Are you considering the idea of getting a website built for your business?
Then this essential 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 your new website.
- For Part 1, go here: A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 1
- For Part 2 of the article, go here: A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 2
Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 3
So far, we have looked at the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Website Goals
- Step 2 – Your Site Name
- Step 3 – Managing Your Web Technology
- Step 4 – Define Your Audience
- Step 5 – Your Key Phrases
- Step 6 – Defining Site Categories
- Step 7 – Plan Your Content Strategy
(The Website Planning Process)
You’re almost done with the initial website planning work. In this phase of the planning process, we are going to set up an initial content publishing schedule, decide what type of content you will create for your site, and decide who is going to do what on your site.
Step 8 – Your Blog Or Content Publishing Schedule
You need to 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.
(Create your content or blog publishing schedule)
After creating 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 connected with 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 need and who will manage your content production and publishing areas (see Steps 9 and 10 below) will help you understand what type of additional services or resources your business will need once your website has been built.
Content Schedule Tips:
Tip #1 – Be Consistent
Publishing fresh content to your website or blog consistently is extremely important for building an online audience and for improving your website’s results in search engines.
This is the step where you are actively marketing and promoting your business with content, and so it’s essential that you develop a habit of publishing content on your website consistently.
Start by making a commitment to add a new post each week or fortnight to your site. Decide on a specific day of the week and the time of day that you will sit down to write your 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. Monitor this commitment and if you need, fine-tune your publishing schedule accordingly.
Remind yourself when you sit down to plan or write your content that you are investing in your business.
Tip #2: Content Scheduling Tools
If you are going to publish content consistently (and you should!), having content scheduling tools can help keep your workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheet-based Editorial Templates 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 master template to help you schedule your content creation using a spreadsheet program …
(Content planning master template created with a spreadsheet)
Use the master spreadsheet to plan your content production and publishing schedule. For example, in the spreadsheet, you can create the following columns:
- Date: Enter the date you plan to publish your 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 created 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)
- Type: Enter the format of content you will be creating for this item. (See Step 9 below)
- Category: If you are publishing content to your blog, enter the blog post category you will publish this item under.
- Offer: What is this specific item of content designed to help you sell or promote? Enter 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 your content in this column.
- Kwd: The main keyword phrase 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: 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:
- Content Writer
- Content Type
If you want to create an Editorial Calendar to help plan new monthly content, you can search online for “free monthly calendar template” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar – Calendar downloads)
WordPress Content Scheduling Plugins
If you want to manage your content scheduling directly from WordPress, there are some useful plugins you can install:
Editorial Calendar is a Free WordPress plugin that lets you see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog.
The Editorial Calendar gives you 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. Image source: Editorial Calendar site)
To learn more about this plugin, visit the plugin page here:
Edit Flow is a modular editorial workflow plugin that empowers you to collaborate with your editorial team right inside WordPress.
Key features of the plugin include:
- Calendar – A convenient month-by-month look at your content.
- Custom Statuses – Lets you define key workflow stages.
- Editorial Comments – Allows private discussion via threaded commenting between editors and writers in the admin area.
- Editorial Metadata – Track important important details.
- Notifications – Receive updates on the content you’re following.
- Story Budget – View your upcoming content budget details.
- User Groups – Organize your users by department or function.
(Edit Flow – Editorial plugin for WordPress. Screenshot source: Edit Flow plugin site)
To learn more about this useful content management plugin, visit this site:
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich WordPress plugin designed to automate your WordPress editorial workflow using a simple, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the many useful features of this plugin include the ability to configure your workflow using an easy drag and drop designer interface and simple process/task templates.
(Oasis Workflow. Screenshot source: 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 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 details, visit the plugin site here:
Step 9 – Decide What Kind Of Content To Publish
(What type of content are you going to publish on your website or blog?)
Once you have set up your content creation schedule, the next step is to define what kind of content you are going to create to publish on your website.
Are you planning to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, product comparisons, multimedia presentations, etc.?
Knowing what kind of content you plan to create for your website is useful because this helps you understand what other technologies and resources you will probably 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 Responsibilities
(Who will handle all aspects of your site?)
The last step in the site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for managing the various areas of your website and content and assign these to your human resources, or consider outsourcing.
There are many roles and responsibilities associated with 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 perform the content creation work (e.g. fact-checking, writing and rewriting, 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 manage the scheduling and publishing of content on your posts and pages and update any outdated content?
- Who will promote and market your 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 budgeting for the cost of getting your site built)?
Who is going to handle each of the areas of your website or blog?
Depending on your available resources, 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 even more of your 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 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 and are now ready to start exploring options for getting your new website built.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the website planning process and how WordPress can help you get better results online. See other articles on this site or contact us if you need information or help with any of these areas.
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"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)