Website Checklist - 8 Things You Need Before the Website Build Starts
Updated: Sep 28
When it comes to building a website, there’s a lot of content that you’ll need to gather before getting started. To avoid feeling too overwhelmed, I thought it would be helpful if I shared a website checklist to lay it all out for you. Whenever I connect with someone that wants me to design a website for them, there’s a few questions I start with. The answers to theses questions always vary, depending on the industry, but they really help to narrow down what content we will need to get started. Whether you’re hiring someone to build a website for you or you’re DIY-ing it yourself, these questions will help break it down so it’s not as overwhelming.
*Click any of the topics below to be taken directly to that section.
In this blog post I’ll be covering:
How your business goals relate to the strategy behind your website.
How to make it easier for people to take action.
How to make your brand easier for viewers to remember.
How to determine how many pages you'll need.
What you'll need if you want to take credit/debit card payments via your website.
How to improve communication with new visitors.
Tips for writing your about me section or company story.
The importance in photography, plus where to find free uncopywritten pictures!
If you’ve been wondering what you’ll need for your website, this list will help narrow it all down!
#1 Business Goals
The question I always start with is, “What’s your ultimate goal for your website?” This can seem like an obvious question, but the answer will determine the strategy behind the flow of your website. Whether your goal is booking clients, selling products, or simply educating your audience on what you do, narrowing down your ultimate goal will make sure your website is profitable. If you need a business coach to help narrow this down, I highly recommend Sue Mohr!
#2 Call to Action
Have you ever been to a website and been confused as to what the next step is? This is why your call to action is so important. I’ve always heard, “If you confuse, you’ll lose.” Let go of the idea that you need to be cute and clever and focus on being clear. If you’re wanting to sell products make sure you either have a few on your home page or you have a button that says, “Shop Now”. If you’re wanting people to book your service, include a “Book Now” button. This all seems so self explanatory, but it can easily be forgotten. Think of your website as your brick and mortar store and think of the call to action as the cash register. If you went into a store and couldn’t figure out where to make your purchase, you may just leave the store. To avoid confusion, make the next steps clear to ensure you don't miss out on the sale!
To make your brand easier for people to remember, it starts with a great logo and branding. A logo, color palette, and the use of consistent fonts creates the visual representation of your brand. The feeling that people get after utilizing your products and or services will start to build your brand’s personality. To make your website easier for people to remember, make sure you have an updated logo, stay consistent in your colors, and don’t use too many different fonts. Some clients I work with already have their branding, so we build a site with that in mind. If they don’t, I create the branding for them before we begin the website build. This creates the foundation of their visual branding and makes creating future marketing material much easier. I've included my branding board as an example:
#4 Determining How Many Pages You’ll Need
Another question I love to ask is, “How many pages are you wanting?” This gets the wheels turning! Generally, most websites have a home page, about page, maybe a services or shop page, a contact page and possibly a frequently asked questions page. As you start brainstorming the number of pages, this will help you narrow down the type of content you’ll need. Maybe you want to have a blog to share things you’ve written, a menu page if you have a restaurant, or maybe a page that lists out some of the top products you’re wanting to sell. Start brainstorming the type of information you’ll want to share with people or that you’ll want them to find and I promise the ideas will just start flowing!
#5 Payment Profile Documents
Do you want to take payment on your website? This can be a big one. Most websites allow you to take payment via PayPal without the need to verify a lot of information. If you’re wanting to take payment via debit or credit card, you’ll need the following information:
Legal Business Name
Company Registration Document (jpg, png, or pdf)
Company Address (can be personal if you do business all online)
Phone Number (can be personal if you don’t have a business line)
Bank Statement (make sure the name on your business account matches your legal business name)
Account Manager and Business Owner Information
First and Middle Name
Date of Birth
SSN or ITIN
A Photo ID (license or passport works fine)
#6 Communication Strategy
There are so many ways to improve communication in your business. When it comes to improving communication on your website, email marketing is an AMAZING place to start. If you want to have the ability to send emails to potential clients/customers, the first thing I would recommend is a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a pop up that offers free information in exchange for an email address. Offering information that your target audience will benefit from is a great way to start growing your email list. Once you start collecting emails, you'll be able to send them information, sales, new announcements and special things before you release it on social media.
Another way to improve communication would be to set up automated emails that people receive after filling out a form or purchasing a product. If they purchase something, an automated email can tell them how thankful you are for them as well as recommend other products they might like. If you have people reach out for more information, set up an automated email that lets them know when they can expect to hear back from you. This sets the expectation upfront and is a great thing to have set up in case you get an influx of reach outs. Using this strategy can assist in growth management in the months after the website has been built.
Bonus: Facebook Groups are also a great way to build community as well as improve communication. Creating a Facebook Group for your clients and customers allows them to connect with each other, ask questions, and builds community.
#7 About Me/Company Story
When it comes to writing your story, position yourself as the guide and your customer as the hero. This isn’t a section to go in depth about your company’s history. This is a place to share why you love what you do and why you’re excited to help solve their problem. There’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s history at the end, but begin this page by talking about why you’re so passionate about what you do and how you help your customers and clients! If you're looking for more guidance on this check out: How to Write the About Page for Your Website
We’ve all heard the quote, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This is so true, especially when it comes to your website. Having pictures of you working on your craft or you interacting with clients/customers helps them visualize what it would be like to work with you. I would highly recommend either hiring a photographer or DIY-ing your own product photography. Recently, I purchased a cheap phone holder with a bluetooth button that connects to my phone. This allows me to prop up my phone and use the clicker to take the photo. This is a great way to do it yourself, but if you have the budget to hire a photographer, do it! Having your own photos is amazing, but what if you just need a picture that helps you tell the story? I absolutely love using Unsplash. This website allows you to use uncopywritten photos on your site that will help you tell the story! My website is full of photos from Unsplash as well as pictures of me. A combination of both will help visitors get to know you and your brand and visually see what it is you can provide them!
To break it down even more, I’ve come up with a quick list to reference as you start pulling everything together:
Getting all this information together can be challenging! If it feels overwhelming, simply break this down into one item per day. The branding and payment profile documents can take longer, but focus on progress over perfection. Once this is all finished and the website is built, you're ready to fly!