You know you’re sitting on a gold mine, don’t you?
That freshly-installed WordPress site of yours is poised to be a source of income, prospects and possibilities for your business. It has the potential to be a powerhouse resource, but there are a few things you’ll need to get in order first.
This post shares the top 12 power sources you can plug into with your brand-new WordPress site.
It may seem like a lot to do, but they’re listed in order of importance. Work on the top of the list first. Once you’ve got those things set up, move on to the rest of it.
Before you know it, you’ll have a WordPress website that’s fully charged and ready to power your business.
1. Make a decision: homepage or blog page?
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is about how to structure your site.
When visitors type in your domain name, will they see a home page, or a blog page? With a WordPress site, either one is easy to create. The question is, what are the advantages of each?
Homepages with some general information about your site and an opt-in form are a great way to welcome new visitors.
But suppose you have a blog — won’t it get lost if it’s not on your home page?
Not necessarily. When you talk about your blog posts — either on social media, in an email or on another site — you’ll share a link that goes directly to them.
People can find your blog using your navigation menu, too.
On the other hand, if your blog is the star of the show, you may want it to be the first thing people engage with.
There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s a strategic decision that should be part of your overall site planning. And it’s easy enough to change later, so don’t over think it: just choose one and test it out.
2. Build connection with an email list
To build a genuine, ongoing connection with your readers, nothing beats email.
The email inbox is an intimate space, and a privileged place to inhabit. You’re there by invitation only, and because of that, you’re apt to get the attention you want.
Not sure what to include in your emails? There’s good information here on Copyblogger about creating emails people will look forward to and why you should treat your readers like dogs (really). Start with the ideas in these posts, and build from there.
3. Give us a reason to share our email address
That intimate, privileged inbox space is also pretty cluttered for most of us. We don’t want any more email than we already have, so you’ve got to give us a compelling reason to invite you into our inbox.
Unless your site is already well-known and an established authority, it’s not enough to promise “updates.” Give us something we can hold in our hands, listen to, watch, or look forward to.
- Create an ebook that solves a sticky problem, and give it away in exchange for an email address.
- Record a downloadable audio interview, conversation or presentation.
- Make a video or tutorial that shows us a technique you’ve learned.
- Create a short course you deliver by autoresponder, like Internet Marketing for Smart People.
Whatever you decide to create, make sure it’s so desirable that your visitors will be willing to share their email address to get their hands on it.
4. Track your progress
Knowledge is power, and to understand exactly how your site is performing, you need Google Analytics.
Once installed, you can look under the hood of your site and see which pages get the most traffic, where it comes from, and how people are traveling through your pages.
Armed with this information, you can respond by creating more of what’s obviously popular, and adding offers to pages that are visited frequently.
5. Put the power of SEO to work for you
Search engine optimization may seem like One More Thing on your to-do list. The easy fix? Install Scribe, Copyblogger Media’s SEO and content optimization software.
Scribe analyzes the copy on your site. It suggests easy tweaks you can make to bring in more traffic.
It helps your site rise to the top of the search engine results based on the merits of strong content, to get you past the reaches of Panda, Penguin, Platypus, Potato-Bug, or whatever new Google update comes our way next.
And, in the near future, Scribe is going to be doing even more, so stay tuned.
6. Create a brand experience
To make your site memorable, you’ll want to brand it with a combination of fonts, colors and images that are unique to your business.
Start by using a premium theme. Why not try one you can customize, like the Prose child theme?
Choose a color palette that you use consistently throughout your pages. Select fonts that represent your business. And spend some time and effort creating a unique website header to brand your site from the top down.
Use this visual branding style consistently over time so people recognize and remember your site.
7. Supercharge your site with one single plugin
WordPress.com now offers the Mother of All Plugins for your WordPress.org site installations: the Jetpack plugin.
The Jetpack plugin is like a Swiss Army Knife: it’s full of tools and gadgets that make quick work of lots of website-related tasks:
- Review your site traffic
- Allow users to subscribe to comments
- Share your posts and pages on social networks
- Insert a basic contact form on your site
- Check your spelling and grammar before you hit “Publish”
- Add images to your sidebar
- Create short links for your pages and posts
- Embed videos using short codes
Install this one single plugin, and get all these features. And it’s free!
8. Make spammers work for a living
If you have a blog, you’ll want to activate Akismet in your WordPress Dashboard.
Akismet helps to filter out spam comments on your blog, and will save countless hours you’d otherwise spend looking at comments that says things like, “Hey! This post contains the most astonishing information I’ve ever read!” and trying to decide if they’re written by a real person.
Activating Akismet only takes a few minutes to set up, and directions can be found on the Plugins dashboard in your WordPress site.
9. Thank first-time commenters
If you write a blog, you know those minutes, hours or days that go by with no comments on a post can be agonizing.
Commenting for the first time on a new blog can be nerve-wracking, too.
Thank commenters for taking the leap right after they leave their first comment on your blog. Create a page with your thank you message, then use a plugin likeComment Redirect by Yoast to send first-time commenters to that page.
They’ll be impressed, and will want to return and comment again.
10. Plan your posts
Your content will work best if you’re writing with a broad vision for where you want your business to be in six months, a year, and five years. To make sure you consistently touch on your most important themes, install the Editorial Calendarplugin.
This plugin allows you to plan posts and easily move them from one day to another. You can keep your writing on track easily, and make sure you’re touching on the most important themes consistently over time.
11. Bring commerce into the picture
Once your site is ready, you can bring e-commerce into the picture. You may want to sell an ebook, or offer consulting services. Or maybe you want to have a protected “members-only” section of your site.
In order to offer something for sale, you’ll need a sales page — a pared-down version of the page style on your site, with no navigation, sidebars or other distractions.
And in order to deliver your product or invite people to a private section of your site, you’ll need protected pages that you can offer access to only after a transaction has happened.
Luckily, the Premise plugin can do all this.
Once it’s installed on your site, you’ll be able to easily create sales pages, protect your content, and wall off parts of your site for paid members only.
12. Keep it safe and sound
All this hard work will go down the drain if you don’t have some kind of backup system in place. Daily database backups, and full backups every week are essential.
Your web host may provide backups, but it’s a good idea to keep your own, too. Look into backup plugins like the paid BackupBuddy plugin and free WordPress Backup to Dropbox plugin to ensure your information is safe.
Charge up your site for business
If this list overwhelms you, just take it from the top, and work your way down. Before you know it, you’ll have a fully-charged WordPress site that will power up your business.
How about you?