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.

Website DevelopmentAre you thinking about getting a web site built for your business?

Then this guide to planning your website is for you.

Note: This section continues from the previous article series where we provide important information about planning your business website.

Planning Your Website – The First Steps – Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we’ve covered the following areas of the website planning process:

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

The Website Planning Process

(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 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, many people begin building their website. We suggest, however, that you complete the planning process presented in this guide, as we will now cover 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 will help you save time and money.

Step 5 – Keyword Phrases

(List the main search phrases)

(List your main keywords)

Now that you have a clearer idea of who you will be targeting with your site, the next step is to identify the main keyword phrases that you will want people and search engines to associate with your site. This will help search engines connect your site with your target readers.

Ideally, you will want to focus on keyword phrases that have “low competition” and a reasonable number of people searching for these keywords every month. Depending on your needs, you may also want to focus on keyword phrases within your target industry that have some level of commercial profitability.

There are many tools you can use help you look for suitable keyword phrases, including free tools.

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

In the screenshot below, you can see that more people are searching each month for “overseas adventure travel” (over 18,000 searches per month) than a key phrase like “singles adventure travel“, which gets less than 1,000 searches a month …

Google's Keyword Planner Tool

(Keyword Planner Tool)

According to the Google Keyword Planner, however, the number of sites competing for visitors searching for “singles adventure travel“, is significantly higher than sites trying to rank for a keyword phrase like “overseas adventure travel“. This may be because one key 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 experiences to singles, etc..

Doing keyword research can also help you understand the commercial value of certain keywords. Typically, savvy advertisers will invest more time and money promoting key phrases aimed towards a “buying” public, instead of keyword phrases targeted more towards users who are just browsing or researching products or services online.

For example, people searching for the keywords “colour printers minolta” are generally not as ready to purchase a colour printer as people who search for “konica minolta magicolor 4690MF 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 key phrases (called “long tail keywords”), hopefully with a high search volume and low to medium competition.

It helps, therefore, if you have a few highly searched keywords in your posts. However, don’t go “crazy” doing keyword research for every piece of content you plan to add to your site, especially if you are just starting out.

Start simple. Begin by making a list of the “top” 5 keywords you want your website to rank well for in the search engines, make sure that the keywords you pick have a decent search volume and then use these keyword phrases naturally in your posts (i.e. plan to write your web content for human readers, not search engines).

Once your site begins to draw in visitors, you can then study actual data like keyword searches online users are typing into search engines to find your site from your server logs and apply this information to improve your keyword research and get better results online.

Useful Tip

Keyword Research Tips

Tip #1: Avoid building your marketing campaigns on keyword phrases that return extremely low to no monthly searches, or that have no demand. There’s no point ranking #1 in Google for key phrases that no one is looking for. Also, if you type the keyword phrases into Google and no one is advertising products or services for it (i.e. no Google ads show up), then that keyword most likely has no commercial value or is unprofitable.

Key phrases that have no competing advertisers may be unprofitable

(Search words that have no competing advertisers may be unprofitable)

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

Free Keyword Research Tools

Google Keyword Planner

Keyword Research Tool - Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool

(Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool)

The Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool lets you explore keywords and keyword-based advertising ideas (e.g. pay-per-click advertising), analyze keyword search statistics, see how a list of keywords might perform in ad campaigns and even create a new keyword list by multiplying several existing keyword lists together.

For more information, check out the website here:

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 Keyword Suggestion Tool

Ubersuggest

(Ubersuggest keyword suggestion tool)

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

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 keyword tool)

To use this free tool, go here:

The keyword research tools below will help you not only discover many profitable keyword phrases 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)

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

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

SEMRush

SEMRUSH

(SEMRUSH)

SEMRush lets you enter your competitor’s URL and the tool will show you all the keywords that site is ranking for, allowing you to easily find short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can then target for your own website.

For more details, visit this site:

Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy

(Keyword Spy)

Keyword Spy is an SEO tool that’s primarily used for performing keyword research. Use Keyword Spy to identify the keywords that your competition is using and to do research on keywords for your own site.

To learn more about this software tool, go here:

Step 6 – Defining Web Site Categories

Define website categories

(Define web site categories)

Now that you have done initial keyword research, the next step is to decide on specific areas in your niche market 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 you run a travel agency, your categories could include topics such as: “business travel”, “luxury travel”, “romantic destinations”, “family holiday destinations”, “long-term accommodation”, “travel accessories”, “train travel”, “air travel”, “Caribbean Travel,” or any other travel-related categories that match your services.

Plan 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 Website Owners:

Tip #1: WordPress Makes Managing Categories Easy

WordPress offers two fundamental ways of grouping and organizing content (WordPress calls these taxonomies): “categories” and “tags”.

WordPress makes managing categories easy. It also lets you easily add new categories and assign your posts to different categories to help keep your content organized.

WordPress makes managing your website's categories easy

(WordPress makes managing your website’s categories easy)

Tip #2: Categories Help To Increase Your SEO

Targeting the right keywords when naming your categories can improve your website’s SEO rankings.

WordPress lets you easily create search engine-friendly URLs that include your categories as keywords (great for search engine optimization, so keep this in mind when choosing your categories …

Using WordPress categories to increase your SEO

(WordPress categories help to increase your SEO rankings)

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

Categories help users find content on your website more easily.

WordPress turns each category you create into a searchable webpage.

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

Use WordPress categories to improve ease of navigation for your visitors

(WordPress categories can your site’s navigation)

To learn more about using WordPress post categories, go here:

Step 7 – Formulate Your Content Strategy

Define your content strategy

(Plan your 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:

Practical Tip

Useful Tips For New Website Owners:

Tip #1: Your “Fixed” Web Pages

Make sure that you have content for all of your “fixed” 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.

Below is a basic checklist of the content you will want to have already prepared before you start building a website:

  • Business name and brief business description.
  • Content for your “Home Page”.
  • “About Us” page content.
  • Content for your “Products/Services” page(s).
  • Your main service/product categories.
  • Business Contact Details (e.g. business address, email, telephone numbers)
  • Images (e.g. business images, etc.). Image formats = .jpg, .png or .gif.
  • 2 – 10 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. “Resources”, etc.
  • Additional media (e.g. videos, PDF documents, white papers, etc.)
  • Also, remember to check that all web addresses you would like to add to your site and all other details like spelling, phone numbers, etc. are correct.

Tip #2: Create A List Of Web Content Topics

Here is a “quick and easy” method you can use to help you create a list of content ideas for your site.

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 a blog post about any of the topics listed below:

  • Your products or services
  • Your company and the people in it
  • The industry you’re in
  • A industry event you plan to attend
  • ”How to” tutorials for customers
  • Reseller information
  • What area of your business could you educate prospective customers about to help overcome sales objections?
  • What problem do you or your services help your customers solve?
  • What information can you provide to help more clients buy from you?
  • What are some of the more common FAQs you get all the time from enquirers or prospective customers?
  • etc …

Once you have a list of web content topics, keep adding to your list on a regular basis.

Tip #3: Learn How To Run Out Of Ideas For New Content

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 ideas for content.

Content Creation Email Training Series

(Never run out of ideas for new web content)

The “Infinite Web Content Creation” training series is specially designed for WordPress users and covers the following areas of the content creation process:

  • How To Create A Sustainable Digital Content Strategy
  • Content Writing Tips
  • Effective Copywriting
  • Content Posting Guidelines For WordPress
  • What To Write About
  • How To Outsource Your Content Creation
  • Time-Saving Content Methods

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

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The Web Site Planning Process Explained - A Useful Blueprint For Business Owners

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This is the end of Part Two

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

Images: Planning, Social Media, Blogging.

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"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the owner of WPCompendium.org and the author of The WordPress User Manual. 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.