the brand and is focused on solving tasks of the target audience.  Resist the temptation to cave into the argument that there is not time or budget to set an objective and develop a strategy to drive tactics as it is a hollow argument.  The reality is that an ad-hoc process will be more expensive (the cost of redesigning and building a new website along with the loss in brand equity) than setting the initial project up for success with a website proposal.

What Should Be In A Website Proposal

  • Website Proposal Objectives

    Website Proposal Objectives

  • Business Objectives – these are the key objectives website must deliver upon in order to be successful.
  • Target Audiences – these elements include clear definitions of who the site is intended for, broken down by degrees of priority, and the unique audience needs the website must address.
  • Mission Statement – outlines the overall mission for the site by linking the business objectives with the needs of the various audiences.
  • Implementation Imperatives – defines the “rules of engagement” for the site by defining the boundaries of success.
  • User Experience Strategy -outlines, at a high level, the overall communications strategy, architectural and creative experience.
  • Feature/Functionality – outlines the short and long-term feature and content requirements for the website.
  • Success Measures – defines how success will be measured once the website launches.
  • Barriers and Challenges — lists any issues that might hinder the success of the website efforts.

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Website Proposal – Objectives

These are the key objectives the website must deliver upon in order to be successful.

Business objectives clearly define the goals of the initiative.  The most effective objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound (SMART).  In addition, the goals and objectives documented in the website proposal must have the support of all stakeholders who have a vested interest in the success of the website.

Business objectives are identified using a number of methods including interviews with key stakeholders, market analysis, competitor analysis and input form analysts, influencers and customers.  These objectives form the baseline for the website project and become the measuring stick against which all creative, content and functional decisions will be made and tracked.

Website Proposal – Target Audiences

Define target audiences so that there are clear definitions of who the website is intended for, broken down by degrees of priority, and the unique audience needs the website must address.  Segmenting your target audience will provide the foundation for your organization to strengthen its relationships with its stakeholders whether they are customers, partners, employees, investors, etc.  By strengthening these relationships, the goal is to motivate each segment to behave in certain ways.

Successfully strengthening relationships and motivating people to engage in specific behaviors requires understanding their perspective and attitudes.  Through research and analysis, audiences can be segmented into homogeneous groups that have similar motivations, attitudes and behaviors.  By identifying those groups whose behavior you most want to change and understanding their unique motivations and attitudes, you develop a response that will more successfully meet their needs and help achieve your engagement goals.

A Customer Behavior System provides a framework or model for understanding how a target audience interacts with a brand. The customer behavior model is built in two phases.

The first phase, the Customer Behavior Model, seeks to answer what behavioral activities exist as an individual makes some type of commitment decision.  The second phase, the Journey Board, tries to identify every moment in the behavioral system that is an opportunity to make a brand connection (establish engagement and enhance it)by hypothesizing the brand’s communication possibilities.

Website Proposal – Customer Behavior Model

A garden variety Customer Behavior Model may be broken down into six key steps:

  • Awareness—What events or other situation(s) might trigger this audience to have an awareness/understanding of the offering?
  • Consider—What benefits or satisfaction might this audience think about in their consideration of the offering?
  • Search—What information might this audience want to collect in their search of the offering as an option?
  • Choose—What attributes and differences might this audience compare in their process of choosing the offering?
  • Buy—Once they have decided to enlist with the offering, what steps do they take, how would they go about it?
  • Loyalty—Once they have purchased, what things are involved in the experience of using the offering?

The image illustrates the Journey Board and is part of the website proposal templateFor each of the six steps, try to provide answers to the following five guiding questions:

  1. What are the audience members doing?
  2. What are they thinking?
  3. What are they feeling?
  4. What are the communication opportunities?
  5. How can the brand take advantage of this?

Website Proposal – Journey Board

A Journey Board illustrates the key elements in a relationship lifecycle with various target audiences by depicting the various key relationship phases, or relationship phases a person may go through as they interact with a brand. Additionally, a journey board illustrates audience dialogue touch points—that is, opportunities within the relationship lifecycle in which audience members may be exposed to a brand experience (digital or physical assets). These brand experiences are typically a mixture of planned communication efforts (press release, blog post, tweet, Facebook post, webcast, etc.) as well as direct interaction with brand stewards (tradeshows, executive events, sales calls, etc.).

Website Proposal – Mission Statement

The Mission Statement outlines the overall mission for the website by linking the business objectives with the needs of the various audiences.  The mission statement brings together the key business goals and matches them with the needs of the site users. While inspirational in nature, like its foundational business objectives, each element is attainable and measurable.  The mission statement should be broken out into its constituent parts. Along side each element, summary information should be provided to further explain the goal and intent embodied within the mission statement text.

Website Proposal – Implementation Imperatives

Implementation Imperatives essentially define the “rules of engagement” for the website project while the business objectives define what the website must deliver.  The audience prioritization defines who the website is intended for, the implementation imperatives define how the content and functionality must be delivered. Typically, design constraints, usability requirements and desired tangible benefits the website must deliver upon are included.

In Closing – Website Proposal Template: Part 1

The Website Proposal Template is designed to build a plan to create a compelling website that is tied to an organization’s corporate objectives and focused upon solving website visitors’ goals through an engaging and fulfilling user experience.

The process outlined for building an effective website proposal plan has been tested at Fortune 1000 companies and start-ups.  In fact, this content is used in an advanced marketing class taught at the executive MBA level.

If you need a professionally designed Website Proposal Template that has been built by a CMO to jumpstart your effort, please visit

3 Responses to “A Website Proposal Template Will Help Avoid Pitfalls”

  1. Thanks for the great tips! I do have a question however that I think you could probably answer.

    I was wondering, Can a web designer/developer use ‘free’ bootstrap templates to
    make a website/web app for a paying client? Or is
    it better to use a paid template? Any insight would be greatly appreciated!


  1. A Comprehensive Website Plan is Key to a Sites Success - Marketing Strategies That Drive Go-to-Market Plans - Four Quadrant - June 5, 2016

    […] All too often companies refresh an existing website or build a completely new website only to set the project up for failure before it gets started because they do not know that a comprehensive website plan is key to a sites success. […]

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