Are you considering the idea of taking your small business online?
Then this article on website planning is for you.
Note: This section continues from the previous article where we provide important information related to planning a new website.
- For Part 1, go here: The Website Planning Process – Part 1
- For Part 2 of the article, go here: The Website Planning Process – Part 2
A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 3
So far, we have looked at the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Your Goals
- Step 2 – Name Your Website
- Step 3 – Manage Your Technology
- Step 4 – Define Your Audience
- Step 5 – Your Key Phrases
- Step 6 – Defining Website Categories
- Step 7 – Define Your Content Strategy
(The Website Planning Process)
You’re almost there with the 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 types of content you are going to create for your website, and decide who is going to do what on your site.
Step 8 – Creating Your Blog Or Content Publishing Schedule
You want to publish 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.
(Creating your content publishing or blogging schedule)
After creating an initial list of content ideas, the next step is to set up an initial blog or content publishing schedule.
Although this step may not seem to be connected with the process of 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 to create 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 or resources you will need as soon as your site has been created.
Practical Tips For New Website Owners:
Tip #1 – Publish Consistently
Publishing new content to your website or blog on a consistent basis is very important for building an online audience and for helping your website’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 creating and publishing content about your business regularly.
For example, make a commitment to add 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 write 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. Keep monitoring your commitment and if you need, adjust your scheduling 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: Content Scheduling Tools
If you are going to publish content to your website or blog consistently (and you should!), it helps to keep your workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheets to help you schedule and track your content publishing, or use a plugin.
Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates
You can keep things simple and schedule your content creation using a spreadsheet program …
(Editorial template created with a spreadsheet)
Use this master spreadsheet to plan your content production and publishing schedule. For example, you can add the following columns to the spreadsheet:
- Publish Date: Type in the date you plan to publish your content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when the content has been published. You can also add 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.
- Writer: Who will write or create the content. (See Step 10 below)
- PostType: Enter the kind of content you will be creating for this topic. (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 particular content item designed to help you sell or promote? Specify your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your blog post or article headline, title of your article, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of your content.
- Kwd: The main keyword your content is targeting.
- 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 all of the above columns. You can keep it simple by creating a basic spreadsheet with just these essential columns:
- Publish Date
If you want to create an Editorial Calendar to help plan your content on a monthly basis, then search online for “free monthly calendar template” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar.com – Calendar maker)
WordPress Editorial Management Plugins
If you want to work directly from WordPress, here are some useful plugins for managing your content scheduling you can use:
Editorial Calendar is a Free plugin for WordPress that lets you 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 item will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts inside the calendar and manage your entire blog.
(Editorial Calendar. Above screenshot taken from plugin site)
For more information about this useful content management plugin, visit this site:
(Edit Flow – Plugin for WordPress)
Edit Flow allows you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress.
Key features of the plugin include:
- Calendar – A convenient 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 with threaded commenting.
- Editorial Metadata – Helps you keep track of important details.
- Notifications – Receive updates on any content you’re following.
- Story Budget – View your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Keep your users organized by function or department.
(Edit Flow. Screenshots above taken from plugin website)
To learn more, visit this website:
(Oasis Workflow – Editorial plugin for WordPress)
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich WP plugin designed to automate any editorial workflow process using a simple, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the features of the Oasis Workflow plugin include the ability to configure your work flow using a visual workflow designer and simple process/task templates.
(Oasis Workflow – editorial plugin for WordPress. Screenshot source: 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 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 create multiple workflows, copy workflow and copy steps, auto-submit, revise published content and much more.
For more information about this useful plugin, visit this site:
Step 9 – Establish What Type Of Content You Are Going To Publish
(What type of content is going to be published on your site?)
Once you have set up your schedule for creating content, the next step is to decide what kinds of content you will create for publishing on your website.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, product reviews, multimedia presentations, etc.?
Knowing what kind of content you plan to create for your site is useful because this helps you understand what other technologies and resources you will need to purchase or budget for to create your content. This could include purchasing video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.
Step 10 – Assigning Roles And Responsibilities
(Who is going to be responsible for all aspects of running your website?)
The last step in your web site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for 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 associated with running a growing web 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 reviewing, sourcing and creating images 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 all the “fingers” talk to “the hand”?
- Who will be responsible for the actual scheduling and publishing of content on your posts and pages and update any outdated content?
- Who will promote and market your 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 monitoring the budget for all of the above areas (including budgeting for the cost of building your site)?
Who is going to be responsible for managing different areas of your website?
Depending on the size of your business, it could be just one person doing it all (i.e. 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 know the answer to 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 even more of your valuable money and time.
Tip: Don’t Focus On People When Assigning Responsibilities, Focus On Processes
Create a flowchart showing 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 of the steps of the site planning process and can now start exploring 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 improve your business online. If you need information or help with any aspects of website design, see the other posts we’ve published on this site or contact us.
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