Some people seem to think all they need to do is setup their WordPress site and walk away. However, as you might’ve guessed, this just isn’t true. In fact, you need to put together a marketing strategy and stick to it if you want to see your WordPress site succeed over the long haul.
With that said, below are six steps you can take to build a marketing strategy for your site from the ground up.
Step 1: Consider (and Test) Your Design
Creating a website that you like looking at is a real accomplishment. As any designer or developer will tell you, it’s a rare day when you don’t get absolutely sick of looking at a website during the design process. So when you come across one that you love day in and day out, you probably feel like you’ve really hit the mark. Unfortunately, simply liking how a site looks isn’t a marker of success.
The only way to truly know if your site is successful is to test it. There are several tools available that allow you to do this with relative ease. Many can be integrated right into the WordPress dashboard, which is a level of convenience I can definitely get on board with. What you’ll need to do is select an aspect of your site’s design you want to test. Then, create alternate versions of this design element. From there, you can conduct an A/B or multivariate test using Google Analytics Experiments.
There’s a WordPress plugin (Google Content Experiments Free WordPress Plugin) that makes it very simple to conduct these experiments within your WordPress site that’s well worth checking out if you’re serious about making your site as marketable as it can be.
You might also wish to leverage the custom post types feature to build post templates that can be executed at a moment’s notice. This way, you can launch a new landing page or call-to-action without having to delve into the code every single time. This also ensures there’s design cohesion across the entirety of your site.
Step 2: SEO is Marketing
Not like you could have truly forgotten this, but search engine optimization is definitely a major part of your marketing efforts. At least, it should be. And while the structure of most WordPress sites is conducive to quick site ranking, they’re not exactly optimized straight out of the box. For that, you need to do a little fine tuning.
For starters, that means unchecking that pesky little box in Settings to “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.”
From there, you’ll need to think about things like permalinks and 301 redirects and…well, it can get a little overwhelming. That’s why I’m a big proponent of using an SEO plugin. Of course, choosing the right one is imperative. A bad one could wreck your site and even cause you to incur penalties from Google. Not good! Though there are a few out there that qualify as “good,” my favorite is WordPress SEO by Yoast.
With this plugin, you can easily modify the meta titles, meta descriptions, permalinks, RSS settings and create an XML sitemap with just a few clicks. It’s a major time saver and something anyone concerned about their search engine rank should be using.
Step 3: Consider Becoming an Affiliate
One way to expand the reach of your WordPress site is to consider affiliate marketing. They take many different forms, some of which involve showing the affiliate’s ads in your site’s sidebar. You can also insert affiliate information within your posts to give them greater reach.
Affiliate income can be lucrative but you have to be smart about it. If you offer a lot of fresh content to your visitors on a regular basis, nothing will turn them off faster than a sudden shift to hawking another person’s products. So, be clear in your site disclaimer that you have affiliate products on your site but be subtle in how you display them.
Step 4: Use Advertising to Your Advantage
Once you start to receive regular traffic to your site, you might consider offering advertising of some sort. Starting out with flat rate ads might be the way to go since it gives you the opportunity to test the waters in terms of advertiser interest and to see what kind of response the initial ads receive.
But as your site gains popularity, you might want to switch to a cost-per-click or cost-per-impression model. This will depend on if you join an ad network (and which one if you do) and what other people in your industry typically do. You can always use A/B testing on the ads you display as well to see what model and what type work best.
Step 5: Build a Content Strategy
It’s impossible to market your site without content. It’s the staple of online marketing, in fact. So you need to have a strategy for your content that’s consistent with your other marketing efforts and that gets your site in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
A good content strategy will typically check off a few key boxes. For starters, it will be chock full of informative and entertaining writing that engages readers. It will either educate or delight. And the best content does both. You’re lucky in that this is the sort of thing that WordPress was built for. It’s easy to create new pages and new posts on a whim.
But you may wish to keep better track of your editorial schedule if you really want to make a go of this. Plugins like Editorial Calendar and CoSchedule are easy-to-use and make it simpler to manage new blog post ideas and when to publish what.
Step 6: Track Your Progress
If you see an uptick in site visits or an increase in conversions, you might automatically think your newest marketing strategy is working but it’s not safe to make that kind of assumption. You see these positive signs might have just been a fluke, or the result of just one specific component of your marketing strategy. And unless you track your results, you’ll have no idea what that component is.
To put it in simpler terms, just 15% of your strategy could be working yet you plug away month after month and waste your time on the other 85%. Only, you wouldn’t know any of this if you didn’t track.
My go-to resource for tracking results is Google Analytics. It lets you set up goals to track and you can insert UTM links to track the source of your conversions. Plus, you can compile custom reports that display the specific kind of information you want to see. And of course, there’s a WordPress plugin for convenient integration into your Dashboard.
WordPress makes setting up and implementing a marketing strategy for your website straightforward and simple. From the CMS itself to a variety of plugins you can use, it offers the perfect system for building site traffic and increasing conversions. If you want to continue reading on the subject, checkout Freddy’s ultimate guide to marketing your WordPress site.
Have you created a marketing strategy for your WordPress site? Was there something about the CMS that made it particularly up to this task? Did anything hold you back? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!