Are you thinking about getting a website or blog built for your small business?
Then this detailed guide to website planning is for you.
Note: This section continues from the previous article series where we provide essential information on planning your new website.
- For Part 1 of the article series, go here: The Website Planning Process – Part 1
- For Part 2 of the article series, go here: The Website Planning Process – Part 2
How To Plan Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 3
So far, we have looked at the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Your Website Goals
- Step 2 – Name Your Web Site
- Step 3 – Managing Your Website’s Technology
- Step 4 – Defining YourWebsite’s Audience
- Step 5 – Keyword Phrases
- Step 6 – Defining Site Categories
- Step 7 – Defining Your Content Strategy
(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, define what kinds of content you will create for your site, and decide who is going to do what on your site.
Step 8 – Create Your Blog Or Content Publishing Schedule
You need 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.
(Creating your blogging 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 or blog publishing schedule.
Although this step may not seem to be related directly to the process of getting your website or blog built, by creating a content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will need and who will be responsible for managing your content production and publishing areas (see Steps 9 and 10 below) will help you understand what type of additional services or resources your business will need once your website has been built.
Content Scheduling Tips:
Tip #1 – Publish Consistently
Adding new content to your website or blog on a consistent basis is very important for building an online audience and helping your website’s search engine rankings and results.
This is the step where you actively market and promote your business through content, and so it’s essential that you develop a habit of publishing content on your website or blog on a regular basis.
For example, start by making a commitment to publish a new post each week or fortnight to your site. Decide on a specific weekday and the time of day that you will sit down to write your articles. Allow 1-2 hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each post.
Now, commit to turning this into a regular habit. Monitor this activity and if required, finetune your scheduling accordingly.
Remind yourself when you sit down to plan or write your content that you are investing in your business.
Tip #2: Use Content Scheduling Tools
If you are going to publish content to your website or blog on a regular basis (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 the content creation, or use a WordPress plugin.
Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates
You can keep things simple and schedule your content creation using any spreadsheet program …
(Blog content planning template created using a spreadsheet)
Use the spreadsheet to plan your content creation and publishing schedule. For example, in the spreadsheet, you can create the following columns:
- Date: Record the date you plan to publish your content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when content has been published. Additionally, you can add a second 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 or blog.
- Author: Who will write or create your content. (See Step 10 below)
- Format: Enter the type 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.
- CTA: What is this particular item of content designed to help you sell or promote? Enter your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your article headline, article title, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content here.
- Kwd: The main keyword phrase 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: 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 all of the above columns. You can keep it simple by creating a basic spreadsheet with just these essential columns:
- Publish Date
If you would like to create an Editorial Calendar for help planning your monthly content, then search online for “free editorial calendar” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar.com – Calendar downloads)
WordPress Content Scheduling Plugins
If you want to manage your content scheduling directly from WordPress, here are some useful plugins you can install:
Editorial Calendar is a Free WordPress plugin that lets you 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 inside the calendar and manage your entire blog.
(Editorial Calendar. Screenshot source: plugin website)
For more details, visit the plugin site here:
Edit Flow is a modular editorial workflow plugin that empowers you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress.
Key features of the plugin include:
- Calendar – A convenient month-by-month look at your content.
- Custom Statuses – Define the key stages to your workflow.
- Editorial Comments – Allows private discussion with threaded commenting between writers and editors in the admin area.
- Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
- Notifications – Lets you receive timely updates on any content that you are following.
- Story Budget – View your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Organize your users by department or function.
(Edit Flow. Screenshot source: plugin site)
To learn more, visit the plugin page here:
(Oasis Workflow – Plugin for WordPress)
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin designed to automate your WordPress editorial workflow using a simple, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the many useful 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. Screenshot source: plugin website)
This plugin 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 set up multiple workflows, copy workflow and copy steps, auto-submit, revise published content and more.
For more information, go here:
Step 9 – Establish What Kind Of Content You Are Going To Publish
(What kind of content are you going to publish on your site?)
Once you have set up a content creation schedule, the next step is to establish what type of content you will create to post on your site.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, interviews, product comparisons, PDF reports, etc.?
Knowing what kind 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 your content. This could include buying video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.
Step 10 – Assigning Roles And Responsibilities
(Who is going to handle all areas of running your site?)
The final step in your website planning process is to decide who will be responsible for managing the various areas of your site and content and assign these to your human resources, or consider outsourcing.
There are many roles and responsibilities involved in running a professional digital presence.
When completing this step, 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 reviewing, 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?
- 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 the 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 monitoring the budget for all of the above areas (including planning the cost of getting your website built)?
Who will manage each of the aspects of your website?
Depending on your business, it could be just one person doing it all (e.g. 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 investing a lot of time and money building something that will not only not help you grow your business, but cost you valuable money and time.
Tip: Focus On Processes, Not The People
Create a flowchart document showing 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 the sections of the site planning process. You can now start exploring options for getting your website 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. For information or help with website installation or development, see the other posts we’ve published on this site or contact us.
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