The beauty of WordPress is that the platform is so easy to use, and just about anyone can build a website with it. However, there is a huge difference between building just any website and building a successful website. While a lot of people can do the former, very few can accomplish the latter.
A successful website is one that achieves all the goals for which it was created. This means generating traffic, conversions, building awareness, selling products and services, making a profit, and lots more.
Therefore, the more important question is, how can someone grow a simple website into a successful one? The answer lies in growth hacking.
Growth hacking is the secret behind the success of a lot of startups and well known online businesses. Growth hacking is a term that was first used by Sean Ellis way back in 2010, and is the key ingredient that helped DropBox grow, despite the popularity of rival Google Drive. Twitter and Airbnb are just two of the many other brands that used efficient growth hacking techniques to transform their businesses.
In this post, I will cover a few of the techniques that have been effective in growth hacking WordPress website, and some plugins that you can use to take your WordPress site to new heights.
But, first –
What Exactly is Growth Hacking?
As the name suggests, growth hacking involves a marketing approach that makes use of innovative techniques to achieve sustainable growth, mostly for anything web-related.
As pointed out earlier, growth hacking as a term was coined by Sean Ellis, and is measured by the potential impact it has on sustainable and scalable growth for businesses, startups, or web projects. Growth hacking has just one unit of measurement: success. It is only concerned with how to close the divide in terms of number of users, size of revenue, or whatever your measurement for success is.
On a more basic level, growth hacking describes the combination of methods, strategies, decisions, and tools that are used to arrive at scalable and continuous growth.
Experts at Umbrellar Azure Stack have said that the interesting thing about growth hacking is that it doesn’t place any restrictions on the methods followed to achieving scalable growth. All it is concerned with is that the numbers are moving in the right direction. This is a completely different concept from the more common and more traditional form of marketing.
Another interesting feature about growth hacking is that there is no real difference between the product to be marketed and the marketing itself. In fact, the product is basically the first step in marketing, as without having a tangible product or service that people need, the concept of growth hacking fails. At the end of the day, it is completely about getting the products into the hands of the people who need them. This is why growth hackers work hard at making the product itself a part of the marketing system. This way, the products are actually marketing themselves, and are part of the distribution machine.
Applying Growth Hacking to Websites
Now that we have an idea of what growth hacking is; the next question is, how does it help in building successful websites?
If you have been following closely, you will realise that growth hacking boils down to the following core principles:
- Focus on data
- Product driven
Let’s take a look at each of them.
Focus on data— Keeping an eye on your data, to know what works, is important as it helps you make informed decisions and to enjoy repeat success. Otherwise, you will not be able to tell whether you are growing or not.
Experimentation — Growth hacking is about trying out new methods and strategies, thinking outside the box, and basically pushing the envelope. In order to attain maximum growth, you need to keep looking for creative ways to do so, and always test your website till you discover what works best.
Product driven — As mentioned earlier, the product is essentially a part of the marketing system, so you will have to focus on creating a product (i.e. website) that can deliver value into the hands of those who need it. It is only when your product is valuable that it is worth advertising or marketing.
Communication — In growth hacking, you can’t limit yourself to just one form of communication. You will need to leverage every kind of communication channel you can, in order to achieve your growth goal. It is all about taking what is available and looking for what works best.
To make these principles work with websites, we will have to use a number of tools that website owners, bloggers, and designers are already familiar with. This includes: content management systems, SEO, social media, content marketing, email marketing, A/B testing, the periodic table of plugins and so on. As you can imagine, some of these are tools that we use in our day to day life as bloggers and website owners. This is what makes WordPress the perfect tool for growth hacking.
Why WordPress is the Perfect Growth Hacking Tool
When you take a look at the above, you will agree that WordPress and growth hacking is a match made in internet heaven. First of all, WordPress is a great platform that affords users a lot of flexibility and control. In fact, one of the selling points of WordPress is that it allows anyone to create just about any kind of website, from simple blogs to corporate websites, and even more complex ecommerce stores.
This very popular CMS platform currently powers more than 19 million websites, and accounts for more than 14% of the top 100 websites on the internet. As if the user friendliness of its platform is not enough, WordPress also provides opportunities for experimenting and hacking.
You can run a series of marketing campaigns, test your heart’s content, and modify virtually every part of the WordPress website in order to improve user experience, increase conversion, and gain more results. WordPress is also totally SEO friendly, as it comes with a lot of SEO-centric features right out of the box. Don’t forget mobile advantage. WordPress makes it very easy to optimise for mobile devices. This is vital if you want to compete favourably in today’s market, as the use of mobile devices for searching and accessing intent content has far surpassed desktop devices. As long as you have the right theme, you can fully enjoy the advantages of mobile traffic.
Finally, there are the thousands of WordPress plugins that let you extend the functionality of your website, so that you can provide your users with the features and tools they need.
Moving forward, we will be looking at some of the essential tools and plugins you will need to start hacking your WordPress website for scalable and sustainable growth.
As we have already discovered, growth hacking involves tweaking, experimenting, and optimising. Making even the smallest change on your website can bring about huge results. For instance, simply changing the colour and text on a Call to Action button can bring about an increase in the conversion rate by as much as 72%. With that in mind, it is important you have the right tools to run A/B testing on your website. Fortunately, WordPress has plenty of them.
There are premium solutions such as Visual Website Optimizer and Optimizely; however, there are also free or cheaper versions:
- Nelio AB Testing — this is one of the most common split testing plugins for WordPress websites. It also allows for cloud based testing and provides easy to understand heat maps. It is also compatible with shopping cart plugin WooCommerce.
- Title Experiments Free — this is a free WordPress plugin you can use to test out different titles for your blog posts and pages. It works by allowing you to input various titles, test them randomly, and choose the one that comes out on top.
- WordPress Calls to Action — this plugin tests out different Call to Action buttons, looking for the best that can increase your conversions, signups and sales. It also works for testing popups.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation is another very important process in growth hacking for websites. And, as I pointed out earlier, WordPress comes pretty much already set up in terms of SEO right out of the box, but that doesn’t mean there is no room for improvements. Luckily, WordPress is not lacking in this department either.
- Yoast SEO – This is the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress, and with good reason too. Yoast SEO allows you to customise every aspect of SEO on your WordPress website, page by page or all together. It also provides the means for creating optimised content. As a growth hacker, this is one plugin that should not be missing from your WordPress website.
- Other optimisation plugin – There are also other plugins that can do wonders for your efforts, some of these plugins include W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache and Autoptimize. However, if you prefer a more hands-on method of optimising your WordPress website for SEO, you may want to consider using reliable hosting services.
From what you have seen so far, you will realise that growth hacking relies a lot on data. The success or failure of your growth efforts depends a lot on being able to identify and connect with user intent and behaviour. This is where analytics come in. The following plugins and tools will help you gather valuable insights about your visitors.
- Google analytics – Google analytics is the most popular analytics tool on the internet. If used properly, you can get valuable insights about your visitors, their changing needs, demography, and a whole lot of other useful information that can be used to provide a better product. The Monster Insights version makes it a breeze to setup Google analytics on your WordPress website, so that you can easily see all the important data right on your dashboard.
- Jetpack analytics – Though not exactly as detailed as Google analytics, it provides a great way of keeping track of the general direction of your website. Don’t forget that Jetpack also has a collection of bundled plugins that may come in handy for your website.
- Hotspot Analytics – This provides heat maps that help you understand how visitors interact with your website, such as where they spend the most time, and what they are interested in. The information gathered with this plugin can help you make informed decisions for your website.
If you have been following recent trends on the internet, you will agree that social media is now a very powerful tool that businesses, both big and small, use in engaging customers and increasing brand awareness. This makes it another powerful tool in the arsenal of a growth hacker. As long as you plan on creating awareness for your brand and driving traffic, social media must be an integral part of your growth hacking strategy. The following WordPress plugins make social media easy for growth hacking.
- Jetpack sharing – The Jetpack plugin comes bundled with a lot of modules that can help with your website. One of them is Jetpack sharing. This makes it easy to customise, publish and share social sharing buttons on your website. It is these buttons that users will interact with to tell others about the content on your site.
- Monarch – Monarch provides a customisable social sharing plugin with over 20 social networks sites to choose and display. You can choose how you want the buttons to display, such as floating, sidebar, or popup. It also allows you to show your social media following.
User engagement is the lifeblood of any website. If your website does not live up to the expectations of your visitors, you will experience a high bounce rate, and a decrease in everything else. Growing a site revolves around your ability to keep visitors coming, and the following tools and plugins can help with that.
- Postmatic – One of the best ways to keep your visitors is to make sure that you are always able to answer their questions and reply to their comments. This is what Postmatic does. Rather than logging in all the time to your WordPress dashboard, Postmatic sends these comments straight to your inbox, from where you can type your replies which then appears on your website. This way, you are always on top of any discussions.
- Contact Form 7 – Easily the most popular contact form out there, Contact Form 7 makes it easy to create any kind of form for your WordPress website, essentially enabling visitors keep in touch with you. And guess what? It’s free!
The concept of growth hacking is an established principle for start-ups and online businesses that want to move forward. The plugins covered here are just a few that make growth hacking for WordPress websites possible. There are a lot more to discover. As a growth hacker in the making, your job is to find and test as many as you can lay your hands on.