Are 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.
- For Part 1 of the article, go here: How To Plan Your Website – What To Do And What Not To Do – Part 1
- For Part 2, go here: A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 2
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
(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)
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.
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.
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 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:
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 – 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 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. Image above taken from Editorial Calendar website)
To learn more about this useful content management plugin, visit this website:
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. 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 – 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. 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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