Website Planning Process – Part 3

This is part 3 of our tutorial series on website planning. This tutorial focuses on planning a sustainable content marketing strategy for promoting your business online using your WordPress website or blog.

Website DevelopmentAre you considering the idea of getting a web site for your business?

Then this article on planning your website is for you.

Note: This section continues from the previous article series where we take you through the process of planning your website.

The Website Planning Process – Part 3

So far, we have looked at the following areas of the website planning process:

  • Step 1 – Goals
  • Step 2 – Your Website Name
  • Step 3 – Manage Your Site’s Technology
  • Step 4 – Defining YourWebsite’s Audience
  • Step 5 – Keyword Phrases
  • Step 6 – Define Your Site Categories
  • Step 7 – Formulating Your Content Strategy

Save Money And Avoid Problems Building A New Web Site For Your Business With This Web Site Planning Process

(The Website Planning Process)

You’re almost done 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 content, define what kinds of content you are going to create for your website, and decide who is going to do what on your website.

Step 8 – Your Blog Or Content Publishing Schedule

You want to be publishing 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.

Your blogging or content publishing schedule

(Your content publishing or blogging schedule)

After creating an initial list of content ideas, the next step is to set up an initial blogging or content publishing schedule.

Important Information

Although this step may not seem to be directly connected to building your website, as you go through the process of creating a content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will 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 you will need once your website has been created.

Practical Tip

Useful Tips For New Business Website Owners:

Tip #1 – Publish Consistently

Adding quality content on your site regularly is very important for building an online readership and for increasing your website’s search engine rankings and results.

This is the step where you actively market and promote your business online with content, and so it’s crucial that you develop a habit of publishing content on your site on a regular basis.

For example, start by making a commitment to add a new post each week or fortnight to your website or blog. Decide on a specific weekday and the time of day 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 item of content.

Now, commit to turning this into a regular habit. Keep monitoring this commitment and if necessary, fine-tune your content schedule 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 are going to publish content consistently (and you should!), having content scheduling tools can help keep your content creation workflow organized.

You can use simple spreadsheet-based Editorial Templates to help schedule and track the content production, or use a WordPress plugin.

Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates

You can keep things simple and schedule your content creation using any spreadsheet program …

Editorial content master template created with spreadsheets

(Content planning template created with a spreadsheet)

Use this spreadsheet to plan your content creation and publishing schedule. For example, you can add the following columns to your spreadsheet:

  • Publish Date: The date you plan to publish the content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when content has been published. You can also create 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 the content. (See Step 10 below)
  • Type: Enter the type of content you will be creating for this item. (See Step 9 below)
  • Category: If you are publishing to your blog, specify the category you will publish this item under.
  • CTA: What is this particular item of content designed to sell or promote? Specify your offer or call-to-action here.
  • Headline: Enter your blog post headline, title of your article, etc.
  • Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content in this column.
  • SEO: The main keyword 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 containing only these essential columns:

  • Date
  • Author
  • Format
  • Topic.

If you want to create an Editorial Calendar to help plan your content on a monthly basis, just search online for “free calendar template” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com

WinCalendar - Calendar downloads

(WinCalendar.com – Calendar maker)

WordPress Content Management Plugins

If you want to manage your content scheduling directly from WordPress, there are some useful content scheduling plugins you can use:

Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendar

(Editorial Calendar – WordPress plugin)

Editorial Calendar is a Free WordPress plugin that lets you 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 inside the calendar and manage your entire blogging schedule.

Editorial Calendar

(Editorial Calendar – Editorial plugin for WordPress. Above image taken from plugin site)

To learn more about this useful plugin, visit this website:

Edit Flow

Edit Flow

(Edit Flow)

Edit Flow is a modular plugin that allows you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress.

Some key features of this plugin include:

  • Calendar – A convenient month-by-month view of your content.
  • Custom Statuses – Define key workflow stages.
  • Editorial Comments – Allows private discussion between writers and editors in the admin area with threaded commenting.
  • Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
  • Notifications – Lets you receive updates on any content you’re following.
  • Story Budget – See your upcoming content budget details.
  • User Groups – Helps you keep your users organized by department or function.

Edit Flow

(Edit Flow. Image source: plugin website)

For more information about this useful content management plugin, visit the plugin site here:

Oasis Workflow

Oasis Workflow

(Oasis Workflow – Plugin for WordPress)

Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin for WordPress that lets you automate any editorial workflow process using a simple, 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 - WordPress Plugin

(Oasis Workflow. Above images taken from Oasis Workflow site)

It also offers role-based routing definitions, 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 create multiple workflows, copy workflow and copy steps, autosubmit, revise published content and more.

For more details, visit the plugin site here:

Step 9 – Establish What Kind Of Content You Are Going To Publish

What kind of content is going to be published on your website?

(What kind of content will you publish on your web site?)

Once you have set up a content creation schedule, the next step is to define what kind of content you will create to post on your website.

Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, product comparisons, downloadable PDF reports, etc.?

Knowing what types of content you intend to create for your website is useful because this helps you understand what other technologies and resources you may need to purchase or budget for to create your content. This could include buying video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.

Step 10 – Assign Responsibilities

Who will be responsible and accountable for all aspects of your site?

(Who will be responsible and accountable for all areas of running your website?)

The final step in your business site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for various aspects of your website 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 web presence.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who will decide what content gets written/published on your site?
  • Who will do the actual content creation work (e.g. content research, writing and reviewing, 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 website or blog and update any outdated content?
  • Who will promote and market the site 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 be accountable for all aspects of your site?

Depending on the size of your business, it may be just one person doing it all (e.g. 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 ask the above questions before getting your website built, you could end up investing 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

Tip: Focus On Processes, Not People When Assigning Responsibilities

Document or flowchart 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 the steps of the site planning process. You can now start looking at options for getting your site built.

How To Plan Your Small Business Website - A Money-Saving Blueprint For Non-Technical Business Owners

(Source: Pixabay)

Tip

Hopefully, this post has given you a better understanding of the web site planning process and how WordPress can help you expand your business online. If you need information or assistance with setting up your website or blog, see the other posts we’ve published on this site or contact us.

We also recommend that you consider subscribing to this blog, as we plan to add loads more content, resources and practical tips for small businesses on how to develop your online marketing strategy.

Additional images: Blogging, Laptop, Workstation, Business Startup.

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"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

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Website Planning Process – Part 2

This is part 2 of our 3-part tutorial series on planning your website or blog. This tutorial covers doing preliminary research for cost-effective website development.

Web site DevelopmentAre you considering the idea of getting a website for your business?

Then this article on website planning is for you.

Note: This section continues from the previous article where we take you step-by-step through the process of planning a web presence.

Planning Your Website – The First Steps – Part 2

So far, we have looked at the following areas of the website planning process:

  • Step 1 – Define Your Goals
  • Step 2 – Name Your Web Site
  • Step 3 – Manage Your Technology
  • Step 4 – Defining Your Target Audience

Website Planning Process

(The Website Planning Process)

As you can see, in the previous section of this article we have established the foundations for planning your business website. If you have been following our recommended process, you would have a clear idea of your site’s goals and objectives, established your website name, decided on the technology platform you will use and defined your target audience.

At this point, you could start building your site. We suggest, however, that you complete the rest of the planning process presented in this guide, as we will now cover web content planning and reviewing effective web content publishing and management strategies. Doing all of the planning work before you start building your web site will help you save a tremendous amount of time and money.

Step 5 – Keywords

(Identify the most important search phrases)

(List your main keywords)

Now that you have a good idea of who you will be targeting with your site, the next step is to identify the main keyword phrases that you would like people and search engines to associate with your website. This will help search engines to connect your site with your target audience.

Ideally, you will want to focus on key phrases that have “low competition” and a reasonable monthly search volume. Depending on your specific needs, you may also want to focus on keywords in your target industry that have some level of commercial profitability.

There are many tools you can use help you identify great key phrases, including free tools.

If you have a Google Adwords account, for example, you can use the Google Keyword Planner.

In the screenshot below, you can see that more people search every month for “overseas adventure travel” (> 18,000 searches per month) than “singles adventure travel“, which gets less than 1,000 searches a month …

Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Research Tool – Keyword Planner Tool)

According to this keyword research tool, however, the number of sites competing in the search space for “singles adventure travel“, is higher than sites trying to rank for a key phrase like “overseas adventure travel“. This could be because one key phrase relates to a more targeted audience (i.e. “singles” looking for adventure travel) while the other is more generalized, or because there is more money to be made selling adventure travel packages to singles, etc..

Keyword research can also help you understand the profit value of certain keyword phrases. Typically, savvy advertisers will advertise more frequently keywords aimed towards ”buyers”, instead of keywords that are more suitable for users who are just browsing or researching products or services online.

For example, people who search for the keyword phrase “color printers” are generally not as ready to purchase a color printer as people who search for “konica minolta bizhub C3110 review”, so if you plan to sell or review color printers on your site, you would want to aim for longer, more descriptive and more targeted keyword search terms (called “long tail keywords”), hopefully with a high monthly search volume and low to medium competition.

It will help your site, therefore, to have some highly searched keywords in your content. However, don’t spend too much time doing keyword research for every item of content you plan to add to your site, especially when you are just starting out.

Make a simple start. Begin by making a list of the “top” five keywords you would like your site to rank highly for in the search engines, make sure that the keywords you choose are getting a decent number of searches every month and then use these key phrases naturally in your content (i.e. plan to write content for people, not search engines).

Once your site begins to bring in visitors, you can then study actual data like keyword searches used by visitors to find your website from your server logs and use this information to improve your keyword research.

Practical Tip

Keyword Research Tips For Business Owners

Tip #1: Avoid basing key phrases that show extremely low to no monthly searches, or that have no commercial value. There’s no point ranking #1 in Google for keyword phrases that no one is searching for. Also, if you type the keyword phrases into Google and nobody is advertising products or services for it (i.e. no Google advertisements show up), then that keyword most likely has no commercial interest or is unprofitable.

Search phrases with no competition for advertisers may not be worth targeting

(Search phrases with no competition for advertisers are generally not worth targeting)

Tip #2: Use tools to help you build keyword lists and generate commercial content ideas. Here are some great free and paid keyword research tools you can check out:

Free Keyword Research Tools

Google Keyword Planner Tool

Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Research Tool – Keyword Planner Tool)

The Keyword Planner lets you explore keywords and keyword-based advertising ideas (e.g. pay-per-click advertising), review competitive keyword history, see how a list of keywords could perform in ad campaigns and even create a new keyword list by multiplying several keyword lists together.

For more information, visit this website:

If you don’t have access to a Google AdWords account, use the FREE tool below to help get your initial keyword research started:

Ubersuggest.org – Keyword Suggestion Tool

Ubersuggest

(Ubersuggest keyword suggestion tool)

UberSuggest is a free keyword suggestion tool that essentially lets you perform the same function as typing your topic into the Google search box and seeing what ideas or topics are selected.

This useful tool saves you time going go through the alphabet from a-z to discover keyword topics related to your subject:

Discover new content ideas with the Ubersuggest

(Explore new content ideas with the Ubersuggest)

To use this free tool, go here:

Paid Keyword Research Tools

The keyword research tools below will help you not only uncover many profitable key phrases and long-tail keywords to use when planning content or a pay-per-click advertising campaign, but also save you time analyzing your competition’s keywords and formulating a content SEO strategy for your site:

Market Samurai

Market Samurai Keyword Tool

(Market Samurai Keyword Tool)

Market Samurai is inexpensive and provides not only keyword research but also some great additional content and SEO research tools, plus excellent training tutorials on how to perform SEO keyword research.

To learn more about this software tool, visit the site here:

SEMRush

SEMRUSH

(SEMRUSH Keyword Research Tool)

SEMRush lets you enter the URLs of your competitors and the tool will then give you a list of all the keywords that site is ranking for, which is great for researching short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can target.

To learn more, visit this site:

Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy

(Keyword Spy Keyword Research Tool)

Keyword Spy is an SEO tool that is also primarily used for researching keywords. Use Keyword Spy to identify the keywords that your competition is using and to do research on keywords for your own website.

For more details, visit this site:

Step 6 – Defining Web Site Categories

Define site categories

(Define website categories)

Decide on specific topics in your niche market that people may want to know more about and create a list of “categories” for these topics that you plan to write content about.

For example, if you run a travel agency, your categories could be organized into topics such as: “business travel”, “luxury travel”, “exotic destinations”, “family packages”, “overnight accommodation”, “travel discounts”, “train travel”, “air travel”, “Latin America,” or any category of travel-related services your business offers.

Aim to create an initial list of about 3 – 8 categories. You can always add more categories to your site later on.

Tip

Website Category Tips:

Tip #1: WordPress Makes Managing Categories Easy

WordPress has two pre-defined ways of grouping and organizing content on your website or blog (WordPress refers to these as taxonomies): “categories” and “tags”.

WordPress gives you great control over the management of your categories. It also lets you easily add new categories and match your posts to different categories to help keep all of your content organized.

WordPress makes managing your site's categories easy

(WordPress makes managing categories easy)

Tip #2: Use Categories To Increase Your SEO

Choosing the right keywords in your category names helps to improve your site’s SEO rankings.

WordPress lets you easily create search engine-friendly URLs that include your categories as keywords (great for SEO, so remember this when deciding on your categories …

WordPress categories help to improve your search engine optimization

(Using WordPress categories to increase your search engine optimization)

Tip #3: Categories Help To Improve Your Site’s Navigation

Categories help users navigate more easily through your site’s content.

With WordPress, each category you create has a new searchable web page.

This lets your users find all blog posts published under that category in one place …

Using WordPress categories improves your site's navigation

(WordPress categories can ease of navigation on your site)

If you need help with using post categories, refer to this tutorial:

Step 7 – Creating Your Content Strategy

Formulate your content strategy

(Create a content strategy)

Now that you have researched your keywords and added a list of categories, the next step is to begin formulating your content strategy.

Organizing Your Website Pages

Your website should have standard pages like Home, About Us, Contact, legal pages, and product / service information pages and any additional pages specific to the needs of your business (e.g. a staff directory page linked to your About page, FAQ, etc.).

Your website may also need special pages or sections, such as a members-only section for customers, private access pages for resellers or affiliates, and so on.

Useful Tip

If your business provides a number of services, don’t list them all in one page. Instead, create a separate page for every service you offer. This allows search engines to better index and rank your website and web pages and creates multiple landing pages (i.e. entry points) for visitors to find and access your website.

Create separate landing pages for each service your business provides

(Create separate landing pages for each service your business provides)

Many businesses make the costly mistake of lumping all of their services in one page. If you want to, you can have a main ‘Services’ page which lists all of your services with links from each service pointing to their own separate page for more details.

Organizing Your Web Content

You will need to create and content to every page you plan to have on your website as well as create and publish new content on a regular basis to attract visitors, educate prospects, train clients, etc.

Ideally, your web content plan and content marketing strategy should be defined at the digital business planning stage before your website even gets built.

To learn more about the planning process we recommend for keeping your website and web content organized as your business grows, see this tutorial:

Useful Tip

Content Strategy Tips:

Tip #1: Your “Static” Website Pages

Make sure that you have content for all of your “static” website pages already written before you begin building your website, especially if you plan to get someone else involved in the process. This will help you avoid additional costs caused by delays or unpreparedness.

Below is a simple checklist of the content you will want to have already prepared before you start building your new website:

  • Business name and brief description of the business.
  • Content for your “Front Page”.
  • “About Us” page content.
  • “Products/Services” page content.
  • Site Categories.
  • Contact Details (e.g. business address, email, telephone numbers)
  • Images (e.g. product images, etc.). Image formats = .jpg, .png or .gif.
  • 2 – 10 initial articles to be used as “seed content” for your site (saved as Word document or plain text file).
  • List of all external links and additional contact details to be included in your site (e.g. “Resources”, etc.
  • Additional files (e.g. videos, PDF documents, price lists, etc.)
  • Also, ensure that all links that you plan to add to your site and all other details like spelling, phone numbers, etc. are correct.

Tip #2: Create A List Of Web Content Topics

Here is a “fast” method you can use to help you begin writing a list of content ideas for your site.

Take each of your keywords and turn these into topics for content that you will create.

You can also easily write articles about any of the topics listed below:

  • Featured product
  • The people in your company – who are they and what do they do
  • The latest industry news – what’s big news in your industry right now?
  • A industry event you plan to attend
  • Product training information
  • Staff tips and information
  • What area of your solution could you educate prospects about to help overcome sales objections?
  • What problem do you or your services help your customers solve?
  • What reviews can you provide to help more clients buy again from you?
  • What are common FAQs you get from interested visitors or prospective customers?
  • etc …

Once you have created this list of content ideas, continually add to your list on a regular basis.

Tip #3: Learn Ways To Run Out Of Ideas For New Content

We provide our clients and subscribers with comprehensive training email on how to develop a content marketing strategy, how to promote your business with content, and ways to never run out of new ideas for web content.

Infinite Web Content Creation Email Training Series

(Never run out of web content ideas)

The “Infinite Web Content Creation” training series covers the following aspects of the content creation process:

  • Creating An Effective Web Content Strategy
  • Content Writing Tips
  • Writing Web Copy
  • Content Posting Guidelines For WordPress
  • What To Write About
  • Outsourcing Your Content Creation
  • Time-Saving Content Methods

Enter your details in the form below to subscribe now and start receiving training content immediately!

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The Web Site Planning Process - A Money-Saving Blueprint For Business Owners

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This is the end of Part Two

To keep reading this article, click on the link below:

Images: Planning, Social Media, Blogging.

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"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now

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Website Planning Process – Part 1

Learn what to do before getting a business website or blog built and includes a printable/downloadable version of the Website Planning Process chart. 

Web site DevelopmentThis is Part One of a 3-part article series about the website planning process.

Are you thinking about starting a website for your business?

If so, one of the many decisions you have to make is if you should build this web site yourself, or get someone else to create your website.

Both choices have pros and cons. Whichever option you decide will depend on many things like:

  • Budget
  • Time
  • Your business needs and priorities
  • Level of urgency
  • Your level of technical skill
  • Your level of commitment to manage and complete the project
  • and so on …

If your budget is limited and you want to save money, you could choose to develop your site yourself, but it goes without saying that you will need to invest time learning how to put everything together.

Practical Tip

Before planning your website you need to plan your digital business and ask questions about the capabilities of your business to manage and grow a digital presence.

To help small businesses plan an effective digital presence, we have published an e-book called “The Small Business Digital Manager.”

‘The Small Business Digital Manager’ looks at why most small businesses end up with an unmanageable web presence almost as soon as they take their business online and why this leads to poor results, and shows you how to be in control of your digital business processes and get better results online using a systematic and doable approach.

In addition to the book, we have also developed a comprehensive online course that will help you implement a practical and effective digital plan for your business.

For more details, go here: The Small Business Digital Manager – How To Get Better Results Online

How To Plan Your Business Website: A Basic Blueprint For Non-Technical Business Owners

Whether you choose to build a website yourself or get someone to build it for you, the first crucial step is to get your website planning done. In this blog post, we explain in simple terms why better web site planning can help your business and how to save money getting a website for your business.

The Website Planning Process Explained: A Money-Saving Guide For Non-Technical Business Owners

Proper website planning is considered by many online marketing experts as being the most important step of building a successful business online. Careful planning upfront will help you avoid costly mistakes later and create a better end product.

Below, we have compiled a comprehensive guide for non-technical users designed to help you better understand the process of planning your website. We will also cover what to do and what not to do when planning a website or blog, and give you tips on how to brief your web developer to make sure that you get a website that will perfectly meet your budget, suit your needs and deliver you great results online.

Useful Information

Important: Before setting up a website or registering a domain for your web site, it is vitally important that you first research your market.

Building a successful business presence online requires more than just having a professional web site built. It also requires in addition to many other things, a commitment to develop and successfully implement an ongoing online marketing strategy.

The Site Planning Process Explained

So … you need a website.

Let’s start, then, by understanding the website planning process.

Before doing anything else, study the process chart below, and let’s work step-by-step through the information on this page together.

Note: Click on the image or the link below the image to enlarge the flowchart.

A Practical Guide To Web Site Planning For Business Owners

(click to view larger image)

To make this process easier to follow, we recommend that you download and print the Website Planning Process Chart shown above.

After downloading and printing out the website planning process chart, grab some sheets of paper and a pen, or whatever you use to take notes, so you can jot down your thoughts and ideas as we walk you through the process. Also, make sure to shut out all distractions over the next 25-45 minutes.

Step 1 – Define Your Website Goals

No matter what type of site you decide to build, the first step is to define a clear goal for your site and make it as specific as you can.

Come up with answers to the following:

  • What kind of website do you want to build? Is it a corporate website, a portfolio site, a marketing blog, or some other kind of site?
  • What do I expect to achieve with my site?

For example, your goal could be to:

  • Sell products or services online – you might want to build an online shop. Depending on your needs, this may include purchasing or installing an SSL certificate to create a secure website (i.e. changing your site from ‘http’ to ‘https’), the addition of a membership area exclusively for registered users, etc.
  • Build a list of subscribers – you may need a simple site built with a “squeeze” page (landing page) or an information page and a lead capture form where all of your online traffic gets sent to,
  • Have a services site that will help build credibility and trust for your professional services or brand, post news, announcements, and updates to staff and clients, etc.
  • Get more exposure online for your existing business – you might want to build a blog built on a separate domain, or added to an existing website to interact with users and keep customers informed about your latest product updates, or help establish your authority and expertise in your specific niche.
  • Or you may need a combination of the above or something else entirely …

Write down whatever it is that you want your site to help you achieve on your Website Planning worksheet, a blank sheet of paper, or wherever you are recording this process.

After your goals have been written down, go through the list and choose the goal that has overriding importance above all others.

Write down this goal on your process chart (in “Your Website Goals” section) as “Goal 1“.

Now, go back to your list and repeat this process to find at least two more goals and write these down on your process chart as “Goal 2” and “Goal 3“.

Info

You’ve probably heard the old saying “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

But, what if you already can’t manage?

Running a website is going to pile on a whole lot of additional responsibilities on your plate.

Your website planning process is a subset of your business marketing planning process. It’s important, therefore, that you continue to refer back to your business marketing plan to make sure that you have the resources and capabilities to implement the strategies to help you achieve your goals.

So, with this in mind, let’s do the following right now:

After listing at least 1-3 goals and written these in your planning chart, go back to “Goal 1” and ask yourself this question: “how am I going to measure this goal?”

In other words, how are you going to quantify and review your results? How will you know if your site is on track to help you achieve your business objectives?

For example, your site’s goal could be getting a specific target amount of leads to submit a new inquiry each week using the contact form on your website, or getting “X” number of new members per campaign, etc …

Also, think about the resources and costs associated with managing the process of measuring your goals. If you need to, revise your business plan to accommodate your findings.

Practical Tip

Note: It’s also important to keep your goals as flexible as possible at this stage, so you can modify these once more information is collected from visitors.

Step 2 – Your Site Name

Once you have clearly identified your goals, the next step is to name your website.

This is an important part of the website planning process, so take your time and think carefully about what you are going to name your site.

Brainstorm ideas with others. Call a few customers (or potential customers if you haven’t launched your business yet) and get their input.

Try to think beyond the obvious (i.e. your business name), especially if the name isn’t something that immediately brings up your products or services to mind. Remember, most online users have probably never heard of you.

Put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes. Who would be searching online for the very thing your company sells? What would they be typing into a search engine or browser to find you? Once you know this, try to come up with a name that would entice your users.

Note: You can be creative and clever with the name, but it’s best to avoid being “too creative”. This also goes for choosing a catchy, memorable or a stand out name. You can have a fun or quirky name, but avoid web site names that may sound offensive (and definitely stay away from trademarked or registered names or phrases – you’ll just be asking for trouble!)

Go online and do a little research to find out what other companies in your industry or niche have named their sites. Study your competitors, especially those who occupy the search results that you would like to appear in.

For example, if you are planning to start a food blog, doing a quick online search for “cooking blog” reveals some catchy site names like: “Smitten Kitchen”, “Cooking With Amy”, “A Chef’s Daughter”, “The Rambling Spoon” and more …

Researching ideas for your site's name

(Researching ideas for your website’s name)

So … this is where you can get inspired. Make a big list of names and then narrow these down.

After reducing this list down to the best choices, repeat the same process as above to craft a description, tagline or slogan for your site.

Your description should be concise and inform the reader with as few words as possible what the website or blog is all about. For example, in one of the food blogs we came across while searching online, the site description was “Fast, Fresh, and Simple Recipes Easy Enough for Tonight’s dinner.”

Include keywords in your website’s name and description.

After completing this step, the next step is to look at your domain name. If you plan to add a blog to your existing web site and feel that your business blog should have its own domain name, go ahead register a new domain name for your site.

There are different strategies you can use to register domains names for your site. For example, you can register keyword-rich domain names (i.e. domains that include the keyword that you want to rank well for in the search engines), expired domain names (domains that the previous owners have decided not to renew and that can be registered once again, other top level domains and domain name extensions, etc.)

Practical Tip

Tip: Subscribe to our site for useful strategies on registering domains and tips on how to develop a successful web site marketing strategy.

Step 3 – Manage Your Website’s Technology

After choosing a name and description for your site, the next step is to create a clear plan specifying how you are going to manage the technology that is going to host, support and help drive your website.

We highly recommend getting your website built with WordPress.

WordPress

(WordPress)

WordPress is not only a robust web-building platform, but it is also easy-to-manage and great for non-technical users.

WordPress is also the world’s leading content management system (CMS), and, as you can see from the screenshot below, WordPress powers almost 50% of the world’s CMS-driven websites.

WordPress is the world's most widely used Content Management System

(WordPress - the world’s most popular Content Management System)

A WordPress-driven website is ideal for publishing content and communicating with visitors and potential customers.

A business website or blog driven by WordPress lets you interact with online users and makes things like posting content, special offers, promotions, news and announcements about your products, company or industry very easy, even if you have little to no technical web skills. No coding is, in fact, required to publish content on a WordPress site, and managing things like site backups and software upgrades can easily be automated.

In fact, many businesses no longer use a static website built using traditional website building applications. More sites around the world are now being powered by “blogging” software like WordPress, which can provide businesses and their users with all of the functions and capabilities of a regular website.

If you want to control your business online and don’t have the time, need or desire to learn “web code” languages such as HTML, then we recommend that you consider choosing a WordPress-powered business website or blog.

Hosting And Managing Your Web Site

As well as using to build your website or blog using the WordPress content management system (CMS), you should also think about how you are going to host your site, and whether you plan to outsource the management of your website to somebody else, or manage everything yourself.

Hosting & Site Management

(Web Site Hosting & Site Management)

Practical Tip

We use and recommend WordPress for most website applications, and we also provide a lot more detailed information about the benefits of using WordPress and expert advice on subjects like domain name registration, webhosting and website management in other blog posts on this site.

If you would like more help or advice, feel free to contact us for assistance.

Step 4 – Defining Your Website Target Audience

Once you have the basics of your site worked out, then it’s time to define who your site’s target audience will be.

Key information about your web site’s target audience includes the following:

  • Demographics
  • What your audience needs and wants
  • Problems users experience, or will experience in the future
  • How they consume digital information
  • How they generally see themselves
  • What they expect from you and your business

It’s vitally important that you try and create as accurate a profile of your target site users as you can. Try to picture the ideal person that you will be communicating directly with when presenting your information to.

To work through this process, begin by asking lots of questions, like the following:

  • Who will you be writing to?
  • What kind of information will users look for on your web site?
  • What problems and difficulties are people experiencing that your website or blog will help them solve online? What types of solutions are people searching online for these issues?
  • Are your visitors technology-savvy? How will your visitors consume digital information? Will they prefer video to visual content like images or graphics and text? Will they need downloadable content (e.g. price lists, schedules, timetables)? Do you need to create content like videos, audios or multimedia presentations to keep your site users engaged?
  • Where do they live? Will geographic location, or factors like occupation, religion or income level play an important role in the success of your business? If so, what segments of the population will your website or blog be marketing to and how will you find and target these demographics online?
  • How do your target users see themselves? Who do they interact online with? What magazines and books do they read? What else are they buying or consuming online?
  • What do your visitors expect from your site? What kind of information are you willing to provide online freely or for a fee? What kind of information will you not be providing to them for free?

Being able to define your site’s key target users is an important step in the website planning process and it will help you communicate better with your web developer and everyone else assisting you in developing your website, and help to ensure that you get a better result in the end.

Tip

  • If you don’t have access to accurate research data about your target audience, just start with a “best guess” based on your experience and whatever research you have done.
  • Try not to narrow your criteria too much. You could be going after a niche that is just too small, or an online opportunity that may not be viable.
  • Create a list of all the things you would like your website to be able to do for your business and for your customers. This could include things such as having restricted areas where customers can view their order details and resellers or affiliates can view or download private or confidential information, add a directory, forum, customer support helpdesk, etc.
  • Educate yourself about any additional functionalities that your website will need to provide your business with better website administration, more efficient website management, improved web security, etc. and list these as well. This could include managed webhostingautomatic backups, brute-force attack prevention, and more.
  • Unless you plan to build a portal website and have the resources to do so, avoid trying to make your site be “everything to everyone”, or you’ll just end up creating a ton of extra work for yourself when it comes to populating your site with content, as you will see when we continue exploring the website planning process in another post.

Planning A Website: A Comprehensive Guide For Non-Technical Business Owners

(Source: Pixabay)

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This is the end of Part 1

To continue reading this article, click here:

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