WordPress Beginner’s Boot Camp Article 1- Foundation for Success
Welcome! This is the first of five articles for the WordPress Beginner’s Boot Camp! I’m so happy you decided to take this journey with me. So, let’s get started!
You’ve got your WordPress site and you are raring to go. First things first, do you have a plan? Many potential blogs and websites have been sabotaged by less than stellar planning – started, then discarded – lingering in web purgatory. Don’t let this happen to you! Planning is an incredibly important – and often overlooked – component in putting forth the best content and capturing followers.
A solid foundation is critical. If you want a successful blog or website, you need a strong, actionable plan. Prior to jumping into the actual building of your site or blog, take 15 minutes to really think about what you want to accomplish.
How would you answer the following questions?
What do you want to do with your site? What is the purpose or goal?
Who is going to read and frequent your site?
What kind of information should you post and how frequently?
Why are you doing this?
Grab a piece of paper (if you are old school) or open a doc in Word and capture your answers. Now, take a minute and review your answers. This is the framework and rationale for building your site. Transformed, it can serve as Mission Statement and guiding principle. For example:
“This website will be dedicated to marketing research and will cover the topics of industry trends, new technologies, industry events, ROI and the impact of big data on marketing. The audience will be marketing professionals interested in learning about happenings within the industry and the impact of big data on marketing decisions. I will be adding posts every 3 days about the impact of big data on the marketing community. I am doing this because I am fascinated by the changes brought about through big data and its impact on marketing as a profession.”
Aside from setting a theoretical framework, it can also help you figure out how to layout and design your site. For example, if your audience are 20-something men interested in gaming, you might want to incorporate elements that mimic the gaming experience. No matter who the prospect, design your site with them in mind. After all, they will be the ones using it and you want them to feel welcome and at ease.
Now that you’ve completed your Mission Statement, it’s time to delve deeper into site content. What do you want to talk about? How do you want to organize the content on your site? The Mission Statement above can help you move forward with this phase. The quick exercise above served to flesh out potential categories for your site. For example:
“This website will be dedicated to marketing research and will cover the topics of industry trends, technological advances, industry events, ROI and the impact of big data on marketing.”
In the above statement, the potential categories are bolded in black:
This is a great starting point. If your Mission Statement is not robust enough to support several potential categories – go back and give it some additional thought. Are there other areas of focus? Did you forget some topics? Once you’ve fleshed out your potential categories, it’s time to move on to subcategories.
Using our example from above, which of the categories naturally lean towards subcategories? For Industry Trends, natural subcategories include Data Driven Companies and Data Driven Marketing. As you work through this exercise, you may realize your proposed categories actually are subcategories. In the case above, ROI would be a subcategory of Big Data. Take your time, review, adjust accordingly and continue building your list.
Now that you’ve got a handle on how you want to organize your site and potential content ideas, let’s discuss frequency. How often do you plan to update your site with fresh content? Frequency is important – especially if you plan to post time sensitive information – but stick with a schedule that is realistic. While it might seem like a great idea to post on a daily basis, can you commit to that? While you have the option to post as frequently or infrequently as you like, it’s best to remain consistent.
In addition to frequency, timeliness is also important and can impact content set up on your site. Is the date WHEN you posted the information relevant? If so – then make sure visitors can quickly and easily find information by date. However, if the “when” is less important, then make sure content is easy to locate by category.
Finally, what are you willing to share with your readers? This is aside from content. What part of your journey and experience do you want to highlight on your site? It can be as simple as basic contact information – phone number, email, and social media links. However, if your site is more personal in nature or focuses on your “story”, a more in-depth background with reasons for starting the site/blog could be in order.
Armed with a plan and purpose, you are now ready to get into WordPress.com and make your vision into reality!