Are you considering the idea of taking your small business online?
Then this basic guide to planning your website is for you.
Note: This is Part 3 of the article where we take you through the process of planning a website or blog.
- For Part 1 of the article series, go here: Planning Your Website – What You Need To Know First – Part 1
- For Part 2, go here: Planning Your Website – The First Steps – Part 2
Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 3
In Part One of this article, we looked at the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Your Website Goals
- Step 2 – Naming Your Site
- Step 3 – Managing Your Website’s Technology
- Step 4 – Define Your Audience
- Step 5 – Keywords
- Step 6 – Defining Site Categories
- Step 7 – Your Content Strategy
(Website Planning Process)
You’re almost done with your initial website planning work. In this phase of the planning process, we are going to set up an initial content publishing schedule, define what kinds of content you are going to create for your website, and decide who is going to do what on your site.
Step 8 – Your Content Or Blog Publishing Schedule
You should be publishing 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 or blog publishing schedule.
Although this step may not seem to be directly related to the web site building process, by creating your content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will need and who will manage all of this (see Steps 9 and 10 below) will help you understand what kind of additional services or resources your business will need once your website has been built.
Content Scheduling Tips:
Tip #1 – Publish Consistently
Publishing fresh content on your site consistently is extremely important for building an online readership and improving your website’s results in search engines.
This is the step where you actively market and promote your business using content, and so it’s crucial that you create a habit of creating and publishing content about your business as consistently as possible.
For example, make a commitment to publish 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 articles. Allow 1-2 hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each item of content.
Now, commit to making this into a regular habit. Keep monitoring your activity and if you need, readjust your schedule accordingly.
Remind yourself when you sit down to plan or write your content that you are investing in your business.
Tip #2: Content Scheduling Tools
If you plan to publish content on a regular basis (and you should!), it helps to keep your content creation workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheets to help schedule and track your content production, or use a WordPress plugin.
Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates
You can keep things simple and schedule your content creation using a spreadsheet program …
(Editorial template created using spreadsheets)
Use the spreadsheet to plan your content creation and publishing schedule. For example, in the spreadsheet, you can create the following columns:
- Date: The date you plan to publish the content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when your content has been published. You can also create 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.
- Author: Who will write or create this content. (See Step 10 below)
- Format: Record the format of content you will be creating for this topic. (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 content item designed to sell or promote? Enter your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your blog post headline, the title of your article, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content here.
- SEO: 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 to have all of the above columns. You can keep things simple by creating a basic spreadsheet with just these essential columns:
If you would like to create an Editorial Calendar to help plan your monthly content, just 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 manage your content scheduling directly from WordPress, here are some useful plugins for managing your content scheduling you can use:
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 scheduling 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 blogging schedule.
(Editorial Calendar – WordPress editorial plugin. Image above taken from Editorial Calendar website)
For more information, check out the plugin’s website here:
Edit Flow empowers you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress.
Some key features of the plugin include:
- Calendar – A month-by-month look at your content.
- Custom Statuses – Lets you define the key stages to your workflow.
- Editorial Comments – Allows private discussion via threaded commenting between writers and editors inside the admin.
- Editorial Metadata – Helps you keep track of important details.
- Notifications – Receive updates on any content that you are following.
- Story Budget – See your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Keep your users organized by department or function.
(Edit Flow – WordPress editorial plugin. Images above taken from Edit Flow website)
For more information, visit the plugin site here:
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich WP plugin that allows you to automate your WordPress editorial workflow using a simple and intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the many useful features of Oasis Workflow include the ability to configure your work flow using a visual work flow designer and simple process/task templates.
(Oasis Workflow – WP editorial plugin. Screenshots above taken from plugin website)
This plugin 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.
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.
To learn more about this plugin, visit this website:
Step 9 – Define What Kind Of Content You Will Publish
(What type of content will you publish on your website?)
After setting up a content creation schedule, the next step is to define what kind of content you will create for publishing on your website.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, interviews, product reviews, downloadable PDF reports, etc.?
Knowing what kinds of content you plan 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 to create the 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 be responsible and accountable for 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 aspects of your website and content and assign these to your human resources, or consider outsourcing.
There are many roles and responsibilities associated with running a successful business digital presence.
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. content research, writing and proofing, sourcing and outsourcing 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?
- Who will manage the actual 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 budgeting for the cost of building your website)?
Who is going to handle different areas of your site?
Depending on your resources, it may be just one person doing it all (i.e. you), or a few people, 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 spending a lot of time and money on a tool that will not only not help you grow your business, but cost even more of your valuable money and time.
Tip: Focus On Your Processes, Not People
Document or flowchart 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 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 sections of the website planning process. You are now ready to start looking at options for getting your 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. For information or assistance with setting up your website or blog, see the other posts we’ve published on this site or contact us.
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