Are you thinking about taking your business online?
Then this 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 a new business website.
- For Part 1, go here: A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 1
- For Part 2, go here: The Website Planning Process – Part 2
How To Plan Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 3
Up to this point, we have covered the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Goals
- Step 2 – Your Site Name
- Step 3 – Managing Your Technology
- Step 4 – Defining YourSite’s Audience
- Step 5 – Identify Your Key Phrases
- Step 6 – Defining Your Site Categories
- Step 7 – Formulate Your Content Strategy
(Website Planning Process)
You’re almost there 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 website, establish what kind of content you are going to create for your website or blog, and decide who is going to do what on your site.
Step 8 – Creating Your Content Publishing Or Blogging Schedule
You should 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.
(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 blogging or content publishing schedule.
Although this step may not seem to be directly connected to the process of getting your website or blog built, by creating a content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you need and who will manage the 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 to have in place once your site has been built.
Content Scheduling Tips:
Tip #1 – Be Consistent
Publishing quality content to your website or blog consistently 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 with content, and so it’s essential that you create a habit of writing 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 the time of day that you will sit down to create your posts. Allow 1-2 hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each post.
Now, commit to making this into a regular habit. Keep monitoring this commitment and if required, readjust your content scheduling accordingly.
Remind yourself when you sit down to write your content that you are investing in your business.
Tip #2: Use Content Scheduling Tools
If you plan to publish content consistently (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 publishing process, or use a WordPress plugin.
Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates
You can keep things simple and schedule your content creation using a spreadsheet program …
(Blog content planning template created using spreadsheets)
Use the master spreadsheet to plan your content creation and publishing schedule. For example, in your spreadsheet, you can add the following columns:
- Publish Date: Enter the date you plan to publish the content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when your content has been published. You can also create a second 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 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 content to your blog, enter the category you will publish this item under.
- Offer: What is this specific item of content designed to help you sell or promote? Enter your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your article headline, the title of your article, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of your 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: 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 really simple by creating a basic spreadsheet containing only these essential columns:
- Content Writer
- Content Type
If you want to create an Editorial Calendar for planning your monthly content, then search online for “free calendar template” 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 plugins you can use:
(Editorial Calendar – WP plugin)
Editorial Calendar is a Free WordPress plugin that makes it possible to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog.
The Editorial Calendar provides content editors with an overview of your scheduling 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 blog.
(Editorial Calendar – Plugin for WordPress. Image above taken from plugin website)
For more details, visit the plugin site here:
(Edit Flow – WordPress editorial plugin)
Edit Flow lets you 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 – Define the key stages to your workflow.
- Editorial Comments – Allows private discussion between writers and editors in the admin through threaded commenting.
- Editorial Metadata – Helps you keep track of important details.
- Notifications – Receive updates on any content you’re following.
- Story Budget – Lets you view your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Organize your users by department or function.
(Edit Flow. Image source: Edit Flow plugin site)
To learn more, visit this site:
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 features of Oasis Workflow 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, 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, autosubmit, revise published content and much more.
To learn more, go here:
Step 9 – Define What Kind Of Content To Publish
(What kind of content are you going to publish on your website or blog?)
After setting 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.
Are you planning to publish articles, videos, audios, interviews, 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 will need to purchase or budget for to create the content. This could include purchasing video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.
Step 10 – Assigning Responsibilities
(Who will be accountable for all areas of your website or blog?)
The final step in your business site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for various areas of your site 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 digital presence.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who will decide what content gets written/published on your site?
- Who will create the content (e.g. researching, writing and rewriting, sourcing and outsourcing graphics 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 scheduling and publishing of content on your posts and pages and update any outdated information?
- Who will promote and market the 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 managing the budget for all of the above areas (including planning the cost of building your website)?
Who is going to be responsible and accountable for running all aspects of your website or blog?
Depending on the circumstances of your business, it could be just one person doing it all (e.g. you), or a few people, and 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 on a tool that will not only not help you grow your business, but cost even more of your valuable money and time.
Tip: Focus On The Processes, Not People
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 are now ready to begin 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 build a better business online. If you need information or help with website development, see the other articles we have published on this site or contact us.
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