Are you considering the idea of taking your small business online?
Then this basic guide to website planning is for you.
Note: This section continues from the previous article where we take you through the process of planning your business website.
- For Part 1, go here: How To Plan Your Website – Understanding The Process – Part 1
A Basic Guide To Website Planning – Part 2
Up to this point, we have covered the following areas of the website planning process:
- Step 1 – Your Goals
- Step 2 – Website Name
- Step 3 – Manage Your Web Technology
- Step 4 – Your Target Audience
As you can see, in Part 1 we have established the foundations for planning your business website. If you have been following our recommended process, you would have a clear idea of your site’s goals and objectives, established your website name, decided on the technology platform you will be using and have a good understanding of your target audience.
At this point, many people begin building their website. We recommend, however, that you complete the planning process presented in this guide, as we will now cover web content planning and reviewing effective strategies for managing and publishing content. Doing all of the planning work before you start building your website could save you a significant amount of time and money.
Step 5 – Your Keyword Phrases
Identify Your Keywords
Now that you have a good idea of who you will be targeting with your website, the next step is to identify the main keyword phrases that you want people and search engines to associate with your website. This will help search engines to connect your website with your target audience.
Ideally, you will want to focus on keywords that have “low competition” and a reasonable monthly search volume. Depending on your needs, you may also want to focus on key phrases in your industry that have some level of commercial profitability.
There are many tools you can use to identify great key phrases, including free tools.
If you have an account with Google Adwords, for example, you can use a keyword search tool like the Google Keyword Planner.
Using the Keyword Planner tool, you can see that more people are searching each month for the key phrase “overseas adventure travel” (over 18,000 searches per month) than “singles adventure travel“, which gets less than 1,000 searches a month …
Keyword Research Tool – Google Keyword Planner Tool
According to this keyword research tool, however, the number of web sites competing against one another in the search space for “singles adventure travel“, is higher than sites trying to rank for a key phrase like “overseas adventure travel“. This could be because one keyword phrase relates to a more targeted audience (i.e. “singles” looking for adventure travel), while the other is more generalized, or because there is more money to be made selling adventure travel products to singles, etc..
Doing keyword research can also help you understand the commercial value of certain keyword phrases. Typically, smart advertisers will promote keywords targeted towards attracting a “buying” public, instead of keywords that are more suitable for users who are simply browsing or researching products or services online.
For example, users who search for the term “color printer” are typically not as ready to purchase a colour printer as people who search for “konica minolta bizhub C3350 review”, so if you plan to sell or review colour printers on your site, you would want to aim for longer, more descriptive and more targeted keyword phrases (called “long tail keywords”), hopefully with a higher amount of monthly searches and low to medium competition.
It helps, therefore, if you have a few highly searched keywords in your content. However, don’t go “crazy” doing keyword research for every piece of content you plan to add to your site, especially if you are just starting out.
Start simple. Begin by making a list of the “top” 5 keywords you would like your site to rank highly for in the search engines, make sure that these keywords have a decent search volume and then use these keywords organically in your content (i.e. plan to write your web content for humans, not search engine robots).
Once your site starts to bring in visitors, you can then analyze actual data like keyword searches online users are typing into search engines to find your site from your server logs and use the data to improve your keyword research.
Keyword Research Tips
Tip #1: Avoid building your content marketing campaigns on key phrases that return extremely low to no monthly searches, or that have no commercial value. There’s no point ranking #1 in Google for a keyword that no one is searching for. Also, if you type the keyword phrases into Google and no one is advertising products or services for it (i.e. no Google ads show up), then that keyword most likely has no commercial value or is unprofitable.
Keyphrases that have no competing advertisers are generally not worth targeting
Tip #2: Use keyword research tools to help you build keyword lists and generate commercial content ideas. Here are a number of great free and paid keyword research tools you can check out:
Free Keyword Research Tools
Keyword Planner Tool – Google AdWords
The Google Keyword Planner Tool lets you search for keywords, keyword groups and keyword-based advertising ideas (e.g. pay-per-click advertising), analyze keyword search statistics, see how a list of keywords could perform in ad campaigns and even create a new list of keywords by multiplying several keyword lists together.
For more details check out the website here: Google Keyword Planner
If you don’t have access to a Google AdWords account, use the FREE tool below to help with your initial keyword research:
Ubersuggest keyword suggestion tool
UberSuggest is a free tool that essentially lets you perform the same function as typing a topic into the Google search box and seeing what ideas or topics come up.
This tool saves you time going go through the alphabet from a-z to discover new keyword suggestions related to your subject:
Discover new content ideas with the Ubersuggest
To use this keyword tool, visit the site here: Ubersuggest.org
Paid Keyword Research Tools
The keyword research tools below will help you not only uncover many profitable keywords and long-tail keywords to use when planning content or a pay-per-click advertising campaign, but also analyze your competition’s keywords and formulating a content SEO strategy for your site:
Market Samurai is inexpensive and provides not only keyword research, but also some great additional content and SEO research tools, plus excellent training tutorials on performing SEO keyword research.
To learn more about this tool visit this website: Market Samurai
SEMRush lets you add your competitor’s URL and the tool will show you all the keywords that the site is ranking for, making it easier to find short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can then target.
To learn more about this tool visit this website: SEMRush
Keyword Spy is an SEO tool that is primarily used for researching keywords. You can use Keyword Spy to identify the keywords that your competition is using and to do research on keywords for your own website and content marketing strategy.
To learn more visit the site here: Keyword Spy
Step 6 – Defining Site Categories
Define Your Site Categories
The next step after doing some initial keyword research, is to decide on specific topics within your niche that your visitors may be interested in learning about and create a list of “categories” for these topics that you plan to write content about.
For example, if your business is travel-related, your categories could include topics such as: “corporate travel”, “adventure travel”, “exotic destinations”, “holiday packages”, “hotel accommodation”, “travel accessories”, “train travel”, “airfare discounts”, “North America,” or any category of travel-related services you offer.
Aim to create an initial list of about 5 – 8 categories. You can always add more categories to your site later on.
Site Category Tips:
Tip #1: WordPress Makes Managing Categories Easy
WordPress provides two pre-defined ways of grouping and organizing content on your website or blog (WordPress refers to these as taxonomies): “categories” and “tags”.
WordPress gives you great control over managing your categories. It also lets you easily create new categories and match your posts to different categories to help keep all of your content organized.
Use WordPress To Easily Manage Your Categories
Tip #2: Categories Help To Improve Your SEO Rankings
Choosing the right keywords when naming your categories helps to improve your website’s SEO rankings.
WordPress allows you to create search engine-friendly URLs that include your categories as keywords (great for SEO, so keep this in mind when planning category topics …
Use WordPress Categories To Improve Your Search Engine Optimization
Tip #3: Categories Help To Improve Site Navigation
Categories allow users to navigate more easily through your website’s content.
WordPress turns each category you create into a searchable webpage.
This lets your visitors find all posts published under that category in one place …
WordPress Categories Help To Improve Your Site’s Navigation
Step 7 – Creating Your Content Strategy
Formulate Your Content Strategy
Now that you have researched your keywords and added a list of categories, the next step is to formulate your content strategy.
You need content for your “static” website pages (e.g. your “About Us” page, legal pages and your services, and you will also need content to publish regularly on your site.
Content Strategy Tips:
Tip #1: Your “Static” Website Pages
Make sure that you have content for all of your “static” website pages already written before you begin building your website, especially if you plan to get someone else involved in the process. This will help you avoid additional costs caused by delays or unpreparedness.
Below is a basic checklist of the content you will want to have already prepared prior to building a website:
- Business name and brief description of your business.
- Content for your “Front Page”.
- “About Us” page content.
- Content for your “Products/Services” page(s).
- Site Categories.
- Contact Details (e.g. business address, email, telephone numbers)
- Images (e.g. product images, etc.). Image formats = .jpg, .png or .gif.
- 1 – 3 initial blog posts to be used as “seed content” for your site (saved in Word document or plain text file).
- List of all external links and additional contact details to be included in your site (e.g. “Suppliers”, etc.
- Additional media or downloadable content (e.g. promo videos, PDF documents, white papers, etc.)
- Also, check that all URLs you plan to add to your site are working and all other details like spelling, phone numbers, etc. are correct.
Tip #2: Create A List Of Web Content Topics
Here is a “quick” method you can use to help you create a list of content ideas for your site.
Write down 12 keywords, and for each keyword, list one article idea you can add to your site.
You can also write blog posts about any of the topics listed below:
- Featured product
- The people in your company – who are they and what do they do
- Educate visitors about your industry – the challenges it faces and how your business is addressing these
- A industry event you have attended
- Customer tips and how-tos
- Affiliate information
- What area of your business could you educate prospects about to help overcome objections?
- What problem do you or your services help your customers solve?
- What information can you provide to help more clients buy again from you?
- What are common FAQs you get from visitors and prospective customers?
- etc …
Once you have a list of content topics, continue adding to this list.
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