Are you considering the idea of starting a website or blog for your business?
Then this basic guide to planning your website is for you.
Note: This section continues from the previous article series where we provide essential information on planning a new website.
- For Part 1, go here: How To Plan Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 1
- For Part 2, go here: 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 – Define Your Goals
- Step 2 – Naming Your Web Site
- Step 3 – Manage Your Site’s Technology
- Step 4 – Your Site’s Audience
- Step 5 – Keyword Phrases
- Step 6 – Defining Web Site Categories
- Step 7 – Creating 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 content publishing schedule, establish what type of content you are going to create for your site, and decide who will do what on your site.
Step 8 – Creating Your Content Or Blog Publishing Schedule
You need to be publishing 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.
(Creating your content or blog publishing schedule)
Once you have created an initial list of content ideas, the next step is to set up an initial content publishing or blogging schedule.
Although this step may not seem to be related directly to the process of getting your web site built, as you go through the process of 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 and resources your business will need as soon as your site has been built.
Tips For New Website Owners:
Tip #1 – Be Consistent
Publishing new content to your website regularly is essential for building an online readership and helping your site’s results in search engines.
This is the step where you actively market and promote your business online through content, and so it’s essential that you develop a habit of publishing content on your website or blog regularly.
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 write your blog posts or articles. Allow one to two hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each post.
Now, commit to making this into a regular habit. Monitor your activity and if you need to, fine-tune your content 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: Use Content Scheduling Tools
If you plan to publish content on your site on a regular basis (and you should!), having content scheduling tools can help keep your workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheets to help you schedule and track the content planning and production process, 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 master template created using a spreadsheet)
Use this master spreadsheet to plan your content production and publishing schedule. For example, you can add the following columns to the spreadsheet:
- Publish Date: Type in the date you plan to publish your content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when content has been published. You can also 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 or blog.
- Writer: Who will write or create your content. (See Step 10 below)
- PostType: Record the format of content you will be creating for this item. (See Step 9 below)
- Category: If you are publishing content to your blog, specify the category you will publish this item under.
- Offer: What is this specific item of content designed to sell or promote? Enter your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your blog post or article headline, title of your content item, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content here.
- Kwd: 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: 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 containing only these essential columns:
If you would like to create an Editorial Calendar to help plan new content on a monthly basis, just search online for “free editorial calendar” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar – Calendar downloads)
WordPress Content Scheduling Plugins
If you want to work directly from WordPress, there are some useful content scheduling plugins you can use:
Editorial Calendar is a Free WordPress plugin that allows you to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your site.
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 in the calendar and manage your entire blog.
(Editorial Calendar. Screenshot source: plugin site)
To learn more, check out the plugin’s website here:
Edit Flow is a modular editorial workflow plugin that allows you to collaborate with your editorial team right inside WordPress.
Key features of the plugin include:
- Calendar – A month-by-month view of your content.
- Custom Statuses – Lets you define key workflow stages.
- Editorial Comments – Threaded commenting in the admin for private discussion between writers and editors.
- Editorial Metadata – Helps you keep track of important details.
- Notifications – Receive timely updates on the content you’re following.
- Story Budget – Lets you see your upcoming content budget details.
- User Groups – Organize your users by function or department.
(Edit Flow – WordPress plugin. Image source: Edit Flow plugin site)
For more details, check out the plugin’s web page here:
(Oasis Workflow – Editorial plugin for WordPress)
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin that lets you automate your WordPress editorial workflow using a simple, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the many features of Oasis Workflow 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 site)
It 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.
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 more.
For more details about this plugin, visit this site:
Step 9 – Define What Kind Of Content You Will Publish
(What kind of content are you going to publish on your website or blog?)
Once you have set up a schedule for creating content, the next step is to decide what type of content you are going to create for posting on your website or blog.
Are you planning to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, product reviews, multimedia presentations, etc.?
Knowing what kind of content you plan to create for your website 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 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 final step in the business site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for various areas of your site and content and assign these to your human resources, or consider outsourcing.
There are many roles and responsibilities associated with running a professional web site 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 actual content (e.g. fact-checking, writing and editing, 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 site 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 monitoring the budget for all of the above areas (including budgeting for the cost of getting your website built)?
Who will be responsible and accountable for managing all of the various areas of your website or blog?
Depending on your resources, it may be just one person doing it all (i.e. you), or a small team of people who also have to juggle other areas of your business, 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 even more of your valuable money and time.
Tip: Focus On Processes, Not People When Assigning Responsibilities
Create a document (e.g. flowchart) outlining 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 sections of the site planning process. You can now start 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 expand your business online. For information or assistance with any aspects of web development, see the other articles we’ve published on this site or contact us.
We also recommend that you consider subscribing to our site, as we will be posting lots more content, resources and cost-effective tips on how to develop and implement a successful web site marketing strategy.
"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum