Are you thinking about taking your business online?
Then this essential guide to website planning is for you.
Note: This is Part 3 of the article series where we provide essential information about planning your web presence.
- For Part 1 of the article, go here: A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 1
- For Part 2, go here: How To Plan Your Website – What To Do And What Not To Do – Part 2
Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 3
Up to this point, we have covered the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Defining Your Goals
- Step 2 – Name Your Web Site
- Step 3 – Manage Your Web Technology
- Step 4 – Define Your Audience
- Step 5 – Key Phrases
- Step 6 – Define Site Categories
- Step 7 – Formulate Your Content Strategy
(The Website Planning Process)
You’re almost done with your initial website planning work. In this phase of the site planning process, we are going to set up an initial publishing schedule for your website, define what type of content you are going to create for your website or blog, and decide who will do what on your website.
Step 8 – Create Your Blogging 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.
(Creating your content publishing or blogging schedule)
Once you have created 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 directly connected to the web site building process, as you go through the process of creating a content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will need to create and who will be responsible for managing your content production and publishing areas (see Steps 9 and 10 below) will help you understand what kind of additional services or resources you will need as soon as your website has been created.
Content Scheduling Tips:
Tip #1 – Be Consistent
Adding fresh content to your website or blog consistently is extremely important for building an online readership and increasing your site’s results in search engines.
This is the step where you are actively marketing and promoting your business online with content, and so it’s crucial that you create a habit of writing and publishing content about your business consistently.
Start by making a commitment to add a new post each week or fortnight to your website or blog. Decide on a specific day of the week and time that you will sit down to write your articles. Allow 1-2 hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each article or blog post.
Now, commit to turning this into a regular habit. Keep monitoring your commitment and if necessary, finetune your content scheduling accordingly.
Remind yourself when you sit down to plan or write your content that you are you are working on growing your business, instead of just simply working in it.
Tip #2: Content Scheduling Tools
If you plan to publish content on a regular basis (and you should!), it helps to keep your workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheets to help schedule and track the content planning and publishing process, or use a plugin.
Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates
You can easily create a simple editorial template to help you schedule your content creation using a spreadsheet program …
(Blog content planning template created with a spreadsheet)
Use the master spreadsheet to plan your content production and publishing schedule. For example, you can add the following columns to the spreadsheet:
- Date: Record the date you plan to publish your content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when content has been published. Additionally, you can 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 the content. (See Step 10 below)
- Type: Record the kind of content you will be creating for this item. (See Step 9 below)
- Category: If you are publishing content to your blog, enter 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 article or blog post headline, the title of your article, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of your content.
- SEO: The main keyword targeted by your content.
- 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 with just these essential columns:
- Post Type
If you want to create an Editorial Calendar for help planning new content on a monthly basis, just search online for “free monthly calendar” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar.com – Calendar maker)
WordPress Editorial Management Plugins
If you want to manage your content scheduling directly from WordPress, there are some useful plugins you can use:
(Editorial Calendar – Plugin for WordPress)
Editorial Calendar is a Free WordPress plugin that allows you to 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 inside the calendar and manage your entire content publishing schedule.
(Editorial Calendar – Plugin for WordPress. Above screenshot taken from plugin website)
For more details, visit this site:
Edit Flow is a modular editorial workflow plugin that empowers you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress.
Some key features of the plugin include:
- Calendar – A month-by-month view of your content.
- Custom Statuses – Define the key stages to your workflow.
- Editorial Comments – Allows private discussion through threaded commenting between writers and editors in the admin.
- Editorial Metadata – Track important important details.
- Notifications – Lets you receive updates on any content you’re following.
- Story Budget – See your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Organize your users by function or department.
(Edit Flow – WordPress plugin. Screenshots above taken from Edit Flow plugin site)
For more details about this useful plugin, check out the plugin’s website here:
(Oasis Workflow – WordPress plugin)
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich WordPress plugin that lets you automate any editorial workflow process using a simple, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the many useful features of the Oasis Workflow plugin include the ability to configure your work flow using an easy drag and drop designer interface and simple process/task templates.
(Oasis Workflow. Screenshot source: Oasis Workflow 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.
Oasis Workflow also has a “Pro” version that includes additional functionality, such as allowing you to create multiple workflows, copy workflow and copy steps, auto-submit, revise published content and much more.
To learn more, visit this site:
Step 9 – Define What Type Of Content You Are Going To Publish
(What kind of content is going to be published on your web site?)
Once you have set up a schedule for creating content, the next step is to define what types of content you are going to create to post on your website or blog.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, interviews, product comparisons, downloadable PDF reports, etc.?
Knowing what kind of content you intend to create for your site is useful because this helps you understand what other tools and resources you will probably 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 is going to be accountable for all areas of running your site?)
The final step in your website planning process is to decide who will be responsible for managing the 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 involved in running a professional digital presence.
When completing this step, 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 proofing, 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 to ensure that project deadlines get met?
- Who will be responsible for the scheduling and publishing of content on your posts and pages and update any outdated information?
- 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 managing the budget for all of the above areas (including budgeting for the cost of building your website)?
Who will be responsible for all aspects of your site?
Depending on the resources you currently have available, it could 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, 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 building something 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 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 team 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 website planning process. You are now ready to start exploring options for getting your new website built.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the web site planning process and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. See other articles on this site or contact us for information or help setting up your website or blog.
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