Every successful website needs to have a plan and, as we all know, a plan comes long before any action ever takes place. This is why I always find it odd when someone comes to me saying they want a website but they don’t know what to put on it. Before you can even start thinking about the design of your website, you need to start thinking about the content that is going to go on it.
The Rule of Fives
I believe a good strategy is derived from the rule of fives.
- Five Pages
- Five Categories
- Five Posts in Each Category.
Let’s break this down a little bit starting with the first bullet point above, five pages. A WordPress website is usually broken up into pages and posts. Posts are the articles that you publish on a regular basis on your website and pages are the static content that doesn’t fall into the regular publishing schedule of your blog. This might be your about page, for example.
There are many different types of pages on your website. Use the following as a starting point as to what to include on your first five pages.
- About: A page introducing what you can do for your visitors and more about yourself, your business or your organization.
- Start Here: As your site grows, a lot of your best work is going to get lost in the archives. A start here page gives your visitors a place to start if they are new to your site. If your site is new, this a place for your to describe the different categories on your site.
- Contact: Clear details on how your visitors can contact you.
- Resources: A listing of a few products or services that will be valuable to your visitors. These are often a good opportunity for you to present affiliate offers.
- Products: A detailed look at the products that you offer. Your product may be an actual product or a service that you provide.
During the planning stages of your website you should identify five key categories that relate to your website’s overall theme. I often tell the people I work with to think about categories as chapters in a book.
If your website is about dogs, what are five chapters that you would find in a book about dogs? As an example, you might find chapters on training, grooming, diet, vets and breeding. These categories are a little too general for most websites but I’m sure you get the idea. You’ll want to drill down a little further within the overall theme of your website.
Five Posts in Each Category
Now that you have decided on the five key categories that apply to the theme of your blog, you want to start creating content. It’s a good idea to come up with five posts that you would want to include in each category before you even start building your website.
This might sound like putting the cart before the horse but it’s an important exercise. Creating 25 posts for your website will determine whether or not you have selected the right theme for your site. If you are unable to write 25 posts for your site then it’s a good idea to find this out before you spend time, effort and money on a site that you don’t have much interest in, even if you think you do.
When you eventually build out your site, you’ll need seed content on your site for launch day. With 25 posts pre-written, you can publish half of them on your site for the launch and schedule the other half to appear on your site over the next few weeks after your launch. This ensures a depth of content for your visitors and saves you from playing catchup all of the time. These posts can also be added to your Start Here page over time.
When A Good Plan Comes Together
It’s important to approach a new website with a solid plan and a clear definition of what you hope to achieve. Even though the rule of fives above is a good starting point, don’t worry if you deviate a little. The point is to clearly think out the content for your site before you even move forward on the design and layout.
Do you have a plan for when your site goes live?
- OR -
Did you have a plan for when your site went live?
Matthew Hooper helps people, small businesses and individuals build an internet presence. Don’t forget to get his free report, “A Beginner’s Guide To Building An Internet Presence”. He has also just launched a step-by-step video training course called “The WordPress Course” so that you can learn WordPress in a single weekend.
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