Web Site Checklist?

Michael Hurley
Michael Hurley used Ask the Experts™
I am building a new website using WordPress and I will be using Beaver Builder + templates rather than a shortcode theme like Divi (Thank you, David Favor!).  Here is my question: Does anyone have a reliable go-to 'checklist' they use to kickoff their web dev projects?  I am new to solo WP dev sites, and I feel like I come across something I hadn't considered at each step of the process.  I know I could google this, but I have quickly come to trust this community much more!  I would love to learn from someone who has this down to a 1-20 (50?) step process so that I can be sure I don't charge down any 'garden paths' unnecessarily.
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Developer & EE Moderator
Fellow 2018
Most Valuable Expert 2013
This is a loaded question and I think no matter how well you think you are prepared, you will still come across something you did not think about.

1) What is the goal of the site?  Leads, online brochure, promotion, Support, shopping etc?  Getting a good definition of what you want to achieve should be first.

2) Based on above, list out proposed pages and content that will achieve the goals you defined without worrying about what they will look like. Make sure they are simple and mostly contain just one function.  About us, Biographies, Biography, Events, Event, Sign up, Pay....  Define your navigation and taxonomy to support your site.  Gather all of your content, written and visual.

3) What support files, plug ins, custom dev work will be required to generate the content or capture data based on what you just defined.

4) Install WP in a development area.  Add any themes and plug ins. Make sure everything is up to date and plays nice with each other.  Finalize your

5) Build a sample basic page. Make sure the visual theme is what you expect. Make any adjustments to the CSS in the child theme.

6) Your site may have several templates beyond a standard page such as a blog or gallery. Build one of each making sure you can easily use it over for other pages/pieces of content.  As you are building your templates, you may run across special blocks such as a slider or carousel. You may need to take time to figure out how to make these work including the best types of images.  

7) If your site is responsive (and it should be), make sure you test each template for a phone, tablet and desktop.  Some items will need to be moved around or hidden on a small screen vs larger.

8) If you have an old site, plan out your redirects for when you go live.

9) If you will be adding any SEO or Security plug ins, I typically wait until I am done before activating. At a minimum, make sure you have an automated site map for Google/Search engines.

10) Find people that you are not good friends with to look over what you have and have to test.  Friends and family will just tell you it looks good.

11) Prepare to go live and expect issues to come up to deal with.
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018

Use Scott's list!

And add in one other item, if you expect to receive considerable traffic to your site.

Run a logging plugin like *aryo-activity-log* so you have an idea about site changes.

Make hourly backups.

Run a https://WebPageTest.org speed test on your site every hour. If your speed drops massively, then figure out what's happened over the last hour to drop your speed + fix the problem.

Can't tell you how many projects I've worked on where many $10,000s have been spent developing a site which will receive high traffic + the site is tooled in such a way, it can't survive even minor traffic.

So this is an expansion of Scott's #1 item above, site purpose + also site traffic load.
Here some tips that may apply to any website not only WP

Logo and color chart from the client.

I usually buy theme at Themeforest so this speed up the process and premium theme (specially if there is a lot of buyers)
are tested by all the buyers so good chance the theme will be fully tested ...

Domain name, SSL certificate, Web hosting (if you are in charge of this)

Check competitors website...

What usually take more time and must be considered in the price to charge:
Does the site is multilingual or not?
Does it require forms?
Does it required specific plugin like a cart, store locator or maybe a custom plugin...
Plan extra $ just in case you need to hire a dev to customize of fix code.

Have all the text, photo, contact information and all translation from the client

If there is an old site do a full backup script and DB prior the change.

If you plan to sell theme or create a lot of theme  you may consider to use Saucelabs or Browserstack
This is used for testing all real mobile and desktop browsers.
(I have tried them and both are excellent)

Get a contract signed and deposit as you don't want to work a month for nothing..
Exploring SharePoint 2016

Explore SharePoint 2016, the web-based, collaborative platform that integrates with Microsoft Office to provide intranets, secure document management, and collaboration so you can develop your online and offline capabilities.

Scott FellDeveloper & EE Moderator
Fellow 2018
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Get a contract signed and deposit as you don't want to work a month for nothing..

yea, let's make that number 1!  Make sure the agreement spells out an expected time frame for each step, when you should get paid, what you expect the client to provide and what they should expect from you.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h3RJhoqgK8&t=165s
Michael HurleyWeb Developer


I'm so glad that I posted this question, and that I am getting to know this community a bit better!  Thanks guys!!
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018

+1 for "Get a contract signed" as step #1.

Normally if I'm doing work for a new client, I also require a 10 hour retainer before I start work.

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial