Are you thinking about getting a website for your business?

Then this basic 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 business website.

Understanding The Planning Process – Part 2

So far, we have covered the following areas of the website planning process:

  • Step 1 – Your Website Goals
  • Step 2 – Your Website Name
  • Step 3 – Managing Your Technology
  • Step 4 – Defining Your Website’s Audience
  • Step 5 – Your Keywords
  • Step 6 – Defining Site Categories
  • Step 7 – Defining Your Content Strategy

How To Plan A Web Site For Your Small Business - A Practical Primer For Non-Technical Business Owners

You’re almost done with your initial website planning work. In this phase of the site planning process, we are going to set up an initial publishing schedule for your website, decide what kinds of content you are going to create for your website, and decide who will do what on your site.

Step 8 – Your Content Publishing Schedule

You need to publish 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 Blogging Or Content Publishing Schedule

Create Your Content Or Blog Publishing Schedule

Once you have created an initial list of content ideas, the next step is to set up an initial content publishing schedule.

Info

Although this step may not seem to be directly connected with the website building process, by creating your 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 site has been built.

Useful Tip

Useful Tips For New Website Owners:

Tip #1 – Be Consistent

Publishing new content on your website consistently is very important for building an online readership and improving your site’s results in search engines.

This is the step where you are actively marketing and promoting your business using content, and so it’s crucial that you create a habit of writing and publishing content about your business on a regular basis.

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 the time of day that you will sit down to write your post. Allow 1-2 hours to create and publish (or schedule for publishing) each content item.

Now, commit to turning this into a regular habit. Monitor this activity and if required, readjust your schedule accordingly.

Remind yourself when you sit down to plan or write your content that you are you are working on growing your business, instead of just simply working in it.

Tip #2: Content Scheduling Tools

If you are going to publish content consistently (and you should!), having content scheduling tools can help keep your content creation workflow organized.

You can use simple spreadsheet-based Editorial Templates to help schedule and track the content planning and production process, or use a plugin.

Spreadsheet-Based Editorial Templates

You can keep things simple and schedule your content creation using any spreadsheet program …

Simple Content Template Created Using A Spreadsheet

Blog Content Template Created With Spreadsheet

Use this master spreadsheet to plan your content production and publishing schedule. For example, you can add the following columns to your spreadsheet:

  • Date: Enter 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 your content. (See Step 10 below)
  • Type: Record the kind of content you will be creating for this topic. (See Step 9 below)
  • Category: If you are publishing content to your blog, enter the category you will publish this item under.
  • CTA: What is this particular content item designed to help you sell or promote? Record your offer or call-to-action here.
  • Headline: Enter your blog post or article headline, title of your content item, etc.
  • Description: Enter a brief description or purpose of the content in this column.
  • SEO: The main keyword 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)
  • 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 only these essential columns:

  • Publish Date
  • Content Writer
  • Type
  • Category.

If you would like to create an Editorial Calendar for help planning your monthly content, you can search online for “free calendar” or download a free calendar template from WinCalendar.com

WinCalendar - Calendar Downloads

WinCalendar – Calendar Downloads

WordPress Editorial Scheduling Plugins

If you want to work directly from WordPress, there are some useful plugins for managing your content scheduling you can install:

Editorial Calendar – Editorial Plugin For WordPress

Editorial Calendar

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 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 source: plugin site)

To learn more visit this website: Editorial Calendar

Edit Flow

Edit Flow - WordPress Editorial

Edit Flow is a modular plugin that empowers you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress.

Some key features of this plugin include:

  • Calendar – A month-by-month view of your content.
  • Custom Statuses – Lets you define the key stages to your workflow.
  • Editorial Comments – Threaded commenting inside the admin for private discussion between editors and writers.
  • Editorial Metadata – Helps you keep track of important details.
  • Notifications – Lets you receive updates on the content that you are following.
  • Story Budget – View your upcoming content budget.
  • User Groups – Organize your users by department or function.

Edit Flow - Plugin For WordPress

(Image source: Edit Flow plugin website)

To learn more visit the plugin page here: Edit Flow

Oasis Workflow – WP Editorial Plugin

Oasis Workflow - Plugin For WordPress

Oasis Workflow is a powerful feature-rich plugin for WordPress designed to automate your WordPress editorial workflow using a simple and intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).

Some of the many 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

(Above images taken from plugin website)

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.

The plugin 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.

For more details visit this website: Oasis Workflow

Step 9 – Establish What Kind Of Content You Are Going To Publish

What Kind Of Content Are You Going To Publish On Your Site?

What Type Of Content Are You Going To Publish On Your Website Or Blog?

Once you have set up your schedule for creating content, the next step is to establish what kind of content you will create for posting on your site.

Do you plan to publish articles, videos, audios, slideshows, case studies, downloadable PDF reports?

Knowing what type of content you plan to create for your website is useful, because this helps you understand what other tools and resources you may 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 Responsibilities

Who Is Going To Be Responsible For All Areas Of Running Your Website?

Who Is Going To Be Accountable For All Aspects Of Your Website Or Blog?

The final step in your business site planning process is to decide who will be responsible for various aspects of your site 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 create the actual content (e.g. fact-checking, writing and proofing, sourcing and outsourcing graphics and logos, videos, audios, newsletter content, training content, FAQs)?
  • 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 manage the actual scheduling and publishing of content on your posts and pages and update any outdated content?
  • Who will promote and market your site 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?
  • 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 is going to be responsible and accountable for all of the different aspects of your site?

Depending on the circumstances of your business, it could 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, or perhaps even some outsourced help.

If you don’t ask 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 even more of your valuable money and time.

Useful Tip

Tip: Focus On Processes, Not People When Assigning Responsibilities

 

Create a flowchart 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 website planning process and are now ready to begin exploring options for getting your website built.

A Comprehensive Guide To Website Planning For Business Owners

Useful Tip

Hopefully now you have a better understanding of the website planning process and how WordPress can help you build a better online business.