Are you thinking about getting a web site built for your business?
Then this article on planning your website is for you.
Note: This is Part 3 of the article where we provide essential information on planning a web presence.
- For Part 1 of the article, go here: Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 1
- For Part 2, go here: The Website Planning Process – Part 2
Understanding The Website Planning Process – Part 3
In Part One of this article, we have looked at the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Defining Your Site Goals
- Step 2 – Web Site Name
- Step 3 – Manage Your Website’s Technology
- Step 4 – Your Website Target Audience
- Step 5 – Your Key Phrases
- Step 6 – Defining Site Categories
- Step 7 – Planning Your Content Strategy
(Website Planning Process)
You’re almost done with the initial website planning work. In this phase of the site planning process, we are going to set up an initial content publishing schedule, decide what kinds of content you are going to 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 want to be publishing content regularly 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 content publishing or blogging schedule)
Now that you have created 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 directly to the process of getting your web site built, by creating a content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will need 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 your business will need to have in place once your site has been built.
Useful Tips For New Website Owners:
Tip #1 – Be Consistent
Publishing fresh content to your website regularly is important for building an online readership and increasing your site’s search engine rankings and results.
This is the step where you are actively marketing and promoting your business with content, and so it’s essential that you develop a habit of publishing content on your website consistently.
For example, 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 posts. 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, fine-tune your publishing schedule accordingly.
Remind yourself when you sit down to 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 plan to publish content consistently (and you should!), it helps to keep your workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheet-based Editorial Templates to help you schedule and track the content creation, or use a WordPress plugin.
Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates
You can easily create a simple editorial content template to help you schedule your content creation using any spreadsheet program …
(Content planning master 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: Enter the date you plan to publish the 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.
- Writer: Who will write or create your 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 to your blog, record the blog post category you will publish this item under.
- Offer: What is this particular content item designed to help you sell or promote? Enter your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your blog post or article headline, title of your article, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content in this column.
- Kwd: The main keyword 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 with just these essential columns:
- Publish Date
- Content Author
If you want to create an Editorial Calendar to help plan new monthly content, just search online for “free monthly calendar template” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
(WinCalendar.com – Calendar downloads)
WordPress Editorial 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 WordPress plugin that allows you to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog.
The Editorial Calendar gives you an overview of your blog and when each item will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar and manage your entire content publishing schedule.
(Editorial Calendar. Screenshot above taken from Editorial Calendar plugin website)
For more details, visit this site:
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 – Define key workflow stages.
- Editorial Comments – Allows private discussion via threaded commenting between writers and editors inside the admin area.
- Editorial Metadata – Helps you keep track of important details.
- Notifications – Lets you receive timely updates on any content you’re following.
- Story Budget – Lets you see your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Keep your users organized by department or function.
(Edit Flow – Editorial plugin for WordPress. Above screenshots taken from Edit Flow plugin site)
To learn more, visit this website:
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin for WordPress that lets you automate any editorial workflow process using a simple and 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. Screenshots above taken from 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 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.
To learn more about this plugin, check out the plugin’s website here:
Step 9 – Define What Kind Of Content You Will Publish
(What type of content will you publish on your website?)
After setting up a schedule for creating content, the next step is to define what types of content you will create to post on your website or blog.
Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, product reviews, PDF reports, etc.?
Knowing what kinds of content you plan to create for your website or blog is useful because this helps you understand what other tools 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 Responsibilities
(Who will be responsible and accountable for all aspects of running your site?)
The final step in your website planning process is to decide who will be responsible for various areas of your website and content and assign these to your human resources, or consider outsourcing.
There are many roles and responsibilities involved in running a professional 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. fact-checking, writing and reviewing, sourcing and outsourcing 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?
- 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 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 site built)?
Who will be accountable for all of the various aspects of your website?
Depending on your resources, it may 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, 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 on a tool that will not only not help you grow your business, but cost you 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 steps of the website planning process and can now start exploring options for getting your new site built.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the web site planning process and how WordPress can help you grow your business online. If you need information or help with any aspects of website marketing, see the other articles we’ve published on this site or contact us.
We also recommend that you consider subscribing to our site, as we plan to add lots more content, resources and useful tips for small businesses on how to develop your web site marketing strategy.
"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now