Many writers, including bloggers, wear multiple ‘hats’ as freelancers. Content creation is king on the world wide web. There are employment opportunities to work as a project manager/content writer for website development. I have been employed by marketing agencies and web developers in this hybrid position. I also volunteer to help my friends with personal websites for free. I have created my own checklist as reference so that I may provide a comprehensive web development experience for both clients and friends. I admit that I have tailored it to fit the needs of each situation but this is my template.
My Project Manager/Content Writer Checklist
for Website Development
- Work with the developer on contract negotiations.
- Will I work for developer or will I need to submit my own contract?
- Typical developer contract is one-half payment up front and final payment upon completion.
- If I need to submit my own contract, it is helpful if my contract closely matches developer – ½ up front, ½ upon completion?
1) Copy content/URLs, etc. from old (aka current) website.
2) Confirm sitemap with client.
– Additionally, ask what type of navigation they wish to see on their website.
3) Send sitemap to developer.
4) SEO research – Perform SEO research and share findings with client.
5) Request logos/artwork/photos from client – This includes all current branding, etc.
6) Request website examples that the client likes/dislikes.
7) Work with the developer to suggest themes to client.
8) Obtain or determine hosting – This should completed by the developer.
9) Register/obtain domain – This should be completed by the developer.
10) Send the following to the developer:
– Two to three themes to produce comps;
– Samples of sites client prefers.
11) Comp Version 1 from Developer – Home Page only.
– Share Comp 1 with client.
12) Compile changes/additions, etc. from myself and/or client and send changes to developer.
13) Comp Version 2 – Home page and interior page from Developer.
– Share Comp 2 with client.
14) Compile additional changes from client and send changes to developer.
15) The double-check stage with client aka ‘Point of No Return’ on sitemap/theme.
– Is the client 100% satisfied with all sitemap changes?
– If not, request Comp Version 3 (final comp) from developer and share with client.
– Share Comp 3 with client.
– If client is satisfied, proceed.
– If client is not satisfied, revisit if we need to change project manager or developer. Other option is to terminate project. Developer and project manager should have in contract that they retain ½ payment at this point in process if project is terminated.
16) Final design approval – Please remember to get this in writing.
17) Write copy/content.
– Ask for Vision/Mission statement.
– Ask for all relevant company branding/marketing materials to review.
– With their branding/marketing in mind, ask client what they want to convey to their potential or current customers.
– Research competitors, industry, etc. to understand lexicon/verbiage.
– Keep navigation, SEO research, theme, accepted branding in mind while writing content.
– Submit content for review. Receive feedback on content. Most clients stall on content. My preference is to include in my contract: All content revisions after ‘final’ will be billed as a new project at $50 an hour. It is more cost effective for the client to promptly conclude the content revision process and this will help with keeping project on track.
18) Placement of Meta Tags – Work with developer to create page Meta Tags using SEO research. Developer will place Metas onto page.
19) Development and Testing – Completed by developer.
– Developer should check to see website is supported by all browsers, mobile, etc.
20) Check: Is sitemap on site and are all the links live?
– Suggested sitemap plug-in for Word Press sites: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/
21) Compile internal final changes and send internal final changes to developer.
22) Akismet Key (Website security)
– Helpful to set up Gmail account just for website process. Akismet will send key to this account. (Remember that when this process is complete, share Gmail account info with client).
– Akismet Key placement – completed by developer.
23) Set up and place Google Analytics on the site – completed by developer.
24) Place plug-in for Google Analytics Dashboard – completed by developer.
25) Place All-In-One SEO plug-in – completed by developer.
26) Submit URL to all major search engines, Google Webmaster Tools, and add XML sitemap – completed by developer.
27) Cross-browser testing (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari) – completed by myself and by developer.
28) Developer should check/apply all redirects from old site to new site.
29) Launch site.
30) Ask Client to review site carefully.
– Is there anything not working correctly on site?
– FINAL CONTENT CALL: Any changes to content?
31) Final review with client.
– Compile any changes and send final changes for live site to the developer.
32) Create client training manual.
– Use MSWord. Most clients know this program well.
– Take screen shots of every phase of back-end log-in process.
– Include site URL, login, password, Gmail info, etc. The goal is to give the client all information about website in case they so choose to use another content creator/developer in the future.
33) Train client/staff.
– If I am comfortable with training backend access, I will do this. If not, work with developer to set up training.
34) Review Analytics with client.
– Either I or developer should give a brief overview of Analytics plug-in. The client can monitor site if they so choose.
35) Upon completion, send final bill and ‘Thank You’ note.
36) Cherry-On-The-Top Customer Service.
I usually do not share with client that I will be performing this additional service, which is free of charge. After site is live for 3 months, consider doing the following:
– Review Meta Tags.
– Review Google Analytics.
– Check Photo Titles and Alt Tags.
– Are all links working, including sitemap?
– Check H1, H2 headers, etc.
-SEO site checker tool – http://www.seoworkers.com/tools/report.html
*If more action is needed to help site, contact developer and submit suggestions. Note: Developer may charge client for 3-month follow-up service. My follow-up service is usually free to enhance the customer service experience.
I hope you find this information useful. If you have any suggestions to improve my template, please feel free to comment.
Straighten up and fly write,