In the previous 3 parts, we discussed building a basic website, customizing it to look and feel as we want, and maintaining it for maximum speed and security.
Now that the housekeeping stuff is out of the way, it’s time to talk business. This part is will cover everything on how to leverage your WordPress site to the fullest when it comes to generating traffic and leads, and building your brand online.
WordPress can help you display the best information to help you build trust, following, and a great reputation online.
Adding Essential Pages
When someone stumbles on your website, you want them to be able to find everything they need as quickly as possible. That means having a few basic pages ready.
As a business owner you may soon realize that placing things differently on your pages can result into more conversions and sales. But how do you create those landing pages without learning to code?
Thrive Landing Pages is a powerful drag and drop page builder tool for WordPress. It allows you to easily create your own page layouts using a simple user interface.
The is the landing page for your website. It can be either a static page that explains a little about you or your business, or a dynamic page that updates with each new blog post.
The default is a dynamic page that lists your ten most recent posts. If you’re creating an online resume or a corporate website, then you might prefer to present details about yourself or the company in a static page.
If you would like a static page to be shown instead, first create that page, and then navigate to Settings → Reading and enable the static page.
For a personal website or blog, it can be used to tell your story, allowing users to get to know you. For a corporate website, it would contain more information about the company.
Don’t underestimate the power of this page! Present yourself in the best possible light by saying who are you, where you come from and why that should matter to visitors. Make the copy on this page informative and, if possible, a bit intriguing.
Make it easy to see your offerings and as simple and quick as possible for users to find exactly what they’re looking for.
Content & Social Engagement
There are millions of websites out there and the most reliable way for you to compete is by offering unique and useful content. Your content must be relevant to your industry, add value to your readers, and should help you showcase your skills.
Adding a blog to your site has tremendous benefits. You can write useful, and insightful articles on a regular basis. Each article brings users from search engines to your website. These users can then sign up for your email list, and you can reach them anytime you want.
Spice Up Your Content
Plugins like TinyMCE Advanced and Shortcodes ultimate make it easy to add extra features like tables, emoticons, frames and custom font families to WordPress posts and pages, without writing any HTML or CSS.
You can also insert tabs, buttons, boxes, different sliders, responsive videos and much, much more. The new toolbar appears when you edit a page or post.
Make Content Visual
Images are a lot more engaging than text. Using high quality images on your blog not only makes it look good, it also helps users stay longer on your website.
CC Search allows you to search through creative commons licensed images. You can restrict the search to look for images you are allowed to use and modify.
You can also use these images as backgrounds to design your own graphics (for blog and social media sharing) with tools like Snappa and Canva. Canva allows you to create beautiful graphic designs, edit images, create posters, with a simple and intuitive drag and drop interface.
Other than that, use Youtube videos on your website to provide engaging, entertaining, and useful content to your audiences. There are several free options to create your own videos.
Camtasia is a screen recording software available for Windows and Mac. Extremely useful for sites where you need to walk through users. It allows you to easily edit your videos, add graphics, animations, arrows, sounds, etc. Other options are ScreenFlow and CamStudio.
Make Content Interactive
User engagement increases your pageviews and the time users spend on your website. The goal is to provide users with things they can do on your website. Adding features like quizzes, polls and surveys etc help get users engaged.
Thrive Quiz Builder makes it super easy to create and show interactive quizzes. It comes with a drag & drop front-end page builder so that you can easily create good looking splash pages, opt-in gates and results pages. You have complete creative freedom over the look and feel of these pages.
You also get detailed statistics about the number of people who started your quiz, completed it, shared it and signed up to your mailing list.
Link To Related Content
Make Internal Linking a Habit. Internal linking help search engines understand the importance of your content, context, and how it relates to other content on your website. Link to relevant posts and pages in all your blog posts. This gives you a boost in the overall SEO score of your website.
Make Sharing Easy
WordPress and social go hand in hand. Social media is an important source of traffic for any website. That’s why even the most popular websites focus on making sharing easier for their users.
There are countless WordPress plugins that allow you to add social buttons and sharing widgets to your site. However, many of them will slow down your website.
I recommend the Social Warfare plugin as the best social media plugin for WordPress. It shows beautiful and fast social sharing buttons encouraging users to share your content. In addition, it also lets you choose the thumbnails that each social network picks up when your content is shared on that network.
SEO With WordPress
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to ensuring that your copy draws as much targeted traffic as possible. WordPress is great for SEO out of the box, but a few tweaks and plugin configurations are essential to optimize your website even more.
One such task is configuring permalinks. By default, WordPress URLs look like: example.com?p=232
By enabling the custom permalink structure (Settings → Permalinks) and choosing the radio button which says post name, your URLs will be much friendlier to search engines and RSS readers.
For example, for a page titled “WordPress checklist,” the URL would be: example.com/wordpress-checklist. You can customize the URL of each post even after having customized the permalink structure.
Set Up Yoast SEO Plugin
Being able to control the title and meta description of each page is essential to optimizing for search engines, because they are shown in the results when someone performs a search on Google.
The Yoast SEO plugin not only helps you add meta tags, but also adds Facebook OpenGraph, Twitter cards, XML Sitemap, Breadcrumbs, and so much more. Once you have activated the plugin, the first step is to switch to the ‘Features’ tab and enable the advanced settings page.
Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings. You will notice new items appear under the SEO option in your WordPress menu.
Next, you need to switch to the ‘Your Info’ tab. This is where you will provide information about your site and the person or company behind it.
Add WordPress Site To Google Search Console
Google’s Webmaster tools is a set of tools that can help you understand how different pages on your website are appearing in search results.
It shows you the search queries where a page from your website appears in the results and how often it is clicked. This data can help you improve your older articles, write new content, and formulate a content strategy for your website.
Go to Google Webmaster tools website and sign in with a Google account. After signing in, add your website’s URL and hit the add new site button.
On the next screen, verify the ownership of the website you are adding. Once you have verified your website, the next thing you would want to do is to add your XML sitemap.
Sitemap is a list of pages on a website that is accessible to all users. An XML sitemap is a way for website owners to tell search engines about all the pages that exist on their website.
WordPress XML sitemap also tells search engines which links on your website are more important than others and how frequently you update your website.
There are several ways to create an XML sitemap in WordPress. The easiest is through the Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin. Go to SEO » XML Sitemaps and check the box to enable XML sitemap functionality.
WordPress SEO will show a XML Sitemap button which you can click to view your sitemap_index.xml sitemap.
Now that you have the sitemap, submit your sitemap to Google Search Console. The benefit of this is that Google will now show you any errors, pages indexed, and other relevant stats that will be helpful to you as a webmaster.
In your Google Search Console dashboard, find the link to the Sitemaps page where you can add your sitemaps. Click on the red button labeled “Add/Test Sitemap” and provide the URL of your sitemap.
Yoasts WordPress SEO plugin publishes multiple sitemaps for your WordPress site. The main sitemap is sitemap_index.xml which contains link to your other sitemaps. Submit sitemap_index.xml alone and Google will then automatically discover other sitemaps and crawl them.
Once you have successfully added your sitemap, it will appear as pending. It will take Google sometime to crawl your website. After a while you can see number of links found in your sitemap, how many of them got indexed, a ratio of images and web pages, etc.
Visit this dashboard often, at least once a month. As your site gets older you will start seeing more and more useful data about your website to learn how well your site is doing and what other things you can do to improve its performance in search engines.
Use Rich Snippets in WordPress
Rich Snippets are special markup that you can add to your content and describe your content more precisely to search engines. They allow you to have custom search listings for special content such as reviews, recipes, events, etc.
This information is then used by search engines to show your content differently. Structured data allows search engines to see different types of content on your site, and use rich snippets to show additional information in the search results.
For example, star ratings below your product listings, maps when someone searches for your business, and so on.
This additional information in search results make your listing more noticeable in search, which means more organic traffic for your site. It also helps you build authority in your niche, as your site becomes more visible in the search.
Rich snippets are not just for reviews or recipes. You can use rich snippets for events, products, people, video, music, apps, articles, blog posts, etc.
Now that you know how beneficial rich snippets can be, let’s take a look at how to add rich snippets in WordPress.
Maintaining rich snippets manually can be difficult even for the most experienced site owners. Luckily, there are several WordPress plugins that will make it super easy for you to add rich snippets in your WordPress posts.
All in One Schema.org rich snippets plugin provides you an easy user interface to generate that markup and use it in your WordPress posts and pages.
First thing you need to do is install and activate the All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets plugin. Upon activation, you need to create a new post or edit an existing one.
Just below the post editor, you will see a new meta box labeled Configure Rich Snippet. Inside, you will see a drop down menu where you can select content type for the post you are working on.
Selecting a content type will display the rich snippet fields you need to fill. In the screenshot below, we selected the article content type, and it showed us article name, author, short description, and article image fields.
You can change it to recipe, event, or whatever content type you are creating and then fill in the fields. You are not required to add all fields but some of the fields are required by Google to display rich snippets.
Email List Building With WordPress
More than 75% of users visiting your website will never see it again. This is why the first thing you should do is start building an email list.
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing tool. It is easy to manage, gives you full control and allows you to establish direct contact with your customers.
An email list is a list of names and email addresses of people who gave you permission to send them updates and promotions from your business via email.
According to Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI). Here’s how you set up WordPress to capture emails.
Pick An Email Marketing Software
A good email marketing service enables you to create highly engaging emails. It also allows you to manage your contacts, segment users into groups, and track the performance of your email campaigns. Most importantly, a good email marketing service ensures that your emails do not end up in the spam folder.
I recommend MailerLite because they are one of the best and fastest growing email marketing services in the world, and you can get started for free. This gives you plenty of time to setup and start seeing the results.
It is by far the most beginner friendly platform, with quick and easy setup. It comes with built-in tools to add signup forms and also works well with lead generation plugins like Optin Monster, Thrive Leads and more.
If you’d like to consider more options, I also recommend MailChimp, another popular email marketing service provider. Once you have signed up with an email marketing service, the next step is to create a list and give it an easy to identify name. This is for your own purpose and won’t be visible to prospects.
Now you are ready to add subscribers to this list. In other words, you’ll encourage the people who visit your website to join your list. There are two ways to do this:
Collect Emails From Optin Pages
You can create one or more optin pages on your website which let visitors submit their email address in exchange of an incentive. This incentive is called a lead magnet.
The lead magnet can be a free ebook, video, discount coupon, sample, trial, access to a private community or something else. The idea is to offer something valuable for free to entice visitors and make them subscribe to your emails.
Such landing pages can easily be created with a plugin such as Thrive Landing pages. Once you have built such a page, all you need to do is get traffic to that page and you’ll see many of your visitors turning into subscribers.
Collect Emails From Other Pages
Thrive Leads is the most popular list building plugin. It helps you convert website visitors into email subscribers.
You can easily create high-converting optin forms such as lightbox popups, slide-in scroll boxes, and more. And then you can select on which pages and parts of your website these should be displayed.
When you create these optin forms, there’s an option to connect them with your email service software. So anyone who enters their name and email in the form will be added to your list.
It does not matter what kind of business you run, what kind of website you have, or what industry you are in. If you have a website, and you want to turn your visitors into returning customers, then you need to get them in your email list.