Are you considering the idea of getting a website for your business?
Then this guide to website planning is for you.
Note: This is Part 3 of the article where we take you through the process of planning your new website or blog.
- For Part 1, go here: Planning Your Website – What You Need To Know First – Part 1
- For Part 2, go here: Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 2
How To Plan Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 3
Up to this point, we have covered the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Define Your Goals
- Step 2 – Your Site Name
- Step 3 – Managing Your Site’s Technology
- Step 4 – Defining Your Target Audience
- Step 5 – Identify Your Key Phrases
- Step 6 – Defining Website Categories
- Step 7 – Define Your Content Strategy
(Website Planning Process)
You’re almost there with your initial website planning work. In this phase of the planning process, we are going to set up an initial blogging schedule, establish what kinds of content you will create for your website, and decide who will do what on your site.
Step 8 – Creating Your Blogging Or Content Publishing Schedule
You need to publish content regularly for your digital presence to grow. A content publishing system is the most productive and effective way to plan, schedule, and track your content creation and publishing process.
(Create your content or blog publishing schedule)
After creating an initial list of content ideas, the next step is to set up an initial content or blog publishing schedule.
Although this step may not seem to be connected to getting your web site built, by creating your content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you need and who will manage your 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 as soon as your site has been built.
Content Scheduling Tips:
Tip #1 – Be Consistent
Adding new content on your site consistently is important for building an online readership and for improving your site’s search engine rankings and results.
This is the step where you actively market and promote your business with content, and so it’s essential that you develop a habit of publishing content on your website or blog 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 write your posts. Allow 1-2 hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each post.
Now, commit to turning this into a regular habit. Monitor your commitment and if required, adjust your publishing schedule accordingly.
Remind yourself when you sit down to 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 plan to publish content on your website regularly (and you should!), it helps to keep your workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheet-based Editorial Templates to help schedule and track the content planning, or use a WordPress plugin.
Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates
You can keep things simple and schedule your content creation using a spreadsheet program …
(Blog content template created with spreadsheets)
Use the spreadsheet to plan your content creation and publishing schedule. For example, you can add the following columns to your spreadsheet:
- Date: Type in the date you plan to publish your content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when content has been published. You can also add another column to record 1) the date your content needs to be created by, and 2) the date your content is scheduled to publish on your site or blog.
- Author: Who will write or create the content. (See Step 10 below)
- Type: Record the kind of content you will be creating for this topic. (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 specific item of content designed to sell or promote? Record your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your article or blog post headline, content item title, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content in this column.
- SEO: The main keyword your content is targeting.
- URL: Once you have published 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: 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 containing just these essential columns:
- Publish Date
If you would like to create an Editorial Calendar for planning your monthly content, just search online for “free editorial calendar template” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar – Calendar maker)
WordPress Editorial Scheduling Plugins
If you want to manage your content scheduling directly from WordPress, there are some useful plugins you can install:
Editorial Calendar is a Free plugin for WordPress that makes it possible to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your site.
The Editorial Calendar gives you an overview of your scheduling and when each item will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar and manage your entire blogging schedule.
(Editorial Calendar – Plugin for WordPress. Image source: plugin site)
For more information about this useful plugin, visit this website:
(Edit Flow – Plugin for WordPress)
Edit Flow is a modular plugin that lets you collaborate with your editorial team right inside WordPress.
Some key features of this plugin include:
- Calendar – A month-by-month view of your content.
- Custom Statuses – Lets you define the key stages to your workflow.
- Editorial Comments – Threaded commenting inside the admin section for private discussion between writers and editors.
- Editorial Metadata – Helps you keep track of important details.
- Notifications – Receive timely updates on the content that you are following.
- Story Budget – See your upcoming content budget details.
- User Groups – Helps you organize your users by function or department.
(Edit Flow. Screenshot source: plugin site)
To learn more about this useful plugin, visit the plugin site here:
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin designed to automate any editorial workflow process using a simple and intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the many useful features of the Oasis Workflow plugin include the ability to configure your work flow using an easy drag and drop designer interface and simple process/task templates.
(Oasis Workflow – WP editorial plugin. Screenshot source: Oasis Workflow website)
It 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.
The plugin 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 more.
To learn more, check out the plugin’s web page here:
Step 9 – Decide What Type Of Content To Publish
(What kind of content are you going to publish on your site?)
Once you have set up your content creation schedule, the next step is to decide what types of content you will create for publishing on your website.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, case studies, PDF reports, etc.?
Knowing what kinds of content you intend to create for your site is useful because this helps you understand what other technologies and resources you will need to purchase or budget for to create your content. This could include purchasing video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.
Step 10 – Assigning Roles And Responsibilities
(Who will be responsible for all areas of your website or blog?)
The last step in the site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for managing the various areas 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 successful business digital presence.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who will decide what content gets written/published on your site?
- Who will create the actual content (e.g. content research, writing and reviewing, sourcing and outsourcing graphics 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 content?
- 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 monitoring the budget for all of the above areas (including budgeting for the cost of getting your website built)?
Who is going to be responsible for all aspects of your site?
Depending on the size of your business, it could be just one person doing everything (e.g. you), or a few people, or perhaps even some outsourced help.
If you don’t ask the above questions before getting your website built, you could end up investing a lot of time and money on a tool that will not only not help you grow your business, but cost you valuable money and time.
Tip: Don’t Focus On People When Assigning Responsibilities, Focus On Processes
Document or flowchart 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 organization 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. You are now ready to begin looking at options for getting your new website built.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the website planning process and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. If you need information or assistance with any aspects of web design, see the other posts we have published on this site or contact us.
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