Are you considering the idea of taking your business online?
Then this guide to website planning is for you.
Note: This is Part 3 of the article where we take you step-by-step through the process of planning your new business website.
- For Part 1, go here: A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 1
- For Part 2, go here: Planning Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 2
Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 3
In Part One of this article, we’ve looked at the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Website Goals
- Step 2 – Naming Your Site
- Step 3 – Managing Your Web Technology
- Step 4 – Your Target Audience
- Step 5 – Your Keywords
- Step 6 – Defining Web Site Categories
- Step 7 – Create Your Content Strategy
(The 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 content publishing schedule, define what kinds of content you will create for your site, and decide who is going to do what on your site.
Step 8 – Creating Your Blogging Or Content Publishing Schedule
You need to publish 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.
(Creating your content or blog publishing schedule)
Now that 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 with the process of building your website or blog, by creating a content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you need and who will manage 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 site has been created.
Practical Tips For New Business Website Owners:
Tip #1 – Be Consistent
Adding quality content on your website or blog on a consistent basis is very important for building an online audience and for helping your site’s results in search engines.
This is the step where you actively market and promote your business online through content, and so it’s essential that you develop a habit of writing and publishing content about your business regularly.
Make a commitment to publish a new post each week or fortnight to your website. Decide on a specific weekday and the time of day that you will sit down to write 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 activity and if you need, fine tune your publishing schedule accordingly.
Remind yourself when you sit down to write your content that you are investing in your business.
Tip #2: Content Scheduling Tools
If you plan to publish content to your site 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 creation process, or use a plugin.
Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates
You can keep things simple and schedule your content creation using a spreadsheet program …
(Content planning master template created using spreadsheets)
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: Type in the date you plan to publish the content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when the content has been published. Additionally, you can create 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.
- Writer: Who will write or create your content. (See Step 10 below)
- Type: Record the type of content you will be creating for this item. (See Step 9 below)
- Category: If you are publishing content to your blog, record the blog post category you will publish this item under.
- CTA: What is this specific content item designed to sell or promote? Record your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your article headline, article title, 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: 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:
- Publish Date
- Content Author
If you want to create an Editorial Calendar to help plan your content every month, just search online for “free editorial calendar template” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar – Calendar downloads)
WordPress Content Scheduling Plugins
If you want to work directly from WordPress, there are some useful content scheduling 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 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 in the calendar and manage your entire content publishing schedule.
(Editorial Calendar – WordPress editorial plugin. Image source: plugin website)
For more information, visit this site:
Edit Flow is a modular plugin that lets you collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress.
Key features of the plugin include:
- Calendar – A month-by-month look at your content.
- Custom Statuses – Lets you define the key stages to your workflow.
- Editorial Comments – Threaded commenting in the admin for private discussion between writers and editors.
- Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
- Notifications – Receive updates on the content you’re following.
- Story Budget – See your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Helps you keep your users organized by function or department.
(Edit Flow. Image source: plugin site)
To learn more, go here:
(Oasis Workflow – WordPress plugin)
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich WP plugin designed to automate any editorial workflow process using a simple and intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the features of Oasis Workflow include the ability to configure your workflow using an easy drag and drop designer interface and simple process/task templates.
(Oasis Workflow – WordPress editorial plugin. Screenshot source: Oasis Workflow 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, autosubmit, revise published content and much more.
To learn more, visit the plugin page here:
Step 9 – Define What Kind Of Content You Are Going To Publish
(What type of content will you publish on your site?)
Once you have set up a schedule for creating content, the next step is to establish what kinds of content you are going to create to post on your website or blog.
Are you planning to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, product comparisons, downloadable PDF reports, etc.?
Knowing what types 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 in order to create your content. This could include buying video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.
Step 10 – Assigning Roles And Responsibilities
(Who will manage all areas of running your site?)
The final step in your business site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for various aspects of your site and content and assign these to your human resources, or consider outsourcing.
There are many roles and responsibilities associated with running a successful business web presence.
When completing this step, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who will decide what content gets written/published on your site?
- Who will perform the actual content creation work (e.g. researching, writing and editing, 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 to ensure that everything works smoothly?
- Who will manage the actual 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 monitoring the budget for all of the above areas (including budgeting for the cost of building your website)?
Who is going to be responsible for running all of the various areas of your website or blog?
Depending on your available resources, it could be just one person doing everything (i.e. you), or a small team of people who also have to juggle other areas of your business, or perhaps even some outsourced help.
If you don’t know the answer to 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
Create a flowchart 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 the sections of the site planning process and are now ready to start looking at options for getting your site built.
Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of the website planning process and how WordPress can help you get better results online. For information or assistance with website installation or development, see the other posts we have published on this site or contact us.
We also recommend that you consider subscribing to this blog, as we will be adding loads more content, resources and practical business tips on how to develop your website marketing strategy.
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