OSE's 8-step WordPress Strategy for Success
Are you starting a WordPress site and looking to gain traction online? Find out how with OSE’s 8-step WordPress strategy we’ve used with clients across 20+ industries.
In this article we’ll show you how to execute a WordPress strategy that will allow you to succeed in online niches where the majority of your competitors have failed.
We all know that WordPress is a fantastic content management system, but did you know that it powers over 30% of sites on the Internet? Wow! So, what sets the successful WordPress marketers apart from the rest? The answer...a solid strategy.
So, get ready...we’re giving away the secrets we use with our top clients to ensure their success with WordPress, content marketing, SEO, social and all other facets required for a successful online venture in 2018.
Step 1. A successful WordPress strategy requires research
It’s amazing how many business owners ask us to build them a WordPress site based solely on the realisation they need a website to support their business idea. However, the “go-decision” to create a WordPress site should start much before this simple realisation, it should start with extensive research that supports a strong business case.
For example, we recommend ensuring you’ve at least done your homework in the following key areas before starting a WordPress build:
- Search volumes: Is there sufficient search volumes around your niche that would support your site with traffic and/or ongoing sales?
- Competitor analysis: Are there any competitors in your market? If not, why? If there are, is the market saturated?
- eCommerce: What’s your revenue model? Are you looking to use WooCommerce to drive sales or are you thinking you’re going to try and build your traffic and sell advertising? If so, how are you going to grow your traffic?
- ROI: Do you have a roadmap for a return on your investment? What revenue or results do you aim to generate from your WordPress site in the first 6, 12 and 24 months of business?
Step 2. Learn how to use WordPress properly
Regardless of the industry, successful business owners will tell you they have a strong understanding of all areas of their business, including their technology platforms.
At OSE we see new clients on a daily basis across a diverse array of industries, and time again the ones who are successful have both an understanding of their core business and the technologies they’ve chosen to support their operation.
The good news is there’s a tonne of great information online that can teach you the basics of WordPress usage all the way through to advanced content marketing techniques using the WordPress platform.
In fact, WordPress offer a number of tutorials to help you get started using their platform just like the video below which explains how to create a new page on your WordPress site:
Step 3. Partner with a team of WordPress experts you can rely on
There are many technical aspects to running a successful WordPress strategy that a single digital agency simply cannot provide. From development to social, SEO, content marketing and design, each of these services are highly unique and is why we only focus on things we’re really good at; meaning you should watch out for the dreaded “Jack-of-all-trade” type agencies.
These day’s if you’re looking to 'hit one out of the park' when it comes to your WordPress strategy, you should aim to work with specialists in the following areas.
- Development: A WordPress development agency with a proven track record developing custom themes who do not simply customise cheap themes they bought online. Make sure your WordPress developers are skilled at creating fast-loading WordPress sites as well as this is very important in a mobile-driven world.
- Design: Your design and development agency may be the same agency or you might elect to use two separate entities. Either way you should be comfortable with the quality of work which has been delivered in the past before deciding on a designer.
- Search Marketing: Without a doubt you’re going to need an agency who specialises in organic SEO, however most people don’t realise this may not be the same agency who runs your PPC (i.e. Google AdWords) campaigns. Both organic SEO and PPC are very different niches so look at each of the agencies' individual expertise before deciding which way to go when it comes to your search marketing.
- Social Media: If you’re looking to operate an ongoing social media presence it’s best to start marketing across a social media network where your audience are engaged using a social media marketing agency with skills in that network. Each of the social media networks are different and require a different set of skills, so when interviewing potential candidates look for case studies in your social network of choice.
Step 4. Develop a content strategy you can support
If you’re looking to succeed online you need to have a content strategy. This should include a schedule for adding new pages and blog articles to your site, gathering online reviews and guest posting on other reputable industry publications.
A simple way to start a content strategy is by drawing up a content calendar.
If you haven’t used a content calendar before it’s a great way to not only roadmap your business growth but hold yourself accountable for meeting the content creation deadlines you’ve planned for the months ahead.
Your content calendar can be something you draw up yourself if you have experience in this area, or it may be something you work on with your SEO or social team, regardless you need to be regularly publishing high quality content on your site if you’re looking to drive traffic to your WordPress site.
Step 5. Recognise that SEO is a monthly ongoing spend you can’t survive without
The reality of marketing any type of website these days is if you’re not on page one in Google for an array of relevant keywords to your business, you’re pretty much not in the game.
What many website owners fail to realise is that you can have the best website in the world, but if the right kinds of customers are not visiting your site, then you’re going to have to chase every new piece of business down yourself. Enter SEO (i.e. Search Engine Optimisation).
SEO for many years has had a bad reputation due to the cowboys in the industry who have overpromised and under delivered. However, over the past while less and less of these providers have survived and generally the stronger performers have remained.
When selecting an SEO provider you’re best to choose a specialist who focusses on this niche alone. Generally, these agencies are much better at their craft and deliver what they say they will.
However, simply opening your cheque book to an SEO agency won’t be enough for your WordPress site to take off. You’ll still need to work on publishing content on your site, ensure your on-site optimisation is good, and recognise that you may have to wait up to 6 months before you see any solid results.
To assist with your on-site SEO we recommend installing the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress which is great at teaching you how to optimise your pages for key terms and phrases.
Step 6. Ensure you’re constantly refining your site with data-driven research
When it comes to a successful WordPress strategy, there’s no such thing as a set-and-forget implementation; you have to keep working on your site.
Whether this is enhancing the design of your site, A/B testing for conversions, decreasing your page load times, or checking which pages are performing well and those that aren’t, a WordPress site is never finished.
Some of the easiest ways to determine how your site is performing include:
- Google Analytics: Don’t just add this widely popular tracking code to your pages, track conversions using Analytics Goals and Event Tracking. In doing so you’ll be able to determine where your sales and conversions are coming from and how you can replicate this more readily across your site.
- Heatmapping: If you’ve not used a heatmapping tool like Crazy Egg, it’s worth a try. Heatmapping tools such as this are great at identifying which parts of your pages people are positively responding to and which they do not.
- Google Trends: If you haven’t checked out Google Trends before it’s an awesome service for identifying great new products and content you can include on your site. With Google Trends you can refine search data by location across any keyword or phrase and identify new business opportunities related to your niche. Just look at this example data for the popular WordPress eCommerce service WooCommerce. As you can see this topic has been trending upward in Australia over the last five-years showing strong growth.
Step 7. Build a referral network who you can support
Most new business owners or those operating a WordPress site for the first time unfortunately assume the sole purpose of a referral network is to send leads to them.
If you’re running a website of any kind, a referral network is very important, but you need to return as much new business as you receive to your network. Regardless of the industry you’re in, developing a referral network who can drive customers to your website is something all WordPress strategies should include, but you have to recognise that you may have to give away more leads than you receive.
This may sound a little weird at first but trust me this is OK if you’re building the size of your network progressively over time as this will definitely pay dividends.
Step 8. Ensure your WordPress strategy includes an expansion timeline
One of the most effective ways to ensure you hit your short-term goals when compiling your WordPress strategy is to plan for expansion beyond your initial goals.
Whether this is via constant review of traffic goals, sales goals or conversion goals, having something to work towards each month is critical to the success of your site.
Not only does this support ongoing goal management, but allows you to refine your expenditure and ramp up your efforts if you’re not meeting short-term goals or have been unrealistic about the rate at which you can grow your WordPress website.