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 site DevelopmentAre you thinking about taking your business online?

Then this basic guide to planning your website is for you.

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

How To Plan Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 2

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

  • Step 1 – Defining Your Website Goals
  • Step 2 – Naming Your Site
  • Step 3 – Manage Your Technology
  • Step 4 – Defining 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 site. If you have been following 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, many people start building their website. We suggest, however, that you complete the planning process presented in this guide, as we will now begin to move into content planning and reviewing effective strategies for managing and publishing this content. Doing all of the planning work before you start building your web site could save you a significant amount of time and money.

Step 5 – Key Phrases

(Identify the principal key phrases)

(Identify the most important search keywords)

Once you have a clearer idea of who you will be targeting with your site, the next step is to identify the main key phrases that you would like visitors 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 keywords that have “low competition” and a reasonable number of people searching for these keywords every month. Depending on your situation, you may also want to focus on key phrases in your industry that have some level of commercial profitability.

There are many tools you can use help you identify suitable key phrases, including free tools.

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

The screenshot below shows that more people search every month for the keyword phrase “overseas adventure travel” (> 18,000 searches per month) than the key phrase “singles adventure travel“, which gets less than 1,000 searches a month …

Keyword Planner Tool - Google AdWords

(Keyword Research Tool – Keyword Planner Tool)

According to the Google Keyword Planner, however, the number of sites 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 could be because one keyword phrase 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 packages to singles, etc..

Doing keyword research can also help you understand the profit potential of certain keyword phrases. Typically, savvy advertisers will invest more time and money promoting keywords that are aimed towards attracting ”buyers”, rather than keywords that are more suitable for people who are simply browsing or researching information online.

For example, people who search for the keywords “colour printers” are typically not as ready yet to buy a color printer as people who search for a more targeted keyword phrase like “konica minolta bizhub 4000P 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, to have some highly searched keywords in your content. However, don’t spend too much time 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” 5 keywords you want your site to rank well for in the search engines, make sure that these keywords have a decent monthly search volume and then use these key phrases organically in your posts (i.e. aim to create web content for people, not search engines).

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

Tip

Keyword Research Tips

Tip #1: Avoid using keyword phrases that show extremely low to no monthly searches, or that have no commercial intent. There’s not much point ranking #1 in Google for a key phrase that no one is interested in. Also, if you type the keyword phrases 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 value or is unprofitable.

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

(Keywords with no competition for advertisers may be unprofitable)

Tip #2: Use keyword research tools to help you build keyword lists and generate great content ideas. Here are a number of useful free and paid keyword research tools you can check out:

Free Keyword Research Tools

Keyword Planner

Google's Keyword Planner Tool

(Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool)

The Keyword Planner Tool lets you explore keywords, keyword groups and keyword-based advertising ideas (e.g. pay-per-click advertising), get 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.

For more details, 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.org – Keyword Suggestion Tool

Ubersuggest

(Ubersuggest keyword tool)

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

This tool saves you time going go through the alphabet from a-z to explore new keyword suggestions related to your subject:

Discover new content ideas with the Ubersuggest

(Explore new content ideas with the Ubersuggest)

To use this keyword tool, visit the site here:

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

Market Samurai

Market Samurai Keyword Research Tool

(Market Samurai Keyword Research Tool)

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

For more information, check out the website here:

SEMRush

SEMRUSH

(SEMRUSH)

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

To learn more, visit this site:

Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy Keyword Research Tool

(Keyword Spy Keyword Research Tool)

Keyword Spy is an SEO tool that’s primarily used for researching keywords. You can use Keyword Spy to identify the keywords that your competition is using and to do research on keywords for your own website and content marketing strategy.

For more details, visit this website:

Step 6 – Defining Your Site Categories

Define your site categories

(Define website categories)

The next step after keyword research is to decide on specific areas within your niche that your visitors will want to know more 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, your categories could be organized into topics such as: “corporate travel”, “luxury travel”, “romantic destinations”, “holiday packages”, “hotel accommodation”, “travel discounts”, “train travel”, “airfare discounts”, “Travel Europe,” or any category of travel-related services your business offers.

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

Practical Tip

Useful Tips For Business Website Owners:

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

WordPress provides two pre-defined ways of grouping and organizing content on your website or blog (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 match your posts to different categories to help keep your content organized.

Use WordPress for easy management of your website's categories

(Use WordPress for easy management of your categories)

Tip #2: Use Categories To Increase Your SEO

Selecting the right keywords when naming your categories helps to improve your website’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 selecting category names …

Using WordPress categories to increase your SEO rankings

(WordPress categories can improve your search engine optimization)

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

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

WordPress turns every category you create into a searchable webpage.

This allows your visitors to browse all content published under that category in one place …

Use categories to improve site navigation

(Using categories improves ease of navigation for your visitors)

If you need help with using WordPress post categories, go here:

Step 7 – Creating Your Content Strategy

Create a content strategy

(Create your 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.

Useful 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

Practical Tips For New Business Website Owners:

Tip #1: Your “Fixed” Web Pages

Make sure that you have content for all of your “static” 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 simple checklist of the content you will want to have already prepared prior to building a new website:

  • Name of your business and a brief business description.
  • Content for your “Front Page”.
  • Content for your “About Us” page.
  • “Products/Services” page content.
  • Your main service/product categories.
  • Contact Details (e.g. business address, email, telephone numbers)
  • Images (e.g. stock images, etc.). Image formats = .jpg, .png or .gif.
  • 1 – 3 initial blog posts 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 on your site (e.g. ”Vendors”, etc.
  • Additional media (e.g. videos, PDF documents, white papers, etc.)
  • Also, ensure that all links you would like to add to your website are working 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 help you begin writing a list of content ideas for your site.

Write down 25 keywords, and for each keyword, list one article idea you can add to your website.

You can also write a post about any of the topics listed below:

  • Featured product
  • The people in your company – who are they and what do they do
  • The industry you’re in
  • A industry event you plan to attend
  • ”How to” tutorials
  • Affiliate tips and training
  • What aspect of your products or solution could you educate prospective customers 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 clients buy again from you?
  • What are common FAQs you get all the time from enquirers or prospective customers?
  • etc …

Once you have this list of content topics, continually add to this list.

Tip #3: Learn Ways To Run Out Of 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 content ideas.

Infinite Web Content Creation Email Training Series

(Never run out of ideas for new web content)

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

  • How To Create An Effective Web Content Strategy
  • Content Writing Tips
  • Copywriting Principles
  • WordPress Content Posting Guidelines
  • 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 Practical Guide To Website Planning For Business Owners

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This is the end of Section 2

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

Images: Planning, Social Media, Blogging.

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"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)

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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.