Are you considering the idea of taking your small business online?
Then this basic guide to planning your website is for you.
Note: This is Part 3 of the article series where we provide essential information on planning your new web presence.
- For Part 1, go here: Planning Your Website – A Basic Guide – Part 1
- For Part 2 of the article series, go here: Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 2
Planning Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 3
In Part One of this article, we have looked at the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Defining Your Goals
- Step 2 – Site Name
- Step 3 – Managing Your Website’s Technology
- Step 4 – Define Your Audience
- Step 5 – Your Keyword Phrases
- Step 6 – Define Site Categories
- Step 7 – Formulating Your Content Strategy
(Website Planning Process)
You’re almost done with your initial website planning work. In this phase of the planning process, we are going to set up an initial publishing schedule for your website, establish what type of content you are going to create for your website, and decide who will do what on your site.
Step 8 – Create Your Content Or Blog Publishing Schedule
You need to be publishing content regularly in order 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 blog or content publishing schedule)
Once you have created 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 building your website, as you go through the process of creating your content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will need to create and who will manage all of this (see Steps 9 and 10 below) will help you understand what type of additional services and resources you will need immediately after your website has been built.
Content Schedule Tips:
Tip #1 – Publish Consistently
Publishing quality content on your website or blog on a regular basis is extremely important for building an online readership and improving your site’s search engine rankings and results.
This is the step where you are actively marketing and promoting your business online using content, and so it’s crucial that you create a habit of writing and publishing content about your business consistently.
For example, make a commitment to publish a new post each week or fortnight to your site. Decide on a specific weekday and time that you will sit down to write your blog posts or articles. Allow one to two 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 investing in your business.
Tip #2: Content Scheduling Tools
If you are going to publish content regularly (and you should!), it helps to keep your content creation workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheets to help schedule and track your content planning process, or use a plugin.
Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates
You can keep things simple and schedule your content creation using any spreadsheet program …
(Content planning 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: Record the date you plan to publish the content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when content has been published. Additionally, you can 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 this content. (See Step 10 below)
- Content Type: Enter the kind of content you will be creating for this item. (See Step 9 below)
- Category: If you are publishing to your blog, enter the blog post category you will publish this item under.
- Offer: What is this particular item of content designed to help you sell or promote? Specify your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your blog post headline, content item title, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content in this column.
- SEO: 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 to have all of the above columns. You can keep it simple by creating a basic spreadsheet with just these essential columns:
- Publish Date
If you want to create an Editorial Calendar for help planning your monthly content, then search online for “free monthly calendar template” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar – Calendar downloads)
WordPress Content Scheduling Plugins
If you want to manage your content scheduling directly from WordPress, here are some useful plugins you can use:
(Editorial Calendar – WP plugin)
Editorial Calendar is a Free plugin for WordPress that allows you to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog.
The Editorial Calendar gives you an overview of your scheduling and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts inside the calendar and manage your entire blog.
(Editorial Calendar – WP editorial plugin. Screenshot source: plugin site)
For more information about this useful plugin, visit the plugin page here:
(Edit Flow – WordPress plugin)
Edit Flow is a modular plugin that empowers 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 – Lets you define key workflow stages.
- Editorial Comments – Threaded commenting in the admin for private discussion between editors and writers.
- Editorial Metadata – Helps you keep track of important details.
- Notifications – Receive timely updates on any content you’re following.
- Story Budget – See your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Helps you keep your users organized by department or function.
(Edit Flow. Screenshot source: Edit Flow plugin site)
To learn more, visit the plugin site here:
(Oasis Workflow – WordPress plugin)
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin for WordPress that allows you to automate any editorial workflow process using a simple, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the features of Oasis Workflow include the ability to configure your work flow using an easy drag and drop designer interface and simple process/task templates.
(Oasis Workflow. Screenshot source: plugin site)
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 it’s 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 create multiple workflows, copy workflow and copy steps, autosubmit, revise published content and much more.
For more information about this useful content management plugin, visit this website:
Step 9 – Establish What Kind Of Content You Will Publish
(What type of content are you going to publish on your website or blog?)
After setting up your schedule for creating content, the next step is to decide what kinds of content you will create for posting on your website.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, interviews, product comparisons, PDF reports, etc.?
Knowing what type of content you intend to create for your website or blog is useful because this helps you understand what other tools and resources you will need to purchase or budget for in order to create your content. This could include buying video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.
Step 10 – Assign Responsibilities
(Who will handle all areas of running your website or blog?)
The final step in your site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for managing the various aspects of your site and content and assign these to your human resources, or consider outsourcing.
There are many roles and responsibilities involved in running a busy digital presence.
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. content research, writing and proofing, sourcing and creating images 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 to ensure that everything goes according to plan?
- Who will manage the actual scheduling and publishing of content on your site 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 managing the budget for all of the above areas (including budgeting for the cost of getting your website built)?
Who is going to be accountable for each of the aspects of your website or blog?
Depending on the resources you have available, it may be just one person doing it all (i.e. 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 know the answer to 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 you valuable money and time.
Tip: Focus On Processes, Not People When Assigning Responsibilities
Document or flowchart exactly who will do what in terms of 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 of the steps of the site planning process and are now ready to start looking at options for getting your new site built.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the web site planning process and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. For information or help with any aspects of website design, see the other articles we have published on this site or contact us.
We also recommend that you consider subscribing to this site, as we will be posting loads more content, resources and practical tips for small businesses on developing and implementing your online marketing strategy.
"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)