What you’ll need:
- Managed WordPress Hosting
- A Desire to Improve Your Site
Why Should You Optimize Your WordPress for Marketing?
When building a website, you’re focused on the end goal: creating a functioning (and hopefully aesthetically pleasing) website for your audience. But after your website is created and launched, you may feel at a loss. What do you do next?
Marketing is the answer. You’ve built your site, now it’s time for you to promote it. You can use marketing to grow your audience, strengthen your brand, make sales, and so much more. For some of you, this is probably old news. But what might not be old news is how to optimize your WordPress site for marketing.
WordPress is a great tool for website building, but you can make it even greater if you unlock its marketing potential. So how do you get started? We’ve put together a list of ways you can optimize your WordPress site, both for the backend and for the content. So, let’s get started.
Optimizing Your WordPress Backend
WordPress is wonderfully complex, but also wonderfully easy to use. Its backend exists in such a way that all you need to do most of the time is interact with the admin interface. However, there is lots that goes on behind the admin interface’s pleasant exterior.
But just because the backend can be complex, doesn’t mean that optimizing your WordPress installation needs to be. In fact, all of our optimization tips are very straightforward. No custom code or digging around in WordPress files. Instead, we’ll show you plugins and tools that will do the heavy lifting for you.
But enough about how easy optimizing your site can be. Let’s dive into the first optimization tip.
Use a Mobile-Friendly Theme
Our first recommendation is to use a mobile-friendly theme. Recent studies suggest that almost half (if not more) of all website traffic comes from mobile devices. That’s a huge chunk of visitors you don’t want to alienate! And you will alienate them if you’re using a desktop-only site.
Mobile visitors can tell when a website theme isn’t geared for them. They may have to resize the screen, or scroll sideways, or even have to zoom in to press a button. These things are sure to send mobile users running for the hills.
Frustrating your audience isn’t the only side effect of a theme that’s not mobile-friendly. It may also affect your ranking in search results. In 2015, Google made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor in its algorithm.
So it’s a good idea to invest in a solid mobile-friendly theme. Doing so will not open your site up to the mobile side of your audience, it may also boost your rankings.
Make Sure Your Theme is SEO Optimized
While some of our tips include things that will help boost your SEO, having a WordPress theme that is already optimized for SEO is a huge boost.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, determines how your website ranks in search engine rankings. The higher you rank, the more clicks you get. So naturally, you want to have the best SEO you possibly can.
It can be hard to find an SEO-optimized theme that also does everything else you want it to do. But it’s worth the extra effort to find that perfect theme. If you’re not sure what to look for, check out this blog by Yoast: How to Find the Perfect WordPress Theme.
Optimize Your Images
Thoughtfully placed images can take a drab site and turn it into a bright one. However, are your images secretly slowing your site down? If you haven’t been compressing or resizing your images, the answer is likely yes.
Images are beautiful, but they can take a lot of resources to load — especially hi-res ones. Slower site loading times can drag your site’s search rankings down. The lower your search rankings, the less traction your site gets.
Which is definitely not what you want. So how do you keep your site running smoothly without compromising on your aesthetic sensibilities?
You use image compression and resize as needed!
Image compression refers to the act of shrinking your image’s file size. There are two common types of file compression: lossless and lossy. Lossless file compression will shrink your images without affecting the image whatsoever. Lossy file compression does affect the image somewhat, resulting in a slightly more pixelated look.
There are many tools online to compress your images, like tinypng.com and compressor.io.
As for resizing your images, this tip is pretty straightforward. Find out what size your image is on a page, then resize the image to exactly that size before you upload it. This way, WordPress isn’t diverting resources to receive your images for you every time someone visits the page. You’d be surprised how much of an impact uncompressed and incorrectly sized images have on your website speed.
And you want your site to be fast. Website speed is a search engine ranking factor and can influence your visitor’s attitude toward your site. Unfortunately, speedy sites are something many take for granted. They don’t appreciate it when it’s there, but when a site is slow, they become frustrated and leave for the next best search result.
So do yourself a favor and make sure you do everything you can to maximize your site speed. If you’re prone to using images, then optimizing them is likely to help.
Remove Unused Plugins
Removing your unused plugins is not only a way to optimize your WordPress for marketing, but it’s an all-around good security tip, too! Plugins take your site resources to run, so if you let unused plugins stick around, you could be wasting your site resources. This could affect your site speed and your security.
So give those old, unused plugins the boot!
Make Sure You’re Using SSL
Have you noticed that at the beginning of a URL, there is either an “http” or “https?” Well, the little “s” on the end indicates whether or not a website is using an SSL certificate.
What is an SSL certificate? Well, it’s something you install on your website to encrypt any data shared between your website and the visitor. That includes things like passwords, usernames, credit card information, etc.
However, if you don’t have an SSL certificate installed, many browsers will warn visitors that your site is not secure. This can result in a big drop in traffic, as well as dent your brand’s reputation. With all the breaches and hacks happening, people are mindful of their security (as they should be). But if they see a warning that your site isn’t secure, they probably won’t give you the benefit of the doubt.
So if you want to get the most out of your website, you should install an SSL certificate. While this may sound highly technical, it’s actually very simple. Here at Pair Networks, we offer free SSL certificates through Let’s Encrypt. You click a button, then we’ll take care of the rest. It renews about every three months automatically, so most of the time you can click the button and then forget about it.
Optimize Your XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap is essentially a map of your site created for Google. It contains all the URLs on your site and gives Google pertinent information, like when the page was last updated, how important it is, etc.
WordPress creates an XML Sitemap for your site automatically. This may make you think, “Great. One less thing I have to worry about.” Which is true, in a sense. But what if we were to tell you that you can take WordPress’ automatic XML sitemap and make it even better.
How much better? Well, enough to help your new pages and posts get indexed faster, instead of potentially waiting months for Google to initiate a recrawl of your site.
So how do you unlock the next level of your WordPress XML sitemap? The answer is with plugins. Google XML Sitemaps is a great option for those looking to take their XML sitemaps up a notch. It automatically updates when you post new content and let’s search engines know that your site has undergone changes since its last crawl through. When a search engine hears that new content has emerged, they’ll initiate a new crawl through your site and index the new content. This is much better than waiting for the search engine to initiate on its own. The faster your pages are indexed, the more time they have to shine.
Add Google Analytics
Another way to optimize your WordPress for marketing is to set up your Google Analytics. Having analytics tools monitoring your site can give you valuable information on all sorts of things, from your bounce rate to what type of demographic your content is reaching. Knowing who and how people are interacting with your site is the first step to refining your marketing process.
To set up Google Analytics on your site, you’ll first need to sign up for a Google Analytics account and complete a few steps in the Google Analytics interface. You can find a guide for that here. Then, the next step is to add Google Analytics to your WordPress site. Luckily, Google launched a plugin earlier this year, so you don’t have to do any digging in the backend. Once installed, you’ll need to complete a few steps to link your Google Analytics account and the plugin, then you should be good to go!
You can find their plugin here: Site Kit by Google.
Optimizing Your WordPress Content
While the backend is important for marketing, optimizing your WordPress content has just as big of a role. Content is the vehicle that will bring your visitors through to the focal point of your site. This focal point may differ, depending on what your site goal is. But nevertheless, content plays an integral role in marketing your site.
Since it’s such a big player in the marketing game, we decided to do a separate section with tips on how to optimize it for marketing, too. It’s technically a part of your WordPress installation and there are some hidden WordPress tricks to help you make the most of your content creation.
Add CTAs to Your Blogs
A CTAs, also known as Call-To-Action, is a tactic used to get an immediate response from a reader. A CTA might read, “Buy Now!” or “Save Today!” All of which clearly indicate that the reader should click and do something.
CTAs use writing and formatting to make the reader feel the need to get the quote or buy the item. But why add them to your blogs? Well, one of the main reasons is because it draws the reader’s attention and directs them to something. Whether they’re just skimming your content or deeply engaged, a CTA will stand out from the rest of the page. Now that you have their attention, you can direct them to the place that matters most. This location will depend on your site and goals. Are you trying to sell them a product? Get them to subscribe to your newsletter? Whatever your goal, a CTA helps you accomplish it.
Make Your Posts Shareable
Social media is a force to be reckoned with. Many use social media as their way of sharing information. So if you really want to up your marketing game, make your content easily shareable to these platforms.
By giving them an easy way to share your content, you not only make your reader’s life easier, but you also can gain traction on different social media platforms. Who knows? You might even go viral.
Use Keywords and Phrases
SEO is a huge part of marketing online. You want people to find your site, so your site needs to be optimized for the search engine. One of the best ways to get your site in front of people is to create relevant content that people are searching for.
But how do you ensure that Google knows your content relates to these searches? Because of keywords and keyphrases. When someone searches for something, they’ll use a word or phrase. If your content also uses that word or phrase, Google might think, “Hey, this is a potential match!”
Of course, there are other ranking factors besides keywords, but they’re an important part of creating strong content that will appear in search engines.
Not sure where to get started with keywords? Well, first, you can look at Google trends to see how words are performing in searches.
And to add keywords to your content, you can install a WordPress SEO plugin, like Yoast. They’ll be able to help you assess your content, decide what keywords fit, and more!
Repurpose Old Blog Content
Have you had a blog for a while? You can rework old blogs to get a great SEO boost! We actually devoted an entire blog post about how to do this, so we won’t spend too much time on it here. But if this sounds like something you’re interested in, check out our blog: Keep Visitors Coming By Updating Old Content.
Take Care of Your Links
Links are important to a website. They can influence SEO in both positive and negative ways, so we have a few link-related tips to go over.
Build Your Links
Building your links is an important part of SEO. Both internal and external links are important to looking good in front of Google. A healthy link network can help Google establish what websites are acting as authorities on subjects and which ones are likely to share valuable information. Check out Moz’s guide to Link Building and Establishing Authority here if you want more information about how to build a healthy link network.
Besides Google, your readers will also appreciate when you link out to relevant, helpful information. Not only does this help them, but it also makes your brand look more trustworthy. Plus, if you link internally to helpful information, they’ll end up spending more time on your site. A win-win.
Fix Your Broken Links
Broken links can negatively affect your SEO. Plus, they’re annoying to readers who try to click on them. So you should definitely check your site for broken links and fix those that you find.
Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to manually go through and check every link. Who would have time for that? Instead, there are plenty of tools out there to help you do a broken link audit. You can use an outside tool, like deadlinkchecker.com, or a plugin, such as Broken Link Checker.
Once you have a list of broken links, make sure you either fix the links or remove them completely.
Set Up Permalinks
Permalinks establish the ending to your URL. So if your site is pair.com, then your content’s permalink might be something like, /this-is-my-blog-post/. Put together, the URL would look like pair.com/this-is-my-blog-post/
WordPress makes setting your permalink structure easy. You can just go into your settings and change it. However, there are ways to use the permalinks to your advantage. Remember when we talked about keywords? Well, they’re about to come into play again.
You can give yourself an SEO boost by setting up a permalink structure that will include the title of the content. Why does this give you an SEO boost? Well, if you’re following your SEO plugin’s advice, they normally suggest you add the keyword into the title of the content. So not only would your keyword appear in the title, but it would also appear in the permalink. A double victory for your SEO.
Optimization is an Ongoing Process
It’s tempting to think that WordPress marketing optimization is a one-and-done type of measure. However, if you want your website to continue being optimized, you’ll need to repeat some of these steps periodically.
Things like using keywords and phrases need to be used on an ongoing basis. You should check for broken links periodically, just to make sure that no new ones have appeared. Keep using CTAs to direct your blog traffic and be sure to put those old blog posts back to work for you.
Marketing is an ongoing process, but it doesn’t have to be hard. If you need any help setting up some of the backend tips we talked about here on your Pair account, reach out to our 24/7 support team. They’ll be more than happy to help.