A checklist of questions for new website projects
To get started on your new website project, we like to ask some common questions to get a better feel for the project and what might be involved. Use this list for inspiration, or to help catch something you might have missed.
At Feral, we take inspiration from anywhere, including the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. At a press conference in 2002, he told a group of reporters, “There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
The following list of questions may fall into any of these four categories (Rumsfeld didn’t mention the things you know but don’t know you). Even if you can’t answer all of them, or even some of them, they should help demarcate the boundaries of your project and, at the very least, give you more things to worry about.
Don’t let this list overwhelm you! If there is anything here you aren’t in a position to answer, we can help you answer it.
Let’s Get This Party Started 🎉
- Why are you embarking on a new project? What do you hope to accomplish?
- What impact do you hope this site will have on your organization?
- Why you? What is your role in the project?
- What is your due date for the project?
- Do you feel like this date is realistic? If so, why?
Your Current Website
First let’s talk about your existing website.
- Do you have an existing site?
- When was it created?
- Who created it for you?
- What’s your favourite thing about it?
- What’s your least favourite thing about it?
- What would happen your business if your site disappeared tomorrow?
- What was the last technical issue you had with the site?
- What’s the worst thing that has happened while operating your existing site?
- Does your site have any integrations? (For example an external comment system like Disqus, a Google Map or a payment system like Stripe)
- Are you selling anything directly on your site?
- If so, what payment processor are you using?
- Do you have a newsletter or mailing campaign?
- Do you have a contact form?
- Do you have any other forms on your site?
- Are you using a content management system (CMS)? (For example WordPress, Shopify, SquareSpace or Drupal)?
- Do you need to be able to update the content of your site yourself?
- How often do you update the content of your site?
- How many people have access to update content?
- Do you have any analytics set up?
- How many monthly visitors are you getting?
Behind the Scenes
Let’s find out a little bit more about how things are propped-up behind the scenes.
- Is there somebody currently in charge of managing the technical side of your business?
- Do you have a code repository? (For example Github, Bitbucket, Gitlab)
- When was the codebase last updated?
- Where is your site hosted?
- How much is it costing you per month to host?
- What provider are you using to manage your domain name (for example GoDaddy, NameCheap, …)?
- What provider are you using for email (for example Gmail, Fastmail, Outlook, Zoho, …)?
- Have you ever had any security issues with your site before?
- Do you have control of all the associated accounts or is there another company or person involved?
- Do you store any customer data on your own site?
Your Social Life
- What social-media related accounts do you have (Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Vimeo, …)?
- How important are they to your business?
- Do you share links from your website to these accounts?
- Do you use posts from these accounts on your website anywhere (embed them in blog posts, share feedback on the homepage)?
- Do you get much traffic to your site from these accounts?
- How many people will be involved in the creation of your new site? What are their roles?
- How is your team structured?
- How do you manage the approval of work? Is there a single person who leads or is it by committee?
- Do you use a project management tool like Asana or Jira to manage to work?