Are you considering the idea of getting a website built for your small business?
Then this article on website planning is for you.
Note: This is Part 3 of the article series where we provide essential information on planning a website or blog.
- For Part 1, go here: Planning Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 1
- For Part 2 of the article, go here: The Website Planning Process – Part 2
- A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 3
A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 3
Up to this point, we have looked at the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Your Goals
- Step 2 – Site Name
- Step 3 – Managing Your Website’s Technology
- Step 4 – Your Site’s Audience
- Step 5 – Identify Your Keywords
- Step 6 – Define Your Site Categories
- Step 7 – 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 publishing schedule for your website, establish what types of content you will create for your site, and decide who is going to do what on your site.
Step 8 – Creating Your Blog Or Content Publishing Schedule
You want to publish 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.
(Create your blog or content publishing 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 connected to the website building process, as you go through the process of creating a content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you need 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 once your site has been created.
Content Schedule Tips:
Tip #1 – Be Consistent
Publishing quality content to your website or blog consistently is essential for building an online audience and for increasing your website’s results in search engines.
This is the step where you actively market and promote your business online with content, and so it’s crucial that you develop a habit of publishing content on your website consistently.
Make a commitment to publish a new post each week or fortnight to your website. Decide on a specific weekday and time that you will sit down to create your post. Allow one to two hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each item of content.
Now, commit to turning this into a regular habit. Keep monitoring this commitment and if required, finetune 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 regularly (and you should!), having content scheduling tools can help keep your content creation workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheet-based Editorial Templates to help schedule and track your content planning and publishing process, or use a WordPress plugin.
Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates
You can keep things simple and schedule your content creation using a spreadsheet program …
(Editorial & content production template created with spreadsheets)
Use the spreadsheet to plan your content production and publishing schedule. For example, in your spreadsheet, you can create the following columns:
- Date: The date you plan to publish your content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when the content has been published. Additionally, you can create a second 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.
- Writer: Who will write or create your content. (See Step 10 below)
- Content Format: Record the format of content you will be creating for this item. (See Step 9 below)
- Category: If you are publishing to your blog, specify the blog post category you will publish this item under.
- Offer: What is this specific item of content designed to help you sell or promote? Enter your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your article or blog post headline, content item title, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content here.
- Kwd: The main keyword your content is targeting.
- 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 simple by creating a basic spreadsheet containing just these essential columns:
- Publish Date
If you would like to create an Editorial Calendar for planning your monthly content, then 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 work directly from WordPress, there are some useful content scheduling plugins you can use:
(Editorial Calendar – Editorial 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 gives you an overview of your blog and when each item will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts inside the calendar and manage your entire blogging schedule.
(Editorial Calendar – Editorial plugin for WordPress. Screenshot source: plugin site)
To learn more, visit this website: Editorial Calendar – WP Editorial
(Edit Flow – WP plugin)
Edit Flow is a modular editorial workflow plugin that allows you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress.
Key features of the plugin include:
- Calendar – A convenient month-by-month view of your content.
- Custom Statuses – Lets you define the key stages to your workflow.
- Editorial Comments – Allows private discussion through threaded commenting between editors and writers in the admin area.
- Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
- Notifications – Receive updates on any content that you are following.
- Story Budget – See your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Helps you organize your users by department or function.
(Edit Flow – WP editorial plugin. Screenshot source: Edit Flow website)
To learn more about this useful plugin, visit this website: Edit Flow – Plugin For WordPress
(Oasis Workflow – Editorial plugin for WordPress)
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin designed 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 work flow using an easy drag and drop designer interface and simple process/task templates.
(Oasis Workflow – WordPress editorial plugin. Image source: plugin site)
It also lets you assign tasks dynamically using role-based routing, lets users view their current assignments and sign off on their tasks once it’s 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 set up multiple workflows, copy workflow and copy steps, auto submit, revise published content and much more.
For more details about this useful plugin, visit this website: Oasis Workflow
Step 9 – Define What Type Of Content To Publish
(What kind of content is going to be published on your web site?)
After setting up a schedule for creating content, the next step is to define what types of content you are going to create to publish on your website.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, product comparisons, downloadable PDF reports, etc.?
Knowing what type of content you intend to create for your site is useful because this helps you understand what other technologies and resources you will probably 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 handle all aspects of your website or blog?)
The last step in your website planning process is to decide who will be responsible for managing the various areas of your website and content and assign these to the resources you have available, or consider outsourcing.
There are many roles and responsibilities associated with running a professional digital presence.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who will decide what content gets written/published on your site?
- Who will create the actual content (e.g. researching, writing and editing, sourcing and outsourcing 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 everything works smoothly?
- Who will manage the actual scheduling and publishing of content on your website or blog and update any outdated content?
- Who will promote and market your site 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 will be responsible for different aspects of your website or blog?
Depending on the circumstances of 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 Processes, Not People When Assigning Responsibilities
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 sections of the website planning process and are now ready to begin looking at options for getting your site built.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the website planning process and how WordPress can help you get better results online. If you need information or help with website installation or development, see the other articles we’ve published on this site or contact us.
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"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)
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