Are 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.
- For Part 1, go here: The Website Planning Process – Part 1
- For Part 2 of the article series, go here: The Website Planning Process – Part 2
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
(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.
(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.
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.
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 …
(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:
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 – 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 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. Above screenshot taken from Editorial Calendar plugin website)
To learn more, visit the plugin site here:
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. Screenshot source: Edit Flow website)
For more details about this useful content management plugin, visit this website:
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. 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 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?)
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.
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.
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.
"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