Then this detailed guide to planning your website is for you.
Note: This section continues from the previous article where we provide important information related to planning your new web presence.
- For Part 1 of the article, go here: Planning Your Website – A Basic Guide – Part 1
- For Part 2 of the article series, go here: Planning Your Website – A Basic Guide – Part 2
How To Plan Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 3
In Part 1 of this article, we covered the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Your Website Goals
- Step 2 – Website Name
- Step 3 – Manage Your Website’s Technology
- Step 4 – Defining Your Audience
- Step 5 – Key Phrases
- Step 6 – Defining Web Site Categories
- Step 7 – Create Your Content Strategy
(Website Planning Process)
You’re almost done with the initial website planning work. In this phase of the planning process, we are going to set up an initial publishing schedule for your website or blog, decide what kinds of content you are going to create for your website or blog, and decide who will do what on your website.
Step 8 – Your Content Or Blog Publishing Schedule
You should publish 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.
(Creating your content publishing or blogging schedule)
After creating 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 to the process of building your website or blog, as you go through the process of creating a content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will need and who will be responsible for managing the content production and publishing areas (see Steps 9 and 10 below) will help you understand what kind of additional services or resources your business will need as soon as your website has been created.
Content Schedule Tips:
Tip #1 – Publish Consistently
Adding fresh content on your website or blog on a consistent basis is essential for building an online readership and improving your site’s search engine rankings and results.
This is the step where you actively market and promote your business with content, and so it’s essential that you develop a habit of publishing content on your website or blog as consistently as possible.
Start by making 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 write your blog posts or articles. 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 commitment and if necessary, adjust 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: Use Content Scheduling Tools
If you are going to publish content on 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 spreadsheets 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 a spreadsheet program …
(Content planning template created with a spreadsheet)
Use the master spreadsheet to plan your content creation and publishing schedule. For example, in the spreadsheet, you can add the following columns:
- Date: Type in the date you plan to publish the content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when content has been published. You can also add 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 or blog.
- Author: Who will write or create this content. (See Step 10 below)
- Type: Record the type of content you will be creating for this item. (See Step 9 below)
- Category: If you are publishing content to your blog, specify the blog post category you will publish this item under.
- CTA: What is this particular item of content designed to sell or promote? Record your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your blog post or article headline, article title, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content here.
- 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: 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 containing just these essential columns:
- Content Format
If you would like to create an Editorial Calendar for help planning new content on a monthly basis, just search online for “free editorial calendar” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar – Calendar maker)
WordPress Content Management Plugins
If you want to work directly from WordPress, here are some useful plugins for managing your content scheduling you can install:
(Editorial Calendar – WP editorial plugin)
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 item will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right inside the calendar and manage your entire blogging schedule.
(Editorial Calendar. Screenshot source: plugin site)
To learn more, visit the plugin site here:
(Edit Flow – WordPress plugin)
Edit Flow lets you collaborate with your editorial team right inside WordPress.
Key features of the 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 – Threaded commenting in the admin for private discussion between editors and writers.
- Editorial Metadata – Helps you keep track of important details.
- Notifications – Receive timely updates on the content that you are following.
- Story Budget – Lets you see your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Keep your users organized by function or department.
(Edit Flow – Plugin for WordPress. Screenshot source: Edit Flow plugin site)
For more information about this plugin, go here:
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich WP plugin designed to automate any editorial workflow process using a simple and intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the many useful 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 – editorial plugin for WordPress. Image source: plugin website)
It also offers 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 create multiple workflows, copy workflow and copy steps, auto submit, revise published content and more.
For more information about this useful content management plugin, visit the plugin page here:
Step 9 – Establish What Kind Of Content You Will 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 decide what types of content you will create for posting on your website or blog.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, interviews, case studies, PDF reports, etc.?
Knowing what kind of content you plan to create for your site 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 – Assigning Responsibilities
(Who will be responsible for all areas of your website?)
The last step in your site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for managing the various aspects 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 growing 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 do the content creation work (e.g. researching, writing and reviewing, sourcing and creating 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 everything works smoothly?
- 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 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 website built)?
Who is going to be responsible for managing different areas of your website?
Depending on the circumstances of your business, it could be just one person doing it all (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 ask 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 Your Processes, Not 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 steps of the site planning process and are now ready to begin exploring options for getting your new website built.
Hopefully, now you have 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 help setting up your website or blog.
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