What is your SEO workflow?

Hi all,
Here is my goal:

1. Build a site for local maintenance personnel in Las Vegas, NV
2. Do SEO for it.

I'm in the first stage now ..

Question:

What tools do you use: free / paid for checks for backlinks, etc.?

What is the checklist for me at this stage?

My site is WordPress and I am optimizing the content, the title, the keywords, etc.