Are 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.
- For Part 1 of the article, go here: The Website Planning Process – Part 1
- For Part 2, go here: Planning Your Website – A Basic Guide – Part 2
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
(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 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.
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.
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 …
(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:
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.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 – 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 plugin for WordPress. Above image taken from plugin site)
To learn more about this useful plugin, visit this website:
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. Image source: plugin website)
For more information about this useful content management plugin, visit the plugin site here:
(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. 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 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 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: 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.
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.
"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