Are you considering the idea of getting a web site built for your business?
Then this basic guide to planning your website is for you.
Note: This is Part 3 of the article series where we provide essential information about planning your new website or blog.
- For Part 1, go here: Planning Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 1
- For Part 2 of the article series, go here: Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 2
Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 3
Up to this point, we have looked at the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Your Website Goals
- Step 2 – Naming Your Website
- Step 3 – Manage Your Website’s Technology
- Step 4 – Defining Your Target Audience
- Step 5 – Identify Your Main Keywords
- Step 6 – Defining Website Categories
- Step 7 – Planning Your Content Strategy
(The 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, define what types of content you will create for your website or blog, and decide who is going to do what on your website.
Step 8 – Create Your Content Publishing Or Blogging 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)
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 related directly to the process of getting your website or blog built, by 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 kind of additional services and resources your business will need to have in place immediately after your website has been created.
Useful Tips For New Website Owners:
Tip #1 – Publish Consistently
Adding new content to your website or blog on a consistent basis is essential for building an online readership and for helping your site’s results in search engines.
This is the step where you are actively marketing and promoting your business online using content, and so it’s crucial that you create a habit of publishing content on your website or blog consistently.
For example, start by making a commitment to add 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 write your articles. Allow 1-2 hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each article or blog post.
Now, commit to turning this into a regular habit. Keep monitoring your activity and if required, readjust your scheduling 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 on a regular basis (and you should!), having content scheduling tools can help keep your content creation workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheets to help schedule and track the content publishing, 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 a spreadsheet program …
(Content planning template created using spreadsheets)
Use the master spreadsheet to plan your content production and publishing schedule. For example, you can add the following columns to your spreadsheet:
- Date: Enter the date you plan to publish your content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when content has been published. Additionally, you can 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 your content. (See Step 10 below)
- Content Format: Record the format of content you will be creating for this topic. (See Step 9 below)
- Category: If you are publishing content to your blog, specify the category you will publish this item under.
- CTA: What is this particular item of content designed to help you sell or promote? Record 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 the 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 things simple by creating a basic spreadsheet with just these essential columns:
- Publish Date
- Content Writer
- Content Format
If you want to create an Editorial Calendar for help planning your monthly content, then search online for “free editorial calendar template” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar.com – Calendar maker)
WordPress Content Scheduling Plugins
If you want to work directly from WordPress, here are some useful content scheduling plugins you can install:
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 gives you an overview of your blog 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 content publishing schedule.
(Editorial Calendar. Screenshot source: Editorial Calendar site)
For more details, visit the plugin site here:
(Edit Flow – Plugin for WordPress)
Edit Flow is a modular editorial workflow plugin that lets you collaborate with your editorial team right inside WordPress.
Some key features of this plugin include:
- Calendar – A convenient month-by-month view of your content.
- Custom Statuses – Define the key stages to your workflow.
- Editorial Comments – Allows private discussion between writers and editors in the admin section through threaded commenting.
- Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
- Notifications – Receive updates on the content you’re following.
- Story Budget – Lets you see your upcoming content budget details.
- User Groups – Helps you organize your users by department or function.
(Edit Flow. Image source: Edit Flow site)
For more information about this useful plugin, check out the plugin’s website here:
(Oasis Workflow – Editorial plugin for WordPress)
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin designed 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 work flow using an easy drag and drop designer interface and simple process/task templates.
(Oasis Workflow. Screenshot source: plugin website)
This plugin also offers 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 set up multiple workflows, copy workflow and copy steps, autosubmit, revise published content and much more.
To learn more, visit this website:
Step 9 – Define What Kind Of Content To Publish
(What kind of content will be published on your website or blog?)
Once you have set up a schedule for creating content, the next step is to define what type of content you will create for publishing on your site.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, product comparisons, multimedia presentations, etc.?
Knowing what kind of content you plan to create for your site is useful because this helps you understand what other tools and resources you will probably 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 – Assigning Roles And Responsibilities
(Who is going to be responsible and accountable for all areas of running your website or blog?)
The last step in your web site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for managing the various aspects 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 busy site or blog.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who will decide what content gets written/published on your site?
- Who will create the actual content (e.g. fact-checking, 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?
- Who will be responsible for the actual scheduling and publishing of content on your website or blog 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 managing the budget for all of the above areas (including planning the cost of building your site)?
Who is going to handle all of the various aspects of your website or blog?
Depending on the circumstances of your business, it may be just one person doing everything (i.e. 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 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: Don’t Focus On People When Assigning Responsibilities, Focus On Processes
Create a flowchart document showing 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 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 site planning process. You can now begin looking at options for getting your website built.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the web site planning process and how WordPress can help you get better results online. See other posts on this site or contact us for information or help with any of these areas.
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