With the latest figures showing that WordPress now powers around 22 percent of new active websites in the U.S. according to this TechCrunch article, it’s a good time to take a look at some tricks for using this CMS to optimize your site content with a little help from you, the savvy content marketer.
The first step to optimizing your web content is to look at your analytics and visitor behavior feedback so you can base tactical decisions on:
- What your visitors have and have not been doing (analytics)
- Why your visitors are taking certain action (visitor behavior indicators).
For information on how to do this, take a look at the series of articles I wrote for CMI on tactics for visitor behavior optimization. Also, Brody Dorland just wrote an excellent article on understanding buyer personas and the paths they take on websites.
Once you are armed with this information, you can take advantage of the following WordPress plugins to help you optimize your content:
Display popular categories on navigation menus
It’s a good idea to discover what categories pique your visitors’ interests at your site. Yoast has an excellent analytics plugin for WordPress which, among other things, allows you to see page views per category. Once you have this information, you can better market that content by adding it to your dropdown menus like this:
Include smart internal links
You also want to review your analytics to figure out which search terms people use to arrive at your site and what they search for when on your site. (Note: This requires some setup to track. Some advice from And Break can help get you started). Once you know what these terms are, include relevant links in your posts. For instance, you can link to a related term that has appeared on your site such as Analytics, Visitor Behavior. Note that I have “sculpted” this search return (pulling groups of content into the WordPress search returns by adding a set of keywords separated by a comma) to dynamically pull a set of articles directly related to our topics (both on-site analytics and on-site visitor behavior), then I just copied the resulting link URL.
Reveal buried content
It’s a good idea to surface content that is timely and relevant as this could be different from what is on your “latest posts” widget. To find which posts to feature, review your analytics to understand what visitors want.
A great plugin for this (developed by my agency, WebFadds.com), is MaxRef Widget(s), which stands for maximum reference to content. You can place this in as many locations as your need, but I suggest including one in the footer area to re-engage visitors who have scrolled to the bottom of a page and are thinking about leaving.
Below, see just one way you can configure the widget to show feature-relevant content:
Ask for action
In the Brody Dorland post I referenced earlier, he asks us to think about ways to better convert a visitor to a prospect, lead or customer. One way to move them along the conversion path is to ask them to subscribe to your RSS feed. An excellent plugin, called WP Greet Box, offers editable call-to-action messages you can send to new visitors. I use this on my sites, including CMI.
Below is the stock message for RSS feed subscriptions, but you can ask for any desired action that matches your business outcome goals (TIP: Always test wording to see what will work best):
Attend to social signals
Currently, search engines are paying particular attention to “social signals”, meaning how many people like, tweet, and otherwise link to your content in social venues. There is a great plugin that fosters the “big five,” Twitter tweets, Facebook “likes”, Google+, LinkedIn comments, and StumbleUpon postings. Note that I included StumbleUpon because the plugin automatically adds it, and Mashable recently noted that StumbleUpon drives more than 50 percent of social media traffic over time (think link building).
Called TF Social Share, the plugin provides extra placement and styling options, including a floating box that stays in place at the side of posts when you scroll:
I made a recent video on Content Marketing plugins that explains more about some that are mentioned in this article:
I’m sure some of you will have other favorites, so I look forward to reading about WordPress plugins that help you with your content marketing tactics. Let me know in the comments.