Have you ever wondered what really goes into a WordPress website project from the designer/developer’s side of things? Spoiler: it’s more than just designing and then launching your site 😉

Today I thought it would be fun to share my process checklist, giving you a sneak peek behind the scenes to see all of the small pieces that ultimately evolve into your finished website. This might also be helpful if you’re considering going the DIY route for your site—this checklist should give you a good idea of everything that’s involved!

What really goes into a WordPress website project

Project Prep:

  • Email correspondence: respond to initial contact request, send design questionnaire to gather project requirements
  • Review questionnaire: review responses to design questionnaire and schedule a time to discuss in greater detail
  • Initial meeting: discuss questionnaire and project scope, answer any questions
  • Create project proposal: define the scope of work based on questionnaire and meeting
  • Create project contract and timeline: send along agreement for the work, as well as a timeline to keep the project on track

Design:

  • Create site map: describe the site’s pages and navigation structure
  • Create visual mood board and wireframes: align on the visual style and template content prior to design phase
  • Create formal designs: usually for two pages of the site, the homepage and an internal page template
  • Design revisions: work on perfecting the final designs with the client

Development:

  • Assist with securing domain name (optional): if client doesn’t already have a domain name secured
  • Assist with securing hosting (optional): if client doesn’t already have a hosting environment
  • Set up development site on client’s hosting: ensure current site stays up and running during new site development
  • Install WordPress: either manually installing or using an installer depending on hosting provider
  • Install WordPress theme: all WordPress sites are based off of a custom or premade theme
  • Install Yoast SEO plugin: to provide site with additional SEO options/inputs
  • Install email marketing plugin and integrate (optional): for email list building
  • Install and configure any necessary social sharing plugins/integrations (optional): enables social feeds or social content sharing
  • Add content to pages: plug in all content, images, and other assets into site’s pages
  • Add in SEO titles, URLs, and meta descriptions: using the Yoast SEO plugin
  • Add in image alt and link alt tags: for both SEO and accessibility
  • Configure styles built into WordPress theme (if applicable): customize the site to match the designs
  • Add custom CSS: customize the site to match the designs
  • Install Google Analytics: for web traffic stats

Testing:

  • Desktop testing: on all major web browsers
  • Responsive testing: across a variety of mobile devices

Lauch:

  • Perform any necessary DNS changes: in the case of switching hosting providers or changing domain names
  • Move files to production: move from the development site to the main URL to officially go live