15 WordPress Development Tips that Will Grow Your Traffic
If you’re using WordPress to run your website, the good news is there's a ton of easy to implement WordPress development techniques you can use to grow your website traffic.
Whether you’re looking to boost the number of visitors you receive from search engines, increase the number of pages per session on your site, or simply provide a more engaging website that will entice a greater number of visitors to keep coming back for more, our WordPress Development tips have got you covered.
To start growing your website traffic all that’s required is a basic understanding of WordPress and an admin login, so if you’re paired up with these two vital elements let’s get started!
#1. Begin by installing the Yoast SEO plugin
If you’re new to WordPress and haven’t tried out the Yoast SEO plugin before, get right to it! This plugin is an absolute must if you’re going to optimise your page titles, meta snippets and URL’s for a keyword specific marketing in Google.
The really great thing about this plugin is that it helps you to assess the quality of your on-page search engine optimisation by providing easy to interpret feedback which gives you an excellent chance of boosting your search engine visibility.
Yoast is widely used by the WordPress development community and is considered to be the #1 SEO plugin for WordPress. If you're an advanced search marketer we also recommend trying out Yoast's Premium version of this service.
#2. Increase your link count with a Popular Posts widget
One of the most common techniques bloggers use to build internal links on their websites is to add a “Popular Posts” widget on the right hand side of their blog feed.
The reason behind this is can be backed up by simple mathematics. For example, if you have 20 pages on your site, each with a Popular Posts widget that includes links to 5 pages on your site, that means you’ve just added an extra 100 links to your site!
This is an excellent strategy for improving your SEO and encouraging a user base to visit more pages on your site. A great plugin for this is the “WordPress Popular Posts” plugin which is highly customisable and easy to use.
#3. Ask for emails often
Email marketing is the second highest converting online marketing channel behind organic SEO, therefore you definitely want to be collecting emails on your WordPress site wherever possible.
Whether you implement some custom WordPress development to collect emails across your site or use a plugin, you should definitely build an email marketing strategy into your KPI’s that measure how many emails you have in your database each month.
By regularly reaching out to your website visitors, you’ll easily increase the amount of traffic you receive on your WordPress site, and likely the number of social shares you receive if you’re marketing high quality content.
#4. If you’re blogging keep your post length > 2000 words
If you’ve visited our site before you’re probably used to reading blog posts which are in excess of 2000 words.
Why so long you ask?
Numerous research papers have demonstrated that Google prefers long-form content over short sharp pieces as it provides more in-depth content to provide its readers with. Now this doesn’t mean you’re going to end up on the first page of Google with every 2000+ word post you produce, but it does mean that the likelihood of you mixing it with other successful content marketers will increase significantly as oppose to publishing a 500-word post on the same topic.
Take the below research from NeilPatel.com demonstrating the value of long-form evergreen content. Need I say more?
#5. Ensure your WordPress site is mobile friendly
If there’s a sure-fire way to grow your traffic online, it’s by ensuring your WordPress site is mobile friendly. This means that your site pages should:
- Load fast in under 4 seconds
- Be optimised for desktop, tablet and smart phone devices
- Include images which are rich yet optimised for low file size using tools such as TinyPNG
- Do not use too many plugins causing slow load times
- Consider various font sizes and types which are more suited to mobile devices, and
- Are ACTUALLY TESTED on multiple devices
It’s surprising how many WordPress developers will tell you a site is optimised for mobile devices yet fail a basic mobile responsiveness test. The easiest way to check this is by loading your WordPress site on a few devices and navigating around, or dragging your desktop browser from right to left to see how your pages adjust to various screen dimensions (i.e. device sizes).
#6. Extend the length of pages delivering “mediocre performance”
If you’re a serious Internet marketer you’ve no doubt set your site up for Google Webmaster Tools. If not, this is a vital service you can use to identify pages with the potential to provide you with vast amounts of traffic that are currently only delivering mediocre results.
Take the below page on our blog which reviews Amazon’s Simple Notification Service (SNS). This page prior to June 5, 2017 was roughly 1000 words long. We experimented by adding a relevant image and increasing the world count to approximately 1700 words and look at the result! Now we receive three times as many impressions in Google for this page due largely to increased Google quality signals. Easy huh?
#7. Open up guest posting with rel=follow links
If you want to build backlinks to your site and produce more content, one easy way to do this is by letting others do it for you provided you implement strict quality control measures.
If you haven’t considered allowing guest posting on your site before it’s a great way to build extra pages and promote your site to a much wider audience. If you can develop a set of requirements for guest authors that includes provisioning for a link back their site (rel=follow), this will go a long way to attracting a great deal of attention for your WordPress site.
We recommend adding a dedicated page which summarises the requirements for guest posting on your site so potential authors know what to expect. A good example of this is Flying Solo’s Contributor Guidelines which spell out exactly what this popular Australian small business community site is looking for from guest authors.
#8. Remove unnecessary plugins
As helpful as WordPress plugins are, when combined with 50 other WordPress plugins even the best of plugins will just become another plugin slowing the page load times of your site.
Realistically unless you’re running a complex site there’s no need to install any more than 10 or so plugins on your WordPress site, otherwise you’re a likely candidate for custom web development or an enterprise CMS such as Squiz Matrix.
To see which plugins you really can't do without, visit the plugins section of your WordPress dashboard and see if there are plugins which you’re not using you could turn off, or others which could be optimised for greater performance with some custom web development.
#9. Optimise your site for multi-page content
Multi-page content is a great way to break up lengthy pages, boost the number of page views your site receives, and is also a handy way to legitimately inflate the page views your site receives which can be used to sell advertising space.
Multi-page blog articles, image galleries, and connected content posts such as a “Part 1” post and a “Part 2” posts are a great way to keep your audience clicking through your pages and coming back for more.
If you’re thinking of implementing these types of pages, make sure your page titles are unique, meta descriptions sell the second, third and forth pages in your set, and your on-site pagination is optimised for both mobile and desktop. A fun example is what Google do with their multi-page search results.
#10. Undertake a recursive linking strategy
It’s impossible to link to content which hasn’t been created yet, but what about re-visiting old content you’ve created which would be perfect to add a link to a new article you’ve published recently added to your site?
This strategy is something we undertake at OSE every few weeks and really helps us to connect our blog readers with relevant content, increase our link count, and also the likelihood of higher page views.
However, undertake this activity with caution, links should only be added when contextually relevant. Don’t just add links for that sake of it, and remember to add descriptive anchor text to your links describing your link destinations each time.
#11. Ensure your WordPress development is best-practice
Unfortunately, the WordPress development industry has gained some bad press due to “cowboy developers” who produce quick and dirty WordPress solutions. Be warned, when it comes to WordPress sites you get what you pay for. However even if your site has not been built correctly, that doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed by a professional who understands how WordPress sites should be built.
Below are some simple things you can do to test the quality of your WordPress site:
- Ask your developer if your site uses a child theme setup, if not it should!
- Test your code with the W3C Markup Validation Service and look for HTML errors
- Check your site load speed using Google Page Speed Insights
- Double check the file size of your images. If they’re in excess of 100kb for large images and in excess of 30-50kb for smaller images consider reviewing whether they've been optimised for the web?
#12. Keep your WordPress installation up-to-date
For good reason WordPress is constantly pushing out updates to it’s community which contain a number of enhancements, bug fixes and security updates.
Updating your WordPress installation is easy, can be achieved from your dashboard, and is something we strongly encourage. Because most WordPress plugins are only supported and tested up to a certain version of WordPress, it’s important that you check which version of WordPress your plugins are tested for prior to running any updates as this can have a negative affect on your site.
WordPress developers who drive large traffic volumes to their sites are extremely vigilant in updating their plugin base against new software installations, and is a best-practice tip we recommend.
#13. Implement on-site search
One of the easiest ways to boost visibility of important content on your site is to implement an on-site search facility.
On-site search is a fantastic way to build page views quickly, especially if you add filters which entice users to refine their searches. WordPress has a powerful search facility you can extend with custom web development using PHP. If you’re looking to empower your user base, we recommend reviewing well-known eCommerce sites which often have numerous search filters ideas which you might like to extend your WordPress search with.
#14. Add a WordPress social plugin
Social sharing plugins are another useful way to drive new traffic to your site. By adding a social sharing widget to your pages such as AddThis, your users can easily share your content across their social media profiles helping you build your online visitation.
There are a number of high quality social sharing plugins in the WordPress plugin directory, however we use AddThis because it’s highly customisable, easy to implement and runs light on our site. We also like it because AddThis sends us a weekly email updating is with usage statistics.
#15. Use your forms data wisely
Any emails you capture via on-site forms should be treated as gold. These are the email addresses of people who have bothered to make an enquiry with you, and you should segment these emails and look to reach out to these people regularly (provided you have authority to do so).
WordPress plugins such as Contact Form 7 and WPForms are both excellent options for implementing online forms on your WordPress site, however if you’re looking to add forms which allow for custom thank you pages and post submission actions, WPForms is the winner.
If you’re collecting forms-based data on your WordPress site, make sure you implement a workflow around your forms, as this can prove an incredibly powerful marketing tool if you’re looking to grow your email database and site visitation.
WordPress is a fantastic CMS used by both entry-level digital marketers and professionals looking to deliver content on the web. If you’re looking to boost traffic to your WordPress site, we recommend using a combination of freely available WordPress plugins and custom web development.
If you’re looking for assistance with your WordPress site, please feel free to contact our WordPress development team for assistance.