Are you considering the idea of taking your small business online?
Then this guide to planning your website is for you.
Note: This is Part 3 of the article where we provide important information related to planning a 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: A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 2
Understanding The Website Planning 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 Site
- Step 3 – Managing Your Technology
- Step 4 – Your Target Audience
- Step 5 – Keyword Phrases
- Step 6 – Define Site Categories
- Step 7 – Creating Your Content Strategy
(The Website Planning Process)
You’re almost there with your initial website planning work. In this phase of the planning process, we are going to set up an initial blogging schedule, decide what type of content you will create for your website or blog, and decide who is going to do what on your website.
Step 8 – Create Your Blog Or Content Publishing Schedule
You want to be publishing content regularly 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 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 connected with the process of getting your website built, 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 and resources you will need once your site has been created.
Practical Tips For New Business Website Owners:
Tip #1 – Publish Consistently
Publishing new content on your website or blog on a consistent basis is essential for building an online audience and for improving your website’s results in search engines.
This is the step where you are actively marketing and promoting your business online with content, and so it’s crucial that you create a habit of writing and publishing content about your business on a regular basis.
Make a commitment to publish a new post each week or fortnight to your site. Decide on a specific weekday and time that you will sit down to create your articles. Allow 1-2 hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each content item.
Now, commit to turning this into a regular habit. Keep monitoring your commitment and if you need, adjust your publishing schedule accordingly.
Remind yourself when you sit down to write your content that you are investing in your business.
Tip #2: Content Scheduling Tools
If you plan to publish content regularly (and you should!), having content scheduling tools can help keep your workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheets to help schedule and track your content planning and production process, or use a plugin.
Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates
You can easily create a simple editorial content master template to help you schedule your content creation using any spreadsheet program …
(Blog content template created using a spreadsheet)
Use this master spreadsheet to plan your content production and publishing schedule. For example, in the spreadsheet, you can add the following columns:
- Publish 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 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)
- Format: Record the type of content you will be creating for this item. (See Step 9 below)
- Category: If you are publishing to your blog, enter the blog post category you will publish this item under.
- CTA: What is this specific item of content designed to 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 your content.
- Kwd: The main keyword phrase targeted by your content.
- 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 really simple by creating a basic spreadsheet containing only these essential columns:
- Publish Date
- Content Author
If you would like to create an Editorial Calendar to help plan your content on a monthly basis, just search online for “free editorial calendar template” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar.com – Calendar maker)
WordPress Content Management Plugins
If you want to manage your content scheduling directly from WordPress, there are some useful plugins you can use:
Editorial Calendar is a Free plugin for WordPress that makes it possible to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog.
The Editorial Calendar gives you an overview of your scheduling 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 blog.
(Editorial Calendar – WordPress editorial plugin. Screenshot above taken from plugin site)
To learn more, go here:
Edit Flow is a modular editorial workflow plugin that allows you to collaborate with your editorial team right inside WordPress.
Key features of this 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 between writers and editors in the admin area via threaded commenting.
- Editorial Metadata – Helps you keep track of important details.
- Notifications – Lets you receive updates on any content you’re following.
- Story Budget – See your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Helps you organize your users by function or department.
(Edit Flow – Editorial plugin for WordPress. Screenshots above taken from Edit Flow site)
For more details about this useful content management plugin, go here:
(Oasis Workflow – WordPress plugin)
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin that lets you automate any editorial workflow process using a simple, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
Some of the many features of the Oasis Workflow plugin include the ability to configure your workflow using an easy drag and drop designer interface and simple process/task templates.
(Oasis Workflow – WP editorial plugin. Image source: Oasis Workflow plugin website)
It 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.
Oasis Workflow 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.
To learn more about this useful plugin, visit this website:
Step 9 – Establish What Type Of Content You Will Publish
(What kind of content will you publish on your website?)
Once you have set up a content creation schedule, the next step is to decide what kinds of content you will create for publishing on your site.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, product reviews, downloadable PDF reports, etc.?
Knowing what types of content you plan to create for your website is useful because this helps you understand what other tools and resources you will need to purchase or budget for in order to create your content. This could include purchasing video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.
Step 10 – Assign 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 aspects of your site and content and assign these to the personnel you have available, or consider outsourcing.
There are many roles and responsibilities associated with running a busy web presence.
When completing this step, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who will decide what content gets written/published on your site?
- Who will perform the actual content creation work (e.g. researching, writing and reviewing, 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 be responsible for the scheduling and publishing of content on your posts and pages and update any outdated content?
- 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 planning the cost of building your website)?
Who will handle different areas of your site?
Depending on how your business is structured, it may be just one person doing it all (e.g. 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 building something that will not only not help you grow your business, but cost even more of your valuable money and time.
Tip: Don’t Focus On People When Assigning Responsibilities, Focus On Processes
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 the sections of the website planning process and can now 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. If you need information or assistance with setting up your website or blog, see the other articles we have published on this site or contact us.
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