Are you thinking about getting a web site for your business?
Then this detailed guide to planning your website is for you.
Note: This section continues from the previous article where we provide essential information on planning a new web presence.
- For Part 1 of the article, go here: How To Plan Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 1
- For Part 2, go here: How To Plan Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 2
A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 3
So far, we have covered the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Define Your Website Goals
- Step 2 – Your Website Name
- Step 3 – Managing Your Site’s Technology
- Step 4 – Your Audience
- Step 5 – Keywords
- Step 6 – Define Web Site Categories
- Step 7 – Creating 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 content publishing schedule, define what types of content you are going to create for your website or blog, and decide who will do what on your website.
Step 8 – Your Blogging Or Content Publishing Schedule
You should publish 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.
(Your blogging or content publishing schedule)
Now that you have created an initial list of content ideas, the next step is to set up an initial content publishing or blogging schedule.
Although this step may not seem to be connected with the process of getting your web site built, by creating your content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will need and who will be responsible for managing 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 immediately after your site has been built.
Practical Tips For New Website Owners:
Tip #1 – Be Consistent
Publishing new content to your website or blog regularly is very important for building an online audience and helping your site’s results in search engines.
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 regularly.
For example, start by making a commitment to publish a new post each week or fortnight to your site. Decide on a specific weekday and the time of day that you will sit down to create your post. Allow 1-2 hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each article or blog post.
Now, commit to making this into a regular habit. Monitor this activity and if you need, readjust your content 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 to your website or blog consistently (and you should!), it helps to keep your workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheet-based Editorial Templates to help you schedule and track your content planning and production process, or use a plugin.
Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates
You can keep things simple and schedule your content creation using any spreadsheet program …
(Editorial & content production template created using spreadsheets)
Use the master spreadsheet to plan your content production and publishing schedule. For example, in your spreadsheet, you can add the following columns:
- Publish Date: The date you plan to publish your content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when the content has been published. You can also create a second 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 or blog.
- Writer: Who will write or create the content. (See Step 10 below)
- Type: What type of content you will be creating for this topic. (See Step 9 below)
- Category: If you are publishing to your blog, record the category you will publish this item under.
- Offer: What is this specific item of content designed to sell or promote? Enter your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your article or blog post headline, the title of your article, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content here.
- SEO: The main keyword phrase 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 with just these essential columns:
- Publish Date
If you would like to create an Editorial Calendar for help planning your monthly content, just search online for “free calendar template” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar – Calendar downloads)
WordPress Content Management Plugins
If you want to manage your content scheduling directly from WordPress, here are some useful plugins you can install:
(Editorial Calendar – Plugin for WordPress)
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 blog.
The Editorial Calendar provides content editors with an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar and manage your entire blog.
(Editorial Calendar. Screenshot source: Editorial Calendar plugin site)
To learn more about this plugin, visit this site:
(Edit Flow – Editorial plugin for WordPress)
Edit Flow allows you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress.
Key features of the plugin include:
- Calendar – A convenient month-by-month look at your content.
- Custom Statuses – Define key workflow stages.
- Editorial Comments – Allows private discussion between writers and editors in the admin with threaded commenting.
- Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
- Notifications – Lets you receive updates on the content that you are following.
- Story Budget – Lets you see your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Helps you organize your users by function or department.
(Edit Flow. Image source: Edit Flow plugin site)
To learn more about this useful plugin, visit this website:
(Oasis Workflow – Plugin for WordPress)
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin for WordPress that allows you to automate your WordPress editorial workflow using a simple, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the many features of Oasis Workflow include the ability to configure your work flow using a visual work flow designer and simple process/task templates.
(Oasis Workflow – plugin for WordPress. Image source: Oasis Workflow plugin website)
This plugin also offers role-based routing definitions, 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 set up multiple workflows, copy workflow and copy steps, auto submit, revise published content and much more.
To learn more about this plugin, visit this website:
Step 9 – Decide What Kind Of Content You Are Going To Publish
(What kind of content will you publish on your web site?)
After setting up your schedule for creating content, the next step is to decide what types of content you are going to create for posting on your website or blog.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, interviews, product reviews, downloadable PDF reports, etc.?
Knowing what types of content you plan 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 the content. This could include buying video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.
Step 10 – Assigning Roles And Responsibilities
(Who will be responsible and accountable for all areas of running your website or blog?)
The last step in the website planning process is to decide who will be responsible for 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 involved in running a professional digital presence.
When completing this step, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who will decide what content gets written/published on your site?
- Who will do the actual content creation work (e.g. fact-checking, writing and proofing, sourcing and outsourcing 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 project deadlines get met on time?
- Who will be responsible for the actual scheduling and publishing of content on your posts and pages and update any outdated information?
- Who will promote and market the 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 planning the cost of building your site)?
Who is going to be responsible and accountable for managing all areas of your site?
Depending on your situation, it could be just one person doing everything (e.g. you), or a small team of people who also have to juggle other areas of your business, or 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 building something that will not only not help you grow your business, but cost even more of your valuable money and time.
Tip: Focus On Your Processes, Not People
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 the sections of the site planning process. You are now ready to start exploring options for getting your new website built.
Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of the website planning process and how WordPress can help you get better results online. For information or help with any aspects of website development, see the other posts we’ve published on this site or contact us.
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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)