Then this article on planning your website is for you.
Note: This section continues from the previous article where we take you through the process of planning your new website.
- For Part 1, go here: Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 1
- For Part 2 of the article, go here: Planning Your Website – The First Steps – Part 2
Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 3
Up to this point, we have looked at the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Goals
- Step 2 – Name Your Site
- Step 3 – Managing Your Website’s Technology
- Step 4 – Defining Your Target Audience
- Step 5 – Keyword Phrases
- Step 6 – Define Website Categories
- Step 7 – Your Content Strategy
(The 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 blogging schedule, establish what types of content you will create for your site, and decide who will do what on your site.
Step 8 – Your Content Or Blog Publishing Schedule
You want to 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.
(Create your blog or content publishing 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 directly related to the process of building your web site, as you go through the process of creating your 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 type of additional services and resources you will need to have in place immediately after your website has been built.
Content Schedule Tips:
Tip #1 – Be Consistent
Adding fresh content on your site on a regular basis is essential for building an online audience 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 create a habit of writing and publishing content about your business consistently.
For example, start by making a commitment to publish 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 create your post. Allow one to two hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each post.
Now, commit to turning this into a regular habit. Monitor this commitment and if you need, adjust your content 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 regularly (and you should!), it helps to keep your workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheets to help you schedule and track your content publishing, or use a WordPress plugin.
Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates
You can keep things simple and schedule your content creation using any spreadsheet program …
(Editorial template created with spreadsheets)
Use this spreadsheet to plan your content creation and publishing schedule. For example, you can add the following columns to the spreadsheet:
- Date: Enter the date you plan to publish your content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when your 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 or blog.
- Author: Who will write or create this content. (See Step 10 below)
- Content Type: Enter 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.
- CTA: What is this particular item of content designed to 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 your 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 with only these essential columns:
- Content Writer
- Content Format
If you want to create an Editorial Calendar for help planning new monthly content, you can search online for “free calendar” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar – Calendar downloads)
WordPress Content 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 blog.
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 in the calendar and manage your entire blogging schedule.
(Editorial Calendar. Image source: plugin site)
For more information, visit the plugin page here:
(Edit Flow – Editorial plugin for WordPress)
Edit Flow 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 key workflow stages.
- Editorial Comments – Allows private discussion with threaded commenting between writers and editors in the admin.
- Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
- Notifications – Lets you receive timely updates on any content that you are following.
- Story Budget – Lets you see your upcoming content budget details.
- User Groups – Helps you organize your users by department or function.
(Edit Flow – Plugin for WordPress. Screenshots above taken from Edit Flow plugin website)
For more information about this useful content management plugin, go here:
(Oasis Workflow – Plugin for WordPress)
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin for WordPress that allows you 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 – WP plugin. Screenshot source: Oasis Workflow plugin website)
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.
Oasis Workflow also has a “Pro” version that includes additional functionality, such as allowing you to set up multiple workflows, copy workflow and copy steps, autosubmit, revise published content and much more.
For more information, go here:
Step 9 – Establish What Type Of Content To Publish
(What type of content will be published on your website?)
Once you have set up your schedule for creating content, the next step is to establish what type of content you will create to post on your website.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, product reviews, downloadable 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 may 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 – Assign Roles And Responsibilities
(Who is going to be responsible and accountable for all areas of running your site?)
The last step in the website planning process is to decide who will be responsible for various areas of your website and content and assign these to your in-house resources, or consider outsourcing.
There are many roles and responsibilities associated with running a growing 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 proofing, sourcing and creating images 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 goes according to plan?
- 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 your 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 managing the budget for all of the above areas (including budgeting for the cost of getting your website built)?
Who is going to be accountable for all aspects of your website or blog?
Depending on how your business is structured, it may be just one person doing everything (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 know the answer to 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 you valuable money and time.
Tip: Focus On The Processes, Not The 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 the steps of the website planning process. You are now ready to start looking at options for getting your new website built.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the website planning process and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. If you need 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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"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)