Are 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 essential information related to planning a new website or blog.
- For Part 1 of the article series, go here: How To Plan Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 1
- For Part 2 of the article, go here: A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 2
A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 3
So far, we have covered the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Your Goals
- Step 2 – Name Your Web Site
- Step 3 – Managing Your Web Technology
- Step 4 – Your Website Target Audience
- Step 5 – Keyword Phrases
- Step 6 – Define Web Site Categories
- Step 7 – Formulating Your Content Strategy
(The Website Planning Process)
You’re almost there with your initial website planning work. In this phase of the site planning process, we are going to set up an initial content publishing schedule, establish what kind of content you will create for your website or blog, and decide who is going to do what on your website.
Step 8 – Your Content Or Blog Publishing Schedule
You should be publishing content regularly 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 blog or content publishing schedule)
After creating an initial list of content ideas, the next step is to set up an initial blogging or content publishing schedule.
Although this step may not seem to be directly connected with the web site building process, by creating your content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will need to create and who will be responsible for managing all of this (see Steps 9 and 10 below) will help you understand what type of additional services and resources you will need to have in place once your site has been built.
Content Schedule Tips:
Tip #1 – Publish Consistently
Adding fresh content on your website or blog consistently is essential for building an online audience and improving your site’s search engine rankings and results.
This is the step where you are actively marketing and promoting your business using content, and so it’s crucial that you develop a habit of publishing content on your website or blog consistently.
Start by making a commitment to add a new post each week or fortnight to your website or blog. Decide on a specific day of the week and time that you will sit down to write your posts. Allow one to two hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each content item.
Now, commit to making this into a regular habit. Monitor this activity and if necessary, readjust your 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 on your website on a regular basis (and you should!), it helps to keep your workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheets to help schedule and track the content planning and production process, or use a WordPress plugin.
Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates
You can easily create a simple editorial content template to help you schedule your content creation using a spreadsheet program …
(Content planning template created with spreadsheets)
Use this spreadsheet to plan your content creation and publishing schedule. For example, in your spreadsheet, you can create the following columns:
- Date: Record the date you plan to publish the content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when the content has been published. You can also add another column to record 1) the date your content needs to be created by, and 2) the date your content is scheduled to publish on your site.
- Author: Who will write or create the content. (See Step 10 below)
- ContentType: Enter the kind of content you will be creating for this item. (See Step 9 below)
- Category: If you are publishing content to your blog, enter the category you will publish this item under.
- Offer: What is this particular content item designed to sell or promote? Enter your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your blog post headline, article title, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content here.
- SEO: The main keyword your content is targeting.
- 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: Add a shortened version of the content’s destination URL for promoting on Twitter, or tracking your campaigns.
You don’t need all of the above columns. You can keep things simple by creating a basic spreadsheet containing only these essential columns:
- Publish Date
- Content Author
If you want to create an Editorial Calendar to help plan new content on a monthly basis, you can search online for “free editorial calendar template” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar – Calendar maker)
WordPress Content Management Plugins
If you want to manage your content scheduling directly from WordPress, there are some useful plugins you can use:
Editorial Calendar is a Free plugin for WordPress 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 scheduling and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right inside the calendar and manage your entire content publishing schedule.
(Editorial Calendar – Editorial plugin for WordPress. Image source: plugin site)
For more details about this useful plugin, go here:
(Edit Flow – Plugin for WordPress)
Edit Flow is a modular plugin that allows you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress.
Key features of this plugin include:
- Calendar – A convenient month-by-month view of your content.
- Custom Statuses – Lets you define key workflow stages.
- Editorial Comments – Allows private discussion between writers and editors in the admin area through threaded commenting.
- Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
- Notifications – Lets you receive updates on the content that you are following.
- Story Budget – View your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Helps you organize your users by function or department.
(Edit Flow. Screenshots above taken from Edit Flow website)
To learn more about this useful plugin, go here:
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich WP plugin designed to automate any editorial workflow process using a simple, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the many useful features of this plugin include the ability to configure your workflow using an easy drag and drop designer interface and simple process/task templates.
(Oasis Workflow. Above images taken from Oasis Workflow site)
It also offers role-based routing, 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.
The plugin also has a “Pro” version that includes additional functionality, such as allowing you to create multiple workflows, copy workflow and copy steps, autosubmit, revise published content and much more.
To learn more about this useful content management plugin, visit this website:
Step 9 – Establish What Type Of Content To Publish
(What kind of content will you publish on your website?)
Once you have set up a content creation schedule, the next step is to define what kind of content you will create for publishing on your website.
Are you planning to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, product reviews, downloadable PDF reports, 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 buying video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.
Step 10 – Assign Responsibilities
(Who will manage all areas of running your website?)
The last step in your business site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for various areas of your site and content and assign these to your in-house resources, or consider outsourcing.
There are many roles and responsibilities associated with running a busy website 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 rewriting, sourcing and creating graphic content 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 all the “fingers” talk to “the hand”?
- Who will be responsible for the actual scheduling and publishing of content on your site 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 monitoring the budget for all of the above areas (including budgeting for the cost of getting your site built)?
Who will be responsible and accountable for running each of the areas of your website or blog?
Depending on the circumstances of your business, it could be just one person doing it all (e.g. you), or a small team of people who also have to juggle other areas of your business, and perhaps even some outsourced help.
If you don’t ask the above questions before getting your website built, you could end up spending a lot of time and money building something that will not only not help you grow your business, but cost even more of your valuable money and time.
Tip: Focus On Processes, Not People When Assigning Responsibilities
Create a flowchart showing exactly who will do what in terms of 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 team 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 sections of the site planning process. You can now begin exploring options for getting your site built.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the web site planning process and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. If you need information or assistance with any aspects of website design, see the other articles we’ve published on this site or contact us.
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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