The Website Planning Process – Part 2
Up to this point, 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 Technology
- Step 4 – Defining Your Target Audience
As you can see, in Part 1 we have established the foundations for planning your 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 defined your target audience.
At this point, you could feasibly start building your website. I suggest, however, that you go through the planning process presented below, as I will now cover planning your website content and reviewing effective strategies for managing and publishing your content. Getting all of your planning completely done before you start building your website or blog could save you a significant amount of time and money.
Step 5 – Your Keyword Phrases
Identify Your Main Keywords
Now that you have a clearer idea of who you will be targeting with your site, it’s time to identify the main key phrases that you would like people and search engines to associate with your site. This will help search engines to connect your website with your target readers.
Ideally, you should try to find keyword phrases that have “low competition” and a reasonable number of searches each month. Depending on your specific situation, you may also want to focus on key phrases within your market that have some level of commercial profitability.
There are many tools you can use help you identify good key phrases, including free keyword tools.
If you have a Google Adwords account, for example, you can use a keyword search tool like the Google Keyword Planner Tool.
Using the Keyword Planner tool, you can see that more people search each month for “overseas adventure travel ” (> 18,000 searches per month) than “singles adventure travel “, which gets less than 1,000 searches a month …
According to this keyword research tool, however, the number of websites competing for visitors searching for “singles adventure travel“, is much higher than sites trying to rank for a key phrase like “overseas adventure travel “. This may 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..
Keyword research can also help you understand the commercial value of certain keyword phrases. Typically, smart advertisers will invest more time and money promoting key phrases targeted towards attracting “buyers”, rather than keyword phrases that are more suited for people who are simply browsing or researching information online.
For example, people who search for the term “color printers” are typically not as ready to purchase a color printer as people who search for a more specific keyword phrase like “konica minolta bizhub C3110 review”, so if you plan to sell or review colour printers on your website, you would want to aim for longer, more descriptive and more targeted keyword search terms (called “long tail keywords”), hopefully with a high search volume and low to medium competition.
It will help your site, therefore, if you have some highly searched keywords in your posts. However, don’t go “crazy” doing keyword research for every piece of content you plan to add to your site, especially when you are just starting out.
Start simple. Begin by making a list of the “top” five keywords you would like your web site to rank highly for in the search engines, make sure that these keywords have a decent monthly search volume and then use these keywords naturally in your content (i.e. plan to create content for human visitors, not search engines).
Once your site starts to attract visitors, you can then study actual data like keyword searches online users are typing into search engines to find your website from analytic tools and use the data to improve your keyword research and get better results online.
Tip #1: Avoid basing keywords that show extremely low to no monthly searches, or that have no demand. There’s no point ranking #1 in Google for a keyword that no one is interested in. Also, if you type the keywords into Google and nobody is advertising products for it (i.e. no Google ads show up), then that keyword most likely has no commercial interest or is unprofitable.
Key phrases that have no competition for advertisers may be unprofitable
Tip #2: Use keyword research tools to help you build keyword lists and generate commercial content ideas. Here are a number of useful free and paid keyword research tools you can check out:
Free Keyword Research Tools
The Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool lets you explore keywords, keyword groups and keyword-based advertising ideas (e.g. pay-per-click advertising), review competitive keyword history, see how a list of keywords could perform in ad campaigns and even create a new keyword list by multiplying several lists of keywords together.
To learn more go here: 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 is a free tool that essentially lets you perform the same function as typing your subject 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 explore new keyword topics related to your subject:
To use this keyword tool, visit this site: Ubersuggest.org – Keyword Tool
Paid Keyword Research Tools
The keyword research tools below can help you not only discover many profitable key phrases and long-tail keywords to use when planning content or a pay-per-click advertising campaign, but also analyze your competitors’ keywords and formulating a content SEO strategy for your site:
SEMRush lets you enter the URLs of your competitors and the tool will show you all the keywords that your competitors’ sites are ranking for, allowing you to easily find short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can then target for your own website.
For more information visit this site: SEMRush
Keyword Spy is an SEO tool that is also primarily used for keyword research. Use Keyword Spy to view competitor keywords and to do research on keywords for your own site.
To learn more visit this website: Keyword Spy Keyword Tool
Step 6 – Defining Website Categories
After doing some keyword research, the next step is to decide on specific topics in your niche market that people might want to know more about and create a list of “categories” for these topics that you plan to write content about.
For example, if you run a travel agency, your categories could be organized into topics such as: “business travel”, “luxury travel”, “exotic destinations”, “family packages”, “overnight accommodation”, “travel tips”, “cruises”, “airfare discounts”, “Latin America,” or any other travel-related categories that match your services.
Aim to create an initial list of about 5 – 8 categories. You can always add more categories to your site later on.
Practical Tips For New Business Website Owners:
Tip #1: Use WordPress To Easily Manage Your Site’s Categories
WordPress offers two basic ways of grouping and organizing content (WordPress refers to these as taxonomies): “categories” and “tags”.
WordPress gives you great control over the management of your categories. It also lets you easily add new categories and assign your posts to different categories to help keep your content organized.
Tip #2: Use Categories To Increase Your SEO
Using the right keywords in your category names can increase your site’s SEO rankings.
WordPress lets you easily create search engine-friendly URLs that include your categories as keywords (great for SEO, so keep this in mind when choosing category names …
WordPress Categories Can Improve Your Search Rankings
Tip #3: Categories Help To Improve Ease Of Navigation On Your Site
Categories help users easily navigate through your site’s content.
With WordPress, every category you create has a searchable webpage.
This lets your visitors browse all content published under that category in one place …
Using WordPress Categories Improves Ease Of Navigation For Your Visitors
Step 7 – Creating Your Content Strategy
Now that you have created a list of keywords and categories, the next step is to begin formulating your content strategy.
You need content for your “fixed” website pages (e.g. your “About Us” page, legal pages and your products or services information pages, and you will also need content to publish regularly on your site.
Practical Tips For Business Website Owners:
Tip #1: Your “Fixed” Web Content
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 simple 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 “Main Page”.
- Content for your “About Us” page.
- “Products/Services” page content.
- Site Categories.
- Business Contact Details (e.g. business address, email, telephone numbers)
- Images (e.g. staff photos, etc.). Image formats = .jpg, .png or .gif.
- 2 – 3 initial articles to be used as “seed content” for your site (saved in Word document or plain text file).
- List of all URLs 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, price lists, etc.)
- Also, make sure that all web addresses you plan to add to your website 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 begin writing a list of content topics for your site.
Go through the list of keywords you created in Step 5 and turn these keywords and key phrases into topics for web content that you will create.
You can also write articles about each of the topics listed below:
- Your products or services
- Your company and the people in it
- Educate visitors about your industry – the challenges it faces and how your business is addressing these
- A networking event you plan to attend
- Customer tutorials
- Staff tips and information
- What aspect of your products or solution could you educate prospective customers about to help eliminate objections?
- What problem do you or your services help your customers solve?
- What information can you provide to help more customers buy again from you?
- What are common FAQs you get all the time from visitors or prospective customers?
- etc …
Once you have a list of web content ideas, continually add to your list.