Website Checklist

There is no ‘quick and easy’ when it comes to web development. However, as technology has sped things up it does offer you many more affordable choices. The challenge is wading through these options and matching a solution that best fits your needs.

We strongly recommend you take the time to scan through this 10-point checklist. You don’t need to know the answers upfront, but you should be aware of the stages involved.

One of the biggest decisions may be whether your website will be Custom Built with bespoke design & development, or if you can achieve a professional solution by following guidelines from a number of Website Themes & Open Source Platforms. These options can all be discussed in the briefing session. So here we go...

(1) WEBSITE PLANNING & INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

(i) Website strategy & objectives - what is the main purpose of the website? Is it to showcase your work? Is it so people 'know who to call' and you can be found via Google? Or, are you planning to sell goods or services via an ecommerce site?

(ii) Information architecture – do you know ‘what’ areas you want to cover and how to structure this across the site?

(iii) Functional requirements – do you know what technical tools or functions you want to include on your website. What's mandatory vs nice to have? e.g online forms, photo gallery, video

(iv) Have you set a budget? Do you have a guide on what's too much or too little for the style of website you need to build.

(v) And importantly... have you set goals & timeframes for when your website needs to be live.

(2) WEB DESIGN

(i) Do you have brand guidelines &/or a clear understanding of how you want to position your business?

(ii) Do you have a preference for the style of website you are looking for? Have you researched other styles you may like?

(ii) Do you have existing images, photos or logo that will be used within your website?

(2) CONTENT DEVELOPMENT

(i) Generating content & original information - this is one of the most critical areas, and depending on how long your business has been established this can take the longest to complete. If you already have a starting point (e.g company brochure) then you will need to pull all of this information together. If you're starting from the beginning, then it is time to to put 'pen to paper' and start mapping out the key messages that need to be conveyed on your website.

(ii) Copywriting & editing (making everything sound good!) - you should not underestimate the power of a good headline or phrases that sum up exactly 'what you do'!

(iii) Keyword analysis - keep an eye out on how to make things Google-worthy. If your goal (like most) is to rank highly on Google then this will take some analysis and planning to make sure the 'keywords' you want to rank well on are included within your website and given the right level of priority.

(4) WEB BUILD & DEVELOPMENT

This is where you take time out whilst we hand things to the developers. We can tackle the seriously tricky and savvy, or take a commercially sound and pragmatic approach of searching for open source platforms and themes.

(i) Custom development or coding

(ii) Theme development or implementation

(iii) Correct implementation of page structure & meta tags

(5) CONTENT MANAGEMENT ACCESS (CMS)

(i) Will you need the ability to edit content as and when needed?

(ii) How often will you really update your website?

(iii) Will you make the updates to the website yourself, or are you likely to delegate?

(6) TESTING

The following are the hygiene factors of what's involved in setting up a new website. It all happens behind closed doors, but please make sure it happens. With each new website build the testing steps need to be followed (and you need to allow time for this to happen). One of the benefits of applying existing Website Themes is that a number of the page templates have been pre-tested, so this can be an advantage.

(i) Cross-browser testing (e.g Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla..)

(ii) Testing across operating systems (e.g Windows, Mac..)

(7) TECHNICAL SETUP, DOMAIN NAMES & HOSTING

(i) Website hosting - you'll need to host your website somewhere, so let's discuss a hosting plan upfront. This is a little like salt, you don't miss it until you can't have it. Same thing here. You won't value it until the day you can't access your emails and your website is down. Fact.

(ii) Domain name - do you have one? do you need one? what's the right one? is it available?

(iii) Email address - do you have one linked to your business name? do you need one?

(8) WEBSITE TRACKING

This is where you track website statistics (how many visitors? where are they coming from? how long do they stay on your website?). Talk to us about adding a Google tracking code into your website and establishing a Google Analytics account that you can manage & access when needed.

(9) WEBSITE MAINTENANCE & CUSTOMER SERVICE

(i) What happens when you need to make tweaks, edits, updates or overhauls?

(ii) Who will do the work and what are the fees?

(10) DRIVING TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE

Are you wondering whether this list will ever finish? Then we would ask you the same about your business... it is a continual process. At the completion of your website please consider how you will market your business online & offline. There are a multitude of strategies, some of these you can do yourself (e.g open up a Facebook Fanpage, start a blog), or for some you may want the help of an experienced marketer to work with you on your marketing plan and help put a series of activities into place.

Marketing Your Business Online:

(i) Search Engine Optimisation – Onsite activities, e.g web structuring & keyword targeting

(ii) Search Engine Optimisation – Offsite activities, e.g Traffic Building (directory listings, link backs, social media promotions etc)

(iii) Search Engine Marketing – Paid Online Advertising, e.g Google Adwords

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