Are you thinking about taking your small business online?
Then this essential guide to planning your website is for you.
Note: This is Part 2 of the article series where we provide important information on planning a new web presence.
- For Part One, go here: Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 1
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 – Your Web Site Name
- Step 3 – Managing Your Website’s Technology
- Step 4 – Defining Your Audience
(Website Planning Process)
As you can see, in so far we have established the foundations for planning your business site. 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 be using and defined your target audience.
At this point, you could feasibly start building your site. We suggest, however, that you complete the rest of the planning process presented below, as we will now begin to move into content planning and looking at effective content publishing and management strategies. Doing all of the planning work before you start building your website or blog could save you time and money.
Step 5 – Your Keyword Phrases
(List the main keyword phrases)
Once 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 people and search engines to associate with your site. This will help search engines to connect your site with your target audience.
Ideally, you should try to find key phrases that have “low competition” and a reasonable number of people searching for these keywords each month. Depending on your specific situation, you may also want to focus on key phrases within your market that have some level of commercial profitability.
There are many tools you can use to look for great key phrases, including free keyword tools.
If you have a Google Adwords account, for example, you can use a keyword tool like the Google Keyword Planner Tool.
In the screenshot below, you can see that more people search each 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 Research Tool – Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool)
According to this keyword research tool, however, the number of web sites competing against one another in the search space for “singles adventure travel“, is higher than sites trying to rank for a keyword 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 profit potential of certain keyword phrases. Typically, savvy advertisers will pay more for key phrases that are targeted towards attracting ”buyers”, instead of key phrases targeted more towards attracting users who are just browsing or researching products or services online.
For example, people searching online for the keywords “color printer minolta” are typically not as ready to invest in a color printer as people who search for “konica minolta bizhub C3850 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 key phrases (called “long tail keywords”), hopefully with a high search volume and low to medium competition.
It will help your site, therefore, to have a few highly searched keywords in your posts. However, don’t invest too much time doing keyword research for every post you plan to add to your site, especially when you are just starting out.
Make a simple start. Begin by making a list of the “top” 5 keywords you want your site to rank well 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. plan to create web content for human visitors, not search engine robots).
Once your site begins to bring in visitors, you can then study actual data like keyword searches used by visitors to find your site from analytic tools and apply this information to refine your keyword research and get better results online.
Tip #1: Avoid building your advertising or content marketing campaigns on keywords that return extremely low to no monthly searches, or that have no commercial value. There’s not much point ranking #1 in Google for keywords that no one is searching for. Also, if you type a keyword phrase 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.
(Keyphrases that have no competition for advertisers may be unprofitable)
Tip #2: Use tools to help you build keyword lists and generate content ideas. Below are a number of great free and paid keyword research tools you can check out:
Free Keyword Research Tools
(Keyword Planner Tool)
The Keyword Planner Tool lets you explore hundreds of keywords, keyword groups and keyword-based advertising ideas (e.g. pay-per-click advertising), review competitive keyword history, see how a list of keywords could perform in ad campaigns and even create a new keyword list by multiplying several keyword lists 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 you with your initial keyword research:
UberSuggest is a free keyword suggestion 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 useful tool saves you time going go through the alphabet from a-z to explore keyword ideas related to your subject:
(Discover new content ideas with the Ubersuggest keyword suggestion tool)
To use this free tool, go here:
Paid Keyword Research Tools
The keyword research tools below can help you not only uncover many profitable key 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 Keyword Research Tool)
Market Samurai is an inexpensive tool that provides not only keyword research but also some great additional content research tools, with excellent training tutorials on how to perform keyword research for SEO purposes.
For more information, visit this site:
With SEMRush, you can enter your competitor’s URL and the tool will then give you a list of all the keywords that the site is ranking for, making it easier to find short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can target.
For more details about this tool, visit this site:
Keyword Spy is an SEO tool that’s primarily used for researching keywords. Use Keyword Spy to identify the keywords that your competition is using, as well as do research on keywords for your own website.
For more information, visit the site here:
Step 6 – Defining Your Site Categories
(Define site categories)
The next step after keyword research is to decide on specific topics in your niche that your visitors might be interested in learning about and create a list of “categories” for these topics that you plan to publish content about.
For example, if your business is travel-related, your categories could be organized into topics like: “corporate travel”, “adventure travel”, “romantic destinations”, “holiday packages”, “hotel accommodation”, “travel discounts”, “cruises”, “air travel”, “Europe,” or any category of travel-related services your business offers.
Plan to create an initial list of about 5 – 12 categories. You can always add more categories to your site later on.
Useful Tips For New Website Owners:
Tip #1: WordPress Makes Managing Categories Easy
WordPress provides two pre-defined ways of grouping and organizing content (WordPress calls these taxonomies): “categories” and “tags”.
WordPress makes managing 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)
Tip #2: Use Categories To Improve Your SEO
Using the right keywords when naming your categories 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 planning your categories …
(Using WordPress categories to improve your SEO rankings)
Tip #3: Use Categories To Improve Your Site’s Navigation
Categories allow users to find content on your website more easily.
With WordPress, every category you create gets a separate searchable webpage.
This allows your users to search for all content published under that category in one place …
(Using categories improves site navigation)
We have written a detailed tutorial about using post categories here:
Step 7 – Defining Your Content Strategy
(Plan 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.).
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)
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 Tips For New Website Owners:
Tip #1: Your “Static” Website Content
Make sure that you have content for all of your “fixed” 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 to avoid additional costs caused by delays or unpreparedness.
Here is a simple checklist of the content you will want to have already prepared prior to building your new website:
- Name of your business and a brief description of your business.
- “Home Page” content.
- “About Us” page content.
- “Products/Services” page content.
- Site Categories.
- Business 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. “Resources”, etc.
- Downloadable content (e.g. videos, PDF documents, price lists, etc.)
- Also, ensure 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 Content Ideas
Here is a “quick and easy” method you can use to create a list of content ideas for your site.
Write down 10 keywords, and for each keyword, write down one article idea you can add to your website.
You can also easily write an article about each of the following topics:
- Featured product
- The people in your company – who are they and what do they do
- Your industry
- A business event you have attended
- ”How to” tutorials for clients
- Affiliate training
- What area of your business could you educate prospects about to help overcome sales objections?
- What problem do you or your services help your customers solve?
- What reviews can you provide to help more prospects buy from you?
- What are common FAQs you get all the time from visitors and prospective customers?
- etc …
Once you have your list of content topics, keep adding to your list on a regular basis.
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.
(Never run out of ideas for new content)
The “Infinite Web Content Creation” email training series is aimed at helping WordPress users and covers the following aspects of the content creation process:
- How To Create An Effective Digital Content Strategy
- Content Writing Tips
- Copywriting Principles
- Content Posting Guidelines For WordPress
- 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!
This is the end of Part 2
To continue reading this article, click on the link below:
"Your training is the best in the world! It is simple, yet detailed, direct, understandable, memorable, and complete." Andrea Adams, FinancialJourney.org