Category Archives: Web Marketing

What are the Most Lucrative Client Niches Perfect for WordPress?

There’s a reason most web development shops don’t proclaim to use every content management system out there. They benefit from ‘specialization’ by being a WordPress shop, or a Drupal shop or a Magento shop. Sometimes you’ll find places that do several – but they don’t do everything, and if they do everything they’re either huge or in a race to the bottom because you can’t be all things to all people.

Well, if you’re a WordPress designer and/or developer but don’t have a niche industry, perhaps you’re spreading yourself thin as well. What if I told you the big money was niche-ing even further and becoming a Realtor WordPress shop, a Pet company WordPress shop, or a Medical WordPress shop? Niching seems to be a hot topic amongst marketing experts, from the old adage “niche until it hurts, and then niche again,” and Nate Parker’s suggestion to “identify your niche and dominate it. And when I say dominate, I just mean work harder than anyone else could possibly work at it.”

How do you decide where to niche?

One way to start might simply to note what kinds of clients have you worked with that you appreciated working with the most. And I don’t just mean, they were fun to hang around or you might end up poor making websites for bands the rest of your life. I mean:

  • Who pays on time?
  • Who’s businesses to you feel like you can learn the most from?
  • Who’s making money hand over fist, and you just get to be helpful in the process?
  • Who energizes you to be around?
  • Who pushes you to be the best web designer or web developer you can be?

I’ve had great experience with some of the ideas above: realty, pet companies, medical companies, and beyond those therapists/psychologists, travel companies, B2B services, and blogs for fashion and lifestyle brands. A niche can help pre-qualify you for companies of that variety, but it doesn’t always mean it will exclude you from working with other types of companies. This is quite a wide variety so where to niche for the biggest bang?

But really where is the money at when it comes to creating WordPress websites?

One way to really look at what is making WordPress designers and developers money is look at what they are spending on certain keywords with a tool like Adwords, SEMRush or Ahrefs. For the moment we’ll zoom out to use the term web design and then apply that insight to what niches would likely be the most lucrative to go after for WordPress from there.

Pay attention to the volume of searches – which indicates how many people are searching for this and CPC or ‘cost per click’ to see how competitive the terms are in regards to advertising. What we’re looking for is keywords that are high intent, and that people are clearly chomping at the bit to spend ad money on – indicating that the niche is quite lucrative.

Two of the top terms related to Lawyer Web Design:

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Pet Company Web Design:

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Fashion Web Design:

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Psychologists / Therapists Web Design:

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B2B Web Design:

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Travel Web Design:

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At the end of this process, it’s also useful to look at the KD – or Keyword Difficulty in aHrefs’ to see how much competition would hinder your progress at going after these niches. Clearly Lawyers and Therapists are in demand as web design clients, and might be a good target for a WordPress niche, but the psychologist/therapist niche might be easier to get into if we’re looking at Keyword Difficulty.

This is just a sampling of some top niches, but you you can use the aHref’s Keyword Explorer to try some of your own ideas as well.

tim-brown-deskTim Brown is a designer, and marketer for Snap Agency – WordPress Minneapolis and creates websites that are built around business goals and that are built to attract traffic through SEO Marketing and increase conversions through Conversion Rate Optimization.

Landing Page

Landing Page Confusion

Landing PageMost people are clear on the definition of a landing page.   A landing page is just a page on your website where you are driving traffic to, typically from an ad campaign. The whole point of the page is to get new visitors to complete some specific action on the page, such as begin a free trial or even buy a product. The more you test and improve on the page, the more likely visitors to the page are to complete the desired action. So what is the confusion?

Many people don’t realize it, but there are two completely different strategies for using landing pages for a paid online ad campaign versus organic search. Now, please don’t confuse what I am saying here. Some shady SEO guys out there use the term landing page when they dynamically create thousands of pages to target a slew of different search terms. This is not what I am referring to at all. Let me explain…

Landing Pages for PPC (Pay Per Click) Campaigns

Let’s assume you are running a Google AdWords campaign and are sending the traffic you generate to your website. Assuming you are a good advertiser and not sending people to your homepage, you will create at least a few landing pages that are relevant to the ads that you display. Because these pages are relevant to the ads that visitors are clicking on, they are more likely to perform the desired action on the page.

Since you will be creating a lot of landing pages to match up with all the different ads you are running, it is important to block the search engines. The landing pages you create will be very similar to each other and have a lot of the same content. If you don’t block the search engines from these pages, you will have duplicate content issues and will dilute your SEO efforts. Many people don’t realize the importance of this… or just don’t use landing pages!

Landing Pages for Organic Search

When you optimize the content on your site for organic search, it is important that you don’t target more than a couple of keywords for any given page. If you want to create a landing page in this setting, you should really only create one landing page for a given call to action.  You should create different versions of the landing page and test to see what works best, but you don’t want to have more than one URL targeting similar pages. The reasoning here is that, because you are trying to rank this landing page for a particular keyword, any other page you create with similar content or targeting similar keywords will weaken your chances of ranking well.

Also, it is important to keep the user in mind and not go overboard with keywords on landing pages when you are after organic search.  If your page does not have a natural flow to it, users will leave and the point of the landing page will be defeated.

The key difference between a landing page for PPC versus organic search is that the organic landing page is not isolated from the rest of the site.  Typically, an organic landing page is well linked to across the site and can be readily found by any visitors.

So what about campaigns that are not PPC or Organic in nature?

Landing Pages for Offline Ad Campaigns, Social Media & E-mail

Now that you have a better understanding of the two ways that landing pages can be implemented, lets take a look at some other use cases.  Typically, with an offline ad campaign, it would be best to use a landing page that is optimized for organic search.  This way, users who don’t remember the exact URL presented in your ad, will be able to easily find the offer by using a search engine or just visiting the site’s root domain.  Most likely, you would want to run a social media campaign the same way.

E-mail campaigns, on the other hand, you may want to implement landing pages like you would with PPC.  Since a lot of marketers use automated e-mail campaigns, it would be beneficial to have several different landing pages for the same offer.  For example, if you send out an offer to new subscribers, they would be sent to a simple landing page.  If users haven’t bought and are presented with the same offer, you may want to send them to a landing page that offers more incentive that the original.  Since these pages are bound to be similar, you don’t want to have the search engines finding them.

Online Sales Leads

Online Sales Leads

Is your business struggling to generate online sales leads? It is common knowledge that generating sales leads online can be more effective than traditional methods, not to mention more cost-effective. Given the current economy, businesses are looking to the internet in order to cut marketing costs.  We are going to take a look at different methods of lead generation and how your company might use them.

Online Sales Leads

Lead Generating Traffic Sources

In order to maximize sales leads, you have to maximize the traffic coming in to your website and landing pages.  There are three ways to generate traffic online:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Optimizing your web pages so that your potential clients will find you when they search for your products or services.
  • Paid Advertising – Paying to have your ad appear in the sponsored listings in the search engines, or in a particular location on a selected website.
  • Social Media – Utilizing large web communities to generate interest and traffic for your products or services.
  • Affiliate Marketing – Partnering with like minded sites to offer each others products or services.

Depending on your business and what stage of development it is in, you will utilize these methods differently.  The key takeaway here is to utilize all three methods to some degree.  Don’t limit your ability to reach new clients by focusing all your efforts on one method.

Lead Capture Methods

Once you are generating some quality traffic, you will want to be sure that you don’t miss out on capturing as many leads as possible.  It is important to understand your target audience and their purchasing behavior.  Here are some ways you can keep in touch with potential clients at different levels:

  • Facebook Like Button – Including the ‘Like’ button on most pages of your site will allow visitors to ‘Like’ the content that they find helpful or amusing on your site.  When a visitor clicks on the ‘Like’ button, they automatically become a fan of your business and will receive updates that you send out through your Facebook page.  This is a great way to connect with people who are only on your site for a short time, or only visit a single page.
  • Opt-in List – Not everyone is going to buy on their first visit, but that doesn’t mean they won’t.  Give visitors the opportunity to receive quality content on a regular basis through e-mail.  You will offer some sort of upfront incentive for opting in and will occasionally offer your products or services in your e-mails.
  • Landing Page – Similar to the opt-in list, a landing page is specifically designed to promote a particular product or service.  When a visitor fills out their information, they have the opportunity to opt-in to your list, but may also be requesting a quote or some other type of follow up.
  • Registration – Having a site where users register to have access to a free service or a niche community is a great way to get visitors involved and to be able to make some quality connections.
  • Contact Information – Some businesses forget about this one altogether and don’t include their contact information in an easy-to-find location on the website.  If someone wants to use a more traditional means of contacting you, don’t limit them!

It is important to avoid surprises when a visitor comes to your site through any given medium.  If a visitor doesn’t think your content is relevant to what they are looking for, they will leave quickly and your conversion rate will suffer.

Lead Generation Examples

Here are a couple of scenarios that will help you better understand how to utilize these advertising mediums to generate leads online:

Brand New Local Restaurant – Knowing that it can take a minimum of six months to generate adequate organic search traffic and that SEO is more cost effective than paid advertising in the long haul, you hire an SEO expert right away.   You claim your local business listings with the major search engines so that local searchers can find you easier.  In the meantime, you utilize Google AdWords to not only generate immediate traffic, but also to test out your organic SEO keywords in the process.  As your business generates more and more organic search traffic, you rely on paid advertising less and less.  However, you don’t eliminate it altogether because you have realized that running PPC campaigns alongside your SEO campaigns creates some great synergy.  Your primary landing page encourages visitors to sign up for your e-mail list so they can receive special promotions and a free birthday meal.  Thanks to technology, you have automated your entire annual e-mail campaign and are able to discover what social networks your members are in and can connect with them on their favorite networks.  In order to promote your business to people who happen to be nearby, you utilize FourSquare.  You also become active on Yelp, encouraging those that have been to your restaurant to rate their experience.

Independent Consultant – As a consultant, you show off your knowledge through a blog, which is part of the main website.  This blog is great for generating organic search traffic, because you carefully optimize each post and post often.  Because your are a smart consultant, you are already using PPC, but are not over-reliant on this method.  You have also paid to have some banner and video ads on some of the top sites related to your industry.  LinkedIn is a great social media tool for you because it is a professional network that facilitates some great business to business connections.  As an added bonus, you frequently answers questions related to the industry on LinkedIn and other related forums, and you run a couple of Meetup groups for people interested in your specialty.  Affiliate marketing can come into play here as you team up with other consultants that have complimentary skill sets to your own.  You don’t actually sell any products online, so your landing pages focus around proprietary research and tools that you have created.  Once visitors opt-in for your email list, they are automatically sent a weekly e-mail containing your latest blog posts.  You also highlight a particular service each month and offer your e-mail list members a special discount.  All of your lead capture forms automatically feed the captured information into Sugar, your customer relationship management (CRM) tool.

Online Digital Camera Store – Let’s assume this business targets professional photographers who are looking for high-end digital equipment.  Your efforts are focused around SEO and PPC keywords related to your most profitable brands and products, because you understand that people searching for specific products are usually considering buying it.  The website itself is more than just an e-commerce store, but a social network within itself.  Because your business values repeat customers, you have forums where users can discuss the latest trends in photography.  Every month, you hold a contest where the best submitted photo wins the latest high-tech gear.  Most of your customers are quite satisfied not only to have found quality equipment, but also a great community.  Your community extends beyond just your site, in the form of a Facebook Page, a YouTube channel sporting some very helpful videos and a Flickr account that grabs the attention of anyone who sees it.  Your site also promotes the re-chargeable batteries of another site, which in turn promotes your high-end cameras.  Since your best sales come from active members of your community, your landing pages focus on having new visitors join the community.

MailChimp Setup

Automating your E-mail Newsletter with MailChimp

As you may already know, WordPress and other content management systems automatically generate an RSS feed with the content you create. MailChimp is an online e-mail distribution software that can take an RSS feed and use it to fuel an e-mail newsletter. Find out how… Continue reading Automating your E-mail Newsletter with MailChimp

WordPress and BuddyPress – SEO meets Social Media

Third party social media tools are great for bringing in new visitors and keeping your brand in front of loyal followers.  What if you could create your own social media sphere where your visitors can connect with each other?  Do you think you would have more people stick around? Continue reading WordPress and BuddyPress – SEO meets Social Media

Serving Ads – The Smart Way

A lot of businesses look at serving ads on their website in order to monetize it.  Having a good system in place for managing ads is very important, especially as your site and the number of ads grow.

As a big fan of open source software, I recommend that you check out the OpenX ad server.  Here are some of the features:

  • Easily manage your ads – OpenX makes it easy for you to create, edit and delete several different ad types.  In fact, you can set up your advertisers as users and allow them to manage their own ads!
  • You control delivery – You determine who sees what ads.  Limit delivery based on location, date or time and even custom variables.
  • Measure performance of ads – You can easily provide reports to your advertisers regarding the performance of their ads.

I have set up OpenX for several sites and have found it easy to work with.  If you have any questions about it, please ask!

You Don’t Need A Website… Your Customers Do!

Occasionally I will talk with a small business owner who runs a very successful business and tells me ‘I don’t need a website, I am busy enough as it is’.  It is that kind of logic that will keep business owners, well… busy!

Websites can be a great way of generating new business, but if you aren’t looking for new business, here are a few things to consider:

  • How often do you answer the same questions?
    If you don’t have a website, this means that clients have to call or e-mail you to find out basic information like directions and pricing.  You could save yourself a lot of unnecessary distractions just by having information available online.  Besides, your website can answer those questions 24/7.

  • Has anyone ever asked what your web address is?
    If this has happened, it is a flashing neon sign that your customers need you to have a website.  They are trying to tell you that they prefer to interact with your company through the web.  Any good business owner knows that you need to communicate with customers in their preferred method.

It is possible to have a good web presence without a website, but if your answers to the above questions are ‘A lot’ and ‘Yes’ you will probably want to look into setting up a website… for your customers.

Local Business Search Marketing

All too often, I talk to small businesses that are trying to target their local market and want to do search engine optimization.  They try to target high volume search terms such as ‘lawn care’ or ‘electricians’.  If you are trying to reach your local area through online marketing, there are some simple things that you can do to greatly improve your results… Continue reading Local Business Search Marketing

Kaizen

Happy New Year!

It is that time of year when everyone is drafting their New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions are great because they keep people thinking about how they can improve.  However, they tend to die out by the end of January.  Why?  Because they are just resolutions.

I propose that we turn our resolutions into actionable plans:

  1. Write down your resolutions (or goals) – People who write down their goals and post them in a place where they are constantly reminded about them are most likely to achieve them.
  2. Measure your progress – The sheer act of measuring your progress towards a goal causes you to work harder to achieve it.  Deciding what to measure and what is considered progress also helps you to create better defined goals.
  3. Tell your friends – If you are really serious about accomplishing your goal, you won’t have any problems telling your friends.  After all, they are going to wonder what happened if you just give up.
  4. Take daily action – Break your goal down into smaller steps… we have all heard this one.  But more importantly, always write down the next actionable step that can be done.  Don’t get bogged down in waiting for other people or the right conditions.  Always write down and take one action step every day, no matter how small.

Taking these steps will solidify your intentions, create accountability and ensure constant progress and improvement.

The title of this post is ‘Kaizen’, which is a Japanese word meaning ‘continuous improvement’. This is perhaps my favorite word of all because I am always looking for more efficient ways to get things done, in business as well as my personal life.

In order to hold myself to my own advice, I want to reveal one of my goals for the new year:

To help improve the mobile web by helping the average business better understand how to target mobile users and by helping web developers become more aware of how to make mobile friendly websites.

The start of this initiative can be found at mobilepress.co.  I don’t see my efforts causing a wave of awareness throughout the web, so I intend to measure my success based on the quality of the community I am able to create.  If you are interested in becoming a part of this, please do!

I would love to hear about your New Year’s action plan in the comments below…