Ultimate Website Build Checklist

When it comes to starting a new client facing website project, there's often an overwhelming amount of ground to cover to really get the project rolling. Over the years, my agency (APEX Web Solutions) has amassed a checklist that works well for us to help optimize scoping, onboarding, and go-live processes. These of course aren't the only tasks and check-lists as those are tailored to the needs of each project in real-time.

We work in Basecamp and invite our clients into each Basecamp project. It makes it incredibly seamless for us because everything is really focused and centralized in that client's project, and for the client they don't even need to login to Basecamp if they don't want to. They can just respond to emails from Basecamp directly, they'll be notified as we have questions via tags, and then as we complete tasks they're notified instantly.

While this checklist is probably not perfectly applicable to you, hopefully you can glean some points off what we do to optimize your own process.

This is the Onboarding Checklist broken up into different sections.

Scoping:

  • Page count
  • Sitewide template
  • Custom post types required
  • CPT templates
  • Custom templates
  • Search results template
  • 404 page template
  • ACF field groups
  • Forms
  • Membership levels
  • Payment processors
  • Login required
  • Ecommerce
  • Content migration or production
  • Client editability
  • Social sharing
  • Comment capability
  • Client meetings
  • Live edits
  • Time to first proof
  • Freeze date
  • Completion time
  • Hosting
  • Monthly support requirements

Planning & Strategy

  • Design methodology
  • Content procurement
  • Client meetings
  • High impact pages
  • Medium impact pages
  • Low impact pages
  • Company mission
  • Overall strategy summary
  • Business and website goals
  • Ideal Customer Profile
  • Branding and design considerations
  • Content Plan
  • Journey mapping
  • UX research
  • Define KPIs
  • Brainstorm wishlist

Internal Onboarding

  • Google Analytics access
  • Website admin access
  • Hosting admin access
  • Domain admin access
  • Hotjar
  • Wishlist Questionairre
  • Kickoff Call Questions
  • Kickoff Call Transcription

Live Checklist

  • Setup Google Tag Manager
  • Install Google Analytics in GTM
  • Schema Installed in GTM
  • Add Facebook Pixel in GTM
  • On-page SEO completed
  • Setup Google Search Console
  • Submit Sitemap
  • 301's Set
  • www to non-www redirect setup
  • SSL Certificate Installed and Active
  • Set favicon
  • Caching enabled

As a bonus, here are the Kickoff Call Questions we ask clients. These calls are done via Zoom so we can record them and transcribe the answers for use in website copy and notes for our team to get the website dialed in exactly as the client needs.

Quick Overviews
History of the company
Key people
High level goals
Mission statement
Overall website strategy
Key Products and Services
Quick overview of the industry and competitors

Develop ICP (first iteration)
Gender
Age Range
Physical Location
Income Range
Common Pain Points

Major Questions
What situational trigger compelled your personas to start looking for information, products or services?
When arriving on the site, where is your persona and what devices are they using to access information?
At each stage if the buyer’s journey, what question/s are pulling your personas to seek information?
How are they finding that information today? What’s missing from what they are using today?
How do current internal teams leverage the website to progress their responsibilities?

Website Goals
What is the ultimate action your visitor should take while on your site?
How long is the journey from first touch to satisfied customer?
How can the website help speed that up?
How does your internal team use the website?
Technical requirements/integrations?

More Details
How do you measure success for your business and in what time frame?
Who is the decision maker responsible for final approvals?

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Jonathan Jernigan, Founder
Permaslug and APEX Web Solutions

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