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 taking your small business online?

Then this article on website planning is for you.

Note: This section continues from the previous article series where we provide essential information related to planning your website or blog.

The Website Planning Process – Part 2

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

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

Website Planning Process

(Website Planning Process)

As you can see, in the previous section of this guide 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 use and have a good understanding of your target audience.

At this point, many people start building their website. We recommend, however, that you go through the planning process presented below, as we will now begin to move into planning your website content and looking at effective strategies for publishing and managing this content. Doing all of the planning work before you start building your web site could save you a tremendous amount of time and money.

Step 5 – Keywords

(List your most important search phrases)

(Identify your principal keywords)

Now that you have a clearer idea of who you will be targeting with your site, the next step is to identify the main keywords that you will want people and search engines to associate with your site. This will help search engines connect your site with your target audience.

Ideally, you should try to find keyword phrases that have “low competition” and a reasonable monthly search volume. Depending on your situation, you may also want to focus on keywords within your target market that have some level of commercial viability.

There are many tools you can use to identify good key phrases, including free keyword tools.

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

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

Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Planner Tool)

According to this keyword research tool, however, the number of websites competing for visitors searching for “singles adventure travel“, is much 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 more 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 experiences to singles, etc..

Doing keyword research can also help you understand the profit value of certain key phrases. Typically, savvy advertisers will advertise more frequently keywords that are aimed towards a “buying” public, rather than key phrases targeted more towards attracting people who are just browsing or researching products or services online.

For example, users who search online for the term “colour printer minolta” are generally not as ready yet to purchase a color printer as people who search for “konica minolta magicolor 7450 II review”, so if you plan to sell or review color printers on your website, 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 a few highly searched keywords in your content. However, don’t spend too much of your valuable time doing keyword research for every post you plan to add to your site, especially when you are just starting out.

Start simple. Begin by making a list of the “top” five keywords you want your web site to rank well for in the search engines, make sure that these keywords are getting a decent number of searches each month and then use these keywords naturally in your posts (i.e. plan to create web content for people, not search engine robots).

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

Tip

Practical Tips For Business Owners

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

Key phrases with no competing advertisers may be unprofitable

(Keyphrases that have no competition for advertisers may be unprofitable)

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

Free Keyword Research Tools

Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Research Tool – Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool)

The Keyword Planner Tool lets you explore keywords 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 list of keywords by multiplying several existing lists of keywords together.

To learn more, visit this website:

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.org

Ubersuggest

(Ubersuggest)

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

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

Explore new content ideas with the Ubersuggest keyword suggestion tool

(Discover new content ideas with the Ubersuggest keyword tool)

To use this keyword tool, visit this site:

The keyword research tools below will 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 analyze 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, with excellent training tutorials on how to perform SEO keyword research.

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

SEMRush

SEMRUSH

(SEMRUSH)

With SEMRush, you can add your competitor’s URL and the tool will then give you a list of all the keywords that your competitors’ sites are ranking for, making it easier to find short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can then target for your own site.

For more details about this tool, visit this website:

Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy

(Keyword Spy Keyword Research Tool)

Keyword Spy is an SEO tool that is also primarily used for performing keyword research. Use Keyword Spy to identify the keywords that your competition is using and to do research on keywords for your own site.

To learn more, check out the website here:

Step 6 – Defining Site Categories

Define web site categories

(Define web site categories)

Decide on specific areas within your niche market that people may be interested in learning about and create a list of “categories” for all the topics that you plan to post content about.

For example, if your business is travel, your categories could be organized into topics such as: “business travel”, “adventure travel”, “exotic destinations”, “family packages”, “long-term accommodation”, “travel accessories”, “train travel”, “air travel”, “Travel Asia,” or any other travel-related categories that match your services.

Plan 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: Use WordPress For Easy Management Of Your Categories

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

WordPress gives you great control over managing your categories. It also lets you easily create new categories and assign your posts to different categories to help keep all of your content organized.

WordPress makes managing your site's categories easy

(Use WordPress to easily manage your categories)

Tip #2: Categories Can Increase Your SEO

Targeting the right keywords in your category names can increase your site’s SEO rankings.

WordPress lets you easily create search engine-friendly URLs that include your categories as keywords (great for SEO, so remember this when planning your category topics …

WordPress categories help to increase your search rankings

(WordPress categories can increase your search rankings)

Tip #3: Use Categories To Improve Your Site’s Navigation

Categories allow visitors to navigate more easily through your website’s content.

WordPress turns each category you create into a searchable webpage.

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

Using WordPress categories improves ease of navigation on your site

(Using categories improves ease of navigation for your users)

To learn more about using post categories, refer to this tutorial:

Step 7 – Formulate Your Content Strategy

Create a content strategy

(Define your content strategy)

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

Organizing Your Website Pages

Your website should have standard pages like Home, About Us, Contact, legal pages, and product / service information 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

Tips For New Website Owners:

Tip #1: Your “Static” Web Content

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 you avoid additional costs caused by delays or unpreparedness.

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

  • The name of your business and a brief business description.
  • Content for your “Main Page”.
  • Content for your “About Us” page.
  • “Products/Services” page content.
  • Your main service/product categories.
  • Business Contact Details (e.g. business address, email, telephone numbers)
  • Images (e.g. personnel photos, etc.). Image formats = .jpg, .png or .gif.
  • 1 – 10 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 documents (e.g. videos, PDF documents, white papers, etc.)
  • Also, make sure that all web addresses you would like to add to your site are working and all other details like spelling, phone numbers, etc. are correct.

Tip #2: Create A List Of Web Content Topics

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

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

You can also write a post about each of the following topics:

  • Your products or services
  • The people in your company – who are they and what do they do
  • Educate visitors about your industry – the challenges it faces and how your business is addressing these
  • A industry event you plan to attend
  • ”How to” tips for clients
  • Reseller tips and information
  • What aspect of your solution could you educate prospects about to help eliminate objections?
  • What problems 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 interested visitors and prospective customers?
  • etc …

Once you have this list of web content topics, continue adding to this list.

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

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 content.

Content Creation Email Training Series

(Never run out of content ideas)

The “Infinite Web Content Creation” training series is designed for WordPress website owners and covers the following aspects of the content creation process:

  • Creating A Sustainable Web Content Strategy
  • Content Writing Tips
  • Writing Web Copy
  • Content Posting Guidelines For WordPress
  • What To Write About
  • Outsourcing Your Content Writing
  • Time-Saving Content Creation Methods

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 Section Two

To continue reading this tutorial, click on the link below:

Images: Planning, Social Media, Blogging.

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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 detailed step-by-step tutorials that will teach you how to use WordPress to grow your business online at minimal cost with no coding skills required!

Originally published as Website Planning Process – Part 2.