Are you considering the idea of getting a website or blog built for your small business?
Then this essential guide to planning your website is for you.
Note: This section continues from the previous article series where we provide essential information about planning your new website.
- For Part 1 of the article, go here: How To Plan Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 1
- For Part 2, go here: Planning Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 2
Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 3
So far, we have covered the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Defining Your Goals
- Step 2 – Site Name
- Step 3 – Managing Your Web Technology
- Step 4 – Defining Your Audience
- Step 5 – Your Keyword Phrases
- Step 6 – Define Web Site Categories
- Step 7 – Planning Your Content Strategy
(Website Planning Process)
You’re almost there 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 website or blog, decide what type of content you will create for your site, and decide who will do what on your website.
Step 8 – Creating Your Blog Or Content Publishing Schedule
You need to publish 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.
(Create 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 related directly to the website building process, as you go through the process of creating a content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will need to create and who will be responsible for managing 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 site has been created.
Useful Tips For New Website Owners:
Tip #1 – Be Consistent
Adding quality content to your website consistently is extremely important for building an online readership and increasing your website’s search engine rankings and results.
This is the step where you are actively marketing and promoting your business through content, and so it’s crucial that you develop a habit of publishing content on your site on a regular basis.
For example, make a commitment to publish a new post each week or fortnight to your site. Decide on a specific day of the week and time that you will sit down to create your blog posts or articles. Allow 1-2 hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each post.
Now, commit to turning this into a regular habit. Monitor this activity and if you need to, fine-tune your content publishing schedule accordingly.
Remind yourself when you sit down to write your content that you are investing in your business.
Tip #2: Use Content Scheduling Tools
If you are going to publish content to your website or blog regularly (and you should!), it helps to keep your workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheets to help schedule and track your content production, 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 …
(Editorial & content production template created with a spreadsheet)
Use this spreadsheet to plan your content production and publishing schedule. For example, you can add the following columns to your spreadsheet:
- Publish Date: Enter 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 written by, and 2) the date your content is scheduled to publish on your site.
- Author: Who will write or create the content. (See Step 10 below)
- Format: What 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.
- CTA: What is this specific content item designed to help you sell or promote? Enter your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your article or blog post headline, article title, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of your content here.
- 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 all of the above columns. You can keep it 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, just search online for “free editorial calendar” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar.com – Calendar downloads)
WordPress Editorial Management Plugins
If you want to manage your content scheduling directly from WordPress, there are some useful content scheduling plugins you can install:
Editorial Calendar is a Free WordPress plugin that makes it possible to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your site.
The Editorial Calendar gives you an overview of your scheduling and when each item will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right inside the calendar and manage your entire blogging schedule.
(Editorial Calendar. Image above taken from plugin site)
For more details, visit this site:
Edit Flow is a modular plugin that empowers you to collaborate with your editorial team right inside WordPress.
Key features of this 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 through threaded commenting.
- Editorial Metadata – Helps you keep track of important details.
- Notifications – Lets you receive timely updates on any content that you are following.
- Story Budget – View your upcoming content budget details.
- User Groups – Organize your users by department or function.
(Edit Flow – WordPress plugin. Images above taken from plugin site)
To learn more about this useful plugin, visit this website:
(Oasis Workflow – Editorial plugin for WordPress)
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin for WordPress that lets you automate your WordPress editorial workflow using a simple and intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the many features of this plugin 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: Oasis Workflow 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 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.
Oasis Workflow 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.
To learn more about this useful content management plugin, check out the plugin’s website here:
Step 9 – Define What Type Of Content You Are Going To Publish
(What kind of content will you 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 are going to create for posting on your website or blog.
Are you planning to publish articles, videos, audios, interviews, product comparisons, multimedia presentations, etc.?
Knowing what kinds of content you intend to create for your website 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 purchasing video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.
Step 10 – Assign Roles And Responsibilities
(Who will handle all aspects of running your website?)
The final step in the website planning process is to decide who will be responsible for various areas of your site and content and assign these to the resources you have available, or consider outsourcing.
There are many roles and responsibilities involved in running a successful business website 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. content research, writing and proofing, sourcing and outsourcing 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 to ensure that everything will work according to plan?
- Who will manage the scheduling and publishing of content on your website or blog and update any outdated information?
- Who will promote and market the blog 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 website)?
Who will be accountable for each of the areas of your website or blog?
Depending on the size of your business, it could be just one person doing it all (i.e. you), or a few people, or 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 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 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 steps of the site planning process and can now start 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. If you need information or assistance with any aspects of web development, see the other posts we have published on this site or contact us.
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