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.

Web DevelopmentAre you considering the idea of 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 a business website.

Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we covered the following areas of the website planning process:

  • Step 1 – Your Website Goals
  • Step 2 – Naming Your Website
  • Step 3 – Managing Your Web Technology
  • Step 4 – Defining YourWebsite’s Target Audience

Website Planning Process

(The Website Planning Process)

As you can see, in so far we have established the foundations for planning your new website. If you have followed the 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 use and defined your target audience.

At this point, you could start getting your web site built. We recommend, however, that you complete the rest of the planning process presented below, as we will now discuss web content planning and looking at effective content management and publishing strategies. Doing all of the planning work before you start building your web site will help you save a significant amount of time and money.

Step 5 – Keyword Phrases

(List the main keywords)

(List the main keywords)

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

Ideally, you should try to find keywords that have “low competition” and a reasonable number of searches every month. Depending on your needs, you may also want to focus on key phrases in your niche that have some level of commercial profitability.

There are many tools you can use help you identify great keyword phrases, including free tools.

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

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

Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Research Tool – Google Keyword Planner Tool)

According to this keyword research tool, however, the number of web sites competing in the search space for “singles adventure travel“, is significantly higher than sites trying to rank for a key phrase like “overseas adventure travel“. This may 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 key phrases. Typically, savvy advertisers will advertise more frequently key phrases that are targeted towards attracting ”buyers”, rather than keyword phrases that are more suitable for users who are simply browsing or researching information online.

For example, users who search online for the keywords “colour printers minolta” are typically not as ready yet to buy a colour printer as people who search for “konica minolta bizhub C3110 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 key phrases (called “long tail keywords”), hopefully with a high amount of monthly searches and low to medium competition.

It will help your website, therefore, to have some highly searched keywords in your content. However, don’t spend too much time doing keyword research for every post you plan to add to your site, especially when you are just starting out.

Make a simple start. Begin by making a list of the “top” five keywords you would like your website to rank highly for in the search engines, make sure that the keywords you choose have a decent monthly search volume and then use these keyword phrases organically in your content (i.e. aim to write content for human visitors, not search engine robots).

Once your site starts to draw in visitors, you can then review actual data like keyword searches online users are typing into search engines to find your site from your server logs and apply the information to improve your keyword research and get better results online.

Practical Tip

Keyword Research Tips

Tip #1: Avoid basing keywords that return extremely low to no monthly searches, or that have no demand. There’s no point ranking #1 in Google for key phrases that no one is looking for. Also, if you type a key phrase into Google and no one is advertising products for it (i.e. no Google advertisements show up), then that keyword most likely has no commercial interest or is unprofitable.

Key phrases that have no competition for advertisers may be unprofitable

(Key phrases with no competing advertisers are typically not worth targeting)

Tip #2: Use tools to help you build keyword lists and generate commercial content ideas. Here are some widely-used free and paid keyword research tools you can use:

Free Keyword Research Tools

Google AdWords Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner Tool - Google AdWords

(Keyword Planner Tool)

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

For more information, go here:

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

Ubersuggest Keyword Suggestion Tool

Ubersuggest keyword tool

(Ubersuggest keyword suggestion tool)

UberSuggest is a free keyword suggestion tool that essentially lets you perform the same function as typing a topic into the Google search box and seeing what topics or ideas are selected.

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

Explore new content ideas with the Ubersuggest keyword tool

(Explore new content ideas with the Ubersuggest keyword tool)

To use this free tool, visit this website:

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

Market Samurai

Market Samurai Keyword Tool

(Market Samurai)

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

For more information about this software tool, check out the website here:

SEMRush

SEMRUSH

(SEMRUSH)

With SEMRush, you can enter your competitor’s URL and it will then show you all the keywords that site is ranking for, making it easier to find short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can then target for your own site.

For more information about this software tool, visit this website:

Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy Keyword Research Tool

(Keyword Spy)

Keyword Spy is an SEO tool that is also primarily used for researching keywords. Use Keyword Spy to view competitor keywords and to do research on keywords for your own site.

For more information, go here:

Step 6 – Define Your Site Categories

Define website categories

(Define your site categories)

Decide on specific areas in your niche or industry that your visitors will be interested in learning about and create a list of “categories” for all the topics that you plan to write content about.

For example, if your business is travel-related, your categories could include topics such as: “business travel”, “luxury travel”, “exotic destinations”, “family holiday destinations”, “long-term accommodation”, “travel tips”, “cruises”, “airfare discounts”, “Canada & USA,” or any other travel-related categories that match your services.

Aim to create an initial list of about 3 – 8 categories. You can always add more categories to your site later on.

Practical Tip

Site Category Tips:

Tip #1: WordPress Makes Managing Categories Easy

WordPress has two fundamental ways of grouping and organizing content (WordPress calls these taxonomies): “categories” and “tags”.

WordPress makes managing website categories easy. It also lets you easily create new categories and match your posts to different categories to help keep all of your content organized.

Use WordPress for easy management of your site's categories

(Use WordPress for easy management of your site’s categories)

Tip #2: Use Categories To Improve Your SEO Rankings

Targeting the right keywords when naming your categories can improve your site’s SEO rankings.

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

Using WordPress categories to increase your SEO rankings

(WordPress categories help to improve your SEO)

Tip #3: Use Categories To Improve Ease Of Navigation On Your Site

Categories allow users to find content on your website more easily.

WordPress turns each category you create into a searchable webpage.

This allows your visitors to find all blog posts published under that category in one place …

Using categories improves ease of navigation on your site

(WordPress categories can your site’s navigation)

We have written a detailed tutorial on using WordPress post categories here:

Step 7 – Formulate Your Content Strategy

Formulate a content strategy

(Create a content strategy)

Now that you have created a list of keywords and categories, the next step is to begin formulating 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.

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:

Practical Tip

Content Strategy Tips:

Tip #1: Your “Fixed” Web Content

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

Below is a simple checklist of the content you will want to have ready before you start building your website:

  • Name of your business and brief description of your business.
  • Content for your “Home Page”.
  • “About Us” page content.
  • “Products/Services” page content.
  • Your main service/product categories.
  • Business Contact Details (e.g. business address, email, telephone numbers)
  • Images (e.g. stock images, etc.). Image formats = .jpg, .png or .gif.
  • 1 – 5 initial posts to be used as “seed content” for your site (saved in Word document or plain text file).
  • List of all external links and additional contact details to be included in your site (e.g. ”Vendors”, etc.
  • Downloadable content (e.g. videos, PDF documents, white papers, etc.)
  • Also, make sure that all web addresses that you are planning to add to your website are working and all other details like spelling, phone numbers, etc. are correct.

Tip #2: Create A List Of Website Content Ideas

Here is a “quick” method you can use to help you begin writing a list of content topics for your site.

Take each of your keywords and turn those into topics for web content that you will create.

You can also easily write an article about each of the following topics:

  • Your products or services
  • A company award your business has received
  • The industry you’re in
  • A networking event you have attended
  • ”How to” tutorials
  • Reseller information
  • What aspect of your business could you educate prospective customers about to help eliminate sales objections?
  • What problem do you or your services help your customers solve?
  • What information can you provide to help more prospective customers buy from you?
  • What are common FAQs you get all the time from visitors or prospective customers?
  • etc …

Once you have created this list of web content topics, keep adding to your list on a regular basis.

Tip #3: Learn Ways To Run Out Of Web Content Ideas

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

Content Creation Email Training Series

(Never run out of ideas for new web content)

The “Infinite Web Content Creation” email training series is aimed at helping WordPress users and covers the following areas of the content creation process:

  • How To Create An Effective Digital Content Strategy
  • Content Writing Tips
  • Effective Copywriting
  • Content Posting Guidelines For WordPress
  • How To Never Run Out Of Blogging Ideas
  • Outsourcing Your Content Writing
  • 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 Cost-Saving Guide To Web Site Planning For Business Owners

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This is the end of Section Two

To keep reading this tutorial, click here:

Images: Planning, Social Media, Blogging.

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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

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

Originally published as Website Planning Process – Part 2.