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 DesignAre you thinking about starting a website or blog for your business?

Then this detailed guide to planning your website is for you.

Note: This is Part 3 of the article where we take you through the process of planning a web presence.

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 – Your Website Goals
  • Step 2 – Web Site Name
  • Step 3 – Managing Your Web Technology
  • Step 4 – Your Target Audience
  • Step 5 – Your Keyword Phrases
  • Step 6 – Defining Your Site Categories
  • Step 7 – Define Your Content Strategy

The Importance Of Planning A Web Site For Your Business - A Cost-Saving Primer For Business Owners

(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 or blog, decide what kinds of content you are going to create for your website, and decide who is going to do what on your website.

Step 8 – Create Your Blog Or Content Publishing Schedule

You should be publishing content regularly in order 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.

Your content or blog publishing schedule

(Creating your content or blog publishing schedule)

After creating an initial list of content ideas, the next step is to set up an initial blog or content publishing schedule.

Important Information

Although this step may not seem to be directly connected to the web site building process, by creating a content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will need to create and who will manage the content production and publishing areas (see Steps 9 and 10 below) will help you understand what type of additional services or resources you will need to have in place once your website has been built.

Practical Tip

Useful Tips For New Website Owners:

Tip #1 – Publish Consistently

Adding new content on your website or blog on a consistent basis is important for building an online audience and increasing your website’s results in search engines.

This is the step where you are actively marketing and promoting your business using content, and so it’s crucial that you develop a habit of creating and publishing content about your business regularly.

Make a commitment to add a new post each week or fortnight to your website or blog. Decide on a specific day of the week and time that you will sit down to create your blog posts or articles. Allow one to two hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each item of content.

Now, commit to turning this into a regular habit. Keep monitoring this activity and if necessary, adjust your content scheduling accordingly.

Remind yourself when you sit down to write your content that you are investing in your business.

Tip #2: Content Scheduling Tools

If you plan to publish content to your website regularly (and you should!), it helps to keep your content creation workflow organized.

You can use simple spreadsheets to help you schedule and track the content planning, or use a plugin.

Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates

You can easily create a simple editorial content master template to help you schedule your content creation using a spreadsheet program …

Blog content template created with a spreadsheet

(Editorial template created using spreadsheets)

Use this spreadsheet to plan your content creation and publishing schedule. For example, in the spreadsheet, you can add the following columns:

  • Date: The date you plan to publish the content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when your content has been published. You can also add 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.
  • Author: Who will write or create the content. (See Step 10 below)
  • Content Format: What format of content you will be creating for this item. (See Step 9 below)
  • Category: If you are publishing to your blog, record the category you will publish this item under.
  • CTA: What is this particular content item designed to help you sell or promote? Specify your offer or call-to-action here.
  • Headline: Enter your blog post or article headline, the title of your article, etc.
  • Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content in this column.
  • SEO: The main keyword phrase targeted by your content.
  • 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: 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 things simple by creating a basic spreadsheet with only these essential columns:

  • Date
  • Author
  • Format
  • Category.

If you would like to create an Editorial Calendar to help plan your monthly content, then search online for “free calendar template” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com

WinCalendar.com - Calendar downloads

(WinCalendar – Calendar maker)

WordPress Editorial Scheduling Plugins

If you want to manage your content scheduling directly from WordPress, there are some useful content scheduling plugins you can use:

Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendar

(Editorial Calendar)

Editorial Calendar is a Free plugin for WordPress that lets you see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your site.

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 in the calendar and manage your entire blog.

Editorial Calendar

(Editorial Calendar. Above screenshot taken from Editorial Calendar plugin website)

To learn more, visit the plugin site here:

Edit Flow – Editorial Plugin For WordPress

Edit Flow

(Edit Flow)

Edit Flow empowers you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress.

Key features of this plugin include:

  • Calendar – A month-by-month view of your content.
  • Custom Statuses – Define the key stages to your workflow.
  • Editorial Comments – Threaded commenting inside the admin for private discussion between writers and editors.
  • Editorial Metadata – Track important important details.
  • Notifications – Lets you receive timely updates on any content that you are following.
  • Story Budget – Lets you view your upcoming content budget.
  • User Groups – Keep your users organized by department or function.

Edit Flow

(Edit Flow. Screenshot source: Edit Flow website)

For more details about this useful content management plugin, visit this website:

Oasis Workflow – Plugin For WordPress

Oasis Workflow

(Oasis Workflow)

Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin for WordPress that allows you to automate any editorial workflow process using a simple and intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).

Some of the features of the Oasis Workflow plugin include the ability to configure your workflow using a visual workflow designer and simple process/task templates.

Oasis Workflow

(Oasis Workflow. Screenshots above taken from plugin website)

It also offers 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 more.

To learn more, visit this website:

Step 9 – Define What Type Of Content You Will Publish

What type of content are you going to publish on your website?

(What type of content is going to be published on your site?)

After setting up your schedule for creating content, the next step is to establish what types of content you are going to create to publish on your site.

Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, case studies, downloadable PDF reports, etc.?

Knowing what kinds of content you plan to create for your website is useful because this helps you understand what other technologies and resources you may need to purchase or budget for in order to create your content. This could include purchasing video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.

Step 10 – Assign Responsibilities

Who is going to handle all areas of running your website or blog?

(Who is going to handle all areas of running your website?)

The final step in the business site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for various aspects of your website and content and assign these to your in-house resources, or consider outsourcing.

There are many roles and responsibilities associated with running a professional digital presence.

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 reviewing, 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?
  • 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 managing the budget for all of the above areas (including budgeting for the cost of getting your website built)?

Who will be responsible for each of the aspects of your website or blog?

Depending on the circumstances of your business, it could be just one person doing everything (e.g. you), or a few people, 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 investing a lot of time and money building something that will not only not help you grow your business, but cost you valuable money and time.

Useful Tip

Tip: Focus On The 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 of the sections of the site planning process and are now ready to begin looking at options for getting your site built.

A Practical Guide To Website Planning For Business Owners

(Source: Pixabay)

Useful Tip

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the website planning process and how WordPress can help you expand your business online. For information or assistance with website development, see the other articles we have published on this site or contact us.

We also recommend that you consider subscribing to this blog, as we will be posting loads more content, resources and practical business tips on developing and implementing a successful web site marketing strategy.

Additional images: Blogging, Laptop, Workstation, Business Startup.

***

"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group

***

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 thinking about getting a website built for your small business?

Then this article on website planning is for you.

Note: This section continues from the previous article where we take you through the process of planning your website.

Planning Your Website – What You Need To Know First – Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we looked at the following areas of the website planning process:

  • Step 1 – Defining Your Goals
  • Step 2 – Website Name
  • Step 3 – Managing Your Technology
  • Step 4 – Define Your 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 website. If you have been following 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 be using and defined your target audience.

At this point, you could start building your website. We recommend, however, that you go through the planning process presented in this article, as we will now discuss content planning and looking at effective strategies for managing and publishing content. Doing all of the planning work before you start building your site will help you save a significant amount of time and money.

Step 5 – Identifying Your Main Keywords

(List your main key phrases)

(Identify your main keywords)

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

Ideally, you should aim for keyword phrases that have “low competition” and a reasonable number of searches every month. Depending on your goals, you may also want to focus on keywords within your target niche that have some level of commercial viability.

There are many tools you can use to look for great keyword phrases, including free keyword tools.

If you have a Google Adwords account, for example, you can use a keyword search tool like the Google Keyword Planner.

The screenshot below shows that more people search each month for a keyword phrase like “overseas adventure travel” (> 18,000 searches per month) than the keyword phrase “singles adventure travel“, which gets less than 1,000 searches a month …

Keyword Research Tool - Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Planner Tool)

According to the Google Keyword Planner, however, the number of websites competing against one another in the search space for “singles adventure travel“, is significantly higher than sites trying to rank for a key phrase like “overseas adventure travel“. This may be because one key phrase relates to a specifically 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 potential of certain keyword phrases. Typically, savvy advertisers will promote keywords that are aimed towards attracting ”buyers”, rather than keywords aimed more towards attracting people who are just browsing or researching information online.

For example, users searching online for the keyword phrase “colour printers” are typically not as ready to buy a color printer as people who search for a more targeted keyword phrase like “konica minolta bizhub 4700P review”, so if you plan to sell or review colour printers on your website, you would want to aim for longer, more descriptive and more targeted keyword search terms (called “long tail keywords”), hopefully with a higher monthly search volume and low to medium competition.

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

Make a simple start. Make a list of the “top” 5 keywords you want your site to rank well for in the search engines, make sure that these keywords have a decent monthly search volume and then use these keyword phrases naturally in your posts (i.e. aim to create content for human readers, not search engines).

Once your site begins to attract visitors, you can then review actual data like keyword searches online users are typing into search engines to find your website from analytic tools and use the information to refine your keyword research and get better results online.

Useful Tip

Keyword Research Tips

Tip #1: Avoid building your advertising campaigns on key phrases that show extremely low to no monthly searches, or that have no demand. There’s no point ranking #1 in Google for a keyword that no one is looking for. Also, if you type the keywords into Google and no one is advertising products or services for it (i.e. no Google advertisements show up), then that keyword most likely has no commercial interest or is unprofitable.

Key phrases with no competition for advertisers may not be worth targeting

(Keyphrases with no competing advertisers are typically not worth targeting)

Tip #2: Use keyword research tools to help you build lists of keywords and generate great content ideas. Below are a number of useful free and paid keyword research tools you can check out:

Free Keyword Research Tools

Google Keyword Planner Tool

Keyword Research Tool - Google Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Planner Tool – Google AdWords)

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

To learn more about this tool, check out the website here:

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

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest

(Ubersuggest keyword suggestion tool)

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

This tool saves you time going go through the alphabet from a-z to discover new keyword topics related to your subject:

Discover new content ideas with the Ubersuggest

(Discover new content ideas with the Ubersuggest)

To use this free tool, visit the site here:

Paid Keyword Research Tools

The keyword research tools below will help you not only uncover many profitable keywords and long-tail keywords to use when planning content or a pay-per-click advertising campaign, but also save time analyzing your competition’s keywords and formulating a content SEO strategy for your site:

Market Samurai

Market Samurai Keyword Tool

(Market Samurai Keyword Tool)

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

For more information about this software tool, visit the site here:

SEMRush

SEMRUSH Keyword Research Tool

(SEMRUSH Keyword Tool)

With SEMRush, you can enter your competitor’s URL and the tool will then show you all the keywords that your competitors’ sites are ranking for, allowing you to easily find short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can then target.

For more information about this tool, visit this site:

Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy

(Keyword Spy Keyword Research Tool)

Keyword Spy is an SEO tool that’s primarily used for researching keywords. You can use Keyword Spy to view competitor keywords and to do research on keywords for your own website and content marketing strategy.

To learn more, visit this website:

Step 6 – Defining Your Site Categories

Define your site categories

(Define your site categories)

The next step after doing keyword research is to decide on specific topics in your niche that your visitors may be interested in learning about and create a list of “categories” for these 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”, “adventure travel”, “exotic destinations”, “family holiday destinations”, “long-term accommodation”, “travel accessories”, “cruises”, “airfare discounts”, “Caribbean Travel,” or any category of travel-related services you offer.

Aim to create an initial list of about 3 – 10 categories. You can always add more categories to your site later on.

Practical Tip

Tips For Business Website Owners:

Tip #1: Use WordPress To Easily Manage Your Site’s Categories

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

WordPress gives you great control over managing your categories. It also lets you easily create new categories and assign 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: Categories Can Increase Your SEO Rankings

Selecting the right keywords when naming your categories helps to improve your site’s SEO rankings.

WordPress lets you easily create search engine-friendly URLs that include your categories as keywords (great for search engine optimization, so keep this in mind when thinking about category names …

WordPress categories can increase your search engine optimization

(WordPress categories can improve your search rankings)

Tip #3: Categories Can Improve Your Site’s Navigation

Categories help visitors navigate more easily through your site’s content.

WordPress turns every category you create into a searchable webpage.

This allows your visitors to search for all content published under that category in one place …

Using WordPress categories improves your site's navigation

(Use categories to improve ease of navigation for your users)

If you need help with using WordPress post categories, go here:

Step 7 – Defining Your Content Strategy

Define your content strategy

(Create a content strategy)

Now that you have researched your keywords and created a list of categories, the next step is to plan 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:

Tip

Useful Tips For New Website Owners:

Tip #1: Your “Fixed” Web Content

Make sure that you have content for all of your “fixed” website pages already written before you begin building your site, especially if you plan to get someone else involved in the process. This will help you avoid additional costs caused by delays or unpreparedness.

Here is a simple checklist of the content you will want to have ready prior to building a website:

  • Business name and brief business description.
  • “Main Page” content.
  • “About Us” page content.
  • Content for your “Products/Services” page(s).
  • Your main service/product categories.
  • Contact Details (e.g. business address, email, telephone numbers)
  • Images (e.g. product images, etc.). Image formats = .jpg, .png or .gif.
  • 2 – 10 initial posts to be used as “seed content” for your site (saved in Word document or plain text file).
  • List of all external links and additional contact details to be included in your site (e.g. “Resources”, etc.
  • Media files (e.g. videos, PDF reports, white papers, etc.)
  • Also, remember to check that all links you are planning to add to your website and all other details like spelling, phone numbers, etc. are correct.

Tip #2: Create A List Of Web Content Topics

Here is a “fast” method you can use to help you begin writing a list of content ideas for your website or blog.

Take each of your keywords and turn these into topics for content that you will create.

You can also write blog posts about each of the following topics:

  • The products or services you sell
  • Your company and the people in it
  • Educate visitors about your industry – the challenges it faces and how your business is addressing these
  • A industry event you plan to attend
  • ”How to” tutorials
  • Affiliate tips and training
  • What area of your solution could you educate prospects about to help eliminate objections?
  • What problems do you or your services help your customers solve?
  • What information can you provide to help more prospective customers buy again from you?
  • What are common FAQs you get all the time from enquirers or prospective customers?
  • etc …

Once you have created a list of web content topics, continue adding to the list on a regular basis.

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

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

Content Creation Email Training Series

(Learn ways to never run out of web content ideas)

The “Infinite Web Content Creation” training series is designed for WordPress users and covers the following aspects of the content creation process:

  • Creating A Sustainable Digital Content Strategy
  • Content Writing Tips
  • Copywriting Principles
  • Content Posting Guidelines For WordPress
  • What To Write About
  • Outsourcing Your Content Writing
  • Time-Saving Content Creation Strategies

Enter your details in the form below to subscribe now and start receiving training content immediately!

***

The Web Site Planning Process Explained - A Useful Primer For Business Owners

***

This is the end of Part Two

To continue reading this tutorial, click here:

Images: Planning, Social Media, Blogging.

***

"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now

***

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 site DevelopmentThis is Part 1 of a 3-part series of articles designed to help you understand how to plan your website or blog.

Are you thinking about starting a web site for your business?

If so, one of the many decisions you have to make is if you should build this site yourself, or get someone to help create the website for you.

Both choices have pros and cons. Whatever choice you pick will depend on a number of other factors like:

  • What kind of financial resources you have available to invest into the project
  • Time
  • Your business needs and priorities
  • How soon you need your site to be up and running
  • Your level of technical skill
  • Your level of commitment to manage the project
  • And many other factors …

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

Practical 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

How To Plan A Web Site: A Useful Blueprint For Business Owners

Whether you decide to build a website yourself or get it built by someone else, the first crucial step is to get some good planning done. In this blog post, we explain in simple terms the importance of planning your small business web site and what to avoid doing when planning a website.

How To Plan A Website: A Practical Blueprint For Business Owners

Proper website planning is regarded by many web business experts to be the most important step in building a successful web site. Careful planning before you begin helps to avoid costly mistakes later and results in a better end end product.

In this article, we provide a comprehensive practical guide for business owners aimed at helping you better understand the process of planning a website for your business. We will also cover what to do and what not to do when planning a website or blog, and give you tips on how to brief your web developer to make sure that you end up with a website that will perfectly meet your budget and suit your needs.

Useful Info

Important: before you even think of setting up a website or registering a domain for your online presence, it is vitally important that you first research your market.

Developing a successful presence online requires more than getting a professional website and business blog set up. It requires other things, a commitment to developing and implementing an ongoing online marketing strategy.

The Site Planning Process Made Simple

So … you have decided that you need a website.

Let’s start, then, by understanding the website planning process.

Take a look at the chart below, and let’s go step-by-step through the information in this section together.

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

The Web Site Planning Process Explained - A Practical Guide For Non-Technical Business Owners

(click here to view a larger-sized image)

To make the process easier to follow, we recommend downloading and printing the Website Planning Process Flowchart shown above.

Once you have downloaded and printed out the flowchart, grab some sheets of paper and a pen, or whatever you use to take notes, so you can write down your thoughts and ideas as we take you through the process. Also, make sure that you will not have any distractions for the next 25-60 minutes.

Step 1 – Website Goals

Regardless of the type of web site you are planning to build, the first step is to define clear goals for your website and make it as specific as you can.

Come up with answers to these questions:

  • What kind of web site do you want to build? Is it a business website, e-commerce site, a business blog, or some other kind of site?
  • What do I expect my site to help me achieve?

For example, your goal could be to:

  • Sell products or services online – you might want to build an online web store. Depending on your plan, this may require setting up a secure website (i.e. changing your site from ‘http’ to ‘https’), the addition of a membership site exclusively for your registered users, etc.
  • Build a list of subscribers – you might want to look at getting a simple site built with a “squeeze” page (landing page) or an information page and a lead capture form where all online traffic gets directed towards,
  • Have a portfolio site that will help build credibility and trust for your professional services or brand, post news, announcements, or updates to staff, etc.
  • Get more exposure online for your existing business – you may need a blog built on a separate domain, or added to your existing website to provide tips or training information to new customers, or help establish your authority and expertise in your target market.
  • Or you may need a combination of the above or something else entirely …

List whatever goals you want your site to help you achieve on your Website Planning worksheet, a blank sheet of paper, or wherever you are recording this process.

Once you have written your list, go through the list and choose the goal that has overriding importance above all others.

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

Now, return to your list and repeat this process to find at least two more goals and record these on your planning sheet as “Goal 2” and “Goal 3“.

Important

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

But, what if you already can’t manage?

Owning a website is going to pile on a whole lot of extra responsibilities on your plate.

Your website planning process is a subset of your business marketing planning processes. It’s important, therefore, that you continue to refer back to your business marketing plan to make sure that you will have the resources and capabilities available to implement the strategies to help you achieve your goals.

So, with this in mind, let’s do the following right now:

After deciding on at least 1-3 goals and written these in your worksheet, go back to “Goal 1” and ask yourself this question: “how am I going to measure this goal?”

In other words, how are you going to quantify and review your results? How will you know if your site is helping your business achieve your goals?

For example, your web site’s objective could be to help you get a specific number of leads to submit an enquiry each week using the contact form on your site, or signing up “X” new membership sales 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.

Useful Tip

Note: Keep your goals as flexible as possible at this stage, so you can modify these once more feedback is gathered on your website from site users.

Step 2 – Your Site Name

After you have clearly identified your goals, the next step is to name your website.

This is another important part of the website planning process, so take your time and think carefully about what you are going to name your site.

Brainstorm your ideas or mastermind 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 the name of your company, especially if the 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 product or service you sell? What would they be typing into a search engine or browser to find you? Once you know the answer, try to come up with a name that would entice your prospects.

Note: You can be creative and clever with your name, but try to avoid being “too creative”. This also goes for choosing a catchy, memorable or a stand out name. You can have a fun or quirky website name, but it’s best to try and avoid anything that may 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 have named their sites. Study your competition, especially those who occupy the search results that you would like to appear in.

For example, if you are thinking of starting a blog related to food, doing a quick search online for “cooking blog” reveals a number of great blog names like: “Smitten Kitchen”, “Cooking With Amy”, ”Shockingly Delicious”, “The Rambling Spoon” and more …

Researching ideas for your website or blog's name

(Research ideas for the name of your website)

So … this is where you can get inspired. Make a big list of possible names and then narrow your list down.

Once you have reduced the list down to the most likely contenders, repeat the same process as above to craft a description, tagline or slogan for your website or blog.

Your description should be concise and inform the reader in as few words as possible what your site is all about. For example, in one of the cooking sites we came across while searching online, the blog 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.

Once you have completed this step, the next step is to look at your domain name. If you plan to add a blog to your existing site and decide that your business blog should have its own domain name, then register a new domain name for your site.

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

Useful Tip

Tip: Subscribe to this site to learn more about practical strategies on registering domains and tips on how to develop and implement your web site marketing strategy.

Step 3 – Manage Your Web Technology

Once you have settled on a name and description for your site, the next step is to create a clear plan specifying how to manage the technology that will host, support and help you drive your site.

We strongly recommend getting your site built with 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 CMS platform, and, as you can see below, WordPress powers over 45% of the world’s CMS-driven websites.

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

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

A WordPress site is ideal for publishing your content and communicating with visitors and potential customers.

A business website or blog powered by WordPress lets you engage with site visitors and makes things like posting content, special offers, promotions, news and announcements about your business, company or industry very easy, especially if you have little to no technical web skills. No coding is, in fact, required to publish content on a WordPress site, and managing tasks like 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 applications. More sites are now being powered by WordPress, which provides businesses and their users with all of the functions and capabilities of a regular website.

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

Hosting And Site Management

As well as choosing to build your web site using the WordPress web publishing software, you should also think about who is going to host your website, and whether you plan to outsource the management of your site to somebody else, or manage your own site.

Hosting And Web Management

(Hosting & Managing Your Website)

Useful Tip

We use and recommend WordPress for many business needs, and we also provide a lot more detailed information about WordPress and tips on subjects like domain name registration, webhosting and website management in other articles on this site.

If you need more help with this step, please contact us for assistance.

Step 4 – Your Target Audience

After you have the basics of your site figured out, then it’s time to define who your target audience will be.

Key information about your site’s target audience includes the following:

  • Audience demographics
  • What they need and want
  • Problems your audience is having, or will face in the future
  • How prefer to consume information
  • How they generally view themselves
  • What they can expect from you and your business

It’s important to try and create as accurate a profile of your target users as possible. Try to picture the ideal person that you will be communicating directly with and presenting your information to.

To work through this process, begin by asking lots of questions, like the following:

  • Who is the ideal reader for your web site?
  • What will visitors look for on your website or blog?
  • What difficulties are your visitors going to experience that your information will help to solve online? What types of solutions are people searching online for these issues?
  • Is your target audience technology-savvy? How will your users consume digital information? Will they prefer videos to images and text? Do they need downloadable content (e.g. price lists, schedules, timetables)? Will you need to create content like videos, audios or multimedia presentations often in order to engage your target audience?
  • Where do they live? Do geographic location and factors like occupation, relationship status or income level impact the success of your site? If so, what segments of the population will your website or blog be marketing to and how will you target these demographics online?
  • How do your visitors see themselves? Who does your audience engage online with? What videos are they watching? What else do they buy, or consume online?
  • What will people expect from your site? What kind of information are you willing to provide to them for free or for a fee? What kind of information are you unwilling to provide to them for free?

Being able to accurately define your site’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, and ensure that you end up with 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 research data about your target audience, then start with a “best guess” based on your experience and research.
  • Don’t narrow your criteria too much. You could be going after a niche that is just too small, or an online opportunity that may not be sustainable.
  • 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 web site appeal to an audience that is just too broad, or you’ll just end up creating a ton of extra work for yourself when it comes to developing and implementing an effective content strategy for your website, as you will learn when we continue exploring the website planning process in another post.

A Comprehensive Guide To Website Planning For Business Owners

(Source: Pixabay)

***

This is the end of Part 1

To continue reading this article, click on the link below:

Practical Tip

Would You Like To Get Notified When New Tutorials Are Published? Then Subscribe To WPCompendium.org!

Additional images: Notebook, Map, Server, Startup.

***

"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)