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 DevelopmentAre you considering the idea of getting a website or blog for your business?

Then this article on planning your website is for you.

Note: This section continues from the previous article series where we take you step-by-step through the process of planning your new website or blog.

How To Plan Your Website – What To Do And What Not To Do – Part 2

Up to this point, we have looked at the following areas of the website planning process:

  • Step 1 – Your Goals
  • Step 2 – Naming Your Website
  • Step 3 – Managing Your Web Technology
  • Step 4 – Define Your Target Audience

Website Planning Process

(The Website Planning Process)

As you can see, in the previous section of this article we have established the foundations for planning your business website. If you have been following the above 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 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 rest of the planning process presented below, as we will now begin to move into content planning and looking at effective strategies for managing and publishing content. Doing all of the planning work before you start building your site could save you time and money.

Step 5 – Identifying Your Main Key Phrases

(List your main key phrases)

(Identify your most important search phrases)

Once you have a clearer idea of who you will be targeting with your website, the next step is to identify the main keyword phrases that you want online users and search engines to associate with your site. This will help search engines to connect your site with your target readers.

Ideally, you should aim for key phrases that have “low competition” and a reasonable number of searches every month. Depending on your business, you may also want to focus on key phrases in your target market that have some level of commercial viability.

There are many tools you can use help you find good keywords, including free keyword 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 Google’s Keyword Planner tool, you can see that more people search 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 Planner Tool - Google AdWords

(Keyword Planner Tool – Google AdWords)

According to the Google Keyword Planner, however, the number of web sites competing against one another for visitors searching for “singles adventure travel“, is higher than sites trying to rank for a keyword phrase like “overseas adventure travel“. This could be because one keyword phrase 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 value of certain key phrases. Typically, savvy advertisers will advertise more frequently keyword phrases targeted towards ”buyers”, instead of keyword phrases aimed more towards people who are just browsing or researching information online.

For example, people who search for the term “color printer” are typically not as ready to buy a color printer as people who search for “konica minolta magicolor 8650DN 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 higher monthly search volume and low to medium competition.

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

Start simple. Make a list of the “top” 5 keywords you want your web site to rank highly for in the search engines, make sure that these keywords are getting a decent number of searches every month and then use these keywords organically in your content (i.e. aim to create content for people, not search engine robots).

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

Useful Tip

Tips

Tip #1: Avoid basing keyword phrases that show extremely low to no monthly searches, or that have no demand. There’s no point ranking #1 in Google for a keyword phrase that no one is interested in. Also, if you type the keywords into Google and nobody is advertising products or services for it (i.e. no Google ads show up), then that keyword most likely has no commercial value or is unprofitable.

Search words that have no competing advertisers may be unprofitable

(Search keywords with no competition for advertisers are often not worth targeting)

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

Free Keyword Research Tools

Keyword Planner Tool

Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool

(Google’s Keyword Planner Tool)

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

For more information, visit this site:

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

Ubersuggest Keyword Tool

Ubersuggest keyword suggestion tool

(Ubersuggest keyword suggestion tool)

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

This useful tool saves you time going go through the alphabet from A-Z to discover new 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 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 an inexpensive tool that provides not just keyword research but also some great additional content and SEO research tools, with excellent training tutorials on how to perform SEO keyword research.

For more details about this software tool, visit the site here:

SEMRush

SEMRUSH

(SEMRUSH)

SEMRush lets you enter the URLs of your competitors 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 target.

For more details, visit this site:

Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy Keyword Tool

(Keyword Spy Keyword Tool)

Keyword Spy is an SEO tool that is primarily used for doing keyword research. You can use Keyword Spy to identify the keywords that your competition is using and to do research on keywords for your own website.

To learn more about this tool, visit the site here:

Step 6 – Define Site Categories

Define your site categories

(Define your site categories)

Now that you have done some 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 all the topics that you plan to publish content about.

For example, if you run a travel agency, your categories could include topics such as: “business travel”, “adventure travel”, “exotic destinations”, “family holiday destinations”, “hotel accommodation”, “travel accessories”, “cruises”, “airfare discounts”, “South America,” 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 offers two pre-defined ways of grouping and organizing content on your site (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 assign your posts to different categories to help keep your content organized.

Use WordPress to easily manage your site's categories

(WordPress makes managing categories easy)

Tip #2: Use Categories To Improve Your SEO

Selecting 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 keep this in mind when deciding on category names …

Using WordPress categories to increase your search rankings

(Using WordPress categories to increase your SEO rankings)

Tip #3: Categories Help To Improve Ease Of Navigation For Visitors

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

With WordPress, every category you create has a separate searchable webpage.

This allows your users to browse all posts published under that category in one place …

Using categories improves ease of navigation on your website

(Use WordPress categories to improve ease of navigation for your users)

We have written a detailed tutorial about using post categories here:

Step 7 – Creating Your Content Strategy

Plan your content strategy

(Plan your content strategy)

Now that you have created a list of keywords and categories, the next step is to formulate 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 “Static” Web Content

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

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

  • Name of your business and a brief description of the business.
  • “Main Page” content.
  • Content for your “About Us” page.
  • “Products/Services” page content.
  • Site Categories.
  • Contact Details (e.g. business address, email, telephone numbers)
  • Images (e.g. stock images, etc.). Image formats = .jpg, .png or .gif.
  • 2 – 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. ”Suppliers”, etc.
  • Downloadable content (e.g. videos, PDF reports, price lists, etc.)
  • Also, check that all links that you plan 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 and easy” method you can use to create a list of content topics for your site.

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

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

  • The products or services you sell
  • The people in your company – who are they and what do they do
  • The industry you’re in
  • A business event you plan to attend
  • Service training information
  • Staff tips and training
  • What aspect of your business could you educate prospects about to help eliminate sales objections?
  • What problem do you or your services help your customers solve?
  • What reviews can you provide to help more customers buy from you?
  • What are some of the more common FAQs you get from interested visitors or prospective customers?
  • etc …

Once you have a list of web content topics, keep adding to the list.

Tip #3: Learn How To Run Out Of Ideas For New Web 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 new web content ideas.

Infinite Web Content Creation Email Training Series

(Learn ways to never run out of web content ideas)

The “Infinite Web Content Creation” email 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
  • How To Outsource 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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Images: Planning, Social Media, Blogging.

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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!