Website Planning Process – Part 2

This is part 2 of our 3-part tutorial series on planning your website or blog. This tutorial covers doing preliminary research for cost-effective website development.

Website DesignAre you considering the idea of getting a web site built for your small business?

Then this article on website planning is for you.

Note: This is Part 2 of the article where we take you through the process of planning a business website.

Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 2

So far, we have looked at the following areas of the website planning process:

  • Step 1 – Website Goals
  • Step 2 – Your Site Name
  • Step 3 – Managing Your Website’s Technology
  • Step 4 – Define Your Audience

Website Planning Process

(The Website Planning Process)

As you can see, in so far we have established the foundations for planning your website. If you have been following this process, you would have a clear idea of your site’s goals and objectives, established your website name, decided on the technology platform you will be using and defined your target audience.

At this point, many people start building their website. We suggest, however, that you complete the rest of the planning process presented in this guide, as we will now begin to move into planning your website content and looking at effective strategies for managing and publishing this web content. Having all this initial planning completed before you start building your site will help you save a tremendous amount of time and money.

Step 5 – Keywords

(Identify the principal search keywords)

(List the main keyword phrases)

Once you have a clearer idea of who you will be targeting with your site, it’s time to identify the main key phrases that you want visitors and search engines to associate with your website. This will help search engines to connect your website with your target readers.

Ideally, you should aim for keywords that have “low competition” and a reasonable monthly search volume. Depending on your specific business, you may also want to focus on key phrases in your market that have some level of commercial viability.

There are many tools you can use to look for great keywords, including free tools.

If you have a Google Adwords account, for example, you can use a keyword tool like the Google Keyword Planner.

Using the Keyword Planner tool, you can see that more people are searching every month for a keyword phrase like “overseas adventure travel” (> 18,000 searches per month) than “singles adventure travel“, which gets less than 1,000 searches a month …

Keyword Research Tool - Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Research Tool – Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool)

According to this keyword research tool, however, the number of websites competing in the search space for “singles adventure travel“, is higher than sites trying to rank for a key phrase like “overseas adventure travel“. This could be because one set of keywords relates to a specifically targeted audience (i.e. “singles” looking for adventure travel) while the other is more generalized, or because there is more money to be made selling adventure travel products to singles, etc..

Keyword research can also help you understand the commercial potential of certain keyword phrases. Typically, savvy advertisers will pay more for keywords aimed towards attracting ”buyers”, instead of keyword phrases that are more suited for users who are simply browsing or researching products or services online.

For example, people searching for the keyword phrase “color printers” are typically not as ready yet to purchase a colour printer as people who search for a more targeted key phrase like “konica minolta magicolor 7450 II grafx review”, so if you plan to sell or review colour printers on your site, you would want to aim for longer, more descriptive and more targeted keyword phrases (called “long tail keywords”), hopefully with a high search volume and low to medium competition.

It will help your site, therefore, if you have some highly searched keywords in your posts. However, don’t go “crazy” doing keyword research for every piece of content you plan to add to your site, especially if you are just starting out.

Start simple. Make a list of the “top” five keywords you want your website to rank well for in the search engines, make sure that the keywords you pick are getting a decent number of searches each month and then use these keyword phrases naturally in your content (i.e. plan to write your web content for human readers, not search engines).

Once your site starts to draw in visitors, you can then analyze actual data like keyword searches used by visitors to find your website from your server logs and use the data to refine your keyword research and get better results online.

Tip

Keyword Research Tips

Tip #1: Avoid building your advertising or content marketing campaigns on keywords that return extremely low to no monthly searches, or that have no commercial intent. There’s not much point ranking #1 in Google for a keyword phrase that no one is searching for. Also, if you type a keyword into Google and no one is advertising products or services for it (i.e. no Google advertisements show up), then that keyword most likely has no commercial interest or is unprofitable.

Keyphrases that have no competition for advertisers may not be worth targeting

(Keyphrases with no competition for advertisers may be unprofitable)

Tip #2: Use tools to help you research keywords and generate commercial content ideas. Below are some useful free and paid keyword research tools you can use:

Free Keyword Research Tools

Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool

Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Planner Tool)

The Google Keyword Planner Tool lets you explore hundreds of keywords and keyword-based advertising ideas (e.g. pay-per-click advertising), review competitive keyword history, see how a list of keywords could perform in ad campaigns and even create a new list of keywords by multiplying several existing lists of keywords together.

For more information, check out the website here:

If you don’t have access to a Google AdWords account, use the FREE tool below to help you get your initial keyword research started:

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest

(Ubersuggest)

UberSuggest is a free tool that essentially lets you perform the same function as typing a subject into the Google search box and seeing what ideas or topics come up.

This useful tool saves you time going go through the alphabet from A-Z to explore keyword suggestions related to your subject:

Discover new content ideas with the Ubersuggest keyword tool

(Discover new content ideas with the Ubersuggest)

To use this free tool, visit this site:

The keyword research tools below will help you not only discover many profitable keywords and long-tail keywords to use when planning content or a pay-per-click advertising campaign, but also save you time analyzing your competitors’ keywords and formulating a content SEO strategy for your site:

Market Samurai

Market Samurai

(Market Samurai Keyword Research Tool)

Market Samurai is inexpensive and provides not just keyword research but also some great additional content research tools, plus excellent training tutorials on performing keyword research for SEO purposes.

To learn more, visit this site:

SEMRush

SEMRUSH

(SEMRUSH Keyword Tool)

SEMRush lets you add the URLs of your competitors and the tool will show you all the keywords that your competitors’ sites are ranking for, which is great for researching short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can then target for your own site.

To learn more about this tool, visit this site:

Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy Keyword Tool

(Keyword Spy Keyword Tool)

Keyword Spy is an SEO tool that’s primarily used for researching keywords. You can use Keyword Spy to view competitor keywords and to do research on keywords for your own website.

To learn more about this software tool, visit this site:

Step 6 – Define Web Site Categories

Define your site categories

(Define website categories)

Now that you have done initial keyword research, the next step is to decide on specific areas within your niche that your visitors may be interested in learning about and create a list of “categories” for these topics that you plan to publish content about.

For example, if you run a travel agency, your categories could include topics like: “corporate travel”, “adventure travel”, “exotic destinations”, “family holiday destinations”, “budget accommodation”, “travel tips”, “cruises”, “airfare discounts”, “Europe,” or any other travel-related categories that match your services.

Plan to create an initial list of about 3 – 10 categories. You can always add more categories to your site later on.

Useful Tip

Practical Tips For New Website Owners:

Tip #1: Use WordPress For Easy Management Of Your Categories

WordPress offers two commonly used ways of grouping and organizing content on your website (WordPress calls these taxonomies): “categories” and “tags”.

WordPress gives you great control over managing your categories. It also lets you easily add new categories and match your posts to different categories to help keep your content organized.

WordPress makes managing your site's categories easy

(Use WordPress to easily manage your categories)

Tip #2: Use Categories To Increase Your SEO Rankings

Selecting the right keywords in your category names can improve your site’s SEO rankings.

WordPress lets you easily create search engine-friendly URLs that include your categories as keywords (great for search engine optimization, so keep this in mind when deciding on your category topics …

WordPress categories help to increase your SEO rankings

(Use WordPress categories to increase your search engine optimization)

Tip #3: Use Categories To Improve Site Navigation

Categories help visitors navigate more easily through your site’s content.

With WordPress, each category you create becomes a separate searchable web page.

This lets your users find all content published under that category in one place …

Using categories improves site navigation

(Use categories to improve ease of navigation on your website)

If you need help with using post categories, refer to this step-by-step tutorial:

Step 7 – Formulating Your Content Strategy

Create your content strategy

(Create a content strategy)

Now that you have researched your keywords and created a list of categories, the next step is to plan your content strategy.

Organizing Your Website Pages

Your website should have standard pages like Home, About Us, Contact, legal pages, and product / service description pages and any additional pages specific to the needs of your business (e.g. a staff directory page linked to your About page, FAQ, etc.).

Your website may also need special pages or sections, such as a members-only section for customers, private access pages for resellers or affiliates, and so on.

Practical Tip

If your business provides a number of services, don’t list them all in one page. Instead, create a separate page for every service you offer. This allows search engines to better index and rank your website and web pages and creates multiple landing pages (i.e. entry points) for visitors to find and access your website.

Create separate landing pages for each service your business provides

(Create separate landing pages for each service your business provides)

Many businesses make the costly mistake of lumping all of their services in one page. If you want to, you can have a main ‘Services’ page which lists all of your services with links from each service pointing to their own separate page for more details.

Organizing Your Web Content

You will need to create and content to every page you plan to have on your website as well as create and publish new content on a regular basis to attract visitors, educate prospects, train clients, etc.

Ideally, your web content plan and content marketing strategy should be defined at the digital business planning stage before your website even gets built.

To learn more about the planning process we recommend for keeping your website and web content organized as your business grows, see this tutorial:

Useful Tip

Content Strategy Tips:

Tip #1: Your “Fixed” Website Pages

Make sure that you have content for all of your “fixed” website pages already written before you begin building your web site, especially if you plan to get someone else involved in the process. This will help to avoid additional costs caused by delays or unpreparedness.

Below is a basic checklist of the content you will want to have ready prior to building a new website:

  • The name of your business and brief business description.
  • “Main Page” content.
  • Content for your “About Us” page.
  • Content for your “Products/Services” page(s).
  • Site Categories.
  • Business Contact Details (e.g. business address, email, telephone numbers)
  • Images (e.g. personnel photos, etc.). Image formats = .jpg, .png or .gif.
  • 1 – 5 initial articles to be used as “seed content” for your site (saved as Word document or plain text file).
  • List of all URLs and additional contact details to be included in your site (e.g. ”Vendors”, etc.
  • Media files (e.g. promo videos, PDF documents, price lists, etc.)
  • Also, ensure that all web addresses you would like to add to your website and all other details like spelling, phone numbers, etc. are correct.

Tip #2: Create A List Of Content Ideas

Here is a “quick” method you can use to help you begin writing a list of content ideas for your website or blog.

Go through the list of keywords you created in Step 5 and turn those into topics for web content that you will create.

You can also easily write a blog post about each of the topics listed below:

  • Your products or services
  • Your company and the people in it
  • Your industry
  • A business event you plan to attend
  • ”How to” tutorials for clients
  • Reseller information
  • What aspect of your products or solution could you educate prospects about to help overcome sales objections?
  • What problems do you or your services help your customers solve?
  • What reviews can you provide to help more customers buy again from you?
  • What are common FAQs you get from interested visitors or prospective customers?
  • etc …

Once you have created a list of content ideas, continually add to this list.

Tip #3: Learn How To Run Out Of Ideas For New Content

We provide our clients and subscribers with detailed training email on how to develop a content marketing strategy, how to promote your business with content, and how to never run out of ideas for web content.

Content Creation Email Training Series

(Never run out of ideas for new web content)

The “Infinite Web Content Creation” training series covers the following areas of the content creation process:

  • How To Create An Effective Web Content Strategy
  • Content Writing Tips
  • Writing Web Copy
  • Content Posting Guidelines For WordPress
  • What To Write About
  • Outsourcing Your Content Creation
  • Time-Saving Content Strategies

Enter your details in the form below to subscribe now and start receiving training content immediately!

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A Comprehensive Guide To Web Site Planning For Non-Technical Business Owners

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This is the end of Part Two

To continue reading this article, click here:

Images: Planning, Social Media, Blogging.

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"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and has authored hundreds of FREE WordPress tutorials for non-techies and beginners. WPCompendium.org provides detailed step-by-step tutorials that will teach you how to use WordPress with no coding skills required and grow your business online at minimal cost!