Simplify Complexity with the Work Breakdown Structure

Simplify your projects with a WBS

Simplify your projects with a WBS

We have all been there – overwhelmed. You just read about creating a website that makes income for you passively and you can’t wait to get started.

You know you have to find a niche, buy a domain, buy hosting, install WordPress, write content, get backlinks, and so on.

Then, you start digging in and learn that finding a niche has so many tasks to complete just on its own. Plus, you see that every one of the steps listed above has subtasks associated with it.

Well, there are a lot of steps and that’s how we end up overwhelmed.

In simple terms, you need to write out what needs to be done and break up the larger tasks into smaller tasks.

I like to aim for tasks that take between 30 – 90 minutes.

In Project Management, this is called a work breakdown structure.

A Work Breakdown Structure (or WBS) is a decomposition of the work that needs to be accomplished to complete the project. Each piece of work is broken down into smaller more manageable pieces of work.

You are defining the work that needs to be done in order to successfully complete the project. The tasks are defined in increasing detail as the pieces of work become smaller and more concise.

A WBS Makes A Huge Project Simpler

Creating a website is a considerable undertaking and there are hundreds of tasks to complete. One of the key benefits to project management is the ability to make very large, complex projects simpler. Defining a Work Breakdown Structure is an enormously valuable activity that segments out manageable pieces of work from your project as a whole.

Simplifying the Creation of a Niche Website

You can simplify the process of creating a website by defining a WBS. The act of defining a WBS maps out all the tasks the tasks that make up your project – building a successful website. If you skip this step then your website is destined for failure.

Think about building a barn – you can’t just go out, buy the wood and paint without a plan for the size, height, shape, or layout.

Here is what you do:

  • Divide your project into Phases
    • Keyword Research
    • First Page Competition Analysis
    • Buying a Domain and Hosting
    • Content Creation
    • Promotion and Link Building
  • Breakdown each Phase into more steps (Let’s just look at Keyword Research for this example.)
    • Keyword Research
      • Brainstorming and Idea Generation
      • Use Google Keyword Planner or Long Tail Pro to research search volume
      • Find Secondary Keywords
  • Breakdown the steps again
    • Brainstorming and Idea Generation
      • 10 topics that you are passionate about
      • 10 topics that you think your grandmother would be interested in
    • Use Google Keyword Planner or Long Tail Pro to research search volume
      • Determine the volume for each of the 20 keywords
      • Eliminate keywords that do not meet the minimum criteria of xxx number of exact searches per month
    • Find Secondary Keywords
      • Identify 10 topics closely related to your main topic
      • Determine the volume for your secondary keywords (minimum criteria will be lower)

Now you have a list of tasks that make up a phase.  Not only do you have the tasks, the overall phase seems much more manageable.  If you break down each one of the phases you end up with a detailed list of tasks that are simple to accomplish and understand.

The feeling of being overwhelmed is gone.  You can even define the amount of time it will take to complete each task.

Use the WBS for future projects to leverage and scale.

Check out the full project plan and the rest of the steps for creating an Amazon Affiliate website in the Niche Site Project Management book.

I am currently developing the work breakdown structure for creating an Amazon Affiliate website and it will be included in the Niche Site Project book.  The book will have a very limited alpha release in December 2013, and a limited beta release in January 2014.  Be sure to sign up for the newsletter to find out how to get your copy!

12 comments… add one
  • TX

    Really good post man and congrats on the success. It’s actually funny (in a good way) to see how more of these “let-me-show-you sites” go up more and more, but the value is that each person brings in their own strength/talents to teach it a different way which is what matters. That, and it doesn’t look like your full of **** like most other guys out there.

    Have you read David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done”? It’s totally changed how I manage everything. I’ve been using his method for years and actually take it one step further by integrating a “priority” system into it so it flows great.

    Anyways, best of luck on the new site and I’m sure I’ll be back amigo.

    • Hey TX – Thanks very much. I haven’t read the whole book (ironically) but I know most of the concepts that Mr. Allen covers. Productivity can go through the roof if you follow the techniques.

      Thanks for coming by! See you around…

  • Mike

    Interesting post, thanks Doug.

  • Great tips Doug!
    As I had helped my old boss on managing a construction project, I have them in mind. But I just almost forget this important thing in creating my niche blog! Thanks for this post on reminding me thw importance of breaking down task. I am going to re-plan my schedule so that I can get more work done out of my time.

    • Hey Kevin,
      Thanks for the comment. The cool thing is that if you can breakdown the tasks you might be able to find some inefficiencies that were not apparent before. You might find some task that you can outsource also.

  • No kidding. I learned this technique in my PM Intro class but I never had my own break-down.

    Nice that I could access yours in the beta program. I’m trying to map out the plan when I create a few new ones this year.

    • Hey Kent – Glad you find it helpful. Breaking down the bigger phases can help make the whole project seem more doable.

  • Doug,
    Your progress and speed over the past year is the best testimonial for your processes. I have taken the best from you and I am very appreciative!

  • Is there a tool you use for this?

    • Hey Dave, No. I actually just keep it simple for WBS – Paper & Pen.

      Some people use mind mapping software.

      Other people work directly in MS Project or other PM software.

      Eventually, the WBS will become the project plan. I end up just brainstorming on paper and then moving it over to Asana or a Google spreadsheet.

  • Cool…

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