Are you considering the idea of taking your small business online?
Then this detailed guide to website planning is for you.
Note: This is Part 3 of the article series where we provide essential information related to planning a new web presence.
- For Part 1, go here: Planning Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 1
- For Part 2 of the article, go here: The Website Planning 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 – Goals
- Step 2 – Naming Your Website
- Step 3 – Manage Your Web Technology
- Step 4 – Define Your Target Audience
- Step 5 – Your Keywords
- Step 6 – Defining Website Categories
- Step 7 – Formulating Your Content Strategy
(Website Planning Process)
You’re almost there 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, define what kind of content you are going to create for your site, and decide who is going to do what on your website.
Step 8 – Create Your Blog Or Content Publishing Schedule
You want to publish content regularly 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 blog 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 building your web site, by creating your content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you need and who will be responsible for managing all of this (see Steps 9 and 10 below) will help you understand what kind of additional services or resources your business will need as soon as your site has been created.
Useful Tips For New Website Owners:
Tip #1 – Be Consistent
Adding new content on your website or blog on a consistent basis is essential for building an online readership and for 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 create a habit of writing and publishing content about your business as consistently as possible.
For example, make 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 create your articles. Allow one to two hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each article or blog post.
Now, commit to turning this into a regular habit. Monitor this activity and if you need, fine tune your content 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 on your site consistently (and you should!), it helps to keep your 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 template to help you schedule your content creation using any spreadsheet program …
(Blog content template created with a spreadsheet)
Use this master spreadsheet to plan your content production and publishing schedule. For example, in the spreadsheet, you can add the following columns:
- Publish Date: Enter the date you plan to publish your content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when content has been published. You can also 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.
- Author: Who will write or create your content. (See Step 10 below)
- Type: Enter the format of content you will be creating for this topic. (See Step 9 below)
- Category: If you are publishing to your blog, enter the category you will publish this item under.
- CTA: What is this particular item of content designed to sell or promote? Enter your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your blog post or article headline, article title, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of your content here.
- SEO: The main keyword your content is targeting.
- URL: Once you have published 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 to have all of the above columns. You can keep things simple by creating a basic spreadsheet containing just these essential columns:
- Publish Date
- Content Type
If you would like to create an Editorial Calendar to help you plan new content every month, just 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, here are some useful plugins you can use:
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 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 inside the calendar and manage your entire blogging schedule.
(Editorial Calendar. Screenshot source: plugin site)
For more information about this useful plugin, visit the plugin page here:
(Edit Flow – Editorial plugin for WordPress)
Edit Flow is a modular editorial workflow plugin that allows you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress.
Key features of the plugin include:
- Calendar – A convenient month-by-month look at your content.
- Custom Statuses – Define the key stages to your workflow.
- Editorial Comments – Allows private discussion between writers and editors in the admin via threaded commenting.
- Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
- Notifications – Receive timely updates on any content that you are following.
- Story Budget – View your upcoming content budget details.
- User Groups – Helps you keep your users organized by department or function.
(Edit Flow. Screenshots above taken from Edit Flow site)
To learn more about this useful plugin, visit this site:
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin that lets you automate any editorial workflow process using a simple, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the features of the Oasis Workflow plugin include the ability to configure your workflow using an easy drag and drop designer interface and simple process/task templates.
(Oasis Workflow. Image source: Oasis Workflow plugin site)
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.
The plugin 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.
For more information about this useful content management plugin, visit this site:
Step 9 – Decide What Type Of Content You Will Publish
(What type of content are you going to publish on your website or blog?)
After setting up your content creation schedule, the next step is to decide what kinds of content you are going to create for publishing on your website or blog.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, interviews, product comparisons, multimedia presentations, etc.?
Knowing what types of content you plan 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 buying video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.
Step 10 – Assigning Responsibilities
(Who will be accountable for all areas of running your website or blog?)
The final step in the website planning process is to decide who will be responsible for various aspects of your site and content and assign these to the personnel you have available, or consider outsourcing.
There are many roles and responsibilities associated with running a growing 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. content research, writing and rewriting, 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 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 monitoring the budget for all of the above areas (including budgeting for the cost of getting your website built)?
Who will be responsible for running each of the areas of your website?
Depending on your situation, it may be just one person doing everything (e.g. 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 know the answer to the above questions before getting your website built, you could end up spending a lot of time and money building something that will not only not help you grow your business, but cost even more of your valuable money and time.
Tip: Focus On Processes, Not The People
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 organization 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. You can now begin looking at options for getting your website built.
Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of the web site planning process and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. For information or assistance with setting up your website or blog, see the other posts we have published on this site or contact us.
Please consider subscribing to this site, as we will be posting lots more content, resources and practical tips for small businesses on developing a successful web marketing strategy.
"I am beyond impressed with what you have put together. I can tell that you put a ton of hard work into building what you have. You have the absolute best content on WordPress I have ever seen!" - Robert T. Jillie