Are you considering the idea of taking your small business online?
Then this article on planning your website is for you.
Note: This section continues from the previous article where we provide essential information about planning a website.
- For Part 1, go here: How To Plan Your Website – What To Do And What Not To Do – Part 1
- For Part 2 of the article, go here: Planning Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 2
Planning Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 3
In Part One of this article, we have looked at the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Defining Your Website Goals
- Step 2 – Website Name
- Step 3 – Managing Your Web Technology
- Step 4 – Defining Your Audience
- Step 5 – Your Keyword Phrases
- Step 6 – Define Website Categories
- Step 7 – Defining Your Content Strategy
(The Website Planning Process)
You’re almost there with your initial website planning work. In this phase of the planning process, we are going to set up an initial content publishing schedule, define what types of content you will create for your site, and decide who is going to do what on your website.
Step 8 – Create Your Blogging Or Content Publishing Schedule
You should be publishing content regularly in order for your business to grow online. A content publishing system is the most productive and effective way to plan, schedule, and track your content creation and publishing process.
(Creating your content publishing or blogging schedule)
Now that you have created an initial list of content ideas, the next step is to set up an initial content publishing or blogging schedule.
Although this step may not seem to be directly connected to getting your web site built, as you go through the process of creating your content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will need to create and who will manage all of this (see Steps 9 and 10 below) will help you understand what type of additional services or resources you will need to have in place as soon as your site has been built.
Content Scheduling Tips:
Tip #1 – Be Consistent
Adding new content on your website on a consistent basis is essential for building an online audience and for improving your site’s results in search engines.
This is the step where you actively market and promote your business online through content, and so it’s essential that you develop a habit of creating and publishing content about your business as consistently as possible.
For example, make a commitment to publish a new post each week or fortnight to your site. Decide on a specific day of the week and the time of day that you will sit down to create your post. Allow 1-2 hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each article or blog post.
Now, commit to making this into a regular habit. Keep monitoring your activity and if necessary, finetune your content schedule accordingly.
Remind yourself when you sit down to plan or write your content that you are you are working on growing your business, instead of just simply working in it.
Tip #2: Content Scheduling Tools
If you are going to publish content to your website regularly (and you should!), it helps to keep your workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheet-based Editorial Templates to help you schedule and track the content production, or use a plugin.
Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates
You can keep things simple and schedule your content creation using a spreadsheet program …
(Content planning master template created with spreadsheets)
Use the spreadsheet to plan your content creation and publishing schedule. For example, you can add the following columns to your spreadsheet:
- Publish Date: Record the date you plan to publish the content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when your content has been published. You can also add another column to record 1) the date your content needs to be written by, and 2) the date your content is scheduled to publish on your site.
- Author: Who will write or create this content. (See Step 10 below)
- PostType: Enter the kind of content you will be creating for this item. (See Step 9 below)
- Category: If you are publishing to your blog, enter the category you will publish this item under.
- CTA: What is this particular item of content designed to help you sell or promote? Specify your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your article headline, content item title, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content.
- SEO: The main keyword phrase targeted by your content.
- URL: After publishing the item, record its URL here. This will make it easier to find the content URL when promoting your content (e.g. on social media, emails, etc)
- Short URL: You can also add a shortened version of the content’s destination URL for promoting on Twitter, or tracking your campaigns.
You don’t need to have all of the above columns. You can keep it simple by creating a basic spreadsheet with just these essential columns:
- Content Author
- Content Type
If you would like to create an Editorial Calendar for help planning your monthly content, just search online for “free monthly calendar template” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar – Calendar maker)
WordPress Editorial Scheduling Plugins
If you want to manage your content scheduling directly from WordPress, there are some useful plugins you can install:
(Editorial Calendar – Plugin for WordPress)
Editorial Calendar is a Free WordPress plugin that allows you to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your site.
The Editorial Calendar provides content editors with an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar and manage your entire blogging schedule.
(Editorial Calendar – Editorial plugin for WordPress. Screenshot above taken from Editorial Calendar plugin website)
To learn more about this plugin, visit the plugin site here:
Edit Flow is a modular plugin that lets you collaborate with your editorial team right inside WordPress.
Key features of the plugin include:
- Calendar – A month-by-month view of your content.
- Custom Statuses – Lets you define the key stages to your workflow.
- Editorial Comments – Threaded commenting inside the admin area for private discussion between writers and editors.
- Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
- Notifications – Receive timely updates on the content you’re following.
- Story Budget – Lets you view your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Keep your users organized by function or department.
(Edit Flow. Image source: Edit Flow plugin site)
To learn more, go here:
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin for WordPress designed to automate any editorial workflow process using a simple, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the many features of this plugin include the ability to configure your work flow using a visual work flow designer and simple process/task templates.
(Oasis Workflow – plugin for WordPress. Image source: Oasis Workflow site)
This plugin also offers role-based routing definitions, lets users view their current assignments and sign off on their tasks once assignments are completed, process history for auditing purposes, task reassignment, due date and email reminders to help you to publish your articles on time, and an out of the box editable workflow to help you get started.
Oasis Workflow also has a “Pro” version that includes additional functionality, such as allowing you to set up multiple workflows, copy workflow and copy steps, auto-submit, revise published content and much more.
To learn more, check out the plugin’s web page here:
Step 9 – Establish What Kind Of Content You Are Going To Publish
(What kind of content is going to be published on your web site?)
After setting up your content creation schedule, the next step is to define what kinds of content you are going to create to publish on your website.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, interviews, case studies, multimedia presentations, etc.?
Knowing what kind of content you intend to create for your website or blog is useful because this helps you understand what other technologies and resources you may need to purchase or budget for in order to create the content. This could include purchasing video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.
Step 10 – Assign Roles And Responsibilities
(Who is going to handle all aspects of running your site?)
The final step in the web site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for managing the various aspects of your website and content and assign these to your human resources, or consider outsourcing.
There are many roles and responsibilities associated with running a professional web site or blog.
When completing this step, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who will decide what content gets written/published on your site?
- Who will create the content (e.g. content research, writing and proofing, sourcing and outsourcing graphics and logos, videos, audios, newsletter content, training content, FAQs, etc.)?
- How will you communicate what needs doing to others? How will people communicate with each other to ensure that different parts of the project get completed on time and on budget?
- Who will manage the actual scheduling and publishing of content on your website or blog and update any outdated information?
- Who will promote and market your blog with search engine optimization, online advertising, social media marketing, video marketing, etc.?
- Who will maintain and upgrade site software, install new applications, customize web templates, provide technical support, etc.?
- Who will be responsible for setting and managing the budget for all of the above areas (including budgeting for the cost of getting your website built)?
Who is going to manage each of the areas of your website or blog?
Depending on your business, it could be just one person doing it all (i.e. you), or a few people, and perhaps even some outsourced help.
If you don’t know the answer to the above questions before getting your website built, you could end up spending a lot of time and money on a tool that will not only not help you grow your business, but cost you valuable money and time.
Tip: Focus On Your Processes, Not The People
Create a document (e.g. flowchart) outlining exactly who will do what in terms of looking after the processes involved in managing your website and content creation.
Focus on documenting which roles should be responsible for the processes involved before assigning names to responsibilities or making people in your organization accountable for managing these. This will help you understand how much responsibility and work is involved in each part of the process, explain why you are asking people to take on additional responsibilities, and assist you in planning the allocation of resources accordingly.
Congratulations! You have completed all of the steps of the website planning process and can now begin looking at options for getting your new website built.
Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of the web site planning process and how WordPress can help you get better results online. See other posts on this site or contact us if you need information or assistance setting up your website or blog.
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