Are you thinking about taking your small business online?
Then this basic guide to website planning is for you.
Note: This section continues from the previous article series where we take you step-by-step through the process of planning your new web presence.
- For Part 1, go here: Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 1
- For Part 2, go here: Understanding The Website Planning Process – 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 – Goals
- Step 2 – Name Your Site
- Step 3 – Manage Your Web Technology
- Step 4 – Your Website’s Target Audience
- Step 5 – Identify Your Main Key Phrases
- Step 6 – Defining Website Categories
- Step 7 – Formulating Your Content Strategy
(The Website Planning Process)
You’re almost there with the initial website planning work. In this phase of the site planning process, we are going to set up an initial blogging schedule, establish what kinds of content you will create for your website, and decide who is going to do what on your site.
Step 8 – Create Your Content Or Blog Publishing Schedule
You want to be publishing 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.
(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 or blog publishing schedule.
Although this step may not seem to be directly connected to getting your web site built, by creating your content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will need 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 and resources your business will need immediately after your website has been built.
Practical Tips For New Website Owners:
Tip #1 – Be Consistent
Publishing new content on your website or blog consistently is very important for building an online readership and for improving your site’s search engine rankings and results.
This is the step where you actively market and promote your business using content, and so it’s crucial that you develop a habit of creating and publishing content about your business as consistently as possible.
For example, make a commitment to publish a new post each week or fortnight to your site. Decide on a specific weekday and time 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 post.
Now, commit to turning this into a regular habit. Monitor your activity and if necessary, fine tune your 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 to your site regularly (and you should!), it helps to keep your content creation workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheet-based Editorial Templates to help schedule and track your content planning and production process, or use a 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 template created using a spreadsheet)
Use the master spreadsheet to plan your content creation and publishing schedule. For example, you can add the following columns to the spreadsheet:
- Publish Date: Enter the date you plan to publish the 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 created by, and 2) the date your content is scheduled to publish on your site or blog.
- Author: Who will write or create your content. (See Step 10 below)
- ContentType: What kind of content you will be creating for this item. (See Step 9 below)
- Category: If you are publishing to your blog, record the blog post category you will publish this item under.
- Offer: What is this particular content item 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 here.
- Kwd: The main keyword phrase your content is targeting.
- 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: 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 all of the above columns. You can keep it simple by creating a basic spreadsheet containing just these essential columns:
- Content Writer
- Content Format
If you want to create an Editorial Calendar for help planning your content on a monthly basis, you can search online for “free editorial calendar” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar.com – Calendar downloads)
WordPress Editorial Scheduling Plugins
If you want to manage your content scheduling directly from WordPress, there are some useful content scheduling plugins you can use:
Editorial Calendar is a Free plugin for WordPress that makes it possible to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your site.
The Editorial Calendar provides content editors with an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right inside the calendar and manage your entire content publishing schedule.
(Editorial Calendar. Image source: Editorial Calendar site)
For more information about this useful content management plugin, visit the plugin site here:
(Edit Flow – Plugin for WordPress)
Edit Flow is a modular plugin that allows you to collaborate with your editorial team right inside WordPress.
Key features of this plugin include:
- Calendar – A month-by-month view of your content.
- Custom Statuses – Define key workflow stages.
- Editorial Comments – Threaded commenting in the admin for private discussion between writers and editors.
- Editorial Metadata – Track important important details.
- Notifications – Receive updates on any content that you are following.
- Story Budget – View your upcoming content budget details.
- User Groups – Helps you keep your users organized by department or function.
(Edit Flow – Editorial plugin for WordPress. Screenshot source: plugin website)
For more information about this useful content management plugin, visit this website:
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin that lets you automate your WordPress editorial workflow using a simple and intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the many 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 site)
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.
Oasis Workflow 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.
To learn more, visit this site:
Step 9 – Define What Kind Of Content You Will Publish
(What kind of content will be published on your site?)
Once you have set up your schedule for creating content, the next step is to define what kinds of content you are going to create to publish on your website.
Are you planning to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, product reviews, multimedia presentations, etc.?
Knowing what type of content you intend to create for your site is useful because this helps you understand what other tools and resources you may need to purchase or budget for in order to create your content. This could include buying video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.
Step 10 – Assign Responsibilities
(Who is going to be responsible for all aspects of running your website?)
The final step in your website planning process is to decide who will be responsible for managing the various areas of your site and content and assign these to your in-house resources, or consider outsourcing.
There are many roles and responsibilities involved in running a successful business digital presence.
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. researching, writing and rewriting, sourcing and creating 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 be responsible for the actual scheduling and publishing of content on your posts and pages and update any outdated information?
- 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 managing the budget for all of the above areas (including planning the cost of building your site)?
Who will manage all of the various areas of your site?
Depending on the circumstances of your business, it may be just one person doing everything (e.g. 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 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
Create a flowchart document showing 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. You are now ready to begin exploring options for getting your new site 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 posts on this site or contact us for information or assistance with any of these areas.
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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