Are you considering the idea of getting a website or blog built for your business?
Then this basic guide to planning your website is for you.
Note: This section continues from the previous article series where we take you through the process of planning your new business website.
- For Part 1 of the article series, go here: Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 1
- For Part 2, go here: The Website Planning Process – Part 2
- A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 3
- Step 8 – Creating Your Content Or Blog Publishing Schedule
- Step 9 – Define What Type Of Content You Are Going To Publish
- Step 10 – Assigning Roles And Responsibilities
A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 3
In Part One of this article, we have covered the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Define Your Site Goals
- Step 2 – Your Website Name
- Step 3 – Managing Your Web Technology
- Step 4 – Define Your Audience
- Step 5 – Identify Your Main Key Phrases
- Step 6 – Define Web Site Categories
- Step 7 – Plan Your Content Strategy
(The Website Planning Process)
You’re almost there with the initial website planning work. In this phase of the planning process, we are going to set up an initial blogging schedule, decide what kinds of content you are going to create for your site, and decide who is going to do what on your website.
Step 8 – Creating Your Content Or Blog Publishing Schedule
You should be publishing content regularly in order for your digital presence to grow. A content publishing system is the most productive and effective way to plan, schedule, and track your content creation and publishing process.
(Create your blogging or content publishing schedule)
Once you have created an initial list of content ideas, the next step is to set up an initial blog or content publishing schedule.
Although this step may not seem to be related directly to the process of building your web site, by creating a content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will need to create and who will manage the content production and publishing areas (see Steps 9 and 10 below) will help you understand what kind of additional services and resources you will need to have in place immediately after your site has been built.
Useful Tips For New Website Owners:
Tip #1 – Publish Consistently
Adding new content to your website consistently is essential for building an online readership and for helping your site’s results in search engines.
This is the step where you actively market and promote your business online with content, and so it’s essential that you create a habit of publishing content on your site consistently.
Make a commitment to add a new post each week or fortnight to your website. Decide on a specific day of the week and time that you will sit down to create your articles. Allow 1-2 hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each post.
Now, commit to making this into a regular habit. Monitor your commitment and if necessary, finetune your publishing 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 a regular basis (and you should!), it helps to keep your content creation workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheet-based Editorial Templates to help schedule and track the content planning 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 any spreadsheet program …
(Content planning template created using spreadsheets)
Use this master spreadsheet to plan your content production and publishing schedule. For example, you can add the following columns to your spreadsheet:
- Date: The date you plan to publish your content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when the content has been published. You can also create 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)
- Format: Record the kind of content you will be creating for this topic. (See Step 9 below)
- Category: If you are publishing content to your blog, record the blog post 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 article or blog post headline, the title of your content item, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of your content here.
- SEO: The main keyword phrase targeted by your content.
- URL: Once you have published 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 things really simple by creating a basic spreadsheet containing just these essential columns:
- Content Author
If you want to create an Editorial Calendar for help planning your monthly content, you can search online for “free calendar template” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar – Calendar maker)
WordPress Content Scheduling Plugins
If you want to manage your content scheduling directly from WordPress, here are some useful content scheduling plugins you can use:
(Editorial Calendar – WordPress editorial plugin)
Editorial Calendar is a Free plugin for WordPress that allows you to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog.
The Editorial Calendar gives you an overview of your scheduling and when each item will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts inside the calendar and manage your entire content publishing schedule.
(Editorial Calendar. Image source: plugin site)
For more information, check out the plugin’s web page here: Editorial Calendar – WP Editorial
(Edit Flow – WP plugin)
Edit Flow empowers you to collaborate with your editorial team right inside WordPress.
Some key features of this plugin include:
- Calendar – A convenient month-by-month look at your content.
- Custom Statuses – Lets you define the key stages to your workflow.
- Editorial Comments – Allows private discussion between writers and editors in the admin area via threaded commenting.
- Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
- Notifications – Lets you receive timely updates on any content you’re following.
- Story Budget – See your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Helps you organize your users by function or department.
(Edit Flow. Image source: plugin website)
For more information about this useful plugin, visit this site: Edit Flow – WordPress Editorial
(Oasis Workflow – Plugin for WordPress)
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin that allows you to automate your WordPress editorial workflow using a simple and intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the many features of Oasis Workflow include the ability to configure your workflow using an easy drag and drop designer interface and simple process/task templates.
(Oasis Workflow. Screenshot source: Oasis Workflow plugin website)
It also lets you assign tasks dynamically using 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, auto-submit, revise published content and much more.
For more details about this plugin, check out the plugin’s web page here: Oasis Workflow
Step 9 – Define What Type Of Content You Are Going To Publish
(What type of content will you publish on your website?)
Once you have set up a content creation schedule, the next step is to decide what kind of content you are going to create to post on your website.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, interviews, product comparisons, PDF reports, etc.?
Knowing what kinds of content you intend to create for your website is useful because this helps you understand what other technologies and resources you will 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 – Assigning Roles And Responsibilities
(Who is going to handle all aspects of your website or blog?)
The final step in your site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for managing the 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 professional website or blog.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who will decide what content gets written/published on your site?
- Who will create the actual content (e.g. content research, writing and rewriting, 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?
- Who will be responsible for the scheduling and publishing of content on your posts and pages and update any outdated information?
- Who will promote and market the website 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 planning the cost of building your website)?
Who will be responsible for each of the aspects of your website?
Depending on the circumstances of your business, it may be just one person doing everything (i.e. you), or a small team of people who also have to juggle other areas of your business, or 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 investing 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 The Processes, Not People
Document or flowchart 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 start exploring options for getting your new site built.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the website planning process and how WordPress can help you expand your business online. If you need information or assistance with any aspects of web design, see the other posts we’ve published on this site or contact us.
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