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 DesignAre you thinking about getting a web site for your business?

Then this essential guide to website planning is for you.

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

Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 2

So far, we have covered the following areas of the website planning process:

  • Step 1 – Goals
  • Step 2 – Web Site Name
  • Step 3 – Manage Your Website’s Technology
  • Step 4 – Defining Your 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 be using and have a good understanding of your target audience.

At this point, many people begin building their website. We suggest, however, that you go through the rest of the planning process presented below, as we will now start to move into planning your website content and looking at effective strategies for publishing and managing content. Getting all of the initial planning done before you start building your site will help you save time and money.

Step 5 – Key Phrases

(Identify your main keywords)

(Identify the most important search phrases)

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 want people and search engines to associate with your website. 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 monthly search volume. Depending on your business, you may also want to focus on keywords in your target market that have some level of commercial profitability.

There are many tools you can use help you look for good 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” (over 18,000 searches per month) than “singles adventure travel“, which gets less than 1,000 searches a month …

Keyword Research Tool - Keyword Planner Tool

(Google’s Keyword Planner Tool)

According to this keyword research tool, however, the number of sites competing against one another for visitors searching for “singles adventure travel“, is significantly higher than sites trying to rank for a keyword phrase like “overseas adventure travel“. This could be because one key 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 experiences to singles, etc..

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

For example, users who search online for the keyword phrase “color printer” are typically not as ready to buy a colour printer as people who search for “konica minolta magicolor 7450 II 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 high amount of monthly searches and low to medium competition.

It will help your site, therefore, if you 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 if you are just starting out.

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

Once your site begins to attract visitors, you can then analyze actual data like keyword searches used by visitors to find your website from your server logs and apply this data to refine your keyword research.

Tip

Tips

Tip #1: Avoid building your content marketing campaigns on keyword phrases that return extremely low to no monthly searches, or that have no demand. There’s not much point ranking #1 in Google for key phrases that no one is searching for. Also, if you type the keywords 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 interest or is unprofitable.

Key phrases with no competing advertisers are generally not worth targeting

(Search phrases with no competition for advertisers are typically unprofitable)

Tip #2: Use keyword research tools to help you build keyword lists 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 Tool

Keyword Research Tool - Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Research Tool – Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool)

The Google Keyword Planner lets you search for keywords 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 keyword lists together.

For more details, visit this website:

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

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest

(Ubersuggest)

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

Explore new content ideas with the Ubersuggest

(Discover new content ideas with the Ubersuggest keyword tool)

To use this keyword tool, visit the site here:

The keyword research tools below will 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 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, plus excellent training tutorials on how to perform keyword research for SEO purposes.

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

SEMRush

SEMRUSH

(SEMRUSH)

With SEMRush, you can enter the URLs of your competitors and it will give you a list of all the keywords that site is ranking for, which is great for researching short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can use to grow your own site.

To learn more, check out the website here:

Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy Keyword Tool

(Keyword Spy Keyword Research Tool)

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

To learn more, visit the site here:

Step 6 – Defining Web Site Categories

Define site categories

(Define website categories)

Now that you have done some keyword research, the next step is to decide on specific topics in your niche market that people may want to know more about and create a list of “categories” for these topics that you plan to post content about.

For example, if your business is travel-related, your categories could be organized into topics such as: “business travel”, “luxury travel”, “exotic destinations”, “family holiday destinations”, “hotel accommodation”, “travel discounts”, “cruises”, “air travel”, “America,” or any category of travel-related services your business offers.

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

Practical Tip

Tips For New Website Owners:

Tip #1: Use WordPress To Easily Manage Your Site’s Categories

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

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

WordPress makes managing your website's categories easy

(Use WordPress for easy management of your categories)

Tip #2: Use Categories To Improve Your SEO

Using the right keywords when naming your categories helps to 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 choosing category names …

Use WordPress categories to improve your search engine optimization

(WordPress categories help to increase your SEO)

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

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

WordPress turns each category you create into a searchable webpage.

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

Using categories improves site navigation

(Use WordPress categories to improve ease of navigation on your site)

We have created a detailed tutorial on using post categories here:

Step 7 – Plan Your Content Strategy

Formulate a content strategy

(Formulate a content strategy)

Now that you have researched your keywords and added a list of categories, the next step is to define 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:

Tip

Tips For New Business Website Owners:

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 web site, especially if you plan to get someone else involved in the process. This will help to avoid additional costs caused by delays or unpreparedness.

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

  • Business name and brief description of your 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. stock images, etc.). Image formats = .jpg, .png or .gif.
  • 2 – 5 initial posts to be used as “seed content” for your site (saved as Word document or plain text file).
  • List of all external links and additional contact details to be included in your site (e.g. “Resources”, etc.
  • Media files (e.g. videos, PDF reports, price lists, etc.)
  • Also, remember to check that all links that you are planning 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” method you can use to begin writing a list of content topics for your website.

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

You can also easily write an article about any of the topics listed below:

  • Your products or services
  • Your company and the people in it
  • Educate visitors about your industry – the challenges it faces and how your business is addressing these
  • A industry event you plan to attend
  • Client tips
  • Staff training
  • What aspect of your business could you educate prospective customers about to help eliminate objections?
  • What problem do you or your services help your customers solve?
  • What reviews can you provide to help more clients buy from you?
  • What are common FAQs you get all the time from enquirers or prospective customers?
  • etc …

Once you have created a list of content ideas, continue adding to your 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 ways to never run out of web content ideas.

Content Creation Email Training Series

(Never run out of web content ideas)

The “Infinite Web Content Creation” training series is aimed at helping WordPress users 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
  • What To Write About
  • Outsourcing Your Content Creation
  • 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 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 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.