So you've got a great product or service, and you're using WordPress to power your product or service business website.
WordPress Isn't Enough
Utilizing WordPress to power your business website is a great first step. After all, it's the one we recommend daily and use ourselves but there's a lot more to reaching your online business goals than simply using the world's most popular publishing platform.
It's all to easy to give in to the urge of trying and testing all the cool features that come with these products, but before you go adding dozens of cool little features to your business website, it's important to ask yourself one question:
Is this helping me to achieve my business goals?
The Seven "Ps" of Life (and Business Success)
When I was in college my friend's Dad gave him a plaque to hang in his room for a little inspiration...
Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance
That phrase can be applied to many things in life but it's something I always suggest to be used as a mantra for anyone running (or starting) their own business.
I've built dozens of my own online businesses. Some successful, and some not gaining any traction at all.
Of course, there are many reasons why businesses fail or succeed, but the one constant is that planning is key.
Define Your Business Goals
Knowing what you want to achieve with your business seems pretty simple right? Sales of your product or services. Duh.
But that's not enough.
Simply focusing on driving sales is much too broad of a goal. There are many little pieces to the business success puzzle and it's vitally important that you break down this overall goal into smaller, more digestible (more attainable) tasks.
I'll expand further on these specific tasks in future posts, but I like to make sure I start with the technical infrastructure items first.
As I said above, WordPress is awesome and affords you the opportunity to add some very effective features and tools to your site via the wide variety of plugins available.
However, not all plugins are made equally. Or better said, not all plugins are coded equally and according to WordPress coding standards for security, efficiency and speed.
There are many developer tools available to help you determine whether or not any plugins or custom code on your site are causing long page load times or even errors on your site and we'll be discussing more of those tools in depth in upcoming articles.
Bottom line: you want to ensure that your site is running clean and error-free code.
As with plugins, there are tens of thousands of WordPress themes available to help you with your website design needs. You can also opt to get a theme custom designed for your specific needs.
Themes also need to have clean and efficient code, but even more important is that the design you choose (or have made) must be in the best interest of your business goals.
Displaying your products and unique selling proposition to your potential customers in a way that is not only visually appealing, but useful in guiding them to the action you want them to take is second only to actually having a website in the first place.
A design that doesn't focus on a defined path of actions is a design that is failing your business goal.
Search Engine Optimization
And now the big SEO subject. Don't stop reading!
There is a technical baseline SEO structure that needs to be in place before you do any actual writing of content, but it's not difficult to achieve.
If you've chosen a well-coded theme and if you're using either of the WordPress SEO or the All in One SEO plugins, you're halfway there.
Understanding the basic SEO structure that should be in place by the proper use of categories, tags, headings, titles, and meta descriptions on each page (or post) on your WordPress site is another piece of your website structure that will give you a solid base when creating content and defining those customer action paths.
This all comes back to the "Proper Prior Planning" part of the Seven "Ps" above.
Ensuring you have the proper structural plan in place first will allow you to naturally expand into content marketing and conversion planning.
How to Measure your Success
There are many ways you can measure the success of your business. In it's simplest form, success can be measured by looking strictly at your revenue and how that is growing (hopefully) from week to week and month to month.
But even before you focus on your financials, there are a multitude of ways to measure success and it all depends on the goals you've set for your business.
Perhaps your focus is on ranking high for a specific focus keyword, or your overall traffic numbers, or better yet, the conversion rate of some specific landing pages on your site for collecting customer leads.
Whatever your measure of success is on any given day, making sure you have the three website structure baselines above in place is the perfect place to start with reaching your WordPress-powered business goals.
But Wait, There's More
You should know that this post was inspired by the experiences we're having with some of our customers right now.
The WP Valet specializes in WordPress maintenance, hosting migrations, and custom development services, but it's also become clear that our customers want more than just peace of mind with their sites on a monthly basis.
They want guidance and advice on growing their businesses online and ensuring they have a solid framework for expanding their content, optimization and other marketing efforts.
And because our team members come with expert experience in the many different facets of building, optimizing, designing, and marketing businesses and brands online, we'll be announcing some additional service offerings in the coming weeks.
Our goal is to help you not only maintain your WordPress-powered business, but also to continue to grow and succeed by partnering and leveraging our various skill sets.
More on this in the coming weeks...
Photo by kiszka king