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.

Web site DesignAre 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.

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

How To Save Money Building A Web Site For Your Business With Better Website Planning

(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.

Creating your content publishing or blogging schedule

(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.

Info

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.

Practical Tip

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 …

Content planning template created with spreadsheets

(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
  • Writer
  • Type
  • Topic.

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

(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 – WP Editorial

Editorial Calendar

(Editorial Calendar)

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 - WordPress plugin

(Editorial Calendar – Plugin for WordPress. Image source: plugin site)

For more information about this useful plugin, visit this website:

Edit Flow – WordPress Editorial

Edit Flow

(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 - WordPress plugin

(Edit Flow. Screenshot source: plugin site)

To learn more about this useful plugin, visit the plugin site here:

Oasis Workflow

Oasis Workflow - WP Plugin

(Oasis Workflow)

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

(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 is going to be published on your website or blog?

(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 manage all aspects of your website?

(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.

Useful Tip

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.

A Comprehensive Guide To Web Site Planning For Business Owners

(Source: Pixabay)

Tip

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.

Please consider subscribing to our blog, as we will be adding lots of great content, resources and practical tips for small businesses on developing your online 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 DevelopmentAre you considering the idea of taking your small business online?

Then this guide to website planning is for you.

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

Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we have covered the following areas of the website planning process:

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

The Website Planning Process

(The Website Planning Process)

As you can see, in the previous section of this article we have established the foundations for planning a new site. If you have followed the 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 use and defined your target audience.

At this point, many people start building their website. We suggest, however, that you complete the rest of the planning process presented below, as we will now address planning your website content and looking at effective content publishing and management strategies. Getting all of the initial planning completely done before you start building your website or blog will help you save time and money.

Step 5 – Your Key Phrases

(List the principal keywords)

(Identify your most important search phrases)

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

Ideally, you should try to find 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 in your target industry that have some level of commercial viability.

There are many tools you can use help you identify good keywords, including free tools.

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

Using the Keyword Planner tool, you can see that more people search each month for a key phrase like “overseas adventure travel” (> 18,000 searches per month) than “singles adventure travel“, which gets less than 1,000 searches a month …

Keyword Research Tool - Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Planner Tool – Google AdWords)

According to this keyword research tool, however, the number of websites competing in the search space for “singles adventure travel“, is higher than sites trying to rank for a key phrase like “overseas adventure travel“. This may be because one keyword phrase 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 products to singles, etc..

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

For example, people searching for the keywords “color printer minolta” are generally not as ready yet to purchase a colour printer as people who search for “konica minolta pagepro 4650EN review”, so if you plan to sell or review colour printers on your site, you would want to aim for longer, more descriptive and more targeted key phrases (called “long tail keywords”), hopefully with a high search volume and low to medium competition.

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

Start simple. 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 have a decent monthly search volume and then use these keyword phrases naturally in your posts (i.e. aim to create web content for humans, not search engines).

Once your site starts to bring in visitors, you can then review actual data like keyword searches used by visitors to find your website from analytic tools and use the information to refine your keyword research.

Tip

Keyword Research Tips

Tip #1: Avoid using keywords that return extremely low to no monthly searches, or that have no commercial intent. There’s no point ranking #1 in Google for keyword phrases that no one is interested in searching. Also, if you type key phrases into Google and nobody is advertising products for it (i.e. no Google advertisements show up), then that keyword most likely has no commercial interest or is unprofitable.

Keyphrases that have no competition for advertisers may be unprofitable

(Search phrases that have 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

Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner Tool

(Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool)

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

To learn more, visit this website:

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

Ubersuggest Keyword Tool

Ubersuggest

(Ubersuggest keyword tool)

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

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 keyword tool

(Discover new content ideas with the Ubersuggest keyword suggestion tool)

To use this free tool, go here:

Paid Keyword Research Tools

The keyword research tools below will help you not only discover 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 Keyword Tool)

Market Samurai is an inexpensive tool that provides not just keyword research but also additional content and SEO research tools, plus excellent training tutorials on performing SEO keyword research.

For more details, visit the site here:

SEMRush

SEMRUSH Keyword Research Tool

(SEMRUSH)

With SEMRush, you can enter the URLs of your competitors and the tool will then give you a list of all the keywords that your competitors’ sites are ranking for, allowing you to easily find short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can use to grow your own site.

For more details about this tool, go here:

Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy

(Keyword Spy)

Keyword Spy is an SEO tool that’s primarily used for doing keyword research. You can use Keyword Spy to identify the keywords that your competition is using and to research keywords for your own website.

For more details about this software tool, visit this site:

Step 6 – Define Web Site Categories

Define your site categories

(Define web site categories)

Decide on specific topics within your niche that people may be interested in learning about and create a list of “categories” for all the topics that you plan to post content about.

For example, if you run a travel agency, your categories could be organized into topics like: “business travel”, “luxury travel”, “romantic destinations”, “holiday packages”, “budget accommodation”, “travel accessories”, “cruises”, “air travel”, “Travel Asia,” or any category of travel-related services your business offers.

Aim to create an initial list of about 5 – 10 categories. You can always add more categories to your site later on.

Practical Tip

Practical Tips For Business Website Owners:

Tip #1: Use WordPress For Easy Management Of Your Site’s Categories

WordPress provides two pre-defined ways of grouping and organizing content on your site (WordPress refers to these as taxonomies): “categories” and “tags”.

WordPress gives you great control over the management of your categories. It also lets you easily add new categories and match your posts to different categories to help keep your content organized.

WordPress makes managing your website's categories easy

(Use WordPress for easy management of your categories)

Tip #2: Use Categories To Increase Your SEO Rankings

Selecting the right keywords in your category names can improve your site’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 thinking about category names …

WordPress categories help to increase your SEO

(Using WordPress categories to improve your SEO rankings)

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

Categories allow users to find content on your site more easily.

WordPress turns each category you create into a searchable webpage.

This allows your users to find all content published under that category in one place …

Using categories improves site navigation

(WordPress categories can site navigation)

For a detailed tutorial on using WordPress post categories, go here:

Step 7 – Define Your Content Strategy

Plan your content strategy

(Plan your content strategy)

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

Organizing Your Website Pages

Your website should have standard pages like Home, About Us, Contact, legal pages, and product / service information 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.

Useful 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:

Practical Tip

Practical Tips For New Website Owners:

Tip #1: Your “Fixed” Web Pages

Make sure that you have content for all of your “static” website pages already written before you begin building your website or blog”, 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 before you start building a website:

  • Name of your business and a brief description of your business.
  • “Front Page” content.
  • “About Us” page content.
  • Content for your “Products/Services” page(s).
  • Site Categories.
  • Contact Details (e.g. business address, email, telephone numbers)
  • Images (e.g. stock images, etc.). Image formats = .jpg, .png or .gif.
  • 1 – 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 on your site (e.g. “Resources”, etc.
  • Additional files (e.g. videos, PDF reports, price lists, etc.)
  • Also, ensure that all URLs you would like 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 Topics

Here is a “quick and easy” method you can use to help you begin writing a list of content ideas for your website.

Write down 10 keywords, and for each keyword, list one article idea you can add to your website.

You can also write articles about each of the topics listed below:

  • Your products or services
  • A company award your business has received
  • Educate visitors about your industry – the challenges it faces and how your business is addressing these
  • A industry event you plan to attend
  • Service training information
  • Reseller training
  • What area of your products or solution could you educate prospects about to help eliminate objections?
  • What problems do you or your services help your customers solve?
  • What reviews can you provide to help more prospective customers buy from you?
  • What are some of the more common FAQs you get all the time from interested visitors and prospective customers?
  • etc …

Once you have created your list of content topics, continually add to this list.

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

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

Infinite Web Content Creation Email Training Series

(Never run out of content ideas)

The “Infinite Web Content Creation” email training series is aimed at helping WordPress users and covers the following areas of the content creation process:

  • How To Create An Effective Digital Content Strategy
  • Content Writing Tips
  • Writing Web Copy
  • WordPress Content Posting Guidelines
  • What To Write About
  • How To Outsource Your Content Creation
  • 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 - A Basic Guide For Non-Technical Business Owners

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This is the end of Part Two

To keep reading this tutorial, click here:

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 DesignThis is Part One of a 3-part article series designed to help you understand the website planning process.

Are you thinking about taking your small business online?

One of the many decisions you need to make is whether or not to build the site yourself, or get someone to build your website.

Both choices have pros and cons. Whatever option you pick will depend on various things like:

  • Your budget and finances
  • How much time you can put into building your website
  • Your business priorities
  • Sense of urgency
  • Your skill level
  • Your level of commitment to supervise and manage the project
  • etc …

If your budget is limited and you want to save money, you could choose to develop your site yourself, but it goes without saying that you will then need to spend time learning how to put things together.

Useful 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 a 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

A Cost-Saving Guide To Website Planning For Non-Technical Business Owners

Whether you choose to build a website yourself or get someone to build it for you, the first crucial step is to get some website planning done. In this article, we explain why planning your small business website is important and how to save money getting a website.

The Web Site Planning Process: A Practical Blueprint For Non-Technical Business Owners

Planning your website is regarded by many web business experts to be the most important part of the process of getting your website built. Careful planning at the beginning will help you avoid costly mistakes later and create a better end product.

In this post, we provide a comprehensive guide for non-technical users designed to help you better understand the website planning process. We will also cover what to do and what not to do when planning a business website, and give you tips on how to talk to your website designer to ensure that you get the exact type of website that you want.

Important

Important: Before setting up a website or registering a domain name for your site, it’s highly recommended that you first research your market.

Building a successful business presence online requires more than getting a professional web site set up. It also requires amongst a number of other things, a commitment to developing and implementing an ongoing web site marketing strategy.

The Website Planning Process Explained

So … you have decided that you need an online presence.

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

Before doing anything else, take a look at the process chart below, and let’s work through the information in this section together.

Note: Click on the image or the link below the image to enlarge the diagram.

The Website Planning Process: A Practical Blueprint For Business Owners

(click here to view a larger-sized flowchart)

To make this process easier to follow, we recommend that you download and print the Website Planning Process Flowchart shown above.

After downloading and printing out the flowchart, grab some sheets of paper and a pen, or whatever you takes notes on, so you can write down your thoughts and ideas as we walk you through the process. Also, make sure that you will not have any distractions over the next 30-35 minutes.

Step 1 – Defining Your Site Goals

No matter what type of website you are planning to build, the first step is to define one or more goals for your web site and make these as specific as you can.

Try to answer the these questions:

  • What kind of web site do you want to build? Will it be a professional services web site, an e-commerce site, a personal blog, or some other kind of website?
  • What specific objectives would you like the site to help you achieve?

For example, your main goal could be to:

  • Sell products or services online – you may want an e-commerce site. Depending on your goals, this could also require setting up a secure site (i.e. changing your site from ‘http’ to ‘https’), the addition of a membership site that only customers can access, etc.
  • Capture new leads – you might want to look at getting a simple site built with a “squeeze” page (landing page) or a lead generation form where all of your online traffic gets directed towards,
  • Have a corporate site that will help build credibility and trust for your brand or organization, post news, announcements, and updates, etc.
  • Get more exposure online for your existing business – you will want to look at getting a business 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 target market.
  • Or you may need a combination of the above or something else entirely …

Record whatever it is that you want your website to help you achieve on your Website Planning worksheet, a blank sheet of paper, or wherever you are documenting this process.

After your goals have been written down, go through your list and select the goal that is most important to your business.

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

Now, go back to your list and repeat this process to find two more goals and record these in your worksheet as “Goal 2” and “Goal 3“.

Information

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

But, what if you already can’t manage?

Running 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 processes. It’s important, therefore, that you continually refer back to your business marketing plan to make sure that you have the resources and capabilities available to implement any strategies you set to help you achieve your goals.

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

After selecting at least 1-3 goals and written these on your flowchart, return to “Goal 1” and ask yourself this question: “how will I measure this goal?”

In other words, what objective criteria are you going to use to evaluate your site’s performance? How will you know if your site is on track to help you achieve your business objectives?

For example, your web site’s objective could be getting a certain number of leads every week using the contact form on your website, or getting “X” number of new subscribers per month, 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.

Practical Tip

Note: Keep your goals as flexible as possible at this stage, so you can re-evaluate these as more information is collected on your site from your visitors.

Step 2 – Naming Your Web Site

Once you have clearly identified your website’s goals, the next step is to come up with an appropriate name for your web site.

This is another important step in 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 just using the name of your company, especially if your business name isn’t something that immediately brings up your products or services to mind. Remember, most online users have probably never heard of you.

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

Note: You can be creative and clever with your name, but it’s best to avoid being “too creative”. The same advice goes for choosing a catchy, memorable or a stand out name. You can have a fun or quirky name, but avoid web site names that can sound offensive (and definitely stay away from trademarked or registered names or phrases – you’ll just be inviting 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, doing a quick search online for “cooking blog” reveals some catchy site names like: “Smitten Kitchen”, “Cooking With Amy”, “A Chef’s Daughter”, ”Worth The Whisk” and more …

Researching name ideas for your website or blog

(Research ideas for the name of your website)

So … now is the time to get inspired. Make a big list of possible names and then start narrowing these down.

Once you have narrowed this list of names down to the most likely choices, repeat the same process as above to create a description, tagline or slogan for your web site.

Your description should be concise and inform the reader in as few words as possible what your website is all about. For example, in one of the food sites we came across while doing research, their description was “Fast, Fresh, and Simple Recipes Easy Enough for Tonight’s dinner.”

Including keywords in your website’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 feel that this blog should have its own domain name, by all means register a new domain name for your site.

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

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Step 3 – Manage Your Website’s Technology

After settling on a name and description for your website, the next step is to create a clear plan specifying how to manage the technology that will host, support and help you drive your web marketing vehicle.

We highly encourage you to consider using WordPress.

WordPress

(WordPress)

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

WordPress is also the world’s leading web content management system, and, as you can see below, WordPress powers over 48% of the world’s CMS-driven websites.

WordPress - the world's leading CMS (Content Management System)

(WordPress is the world’s most widely used Content Management System (CMS))

A WordPress-based site is an ideal web application platform for publishing content and communicating your business information to your visitors and potential clients.

A business website or blog built using the WP CMS platform allows you to interact better with site visitors and makes things like posting content, special offers, promotions, news and announcements about your services, company or industry very easy, even if you have little to no technical web skills. In fact, no coding is required to publish content on a WordPress site, and managing essential tasks like file and data backups and software upgrades can easily be automated.

Many large companies, small to medium businesses, educational institutions, organizations and even celebrities, in fact, no longer use a traditional website built using traditional website building technologies. More websites are now being powered by technologies like WordPress, which provides businesses and their users with all of the functions and capabilities of a regular website.

If you would like to have better management and control of your own web marketing and don’t have the time, need or desire to learn technical “web development” languages such as HTML, then we recommend that you consider building your website or blog using WordPress.

Hosting And Managing Your Website

As well as using to build your website or blog using the WordPress web publishing software, you should also plan who is going to host your site, and whether to let professionals manage your website, or manage everything yourself.

Hosting & Web Site Management

(Hosting And Managing Your Site)

Tip

We use and recommend WordPress for many business uses, and we provide a lot more detailed information about the benefits of using WordPress and information on subjects like how to register domain names, how to choose a good host and website management in other sections on this site.

If you need help or advice choosing your technology platform, don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.

Step 4 – Your Audience

After you have the basic planning steps figured out, then it’s time to define who your site’s target audience is.

Key information about your web site’s target audience should include the following:

  • Audience demographics
  • Their needs and wants
  • What kind of problems they have, or will experience in the future
  • How they like to consume information
  • How they generally tend to see themselves
  • What they will expect from you and your business

It’s important to spend time creating as accurate a profile of your target users 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 lots of questions, like the following:

  • Who will your content be addressing?
  • What will visitors search for on your website or blog?
  • What issues are your visitors going to face that your information will help to solve online? What kind of solutions are people searching online for these issues?
  • Are your visitors technology-savvy? How does your audience consume information? Does your audience prefer video to images and text? Will they need downloadable content (e.g. price lists, schedules, timetables)? Will you need to create visual, audio or multimedia content often in order to engage your visitors?
  • Where do they live? Will geographic location and factors like age, relationship status or income level affect the success of your site? If so, what segments of the population will your site be marketing to and how will you find and target these demographics online?
  • How do your visitors see themselves? Who does your target audience engage online with? What videos are they watching? What else are they buying or consuming online?
  • What will your visitors expect from your site? What kind of information are you willing to provide online 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 key target users is an important step in the website planning process and it will help you communicate better with your web developer and everyone else assisting you with your website, which will then ensure that you get a website that will perfectly meet your budget, suit your needs and deliver you great results online.

Practical Tip

  • If you don’t have access to accurate information about your target audience, then start with your “best guess” based on your experience and whatever research you have done.
  • Try not to limit things too much. You could end up investing too much time pursuing a niche that is just too small, or an online opportunity that may not be viable.
  • 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, don’t try to make your website or blog be “everything to everyone”, or you’ll just end up creating a ton of extra work for yourself when it comes to populating your site with content, as you will see when we continue exploring the website planning process in another section.

The Website Planning Process Explained: A Basic Primer For Business Owners

(Source: Pixabay)

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