Are you considering the idea of taking your business online?
Then this basic guide to website planning is for you.
Note: This section continues from the previous article series where we provide important information about planning a new business website.
- For Part 1 of the article series, go here: How To Plan A Website For Your Small Business – A Money-Saving Guide For Non-Technical Business Owners
- For Part 2, go here: How To Plan A Website For Your Small Business – A Money-Saving Guide For Non-Technical Business Owners Part 2
How To Plan Your Website – What To Do And What Not To Do – Part 2
In Part One of this article, we’ve covered the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Goals
- Step 2 – Your Website Name
- Step 3 – Managing Your Website’s Technology
- Step 4 – Defining Your Website Audience
- Step 5 – Your Keywords
- Step 6 – Defining Web Site Categories
- Step 7 – Plan Your Content Strategy
You’re almost there with your initial website planning work. In this phase of the site planning process, we are going to set up an initial content publishing schedule, define what kind of content you will create for your website or blog, and decide who is going to do what on your site.
Step 8 – Your Content Or Blog Publishing Schedule
You need 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.
Your Blog Or Content Publishing Schedule
Once 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 related directly with building your website, as you go through the process of creating a content publishing schedule and then thinking about what types of content you will need to create and who will manage all of this (see Steps 9 and 10 below) will help you understand what type of additional services and resources your business will need once your website has been created.
Practical Tips For New Business Website Owners:
Tip #1 – Be Consistent
Publishing fresh content to your website or blog regularly is very important for building an online readership and for increasing your site’s results in search engines.
This is the step where you are actively marketing and promoting your business through content, and so it’s crucial that you develop a habit of publishing content on your website or blog consistently.
Start by making a commitment to publish a new post each week or fortnight to your website. Decide on a specific weekday and time that you will sit down to write your post. Allow one to two hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each post.
Now, commit to making this into a regular habit. Keep monitor this activity and if required, finetune your scheduling 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 consistently (and you should!), having content scheduling tools can help keep your workflow organized.
You can use simple spreadsheet-based Editorial Templates to help you schedule and track the content content planning, 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 a spreadsheet program …
Content Planning Master Template Created Using A Spreadsheet
Use this spreadsheet to plan your content production and publishing schedule. For example, you can add the following columns to your spreadsheet:
- Publish Date: The date you plan to publish the content. Tip: You can use color-coding to indicate when the content has been published. Additionally, you can 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.
- Author: Who will write or create this content. (See Step 10 below)
- Content Type: What type of content you will be creating for this topic. (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 particular item of content designed to help you sell or promote? Specify your offer or call-to-action here.
- Headline: Enter your article headline, title of your content item, etc.
- Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content here.
- 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: 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 all of the above columns. You can keep things simple by creating a basic spreadsheet containing just these essential columns:
- Publish Date
- Post Type
If you would like to create an Editorial Calendar to help you plan new content every month, just search online for “free calendar” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com …
WinCalendar.com – 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 is a Free plugin for WordPress that lets you 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 inside the calendar and manage your entire blog.
(Image above taken from plugin website)
To learn more about this plugin visit this site: Editorial Calendar
Edit Flow lets you collaborate with your editorial team right inside WordPress.
Key features of the plugin include:
- Calendar – A month-by-month look at your content.
- Custom Statuses – Define key workflow stages.
- Editorial Comments – Threaded commenting in the admin section for private discussion between writers and editors.
- Editorial Metadata – Track important important details.
- Notifications – Lets you receive 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 function or department.
(Screenshot source: plugin site)
For more information visit this site: Edit Flow
Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin for WordPress that lets you automate your WordPress editorial workflow using a simple, 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.
(Image source: plugin site)
This plugin 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.
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, auto submit, revise published content and much more.
To learn more visit the plugin site here: Oasis Workflow – Editorial Plugin For WordPress
Step 9 – Establish What Kind Of Content You Will Publish
What Type Of Content Will Be Published On Your Website?
Once you have set up your content creation schedule, the next step is to define 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, multimedia presentations, 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 will probably need to purchase or budget for to create your content. This could include purchasing video screen capture software for videos and multimedia presentations, slideshows, etc.
Step 10 – Assign Roles And Responsibilities
Who Will Be Accountable For All Areas Of Running Your Site?
The final step in the web site 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 site or blog.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who will decide what content gets written/published on your site?
- Who will perform the content creation work (e.g. content research, writing and proofing, 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 all the “fingers” talk to “the hand”?
- Who will be responsible for 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 planning the cost of building your website)?
Who will be responsible for different areas of your website?
Depending on the circumstances of your business, it could be just one person doing it all (e.g. 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 know the answer to 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 Processes, Not People When Assigning Responsibilities
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 sections of the site planning processand are now ready to begin exploring options for getting your new website built.
Hopefully this post has given you a better understanding of the website planning process and how WordPress can help you grow your business business online. For information or assistance with setting up your website or blog, see the other articles we have published on this site or contact us.
We also recommend that you consider subscribing to our blog, as we plan to add loads of great content, resources and cost-effective tips for small businesses on how to develop a successful digital marketing strategy.
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