WordPress offers a host of opportunities for marketers. Here are seven essential techniques for managing your WordPress site.
The primary goal of every online marketer should be to achieve maximum visibility for the site they’re promoting, while also facilitating an optimal conversion rate, in the most efficient way possible. To do this, many marketers have begun using robust, open source content management systems like WordPress to streamline and simplify site creation, search engine optimization, and ongoing content publishing. WordPress is particularly popular for company blogs, but has suitable functionality and quality for other sites including SmartInsights.com!
Whether you've recently made the decision to jump aboard the WordPress bandwagon, or have been using it for years, there are most likely a few tips, tricks, and principles that you may have overlooked in your haste to keep up with the fast pace of online marketing. With that said, let's take a look at 7 things all marketers should know about WordPress:
1. Use Fully Responsive, Multi-Purpose Themes
With more than ten thousand highly customizable WordPress themes to choose from, choosing the right template and setup for a site can be challenging if you're indecisive and don't know what to look for. You can significantly narrow down your search by only choosing from themes that are fully responsive (designed to look great on all devices and display sizes). This is an absolutely imperative feature nowadays, as research has shown that mobile devices are used to access the web more frequently than desktop PCs.
In addition to being fully responsive, an ideal marketing theme will be designed with a specific purpose or niche in mind. For example, there are some themes that are intended to be used for creating landing pages, while others are designed to serve as portfolios or blogs. Niche-specific themes may include background images, graphics, and icons that are relevant to a particular niche.
Perhaps the most efficient way to proceed is to find a highly versatile multi-purpose theme that includes presets for a variety of niches, as well several page layout styles for creating landing pages, blog posts, squeeze pages, opt-in forms, portfolios, testimonial pages and more. Once you find a flexible theme and become familiar with the administrative options panel, you'll be on your way to cranking out highly optimized sites in a scalable manner.
The primary benefit of the multi-purpose, niche-flexible themes is that they all come with predesigned layouts and aesthetic content libraries that tailor to a variety of specific industries or niches. Thus, once you master their backend interfaces you can easily go from one campaign to another without ever having to leave the comfort zone of your preferred multi-purpose theme.
2. Become Familiar with Theme Features that Can Benefit Marketing Campaigns
Of course, with so many themes to choose from, you'll probably want to do your own due diligence to consider more than the ones recommend above. To help you make the right decision we've provided a list of features that are essential for efficient marketing with the WordPress platform:
- Support for parallax sections, Flash animations, and video backgrounds
- Clean HTML 5 and CSS 3 code (be sure to upgrade when new versions of HTML and CSS are released)
- Included e-commerce functionality (i.e. - support the WooCommerce suite of plugins)
- Included contact form and opt-in form features
- Support for mega menus for enhanced site navigation.
- A variety of preset page layout styles (i.e. - blog post, testimonial, portfolio, landing page, squeeze page, about us page, meet the team, etc.)
- Included analytics panel or plugins.
Many times the most useful theme features come in the form of included third-party plugins, which we'll discuss more in the next subsection.
3. Use the Right Plugins to Enhance Site Functionality and Lead Generation
Every WordPress user knows that the full power of this CMS cannot be seen without the use of a handful of plugins and extensions. However, with hundreds of plugins out there, many of which are either no longer supported or have become obsolete, optimizing your plugin library can take quite a bit of experimenting and research. To help you expedite this process, we've provided a couple links to what we believe to be the best plugins lists for marketers:
After reading through the above lists you should have all the plugins needed to maximize your WordPress site's marketing potential.
4. Consider Syndicating Your Content Beyond the WordPress Site
While syndicating content to other sites can present the possibility of duplicate content issues if done incorrectly, if done right it can be highly effective.. If you use reputable news sites that syndicate content from blogs and add the appropriate meta information to the page to prevent search engines from applying penalties to the original post on your site then you won't have any problems. While the art of content syndication goes beyond the scope this article, we advise you to research ways to syndicate blog content and this post on content syndication techniques at Smart Insights.
5. Use Analytics to Revise Content Strategy and Determine a Best Time to Post
Analyzing site traffic on per page basis is the best way to gather a reliable indicator of the kind of content your visitors and search engines like the most. Likewise, comparing the results of initial traffic surges based on posting time can help you determine the best days of the week and times of day to add new content. This kind of research is essential if you're trying to raise conversion rates by appealing to a target audience, especially if most of your visitors are located in a specific geographic area. Thus, it would be prudent to become familiar with the major analytics solutions for WordPress.
6. Understand the Importance of Connecting your WordPress Site with Social Networks
As you're probably aware of, reputation and word of mouth are everything in marketing. A campaign without an associated social presence simply cannot reach its full potential, as you'll be undoubtedly missing out on the opportunity to generate the kind of exponential traffic boosts that can only come from social sharing. Although there are plenty of plugins that can optimize social sharing in WordPress, there are also certain practices you should be taking to maximize a campaign's social potential:
- Diversify - While sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the most popular, there are at least a dozen other social sharing and bookmarking sites you should be active on if you have the time and resource to do it well. Don't sell your campaigns short - WordPress makes it easy to implement integrated social sharing buttons and comment sections on every page, so be sure to take advantage of this for maximum traffic.
- Share social media - While posting links to blog posts can certainly attract traffic, few efforts can bring a boatload of inbound links accompanied by a surge of traffic like a well-syndicated infographic or video. Thus, having a YouTube channel and Instagram account should be basic prerequisites for every campaign, and you should strive to make your media content present on as many alternative and similar sites as possible.
- Incorporate trend watching - Staying relevant in the social sphere is all about following trends and being a part of the latest news. Do your research to find what's hot and create content tailored to those topics for a consistent flow of genuine traffic and sharing. WordPress supports widgets for Twitter Trends and Google Trends. You should be using these in every campaign, and wherever possible you should be looking to tie in trending terms and hashtags to your content strategy.
- Follow Others So They'll Follow You - Online social interaction is lot like its real-life counterpart - oftentimes you have to give something to get something. Start following and corresponding with other sites and individuals who post content related to your niche, and most of the time they'll return the favor by following you back, thereby giving you access to their base of followers as well. In this way you should strive to build your network in a mutually beneficial and somewhat reciprocal manner, because it works. With that said, avoid reciprocal linking on your WordPress site.
7. Know That Minimalistic Sites Often Do Better Than Their Complex Counterparts
Theme flexibility and the vast library of plugins available for WordPress can make it easy to go overboard with widgets, navigation menus, share buttons, flash animations, and all kinds of components that can make a page look crowded. Surprisingly, opting for the simplistic alternative usually achieves better results, as most visitors enjoy browsing a straightforward yet modern site, rather than being confronted by a cluttered mess of page elements.
You might've noticed that some of the most effective landing pages contain only an elegant background, the sales copy, and an opt-in form. Keeping page templates minimal not only prevents the possibility of intimidating visitors with informational overload, it also makes it easier to conduct cross analysis and compare the result of various landing pages or template variations, since only a few elements are being tweak or replaced.
The Game is Always Changing, So Stay Ahead of It
Although the above principles have proven to be universally true for the past few years, it is worth noting that the online landscape is constantly evolving, and new plugins and themes are appearing all the time.
Thus, to stay competitive and progressive in your endeavors it would be prudent to involve yourself in the WordPress community by becoming a member of development forums, frequently checking for the latest and greatest themes and plugins, and subscribing to RSS feeds that post content related to WordPress news. They say "knowledge is power," and the more knowledge you have about WordPress, the more powerful your online marketing capabilities will become.