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

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

Note: This is Part 2 of the article series where we take you step-by-step through the process of planning your business website.

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 – Goals
  • Step 2 – Your Site Name
  • Step 3 – Manage Your Site’s Technology
  • Step 4 – Your Audience

Website Planning Process

(Website Planning Process)

As you can see, in so far we have established the foundations for planning your business site. 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 defined your target audience.

At this point, you could feasibly start building your site. We suggest, however, that you go through the rest of the planning process presented below, as we will now start to move into content planning and looking at effective web content management and publishing strategies. Doing all of the planning work before you start building your web site could save you time and money.

Step 5 – Identify Your Keywords

(Identify your principal key phrases)

(List the main keyword phrases)

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

Ideally, you will want to focus on keywords that have “low competition” and a reasonable number of searches each month. Depending on your business, 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 find great key phrases, including free keyword tools.

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

The screenshot below shows that more people are searching each month for “overseas adventure travel” (> 18,000 searches per month) than “singles adventure travel“, which gets less than 1,000 searches a month …

Keyword Research Tool - Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Research Tool – Google Keyword Planner Tool)

According to this keyword research tool, however, the number of websites competing against one another for visitors searching 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 packages to singles, etc..

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

For example, users searching online for the term “colour printers” are typically not as ready yet to invest in a color printer as people who search for “konica minolta magicolor 4750EN 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 search terms (called “long tail keywords”), hopefully with a higher search volume and low to medium competition.

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

Make a simple start. Make a list of the “top” five keywords you want your web site to rank highly for in the search engines, make sure that these keywords have a decent monthly search volume and then use these keywords naturally in your content (i.e. aim to create content for human visitors, not search engine robots).

Once your site starts to draw in visitors, you can then study actual data like keyword searches used by visitors to find your site from analytic tools and use this information to improve your keyword research and get better results online.

Tip

Keyword Research Tips

Tip #1: Avoid basing keywords that show extremely low to no monthly searches, or that have no demand. There’s not much point ranking #1 in Google for a key phrase that no one is searching for. Also, if you type key 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.

Keyphrases that have no competition for advertisers are often unprofitable

(Search words with no competition for advertisers may not be worth targeting)

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

Free Keyword Research Tools

Google AdWords Keyword Planner

Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Planner Tool – Google AdWords)

The Google Keyword Planner Tool lets you search for keywords and keyword-based advertising ideas (e.g. pay-per-click advertising), get keyword search history, 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, 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 done:

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest keyword tool

(Ubersuggest)

UberSuggest is a free keyword suggestion 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 tool saves you time going go through the alphabet from A-Z to discover keyword ideas related to your subject:

Discover new content ideas with the Ubersuggest keyword suggestion tool

(Discover new content ideas with the Ubersuggest)

To use this tool, check out the website here:

Paid Keyword Research Tools

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

Market Samurai

Market Samurai

(Market Samurai Keyword Tool)

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

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

SEMRush

SEMRUSH

(SEMRUSH)

With SEMRush, you can enter your competitor’s URL and it will then give you a list of all the keywords that site is ranking for, allowing you to easily find short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can use to grow your own site.

To learn more about this tool, check out the website here:

Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy Keyword Research Tool

(Keyword Spy)

Keyword Spy is an SEO tool that is primarily used for researching keywords. You can use Keyword Spy to view competitor keywords, as well as do research on keywords for your own site.

To learn more, visit this site:

Step 6 – Define Web Site Categories

Define web site categories

(Define site categories)

Decide on specific topics in your niche market that people might be interested in learning about and create a list of “categories” for these topics that you plan to write content about.

For example, if you run a travel agency, your categories could be organized into topics such as: “corporate travel”, “luxury travel”, “exotic destinations”, “family holiday destinations”, “hotel accommodation”, “travel discounts”, “train travel”, “air travel”, “Latin America,” or any other travel-related categories that match your services.

Aim to create an initial list of about 5 – 8 categories. You can always add more categories to your site later on.

Practical Tip

Practical Tips For New Business Website Owners:

Tip #1: WordPress Makes Managing Categories Easy

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

WordPress makes managing website categories easy. 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 website’s categories)

Tip #2: Use Categories To Increase Your SEO

Selecting the right keywords in your category names can increase your website’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 names …

WordPress categories help to improve your search rankings

(Using WordPress categories to improve your SEO rankings)

Tip #3: Categories Help To Improve Ease Of Navigation On Your Website

Categories allow users to navigate more easily through your site’s content.

With WordPress, each category you create becomes its own searchable web page.

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

Use categories to improve ease of navigation on your site

(Use categories to improve site navigation)

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

Step 7 – Plan Your Content Strategy

Create a content strategy

(Create a content strategy)

Now that you have researched your keywords and created a list of 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 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:

Useful 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 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.

Here is a basic checklist of the content you will want to have already prepared prior to building your website:

  • The name of your business and a brief description of the business.
  • “Main Page” content.
  • Content for your “About Us” page.
  • Content for your “Products/Services” page(s).
  • Site Categories.
  • Contact Details (e.g. business address, email, telephone numbers)
  • Images (e.g. staff photos, etc.). Image formats = .jpg, .png or .gif.
  • 1 – 10 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.
  • Additional files (e.g. promo videos, PDF documents, price lists, etc.)
  • Also, remember to check that all web addresses you plan 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 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 12 keywords, and for each keyword, list one article idea you can add to your website.

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

  • Featured product
  • A company award your business has received
  • Your industry
  • A business event you have attended
  • Tips and how-tos
  • Affiliate information
  • What aspect of your services could you educate prospective customers 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, keep adding to this list on a regular basis.

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 ways to never run out of content ideas.

Content Creation Email Training Series

(Never run out of ideas for new content)

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

  • Creating A Sustainable Web Content Strategy
  • Content Writing Tips
  • Effective Copywriting
  • WordPress Content Posting Guidelines
  • What To Write About
  • How To Outsource 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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The Website Planning Process Explained: A Practical Primer For Business Owners

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This is the end of Section Two

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

Images: Planning, Social Media, Blogging.

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"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)

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Originally published as Website Planning Process – Part 2.