Maslow’s Hierarchy for Your WordPress Website
Maslow’s Hierarchy is a theory of human need often expressed as a pyramid. Starting at the bottom, the most fundamental human needs (food, water, shelter) are in the larger section. Towards the top of the pyramid, it moves up towards growth and self-actualization (love, esteem, and being your best.)
The chart has served as a handy reference for educators and psychologists for years. It’s a simple reminder that there is a general order of importance to human needs and some are foundational to the enabling of others. A person who is hungry and feeling alone, for example, is less prepared to think about higher-level concepts like self-confidence and freedom. While the hierarchy remains a dominant theory, Maslow himself described the levels as more “interrelated” than completely separate.
Maslow’s Hierarchy & Your WordPress Website
To manage your digital property today, a similar approach is needed. Your foundational needs must come before higher-level function. At Valet, we take this approach with all clients. Finely-tuning our process and creating measurable improvements month-to-month, we care for your WordPress website needs from the foundation up. Here’s what that looks like:
Valet WordPress Website Support—Helping You Prioritize
Valet follows a similar and important pattern of priority. If your site is painfully slow and insecure, it’s likely a waste of resources to focus on A/B Testing or heat mapping your visitor experience. Likewise you wouldn’t want to kick off a campaign that sends volumes of traffic to a site, only to have your site fail because it’s unable to scale for that growth (thus losing the value of that new audience).
Critical to achieving the most success is considering all needs of the site and making sure they are handled together. This holistic approach to web support and development takes into consideration every facet and allows you to define the key criteria for success at each level. Because each level has importance and can be measured, a budget or target value can be set for each. This provides confidence that you’re in good shape without hyper-focusing on any particular level to the detriment of another. Our Valet Dashboard gives you a succinct view of your main metrics. Let’s briefly look at each level here.
Speed & Security: Foundational for Your Web Support
At the base of the pyramid is speed and security. Both the hardware and software running your site should be tried, tested, rock-solid resources on which you can rely. If the site is unstable, takes 15 seconds to load, or puts your visitors in danger by being insecure—go ahead and shut it down. It’s already ‘game over’ for this site.
Quick actions: Our go-to sources here are Google’s PageSpeed Insights and SpeedIndex values. We’re huge fans of open-source software and WordPress is a great example of a software platform that’s been well-tested. For security wpscan.org is THE authority as well as paid services like sucuri. Many managed WordPress hosts will also provide this for you by default. It’s a great way to ensure the foundation of your site is in good shape.
Accessibility: More Than Just Uptime
The second basic requirement of any site is to be accessible. Remember when I mentioned these levels are interrelated? If you’re site is down (due to insecurity or instability), it’s literally not accessible to anyone. However, accessibility covers much more than the site being available or not, and we believe its rightful place is here at the start—worthy of time and attention ahead of strategies for Traffic and Conversions.
The rationale here is that the site needs to be usable by its intended audience. Is it responsive? Are schema tags in place providing structured data? A lousy user experience will lead to poor results.
Quick Fixes: There are several ways to make sure your content is accessible across devices. Check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly test first. Then really dig into accessibility with the WAVE test at wave.webaim.org, and then go all-in with user testing via services like usertesting.com.
Traffic: Bring in the Crowds
A lot of folks would prefer to start here. This is where most marketing efforts begin. It’s absolutely true that the most beautiful site on the internet is wasted if no one is aware it exists. However, Speed, Security, and Accessibility should be addressed first.
As with accessibility the first step towards creating valuable traffic is to identify your audience. You want to draw the right folks to your site? Any solid strategy begins with this step. Then, traffic is all about increasing the size of the audience that visits your website. This is often done across several different ‘channels’ and a consistent targeted approach should be used for each.
Quick Fixes: Perhaps the easiest to quantify is on-page SEO. There are several tools available for testing and monitoring your keyword phrases and how well you are ranking in search engines. Tools like ScreamingFrog and Moz help by creating some cornerstone metrics for you.
Conversion: Turn Visitors into Customers
Having a great conversion rate is foundational to having a good sales volume. So yes, increasing conversions is critical to your website. However, conversions are properly addressed in the correct order—after speed, security, accessibility and even traffic. Why? Because put simply—you can’t convert an audience you don’t have.
When your site is secure and accessible, and your traffic is coming in, you’re in an ideal position to focus on your conversions. Sometimes just a small tweak can lead to significant improvements in your conversion rates, which can bring a dramatic increase in sales. These small tweaks are tough to find and identify when you’re dealing with a lot of other foundational issues (like speed).
It’s absolutely fascinating to see what users are actually doing on your website pages, so look into click tracking to get a real view of where your audiences are heading as they browse your site. Also, take the time to set up analytics and learn how to effectively use A/B testing.
Quick Fixes: A/B testing is golden for identifying conversion tweaks. Try testing button size, page layout, header, and media on your page. Also, A/B test variants of your site layout that remove distractions. Test call to actions and sign-up forms. For A/B testing tools, we enjoy Optimizely and Google Content Experiments is free with Google Analytics. Also, heat mapping is great, and we enjoy using Hot Jar on our clients. CrazyEgg offers fun user click tracking. KissMetrics is great for keeping an eye on your entire conversion funnel start to finish.
Ongoing WordPress Website Support—Putting First Things First
The Valet team provides ongoing website care with a holistic approach. Growth and stability come from considering all aspects of your WordPress website, and prioritizing your needs effectively.
If you need a helping hand to keep your site healthy (or implement some of the tools mentioned above), we’re here for you. Say hi to our team anytime.