By Scott Frangos published September 28, 2011

5 Handy WordPress Tips for Content Marketing

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:

Categories in drop-down menus

Above (click to enlarge), popular categories were first called into position using the WP 3.x drag and drop menu admin, and then they appear in your top navigation.

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:

reveal buried content

Above (click to enlarge), we have configured this MaxRef widget to display only certain child pages to market specific 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):

WP GreetBox Plugin

Above (click to enlarge) the versatile WP Greetbox plugin allows you to customize calls to action after recognizing visitors who are entering your site from any one of a number of social venues.

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:

Social Sharing Plugin

Above (click to enlarge) you can see the excellent options featured in this plugin to help you market your content in social venues

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.

Author: Scott Frangos

Scott Frangos (see G+), is a career MarCom professional focused on Content Marketing, Social Media, and WordPress Web Development. He loves introducing strategies and tactics to boost ROI at your websites. He also loves pizza, coffee, and Tai Chi — not necessarily in that order. Scott serves as Developer and Optimizer for CMI, and works on a variety of related projects as Founder, Chief Optimizer and Strategist at WebDirexion.com. He recently taught a class on Content Marketing with WordPress for the Langley Center for New Media, and in May of 2012, speaks on Content Marketing with G+ and WordPress Combo, at WebVisions PDX. Scott is the lead imagineer behind the popular Max-Ref Content Marketing Widgets plugin for WordPress. Link up with Scott at ScottLinkedIn.com.

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  • Deb Ward

    Thanks for sharing.  These look like handy addiitons…

  • http://www.modeltrainhobbyist.com/ Lionel Bachmann

    Great tips. I find smart internal links to be a great way of also keeping your older posts indexed in the search engines. It is not something recommended if the link isn’t relevant to the topic. The thing one should always be concerned about is if the link is improving user experience. 

    • http://www.webfadds.com Scott Frangos

      Excellent point, Lionel about keeping older posts indexed — “internal linking” is a strong factor in SEO efforts, as you wrote, but I see a lot of Content Marketers missing opportunities.  I think you are also correct about a concern for User Experience — care to share any specific tips on how we’d gauge that?  I like to look at custom Analytics reports designed to help understand engagement factors and how each post leads visitors toward defined business out come goals, like joining CMI as a pro member, for example, or filling out a lead form, etc.

  • Simon Geraghty

    Good tips to use, with TF Social Share does it only have an option to float alonmgside the content, or can it be set to sit at the top and tail of an article? Thanks, Simon

    • http://www.webfadds.com Scott Frangos

      Hi Simon — yes, you can set it to appear at the top of posts, as we are doing here at CMI.  Look for a pop-down to set that.

  • John Ruzicka

    Nice summary.  I like TF social share – mainly because it includes an option to share on LinkedIn, a feature not included on most other social sharing plugins.