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 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 important information on planning your new website or blog.

A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 2

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

  • Step 1 – Defining Your Site Goals
  • Step 2 – Your Site Name
  • Step 3 – Manage Your Technology
  • Step 4 – Your Website Target Audience

Website Planning Process

(Website Planning Process)

As you can see, in Part 1 we have established the foundations for planning your website. If you have followed our recommended 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 address content planning and looking at effective strategies for publishing and managing content. Having all the initial planning done before you start building your website or blog could save you a tremendous amount of time and money.

Step 5 – Your Key Phrases

(List the most important key phrases)

(List your principal keyword phrases)

Now that you have a good idea of who you will be targeting with your website, it’s time to identify the main key phrases that you would like online users and search engines to associate with your site. This will help search engines to connect your website with your target readers.

Ideally, you should aim for keyword phrases that have “low competition” and a reasonable number of searches each month. Depending on your goals, you may also want to focus on keywords within your industry that have some level of commercial viability.

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

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

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

Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Research Tool – Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool)

According to the Google Keyword Planner, however, the number of websites competing for visitors searching for “singles adventure travel“, is higher than sites trying to rank for a key phrase like “overseas adventure travel“. This may 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 profit potential of certain key phrases. Typically, savvy advertisers will promote keyword phrases aimed towards a “buying” public, rather than key phrases targeted more towards users who are simply browsing or researching information online.

For example, people who search online for the keywords “colour printer minolta” are generally not as ready yet to buy a colour printer as people who search for a more targeted keyword phrase like “konica minolta bizhub C3850 review”, so if you plan to sell or review colour printers on your website, you would want to aim for longer, more descriptive and more targeted keyword phrases (called “long tail keywords”), hopefully with a higher monthly 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 spend too much of your valuable time doing keyword research for every piece of content you plan to add to your site, especially when you are just starting out.

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

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

Practical Tip

Keyword Research Tips

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

Search keywords that have no competing advertisers are generally unprofitable

(Search words with no competing advertisers are often not worth targeting)

Tip #2: Use tools to help you research keywords 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 Tool

Keyword Planner Tool - Google AdWords

(Google’s Keyword Planner Tool)

The Google Keyword Planner Tool lets you search for keywords, keyword groups and keyword-based advertising ideas (e.g. pay-per-click advertising), review competitive keyword 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.

To learn more, visit this site:

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

Ubersuggest Keyword Suggestion Tool

Ubersuggest keyword suggestion tool

(Ubersuggest)

UberSuggest is a free tool that essentially lets you perform the same function as typing a 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 explore new keyword ideas related to your subject:

Explore new content ideas with the Ubersuggest keyword tool

(Discover new content ideas with the Ubersuggest)

To use this tool, visit this site:

The keyword research tools below can help you not only discover 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 inexpensive and provides not just keyword research but also some great additional content research tools, plus excellent training tutorials on performing keyword research for SEO purposes.

To learn more, visit this site:

SEMRush

SEMRUSH Keyword Research Tool

(SEMRUSH Keyword Research Tool)

SEMRush lets you add 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 then target.

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

Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy Keyword Research Tool

(Keyword Spy)

Keyword Spy is an SEO tool that is also primarily used for doing keyword research. Use Keyword Spy to view competitor keywords, as well as do research on keywords for your own website and content marketing strategy.

For more information, visit this website:

Step 6 – Defining Site Categories

Define your site categories

(Define web site categories)

Now that you have done initial keyword research, the next step is to decide on specific topics 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 publish content about.

For example, if your business is travel, your categories could include topics like: “corporate travel”, “luxury travel”, “exotic destinations”, “family packages”, “budget accommodation”, “travel accessories”, “train travel”, “airfare discounts”, “Mexico,” or any other travel-related categories that match your services.

Aim to create an initial list of about 3 – 10 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 Site’s Categories

WordPress provides two commonly used 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 site's categories

(WordPress makes managing categories easy)

Tip #2: Categories Can Increase Your SEO

Selecting the right keywords when naming your categories helps to 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 keep this in mind when selecting your category names …

WordPress categories help to improve your SEO rankings

(WordPress categories can increase your search engine optimization)

Tip #3: Use Categories To Improve Site Navigation

Categories help users find content on your site more easily.

With WordPress, each category you create becomes a new searchable webpage.

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

Using categories improves your site's navigation

(Use categories to improve ease of navigation for users)

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

Step 7 – Your Content Strategy

Plan your content strategy

(Define your content strategy)

Now that you have researched your keywords and added 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 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.

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:

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 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 website:

  • Business name and a brief business description.
  • “Main Page” content.
  • “About Us” page content.
  • “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 – 3 initial articles 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 on your site (e.g. ”Vendors”, etc.
  • Media files (e.g. videos, PDF documents, white papers, etc.)
  • Also, make sure that all links you are planning to add to your website are working and all other details like spelling, phone numbers, etc. are correct.

Tip #2: Create A List Of Website Content Topics

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

Write down 7 keywords, and for each keyword, create a list with one content idea you can add to your website.

You can also write articles about each of the following topics:

  • The products or services you sell
  • Your company and the people in it
  • Educate visitors about your industry – the challenges it faces and how your business is addressing these
  • A business event you have attended
  • ”How to” tips for customers
  • Affiliate tips and training
  • What aspect of your solution 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 all the time from visitors or prospective customers?
  • etc …

Once you have created this list of web content ideas, keep adding to the list on a regular basis.

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 new ideas for web content.

Infinite Web Content Creation Email Training Series

(Never run out of web content ideas)

The “Infinite Web Content Creation” training series covers the following areas of the content creation process:

  • How To Create A Sustainable Web Content Strategy
  • Content Writing Tips
  • Writing Web Copy
  • Content Posting Guidelines For WordPress
  • How To Never Run Out Ideas For Web Content
  • Outsourcing Your Content Writing
  • Time-Saving Content Methods

Enter your details in the form below to subscribe now and start receiving training content immediately!

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A Cost-Saving Guide To Website Planning For Business Owners

***

This is the end of Part 2

To continue reading this tutorial, click here:

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 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.