These are some questions I think about before starting a new website project. It’s a great checklist to go through before starting to help you scope out your project.
- Who is the target audience of the website?
- What is the site tagline, in non-marketing speak?
- What is the number one thing you want your visitors to accomplish on the site?
- What are the top three goals of the website?
- What is the criteria for success for this website?
B. For Site Revisions / Migrations
- Do you see this as a complete re-do of your current site, or just a cosmetic makeover?
- What things do you hate about your current site?
- What things do you like about your current site?
- How will the old site be backed up before we replace it?
- How much content will be re-used from the old site vs. new content?
- What is the plan to migrate data from the old site to the new one?
- What is the plan to update the new site with new content while it is in development?
- Do we need to redirect old URLs?
- Do you have a site map for the new site?
- How many pages will it have?
- Do you have an outline for each page?
D. Written Content
- Do you have all of the text content for the site ready?
- Will the text be completely proofread and approved, or are changes / corrections likely during development?
- Who will do most of the content entry?
E. Image Content
- Do you have all of the logos and icons for the site?
- Do you have all of the images for the site?
- Are the images existing original images? Stock? New photography?
- Will the images need to be cropped, adjusted for brightness or edited in any way?
- Will there be background images with text over them?
F. Video Content
- Will there be video on the site?
- What format will be video be in? (I highly recommend hosting embedded videos on YouTube or Vimeo, not serving video files from your webserver!)
- Will there be video backgrounds?
- What features do you want on the site?
- Events management?
- Contact forms? With logging?
- Other forms? With logging?
- Popups? (Searchable, linkable, shareable?)
- Social sharing buttons? Social follow buttons?
- Custom post types?
- Custom fields?
- Custom search/filtering?
- Google map?
- Ability to upload documents?
- AJAX (elements of the page loading without a full page reload)?
- Third-party plugins, widgets, APIs?
- Will the site be sending email?
- Has the new site already been designed by another designer?
- If not, are we creating a brand new design concept, or are we adhering to an established design language?
- Are we using an existing design template?
- Is there a style guide?
- What fonts are we going to use? Paid or free?
- How many different types of page designs will there be?
- What percentage of your users will be on mobile vs. desktop?
- Does the site need to work on Internet Explorer or any other non-modern browsers?
- Do you want any special hover effects? (Note that hover is not good for ADA compliance and that there is no hover on mobile devices).
- What user information do you intend to collect? (contact forms, email addresses, email signup forms)
- Are you prepared to comply with the requirements of GDPR and CCPA if a user makes a request for their data?
- Does the site need to be ADA (WCAG2.0) compliant?
J. Search Engine Optimization
- Do you need help with SEO?
- Do you need help optimizing your content for SEO?
- Do you have a Google Analytics account? (If so, I’ll need your UA- tracking number).
- Do you want to do eCommerce on this website?
- Are there known individuals or parties who might target your website for attack (such as DDOS attack). Examples include disgruntled ex-employees, activists, political enemies, etc.
- What hosting service will we use? (I can offer suggestions)
- Does your host offer SSL?
- Do you have control over your domain name?
- Do you have an SMTP email account that we can use to send email from the site?
- What is the estimated traffic of the site?
- How much storage (in GB) will be needed for the site?
M. Testing and Approvals
- Who will help test the website before launch?
- Who needs to approve the website before launch?
- Who are the stakeholders for the website?
- What is the desired launch date?
- Is this a hard deadline (such as a trade show, event, etc.)?
- How long will it take to create and gather your content?
- How long will the approval process take? (Is your boss easy to reach? Are they responsive?)
- What is your budget for the site?
- Do you want to pay hourly for the site, or have a fixed price?
- If fixed, it is a “not-to-exceed” or is an estimate OK?
- Who will be updating the site content after launch? What is their technical experience?
- Do you need training on how to update the site?
- Who will do maintenance on the site? (WordPress core, plugin, and theme updates)
- How often will the site content be updated?
- What is the backup strategy?
- Do you need a staging site? (i.e., a copy of the site that you can play around without affecting the production site).