Ultimate Website Proposal Template (and Sample Content)

What's in This Template?

  • Use the proposal for website projects that was created with lessons learned from analyzing over 25,000 proposals.
  • Cut hours off your proposals with the proven embedded tips and sample content.
  • Use the framing technique in the included Proposal Pricing Hacks that increases revenue by 32%.
  • And more!
Table of Contents

What You Need to Know About Website Proposals (and Why This Proposal Template Works)

What to Know About Web Design Proposals

Most people don't use templates to guide them during the proposal-creation process. Instead, they just try to slog through it on their own.

Without a proven framework to guide them, they waste countless hours creating bland, ineffective proposals.

No wonder why so many designers hate this part of doing business!

The best clients expect to see proposals before they'll hire anyone. But the prospect of sitting down at your desk again to churn out yet another boring document is an absolute nightmare.

A lot of web designers write what they think clients want to hear…

But the “proposals” they submit aren't really proposals at all. They're nothing more than glorified project estimates.

The Key Difference Between Proposals and Estimates

The first step in creating more persuasive proposals?

Understanding the fundamental difference between a proposal and an estimate.

An estimate is a simplistic document that rarely runs more than a few pages. It breaks down how much different aspects of the project will cost, and occasionally when the client can expect certain milestones to be completed.

An estimate can work when you've already worked with a client before and they're well aware of the value you can deliver. It's suited for tiny, one-off projects where the client's predominant focus is cost.

Landing lucrative design projects requires something more. A lot of designers submit a bare bones “proposal” that really functions like an estimate.

Without persuasive language to accompany the price and service details, they leave potential clients with nothing more to go on than cost.

This is an awful situation for most of us to be in.

Because most of us can't run a sustainable business by offering the cheapest prices around, submitting estimates alone removes our competitive advantage. Why would anyone hire you if there's a cheaper estimate on their desk?

An effective proposal, is a persuasive sales document. It doesn't just show potential clients how much things will cost or when they will get done. It also gives them plenty of reasons why you're the best web designer for their particular project.

So, how much more persuasive is a proposal than an estimate? Our proposal templates research found that 43% of proposals won the project. The success rate decreased to only 35% of estimates.

The Elements of Creating an Effective Proposal

To create a truly persuasive design proposal, include the following elements:

  1. A Cover Page Letter (only in certain situations)
  2. Demonstrate you understand their problems with a Problem Statement
  3. Explain your Recommended Solution
  4. Explain the Benefits of your solution
  5. Explain the Project Fees
  6. End with a Call to Action to buy

Website Proposal StructureEvery web design project is a bit different, but you can apply this framework to all of them. Doing so creates a persuasive structure designed to get – and keep – the client's interest. Then it's just a matter of adjusting the details to suit the particular project.

A Word on Cover Page Letters

In some situations, you'll want to write up a short cover letter to kick off your proposal. You won't need them when submitting a bid on some projects – especially if they're straightforward and smaller in scope.

The ideal circumstances to use a cover letter are when you are: 1) bidding on a long-term, complex project with lots of moving parts, 2) trying to land a large corporate client, or 3) both.

A brief cover letter is the perfect way to connect with overwhelmed executives. Because so many corporations are used to complicated hierarchies and lots of red tape (many of them use cover letters in intraoffice memos), this communication style is something they're quite comfortable with.

Notice the emphasis on brief. Do everything in your power to limit your cover letter to one page.

What should a cover letter do?

The mission is simple: get the reader's attention and convince them to engage with your full proposal. It's a persuasive sales document, not an information dump.

The structure of an effective cover letter actually mirrors the five elements you'll include in your full proposals. Present your letter in this order:

  • Identify the client's key business needs
  • Recommend a solution to meet those needs
  • Explain your basic approach
  • Mention a few things that separate you from competitors
  • Wrap it up with a call to action (give them a simple step to take to contact you)

Because the ideal cover letter is brief, space constraints limit how much detail you can include. That's fine. Keep your cover letter “high level” and save all the technical minutiae for the full proposal.

Remember, there's no need to convince someone to hire you with this letter alone. The sole objective is to get them reading the full proposal.

Preview: Website Proposal Template

Website Proposal Template Cover Image
General Instructions: Do your best to limit your proposal to 4-5 pages or less, as this should be all you need to identify the client’s problem, propose your services as the solution to that problem, and help the client understand all the ways your services will benefit the client. A lot of designers focus on the new “look” or website aesthetics, but most clients are more interested in how the new design can help them get more customers and keep the ones they have. The most persuasive design proposals will connect the dots for the client; they’ll talk about how the new design elements will help the client make more money. Using this website proposal template follow the italicized instructions for each section below to create your own persuasive proposal.

Client Needs

Instructions: Use the first paragraph to identify the problem or frustration that led the prospective client to offer the design project in the first place. Then use 3-4 bullet points to break down different services you’ll provide to help the client overcome that problem or frustration. Begin each bullet point with an “action word.” Finally, use the paragraph after the bullet points to talk about the negative consequences that will happen if the client doesn’t fix the problem.

Client NeedsNautilus Law is facing extremely competitive times in the corporate law industry. In this environment, traditional means of marketing – which Nautilus Law depends on – are becoming less effective by the moment. A high impact web site is necessary to effectively reach new clients and provide an edge over the competition.

Nautilus Law requires a site that:

  • Provides a modern web presence Increases and converts visitors
  • Offers relevant information
  • Gives current and potential clients the means to contact the firm

Also required is a content management system that will allow Nautilus Law to easily manage content on the site.


Instructions: Use 3-4 bulleted sections to describe positive results your services will create for the client. Focus your website proposal on major results you think the client will value the most. Spend a few lines after each result you list to 1) describe why the result is helpful to the client’s business; and 2) break down the actions you’ll take to create that result for the client.

SolutionWe recommend the development of a completely original site, built from the ground up with original graphic design elements. A strong emphasis will be placed on attracting new clients through Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

This site will include general and informational pages as well as a content management system that will allow users to update site content and location information, and a contact form to request a consultation or simply make contact with the firm.

The site will include the following pages:

  • Home
  • About Us
  • Services
    • International Business Law
    • Commercial Litigation Locations (in the United States)
  • Request a Consultation/Contact Us

Additionally, we will provide web hosting services on a monthly basis and yearly Search Engine Optimization services to more effectively drive and convert traffic to the site.

Fee Summary

Instructions: Estimate the price for your service package and come up with a label for it that describes a clear benefit to the client. Breaking down your service package into 3 or 4 chronological phases (if applicable) will help the client understand what will happen when, as well as make your solution appear valuable. But keep the breakdown at a high level and don’t break down your price; it’s crucial your price is easy to understand.

The fee summary in this website proposal template is based on work performed on a fixed cost basis. Should the scope of the project change after acceptance of terms and pricing, we will provide a detailed scope change to define additional work and associated costs.

Customized Web Presence Solution Price
Consultation with site designers – We’ll meet with you, listen to your vision of how you want your site to look, and agree on the best way to achieve that vision in a clean, professional way.

Consultation with graphics and logo team – We’ll meet with you before the design process begins to plan how to use your graphic identity to distinguish you from your competitors, enhance your visitors’ experience, and expand brand recognition.

Professional website design – We’ll review the input you give us and integrate it into a beautiful, professional website you’re able to customize and maintain all on your own.

Project Timeline

Instructions: Use this chart to break down your design services into chronological phases. Describe what each phase entails in the “activities” section and give an estimated completion date for each phase. You might not need to use this section for basic design jobs.

If {client_name} selects {my_company} to provide the web design services described, our timeline would proceed as follows:

Phase Activities Completion
Site Layout and Aesthetics Consultation Collaboration between {client_name} and {my_company}’s site designers to discuss {client_name}’s vision of the site and its layout; preliminary sketches of proposed design. 11/01/XX
Logo and Graphic Design Consultation Collaboration between {client_name} and {my_company}’s graphic designers to discuss how to utilize {client_name}’s graphic identity to enhance its website; preliminary sketches of graphics and {client_name} feedback 11/11/XX
Professional Website Design {my_company} will review the input received from the layout and graphic design consultations; {my_company}’s site designers will integrate input to develop a professional website for {client_name}.

Why Choose {my_company}?

{client_name} needs to focus on the big picture of running its business. That’s why you want a company like {my_company} to worry about all the details of finding reliable ways to acquire new customers. Here are the people leading the effort in our work for {client_name}:


Terry Wright is experienced in online and offline marketing, helping you thrive in today’s media environment – Terry has experience promoting businesses in both online and offline media. Each platform offers distinct advantages; Terry knows how to leverage them to help you reach the most prospects for the least expense.

JaneJane Downs leads our paid acquisition team – Jane previously lead paid marketing at Salesforce where she increased new customer leads by over 500%. She’ll be focused on making sure we’re quickly and efficiently testing paid marketing campaigns (while hitting the target customer acquisition cost) on your project.

Next Steps

To proceed with this project, Nautilus Law is required take the following steps:

  1. Accept the proposal as is or discuss desired changes. Please note that changes to the scope of the project can be made at any time, but additional charges may apply.
  2. Finalize and sign contract. Submit initial payment of 50% of total project fee.

Once these steps have been completed we will begin the project with a kick off meeting to introduce relevant personnel and begin preliminary project activities.

Terms and Conditions

Instructions: This section protects you from potential legal liability. Use it to talk about who owns your work product, whether you’ll be able to use portions of it on your website as examples, and how legal proceedings will go down if something goes wrong. Have an attorney look it over to give you guidance on how to apply it to your specific business (and related to proposals for website projects).

Once the project fee is paid in full to {my_company}, any elements of text, graphics, photos, contents, trademarks, or other artwork furnished to {client_name} for inclusion in website are owned by {client_name}.

{my_company} assumes {client_name} has permission from the rightful owner to use any code, scripts, data, and reports are provided by {client_name} for inclusion in its materials, and will hold harmless, protect, and defend {my_company} from any claim or suit arising from the use of such work.

{my_company} retains the right to display graphics and other web content elements as examples of their work in their portfolio and as content features in other projects.

This agreement becomes effective only when signed by agents of {client_name} and {my_company}. Regardless of the place of signing of this agreement, {client_name} agrees that for purposes of venue, this contract was entered into in [STATE] and any dispute will be litigated or arbitrated in [STATE].

The agreement contained in this contract constitutes the sole agreement between {client_name} and the {my_company} regarding all items included in this agreement.

Web Design Retainer Proposal

General Instructions: To effetive use this web design proposal template you'll need to follow the problem/solution framework used in this template. Each major section in your proposal should focus on the business results you'll deliver (and how those specific results benefit the client).

Helping You Get Results

Get ResultsTo get the most out of your website, you need to constantly manage and enhance its appearance and functionality. To ensure that you’re grabbing customer attention and generating reliable leads and valuable conversions, you need to keep a web designer on retainer. At {my_company}, we’re committed to helping you maximize the potential of your web presence on desktop and mobile, and by inviting us into your confidence we can help you by:

  • Tailoring your website to your specific industry context and scale of operations.
  • Making sure that your website is functional and beautiful across platforms, including desktop, mobile, and tablets.
  • Ensuring that your website is in step with ever-changing technical requirements and design standards.
  • Providing you with a minimum of eight hours of service per month.
  • Offering you priority status—we commit to responding to requests in under twenty-four hours and completing update or maintenance projects in under one week.

Experts Helping You Help Yourself

{client_name} deserves the most effective web presence that it can muster. {my_company} can help you keep your website looking sharp and working properly, no matter what device or browser your customers are using to view it. Not only will we conduct an initial assessment to discover how efficiently your site is performing, we’ll be there, month after month, to guide you through changes in the design landscape.

By retaining us, {client_name} can be sure that you are receiving the most up-to-date advice according to current best practices in the areas of:

  • Cross-platform adaptability
  • Web application development and performance
  • Latest trends in site appearance
  • [Customize list here: specific programming languages/experience, whichever services best suit this client]

A Customized Package For {client name}

Customized Package

To meet {client_name}’s needs, as described above, we recommend the following web design retainer services as part of this project:

Site Assessment

{my_company}’s designers and programmers will comb your site from top to bottom across multiple browsers and platforms to determine its strengths and weaknesses, providing you with an array of options so that you can choose the precise updates and continuing services you require.

Design Updates

{my_company} will tweak or overhaul your website’s appearance and infrastructure to maximize usability and functionality.

Web Application Building

If {client_name} is looking for a web store, a feedback form, social media integration, or any other type of web application, {my_company} has you covered. We can build and customize a wide variety of apps in a number of different programming languages.

Regular Reports

To ensure that you know exactly how your site is performing, we will assemble detailed and customized reports that show you how the online design world is changing and how your website should change with it. These reports can help guide decision-making and direct on-the-fly changes to the consulting service package.

Priority Status

{client_name} will be assured dedicated attention by keeping {my_company} on retainer. We will always respond to you in twenty-four hours or less, and we will complete update or maintenance projects in under one week.

Your Investment

Monthly Web Design Consulting Services Total
Site Assessment – We will thoroughly check your site’s structure and content to discover elements that could be improved, not just in a discovery phase, but every month, or at a series of customized milestones.

Site Updates – We will update your site’s structure, design or content on a schedule that you determine.

Trend Report and Recommendations – We will deliver a regular detailed report, tracking online design trends, developments in web applications, changes in browser or platform compatibility, and any other web design subjects from a wide array of customizable metrics.

Why Choose {my_company}?


{client_name} needs to use its time doing what it does best: providing great [describe industry/service/product]. By keeping a professional web design company like {my_company} on retainer, {client_name} can focus on running its organization while we take care of keeping its website as attractive and effective as possible. Instead of conducting a one-time site overhaul that might quickly fall out of date, the consistent assistance of a web designer will allow you to closely monitor your site and keep it current with ever-changing web standards and design trends.

  • {my_company} is experienced in a wide variety of web design styles and application programming languages – Our team has experience building and tweaking many different types of websites in many different industries and sectors. We know how to monitor your site’s performance and target the areas that need the most improvement.
  • {my_company}’s team is dedicated to helping you reach your users where they are – We know that a slick, functional website is not the ultimate goal of your organization. You are in the business of [INDUSTRY], and we know that you want to reach the highest number of customers possible. We always keep this goal in mind, and work closely with you to make your site best-in-class and targeted at those who will take best advantage of your services.
  • {my_company} is focused on tracking the latest developments in web design, and passing our knowledge on to you – {client_name} can rest assured that {my_company} is bringing you the latest, most relevant web design and application programming. Our team of designers are constantly researching changes in protocol and functionality and updating their approach accordingly. By keeping {my_company} on retainer, {client_name} will keep its finger on the pulse, and keep its website as up to date as possible.

Project Timeline

If {client_name} chooses {my_company} to provide web design retainer services, our timeline would proceed as follows:

Phase Activities Completion
Initial Strategy Discussion and Milestone Selection In-person or online meeting between stakeholders at {client_name} and analysts at {my_company} to select services and set timelines. XX/XX/XX
Delivery of Redesigned Website {client_name} will receive a redesigned or updated site according to the parameters set in the kick-off meeting. Two-six months from project launch.
Consultation Meeting or Further Service Customization In-person or online meeting between {client_name} and {my_company} to discuss progress and renew the terms of the consultancy, including adding or removing services. Two-six months from project launch.

Next Steps

As outlined in the Investment section, our pricing is valid until [DATE]. To take advantage of this proposal and proceed with the project as outlined, {client_name}’s next steps must be to:

  • Accept the proposal as-is, and agree to select services at the kick-off discussion
  • Discuss desired changes with {my_company}
  • Finalize and sign the contract
  • Submit an initial payment of 50 percent of total project fee

Once completed, {my_company} will contact {client_name} to schedule a project launch meeting to make introductions and gather information before beginning the work.

We are happy to make changes to project scope on {client_name}’s request at any time, but may be subject to additional billing.

Terms and Conditions

{my_company} assumes {client_name} has permission from the rightful owner to

use any code, scripts, data, and reports provided by {client_name} for inclusion

in its materials, and will hold harmless, protect, and defend {my_company} from any claim or suit arising from the use of such work.

{my_company} retains the right to display web content elements as

examples of their work in their portfolio and as content features in other projects.

This agreement becomes effective only when signed by agents of {client_name}

and {my_company}. Regardless of the place of signing of this agreement, {client_name} agrees that for purposes of venue, this contract was entered into in [STATE] and any dispute will be litigated or arbitrated in [STATE].