09 Feb Website Project Planning Two
By Paul Barrs
So now that you’ve got all the basics down pat – it’s time to begin the actual “work”. In reality, you probably don’t need a checklist like this, but when it comes to dealing with customers and paying clients, using a checklist like this and presenting it to them along the way (with various goals check-marked and achieved) helps to boost their confidence and reduces the risk of charge-backs and conflicts.
Worst case scenario would be that even though you still get paid, you get almost all the way though the project and then your client comes back to you and says, “Nope, not right. Do it again.” Ouch! By using this kind of checklist along the way you get the client to ‘sign off’ each step as it passes.
This is continuing from the previous article. You may copy and paste these ‘checks’ and then create your own from them.
* Create robots.txt file excluding entire site from all spiders. We don’t want anyone looking around until we’re done. Alternatively if the project is going to take some time, it can be a good idea to build the site on a hidden sub-domain or similar until it’s ready for public and search engine view.
* Setup FTP directories for internet directories. Map these out on your hard drive first. If you’re upgrading an existing site that is complex and the website owner has previously had involvement with it, it would be wise to explain any changes you do here to simplify things.
* Setup e-mail addresses. Don’t forget to ask the customer what they want here. Does staff need one? Can they service their customers in a more ‘personal-able way’ by doing this? It’s often a good idea.
* Perform a competitive analysis. Determine how to build a better site than the competition. What makes client better than the competition? Direct input from the customer can really help with this. You need their U.S.P. If they have no USP then help them develop one.
* Compile keyword lists from client and competitive analysis (make sure to NOT use competitors trademarks).
* Create template page; link structure, headers, trailers, copyright notice and credit links.
* Add global meta tags (Title, Description, Keywords, etc.). These are different to individual / specialised page tags.
* Add hidden tags and links to track copied pages in case of page theft. For example, a simple 1 x 1 gif image that is placed in a separate directory can be easily viewed for ‘impressions’. If the number of impressions on this file jump dramatically and your ‘page views’ haven’t, then there’s a good chance that you page HTML is being used elsewhere. Always be sure to hyperlink this image with the *full* URL.
* Make sure that here is allowance for alt tags on images to match page descriptions.
* Add developer site links in header spacer gifs, as well as a single “Powered by” or “Created by” at the bottom of the main page. Eventually up to 50% of new business may come from this link. Always check with your client, and make sure that it’s in writing.
* Complete any further inclusions to home page template structure with complete navigation systems and graphics.
At this point you have created a blank structure for the home page with navigation links to the main site sections and a navigation scheme that will be consistent across the entire site.
Have customer sign off on checkpoint 2.
Easy isn’t it? Can you see where we’re going with this plan?
It’s a simple step by step action checklist that will allow you to cover *all* the bases and show your client that you’re really worth the fee for service that you’re asking.
Stand by for Step Three –