Website Planning Process – Part 3

This is part 3 of our tutorial series on website planning. This tutorial focuses on planning a sustainable content marketing strategy for promoting your business online using your WordPress website or blog.

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Web DesignAre you thinking about getting a website for your business?

Then this detailed guide to planning your website is for you.

Note: This section continues from the previous article where we take you through the process of planning your website or blog.

Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 3

In Part One of this article, we’ve covered the following areas of the website planning process:

  • Step 1 – Goals
  • Step 2 – Naming Your Web Site
  • Step 3 – Manage Your Site’s Technology
  • Step 4 – Your Target Audience
  • Step 5 – Your Keywords
  • Step 6 – Defining Your Site Categories
  • Step 7 – Your Content Strategy

Save Money With Better Web Site Planning

(The Website Planning Process)

You’re almost done with the initial website planning work. In this phase of the planning process, we are going to set up an initial publishing schedule for your content, define what types of content you will create for your website or blog, and decide who will do what on your site.

Step 8 – Creating Your Blogging Or Content Publishing Schedule

You need to be publishing content regularly for your business to grow online. A content publishing system is the most productive and effective way to plan, schedule, and track your content creation and publishing process.

Creating your content publishing or blogging schedule

(Creating your content publishing or blogging schedule)

Now that you have created an initial list of content ideas, the next step is to set up an initial content or blog publishing schedule.

Information

Although this step may not seem to be directly related to getting your web site built, as you go through the process of creating your content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will need and who will be responsible for managing the content production and publishing areas (see Steps 9 and 10 below) will help you understand what kind of additional services and resources you will need to have in place once your website has been created.

Useful Tip

Practical Tips For New Business Website Owners:

Tip #1 – Be Consistent

Publishing new content on your site consistently is essential for building an online readership and for improving your website’s search engine rankings and results.

This is the step where you actively market and promote your business using content, and so it’s crucial that you create a habit of publishing content on your site consistently.

Start by making a commitment to publish a new post each week or fortnight to your website. Decide on a specific weekday and the time of day that you will sit down to create your articles. Allow 1-2 hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each content item.

Now, commit to making this into a regular habit. Keep monitoring your commitment and if you need to, fine-tune your publishing schedule accordingly.

Remind yourself when you sit down to plan or write your content that you are you are working on growing your business, instead of just simply working in it.

Tip #2: Content Scheduling Tools

If you are going to publish content consistently (and you should!), having content scheduling tools can help keep your workflow organized.

You can use simple spreadsheet-based Editorial Templates to help you schedule and track the content planning and publishing process, or use a WordPress plugin.

Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates

You can easily create a simple editorial content template to help you schedule your content creation using any spreadsheet program …

Content planning master template created with a spreadsheet

(Content planning master template created with spreadsheets)

Use this spreadsheet to plan your content creation and publishing schedule. For example, in the spreadsheet, you can add the following columns:

  • Date: Type in the date you plan to publish your content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when the content has been published. Additionally, you can add another column to record 1) the date your content needs to be written by, and 2) the date your content is scheduled to publish on your site.
  • Author: Who will write or create your content. (See Step 10 below)
  • PostType: What kind of content you will be creating for this item. (See Step 9 below)
  • Category: If you are publishing content to your blog, record the blog post category you will publish this item under.
  • CTA: What is this particular item of content designed to sell or promote? Record your offer or call-to-action here.
  • Headline: Enter your blog post headline, article title, etc.
  • Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content in this column.
  • Kwd: The main keyword phrase your content is targeting.
  • URL: After publishing the item, record its URL here. This will make it easier to find the content URL when promoting your content (e.g. on social media, emails, etc)
  • Short URL: You can also add a shortened version of the content’s destination URL for promoting on Twitter, or tracking your campaigns.

You don’t need all of the above columns. You can keep things simple by creating a basic spreadsheet with just these essential columns:

  • Date
  • Writer
  • Type
  • Topic.

If you want to create an Editorial Calendar for help planning your monthly content, you can search online for “free editorial calendar template” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com

WinCalendar.com - Calendar maker

(WinCalendar – Calendar downloads)

WordPress Content Management Plugins

If you want to work directly from WordPress, there are some useful content scheduling plugins you can use:

Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendar

(Editorial Calendar)

Editorial Calendar is a Free plugin for WordPress that lets you see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog.

The Editorial Calendar provides content editors with an overview of your scheduling and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right inside the calendar and manage your entire content publishing schedule.

Editorial Calendar

(Editorial Calendar. Image above taken from Editorial Calendar website)

To learn more about this useful content management plugin, visit this website:

Edit Flow – WP Editorial

Edit Flow - WordPress plugin

(Edit Flow)

Edit Flow allows you to collaborate with your editorial team right inside WordPress.

Key features of the plugin include:

  • Calendar – A month-by-month look at your content.
  • Custom Statuses – Define key workflow stages.
  • Editorial Comments – Allows private discussion via threaded commenting between editors and writers in the admin.
  • Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
  • Notifications – Lets you receive timely updates on the content that you are following.
  • Story Budget – Lets you view your upcoming content budget details.
  • User Groups – Helps you keep your users organized by function or department.

Edit Flow - Editorial plugin for WordPress

(Edit Flow. Images above taken from Edit Flow plugin site)

To learn more about this useful content management plugin, check out the plugin’s website here:

Oasis Workflow

Oasis Workflow

(Oasis Workflow – Editorial plugin for WordPress)

Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich WP plugin that allows you to automate any editorial workflow process using a simple and intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).

Some of the features of this plugin include the ability to configure your workflow using a visual work flow designer and simple process/task templates.

Oasis Workflow

(Oasis Workflow. Images above taken from plugin website)

This plugin also lets you assign tasks dynamically using role-based routing, lets users view their current assignments and sign off on their tasks once assignments are completed, process history for auditing purposes, task reassignment, due date and email reminders to help you to publish your articles on time, and an out of the box editable workflow to help you get started.

Oasis Workflow also has a “Pro” version that includes additional functionality, such as allowing you to set up multiple workflows, copy workflow and copy steps, auto submit, revise published content and much more.

To learn more, check out the plugin’s web page here:

Step 9 – Define What Kind Of Content You Are Going To Publish

What type of content will be published on your website?

(What type of content are you going to publish on your web site?)

After setting up a content creation schedule, the next step is to define what kinds of content you will create to publish on your website.

Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, product reviews, multimedia presentations, etc.?

Knowing what kind of content you intend to create for your website or blog is useful because this helps you understand what other tools and resources you may need to purchase or budget for to create the content. This could include purchasing video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.

Step 10 – Assign Responsibilities

Who will be responsible for all areas of your website?

(Who will be accountable for all areas of running your website or blog?)

The last step in the web site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for managing the various aspects of your website and content and assign these to the resources you have available, or consider outsourcing.

There are many roles and responsibilities associated with running a busy web site or blog.

When completing this step, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who will decide what content gets written/published on your site?
  • Who will create the content (e.g. fact-checking, writing and rewriting, sourcing and creating graphic content and logos, videos, audios, newsletter content, training content, FAQs, etc.)?
  • How will you communicate what needs doing to others? How will people communicate with each other?
  • Who will manage the actual scheduling and publishing of content on your website or blog and update any outdated information?
  • Who will promote and market your website with search engine optimization, online advertising, social media marketing, video marketing, etc.?
  • Who will maintain and upgrade site software, install new applications, customize web templates, provide technical support, etc.?
  • Who will be responsible for setting and managing the budget for all of the above areas (including planning the cost of building your site)?

Who is going to be responsible and accountable for all of the various aspects of your website?

Depending on your situation, it could be just one person doing it all (e.g. you), or a small team of people who also have to juggle other areas of your business, and perhaps even some outsourced help.

If you don’t ask the above questions before getting your website built, you could end up spending a lot of time and money on a tool that will not only not help you grow your business, but cost even more of your valuable money and time.

Practical Tip

Tip: Focus On Your Processes, Not The People

Create a document (e.g. flowchart) outlining exactly who will do what in terms of looking after the processes involved in managing your website and content creation.

Focus on documenting which roles should be responsible for the processes involved before assigning names to responsibilities or making people in your team accountable for managing these. This will help you understand how much responsibility and work is involved in each part of the process, explain why you are asking people to take on additional responsibilities, and assist you in planning the allocation of resources accordingly.

Congratulations! You have completed all the steps of the website planning process and can now start looking at options for getting your new site built.

A Basic Guide To Web Site Planning For Non-Technical Business Owners

(Source: Pixabay)

Tip

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the web site planning process and how WordPress can help you improve your business online. If you need information or assistance with setting up your website or blog, see the other articles we’ve published on this site or contact us.

We also recommend that you consider subscribing to our blog, as we plan to add lots more content, resources and cost-effective tips for small businesses on developing a successful website marketing strategy.

Additional images: Blogging, Laptop, Workstation, Business Startup.

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Website Planning Process – Part 2

This is part 2 of our 3-part tutorial series on planning your website or blog. This tutorial covers doing preliminary research for cost-effective website development.

Web site DesignAre you thinking about taking your business online?

Then this article on website planning is for you.

Note: This section continues from the previous article where we take you step-by-step through the process of planning a new website.

The Website Planning Process – Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we looked at the following areas of the website planning process:

  • Step 1 – Goals
  • Step 2 – Your Site Name
  • Step 3 – Manage Your Web Technology
  • Step 4 – Your Audience

The Website Planning Process

(The Website Planning Process)

As you can see, in Part 1 we have established the foundations for planning a new website. If you have followed this process, you would have a clear idea of your site’s goals and objectives, established your website name, decided on the technology platform you will be using and have a good understanding of your target audience.

At this point, you could feasibly start getting your website built. We suggest, however, that you complete the planning process presented below, as we will now cover web content planning and looking at effective content management and publishing strategies. Doing all of the planning work before you start building your website could save you time and money.

Step 5 – Keyword Phrases

(Identify the main key phrases)

(List your main keywords)

Once you have a good idea of who you will be targeting with your site, it’s time to identify the main keyword phrases that you will want visitors and search engines to associate with your site. This will help search engines connect your website with your target audience.

Ideally, you will want to focus on key phrases that have “low competition” and a reasonable monthly search volume. Depending on your goals, you may also want to focus on keyword phrases within your target market that have some level of commercial profitability.

There are many tools you can use help you look for great keyword phrases, including free keyword tools.

If you have an account with Google Adwords, for example, you can use the Google Keyword Planner.

The screenshot below shows that more people are searching every month for a key phrase like “overseas adventure travel” (> 18,000 searches per month) than the key phrase “singles adventure travel“, which gets less than 1,000 searches a month …

Keyword Planner Tool - Google AdWords

(Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool)

According to the Google Keyword Planner, however, the number of websites competing in the search space for “singles adventure travel“, is higher than sites trying to rank for a keyword phrase like “overseas adventure travel“. This may be because one set of keywords relates to a more targeted audience (i.e. “singles” looking for adventure travel) while the other is more generalized, or because there is more money to be made selling adventure travel experiences to singles, etc..

Doing keyword research can also help you understand the commercial value of certain key phrases. Typically, smart advertisers will advertise more frequently keyword phrases that are aimed towards attracting a “buying” public, instead of keywords targeted more towards users who are simply browsing or researching information online.

For example, users who search for the term “color printers” are typically not as ready to invest in a color printer as people who search for a more targeted keyword phrase like “konica minolta bizhub 4020 review”, so if you plan to sell or review color printers on your website, you would want to aim for longer, more descriptive and more targeted key phrases (called “long tail keywords”), hopefully with a high amount of monthly searches and low to medium competition.

It will help your site, therefore, if you have some highly searched keywords in your posts. However, don’t go “crazy” doing keyword research for every post you plan to add to your site, especially when you are just starting out.

Make a simple start. Make a list of the “top” five keywords you would like your web site to rank highly for in the search engines, make sure that the keywords you choose get a decent number of searches per month and then use these key phrases organically in your posts (i.e. aim to write for people, not search engine robots).

Once your site begins to bring in visitors, you can then study actual data like keyword searches used by visitors to find your website from your server logs and use this data to improve your keyword research.

Practical Tip

Practical Tips

Tip #1: Avoid building your marketing campaigns on keywords that show extremely low to no monthly searches, or that have no commercial value. There’s no point ranking #1 in Google for keywords that no one is searching for. Also, if you type the keyword phrases into Google and nobody is advertising products or services for it (i.e. no Google ads show up), then that keyword most likely has no commercial value or is unprofitable.

Key phrases with no competing advertisers may be unprofitable

(Key phrases with no competition for advertisers may not be worth targeting)

Tip #2: Use tools to help you build lists of keywords and generate great content ideas. Here are some great free and paid keyword research tools you can use:

Free Keyword Research Tools

Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool

Keyword Research Tool - Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Research Tool – Google Keyword Planner Tool)

The Keyword Planner Tool lets you explore hundreds of keywords and keyword-based advertising ideas (e.g. pay-per-click advertising), analyze competitive keyword history, see how a list of keywords could perform in ad campaigns and even create a new keyword list by multiplying several keyword lists together.

For more details about this tool, visit this site:

If you don’t have access to a Google AdWords account, use the FREE tool below to help you with your initial keyword research:

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest keyword tool

(Ubersuggest)

UberSuggest is a free keyword suggestion tool that essentially lets you perform the same function as typing a topic into the Google search box and seeing what ideas or topics are selected.

This useful tool saves you time going go through the alphabet from a-z to discover keyword suggestions related to your subject:

Explore new content ideas with the Ubersuggest

(Explore new content ideas with the Ubersuggest keyword tool)

To use this free tool, check out the website here:

Paid Keyword Research Tools

The keyword research tools below will help you not only uncover many profitable keyword phrases and long-tail keywords to use when planning content or a pay-per-click advertising campaign, but also analyze your competition’s keywords and formulating a content SEO strategy for your site:

Market Samurai

Market Samurai

(Market Samurai)

Market Samurai is inexpensive and provides not only keyword research but also some great additional content research tools, with excellent training tutorials on performing SEO keyword research.

To learn more about this tool, visit this website:

SEMRush

SEMRUSH Keyword Tool

(SEMRUSH)

With SEMRush, you can enter your competitor’s URL and it will show you all the keywords that site is ranking for, which is great for researching short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can then target.

For more details about this tool, go here:

Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy

(Keyword Spy Keyword Tool)

Keyword Spy is an SEO tool that is also primarily used for performing keyword research. You can use Keyword Spy to identify the keywords that your competition is using, as well as research keywords for your own website.

For more details, visit this website:

Step 6 – Defining Your Site Categories

Define your site categories

(Define web site categories)

The next step after keyword research is to decide on specific areas in your niche that your visitors may be interested in learning about and create a list of “categories” for these topics that you plan to publish content about.

For example, if you run a travel agency, your categories could be organized into topics such as: “corporate travel”, “luxury travel”, “exotic destinations”, “family holiday destinations”, “overnight accommodation”, “travel discounts”, “train travel”, “air travel”, “Canada & USA,” or any category of travel-related services you offer.

Plan to create an initial list of about 5 – 12 categories. You can always add more categories to your site later on.

Tip

Web Site Category Tips:

Tip #1: Use WordPress To Easily Manage Your Site’s Categories

WordPress provides two fundamental ways of grouping and organizing content on your website (WordPress calls these taxonomies): “categories” and “tags”.

WordPress makes managing your site’s categories easy. It also lets you easily add new categories and assign your posts to different categories to help keep your content organized.

Use WordPress to easily manage your website's categories

(WordPress makes managing categories easy)

Tip #2: Use Categories To Increase Your SEO Rankings

Using the right keywords in your category names helps to increase your website’s SEO rankings.

WordPress lets you easily create search engine-friendly URLs that include your categories as keywords (great for SEO, so remember this when selecting your categories …

Use WordPress categories to increase your search engine optimization

(WordPress categories can increase your SEO)

Tip #3: Categories Help To Improve Ease Of Navigation On Your Site

Categories allow users to easily navigate through your site’s content.

With WordPress, every category you create has a new searchable webpage.

This allows your users to browse all posts published under that category in one place …

Using categories improves ease of navigation for users

(Using categories improves your site’s navigation)

We have created a detailed tutorial about using post categories here:

Step 7 – Your Content Strategy

Formulate a content strategy

(Create a content strategy)

Now that you have created a list of keywords and categories, the next step is to formulate your content strategy.

Organizing Your Website Pages

Your website should have standard pages like Home, About Us, Contact, legal pages, and product / service description pages and any additional pages specific to the needs of your business (e.g. a staff directory page linked to your About page, FAQ, etc.).

Your website may also need special pages or sections, such as a members-only section for customers, private access pages for resellers or affiliates, and so on.

Practical Tip

If your business provides a number of services, don’t list them all in one page. Instead, create a separate page for every service you offer. This allows search engines to better index and rank your website and web pages and creates multiple landing pages (i.e. entry points) for visitors to find and access your website.

Create separate landing pages for each service your business provides

(Create separate landing pages for each service your business provides)

Many businesses make the costly mistake of lumping all of their services in one page. If you want to, you can have a main ‘Services’ page which lists all of your services with links from each service pointing to their own separate page for more details.

Organizing Your Web Content

You will need to create and content to every page you plan to have on your website as well as create and publish new content on a regular basis to attract visitors, educate prospects, train clients, etc.

Ideally, your web content plan and content marketing strategy should be defined at the digital business planning stage before your website even gets built.

To learn more about the planning process we recommend for keeping your website and web content organized as your business grows, see this tutorial:

Tip

Content Strategy Tips:

Tip #1: Your “Static” Website Content

Make sure that you have content for all of your “fixed” website pages already written before you begin building your web site, especially if you plan to get someone else involved in the process. This will help to avoid additional costs caused by delays or unpreparedness.

Here is a simple checklist of the content you will want to have ready prior to building a website:

  • The name of your business and brief business description.
  • Content for your “Home Page”.
  • “About Us” page content.
  • “Products/Services” page content.
  • Your main service/product categories.
  • Contact Details (e.g. business address, email, telephone numbers)
  • Images (e.g. personnel photos, etc.). Image formats = .jpg, .png or .gif.
  • 2 – 10 initial blog posts to be used as “seed content” for your site (saved as Word document or plain text file).
  • List of all URLs and additional contact details to be included in your site (e.g. “Resources”, etc.
  • Media files (e.g. videos, PDF documents, price lists, etc.)
  • Also, remember to check that all links you plan to add to your site are working and all other details like spelling, phone numbers, etc. are correct.

Tip #2: Create A List Of Content Ideas

Here is a “fast” method you can use to begin writing a list of content topics for your website.

Write down 8 keywords, and for each keyword, list one idea for an article you can add to your site.

You can also write a blog post about any of the topics listed below:

  • Featured product
  • A company award your business has received
  • The latest industry news – what’s big news in your industry right now?
  • A business event you have attended
  • Client tips
  • Staff training
  • What aspect of your products or solution could you educate prospective customers about to help eliminate sales objections?
  • What problems do you or your services help your customers solve?
  • What reviews can you provide to help more clients buy from you?
  • What are some of the more common FAQs you get from interested visitors and prospective customers?
  • etc …

Once you have created a list of content ideas, keep adding to this list on a regular basis.

Tip #3: Learn Ways To Run Out Of Ideas For New Content

We provide our clients and subscribers with comprehensive training email on how to develop a content marketing strategy, how to promote your business with content, and how to never run out of new ideas for content.

Infinite Web Content Creation Email Training Series

(Learn how to never run out of web content ideas)

The “Infinite Web Content Creation” training series is specially designed for WordPress users and covers the following areas of the content creation process:

  • How To Create A Sustainable Digital Content Strategy
  • Content Writing Tips
  • Writing Web Copy
  • WordPress Content Posting Guidelines
  • What To Write About
  • Outsourcing Your Content Writing
  • Time-Saving Content Methods

Enter your details in the form below to subscribe now and start receiving training content immediately!

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The Web Site Planning Process Explained - A Cost-Saving Primer For Non-Technical Business Owners

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This is the end of Part Two

To continue reading this tutorial, click on the link below:

Images: Planning, Social Media, Blogging.

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Website Planning Process – Part 1

Learn what to do before getting a business website or blog built and includes a printable/downloadable version of the Website Planning Process chart. 

Web DevelopmentThis is Part 1 of a 3-part series of articles designed to help you understand how to plan your website or blog.

Are you thinking about starting a website for your business?

If so, one of the many decisions you need to make is if you should build the web site yourself, or get someone else to create the website for you.

Both options have pros and cons. Whichever choice you pick will depend on various things such as:

  • Your financial situation
  • How much time you have available
  • Your needs
  • Level of urgency
  • Your level of technical skill
  • Your level of commitment to manage the project
  • etc …

If your budget is limited and you want to save money, you could choose to develop the site yourself, but it goes without saying that you will need to invest some time figuring out how to put everything together.

Practical Tip

Before planning your website you need to plan your digital business and ask questions about the capabilities of your business to manage and grow a digital presence.

To help small businesses plan an effective digital presence, we have published an e-book called “The Small Business Digital Manager.”

‘The Small Business Digital Manager’ looks at why most small businesses end up with an unmanageable web presence almost as soon as they take their business online and why this leads to poor results, and shows you how to be in control of your digital business processes and get better results online using a systematic and doable approach.

In addition to the book, we have also developed a comprehensive online course that will help you implement a practical and effective digital plan for your business.

For more details, go here: The Small Business Digital Manager – How To Get Better Results Online

The Website Planning Process

Whether you decide to build a website yourself or get it built by someone else, the first important step is to get your website planning done. In this article, we explain why planning your business website is important and how to save money getting a website.

How To Plan A Web Site - A Useful Blueprint For Non-Technical Business Owners

Proper website planning is regarded by many online marketing experts as being one of the most important aspects in building a successful business online. Careful planning upfront helps to prevent costly errors later and also help create a better end product.

In this article, we provide a comprehensive primer for business owners designed to help you better understand the process of planning your website. We will also cover what to do and what not to do when planning a website, and give you tips on how to brief your web designer to make sure that you get a website that will perfectly meet your budget, suit your needs and deliver you great results online.

Important Info

Important: Before even thinking of setting up a website or registering a domain name for your website, it’s absolutely vital that you first do a little market research.

Building a successful business presence online requires more than just having a professional website or business blog set up. It also requires amongst lots of other things, a commitment to develop and successfully implement an ongoing online marketing strategy.

The Site Planning Process Simplified

So … you have decided that you want a web presence.

Let’s start, then, by gaining a better understanding of the website planning process.

Take a look at the flowchart below, and let’s go step-by-step through the information in this section together.

Note: To view a larger image click on the image or the link below the process chart.

How To Plan Your Small Business Website - A Comprehensive Guide For Non-Technical Business Owners

(click to view larger image)

To make the process easy to follow, we recommend downloading and printing the Website Planning Flowchart below.

After downloading and printing out the website planning flowchart, grab some paper and a pen, or whatever you takes notes on, so you can jot down your thoughts and ideas as we walk you through the process. Also, make sure to shut out all distractions for the next 20-45 minutes.

Step 1 – Website Goals

Regardless of the kind of website you plan to build, the first step is to define one or more clear goals for your site and make these as specific as you can.

Try to answer the the following questions:

  • What kind of web site am I planning to build? Is it a business web site, e-commerce site, a marketing blog, or some other kind of website?
  • What specific objectives would I like my website to help me achieve?

For example, your main goal could be to:

  • Sell products or services online – you might want to build an online shop. Depending on your objectives, this could also include setting up a secure website (i.e. changing your site from ‘http’ to ‘https’), the addition of a membership area that only registered users can access, etc.
  • Build a list of subscribers – you may want a simple site built with a “squeeze” page (landing page) or an information page and a lead capture form where all online traffic gets sent to,
  • Have a portfolio site that will help build credibility and trust for your brand or organization, post news, announcements, or updates, etc.
  • Get more exposure online for your existing business – you will want a blog built on a separate domain, or added to an existing website to engage with users and keep customers informed about your latest product updates, or help assert your authority and expertise in your specific niche.
  • Or you may need a combination of the above or something else entirely …

Record all of your web site goals on your Website Planning worksheet, a blank sheet of paper, or wherever you are recording this information.

Once you have written your list, go through your list and pick the goal that has overriding importance above all others.

Write this goal down on your worksheet (in “Your Website Goals” section) as “Goal 1“.

Now, review your list and repeat this process to find two more goals and record these on your process chart as “Goal 2” and “Goal 3“.

Info

You’ve probably heard the old saying “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

But, what if you already can’t manage?

Adding a website is going to to add a ton of extra things you will need to manage.

Your website planning process is an integral aspect of your business marketing planning process. It’s important, therefore, that you continually refer back to your marketing plan to make sure that you will have the resources and capabilities to implement the strategies that will help you achieve your goals.

So, with this in mind, take a moment to complete the following right now:

Once you have identified at least 1-3 goals and written these on your planning chart, return to “Goal 1” and ask yourself this question: “how will I measure this goal?”

In other words, how are you going to quantify and review your results? How will you know if your website is helping you achieve your business goals?

For example, your web site’s goal could be getting a certain number of leads every week using the contact form on your site, or signing up “X” numbers of newsletter subscribers per marketing campaign, etc …

Think about the resources and costs associated with managing the process of measuring your goals. If you need to, revise your business plan to accommodate your findings.

Useful Tip

Note: Keep your goals as flexible as possible at this stage, so you can adjust these as more feedback is gathered on your website from site visitors.

Step 2 – Naming Your Site

Once you have clearly identified your goals, the next step is to name your web site.

This is an important part of the website planning process, so take your time to think carefully about coming up with a good name for your site.

Brainstorm ideas with others. Call a few customers (or potential customers if you haven’t launched your business yet) and get their input.

Try to think beyond the obvious (i.e. your company name), especially if your name isn’t something that immediately brings up your products or services to mind. Remember, most online users have never heard of you.

Put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes. Who would be searching online for the very thing you sell? What would they be typing into a search engine or browser to find you? Once you know the answer, try to come up with a name that would entice your potential customers.

Note: You can be creative and clever with the name, but try to avoid being “too clever”. the same goes for choosing a catchy, memorable or a stand out name. It can be a fun or quirky website name, but avoid names that can sound offensive (and definitely stay away from trademarked or registered names or phrases – you’ll just be asking for trouble!)

Go online and do a little research to find out what other companies in your industry or niche are naming their sites. Study your competition, especially those who occupy the search results that you would like to own.

For example, if you are planning to start a blog related to cooking, a quick online search for “cooking blog” reveals some ear-catching site names like: “Smitten Kitchen”, “Cooking With Amy”, ”Shockingly Delicious”, ”Worth The Whisk” and more …

Research ideas for your site's name

(Researching ideas for your web site or blog’s name)

So … this is where you can get inspired. Make a huge list of potential names and then begin narrowing these down.

After reducing the list down to the best candidates, repeat the same process as above to craft a description, tagline or slogan for your site.

Make your description concise and inform the reader in as few words as possible what the site is all about. For example, in one of the food blogs we came across while searching online, their description was “Fast, Fresh, and Simple Recipes Easy Enough for Tonight’s dinner.”

Including keywords in your web site’s name and description can also be useful.

After completing this step, it’s time to look at your domain name. If you plan to add a blog to your existing site and decide that this business blog should be its own entity, then by all means register a new domain name for your site.

There are different strategies you can use to register domains names for your web site. For example, you can register keyword-rich domain names (i.e. domains that contain the key phrase you would like to rank highly for in the search engines), expired domain names (a domain name that the previous owner has decided not to renew and are now available for registration once more, other top level domains and domain name extensions, etc.)

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Step 3 – Managing Your Site’s Technology

Once you have chosen a name and description for your site, the next step is to have a clear plan to manage the technology that is going to host, support and help power your online business vehicle.

We strongly encourage you to consider getting your site built with WordPress.

WordPress

(WordPress)

WordPress is not only a robust platform to build a website with, but it is also easy-to-manage and great for non-technical users.

WordPress is also the world’s leading content management system (CMS), and, as you can see from the screenshot below, WordPress powers over 40% of the world’s CMS-driven websites.

WordPress is the world's most popular CMS (Content Management System)

(WordPress is the world’s leading Content Management System (CMS))

A WordPress-powered website is ideal for publishing your content and communicating information about your business to your users and potential customers.

A business site or blog created with the WP CMS platform allows you to better engage with online users and makes things like posting content, special offers, promotions, news and announcements about your product or services, company or industry very easy, even if you have little to no technical web skills. No coding is, in fact, required to publish content on a WordPress site, and managing necessary tasks like site backups and software upgrades can easily be automated.

In fact, many large companies, small to medium businesses, institutions, organizations and well-known brands no longer use a traditional website built using static website building technologies. More sites around the world are now being powered by “blogging” software like WordPress, which can provide businesses and their users with all of the features and capabilities of a regular website.

If you want to have control of your business online and don’t have the time, need or desire to learn “web code” languages such as HTML, then you should consider building your website or blog with WordPress.

Hosting And Site Management

In addition to choosing to build your web site with the WordPress CMS platform, you should also decide who is going to host your website, and whether you are going to outsource your site management to someone else, or manage the website yourself.

Web Site Hosting And Website Management

(Hosting And Managing Your Site)

Useful Tip

We use and recommend WordPress for many business needs, and we provide a lot more information about the WordPress CMS and expert advice on subjects like domain name registration, choosing a good webhost and website management in other blog posts on this site.

If you would like more help, don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.

Step 4 – Your Website’s Audience

After you have worked through the initial planning steps discussed so far, then it’s time to define who is your website’s target audience.

Key information about your site’s target audience includes:

  • Audience demographics
  • Needs and wants
  • What kind of problems your target audience experiences, or will have in the future
  • How they like to consume information
  • How they see themselves
  • What they might expect from you or your business

It’s important to try and create as accurate a profile of your target visitors as possible. Try to picture the ideal person that you will be communicating directly with when presenting your content to.

Begin this process by asking questions, like the following:

  • Who is the ideal visitor for your website or blog?
  • What will users look for on your web site?
  • What challenges are people experiencing that you can help to solve online? What kind of solutions are people searching online for these problems?
  • Is your audience technology-savvy? How will your visitors consume information? Does your audience prefer videos to images and text? Do they need downloadable content (e.g. price lists, schedules, timetables)? Do you need to create visual, audio or multimedia content regularly in order to keep your target audience engaged?
  • Where do they live? Is geographical location or factors like education, relationship status or income level, significant to the success of your business? If so, what segments of the population will your web site be marketing to and how will you target these demographics online?
  • How do your site users see themselves? Who does your target audience usually form relationships online with? What magazines and books do they read? What else do they buy, or consume online?
  • What will your target users expect from your site? What kind of information are you willing to provide to them freely or for a fee? What kind of information will you not be providing to them for free?

Being able to accurately define your website’s target audience is a vital step in the website planning process and it will help you communicate better with your web developer and everyone else assisting you in developing your website, which will then ensure that you get the exact type of website that you want.

Practical Tip

  • If you don’t have access to accurate research information about your target audience, then start with your “best guess” based on your experience and whatever research you have done.
  • Don’t limit your criteria too much. You could be going after a niche that is just too small, or an online opportunity that may not be worth pursuing.
  • Create a list of all the things you would like your website to be able to do for your business and for your customers. This could include things such as having restricted areas where customers can view their order details and resellers or affiliates can view or download private or confidential information, add a directory, forum, customer support helpdesk, etc.
  • Educate yourself about any additional functionalities that your website will need to provide your business with better website administration, more efficient website management, improved web security, etc. and list these as well. This could include managed webhostingautomatic backups, brute-force attack prevention, and more.
  • Unless you plan to build a portal website and have the resources to do so, avoid trying to make your website or blog appeal to an audience that is just too broad, or you’ll just end up putting yourself in an untenable position when it comes to developing and implementing an effective content strategy for your site, as you will learn when we continue exploring the website planning process in another post.

The Web Site Planning Process - A Cost-Saving Blueprint For Business Owners

(Source: Pixabay)

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"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)