Growth hacking is very prevalent in the world of startups, especially for companies in their early stages. In fact, for a while growth hacking was a buzzword like “content is king” in blogging. The term describes an approach to find ways to rapidly and efficiently grow a business. Since its main focus is building a user base the same principles can also be used to grow websites.
Fortunately, WordPress and growth hacking go together like peanut butter and jelly. For that reason, in this article, we want to dive deeply into this topic. Below we will talk about what growth hacking is, how it’s different and how you can use it to grow your WordPress website.
Are you ready? Then let’s get going.
How Does Growth Hacking Differ From Conventional Marketing?
As mentioned, growth hacking comes from the startup scene. In the past, it has been responsible for the success of well-known companies like Dropbox, Twitter, and Airbnb. Here’s what it means in detail.
Growth as The “True North”
While conventional marketing can have less tangible objectives like spreading brand awareness, growth hacking only cares about one thing: growth.
As long as success metrics are moving in the right direction, it’s doing its job. All efforts are focused on that one goal and there is no limit to the means to achieve it. Whatever works is acceptable. However, this will mean different things in each case which is why growth hacking strategies differ from company to company.
Product Essential Part of Marketing
In growth hacking, the line between product and marketing is often blurred or non-existent. Instead, the product becomes part of its own marketing. For example, Hotmail used to add a PS I love you email signature to every email with a link back to their site to spread the word.
However, in order to make the product market itself, you first need something worthwhile to sell. Without, no amount of growth hacking will help get it off the ground.
Uses Wide Range of Tools and Techniques
Since growth is the only goal and the means to achieve it secondary, growth hackers use a wide range of skills and tools.
Growth hacking is often equal parts data analysis, product development, and marketing. For that reason, growth hackers are both creative and analytical. A/B tests and paid advertisement are as much part of their arsenal as landing page copy.
This tendency to use any tools necessary is also where the “hacking” part comes from. Especially in startups, ingenuity and innovation must often make up for budget. A large part of growth hacking is therefore trying to achieve growth in low-cost ways.
How to Do Growth Hacking in WordPress
Growth hacking principles are easily transferable to websites and WordPress represents the perfect tool to do so. It’s not only flexible and free to use but also offers loads of tools and access to communication channels. Here’s how to put growth hacking into action for your site.
Split Test Everything
As we already learned, growth hacking is all about experimenting, tweaking, and optimizing. On the web, small changes can have a huge impact. For example, just changing the color and CTA on a button can increase the conversion rate by 72%.
Since that is the case, it’s important to have the right tools to run A/B tests on your site. There are premium solutions like Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer, however, WordPress also offers much cheaper (i.e. free) alternatives:
- Nelio AB Testing — Nelio is one of the most well-known split testing plugins. It allows you to run A/B tests on anything on your site and even online shops built with WooCommerce.
- Simple Page Tester — An A/B split testing tool for landing pages that requires no coding.
- WordPress Calls to Action — Test different calls to action in order to increase conversions, newsletter signups and more. It also works with popups.
- Title Experiments Free — A simple way to test blog post titles. Input your alternatives, serve them to visitors at random and pick the winner.
In order to know how to improve your site, you need one thing: feedback. You will never know whether or not something is working if you don’t hear back from your visitors in one form or another.
One of the best ways to see how your audience feels about your site is to regularly check your analytics. Here, you can learn about their favorite content, what else they like on your site and much more.
We have a detailed tutorial for Google Analytics to get you started and there are also some plugins that are helpful:
- Google Analytics by MonsterInsights — Allows you to set up Google Analytics on your site in just a few seconds. Even includes a dashboard with the most important data for quick access inside WordPress.
- Hotspots Analytics — Heatmaps for WordPress. Learn exactly how users interact with your site. Alternative: SumoMe Heatmaps
- Reactions — Allow visitors to express their feelings about your content by clicking on smiley faces. If it works for Facebook and Buzzfeed, why not for you?
However, that’s not the only way to get feedback. It’s also important to keep an eye on your comments and consider offering a contact form. That way, visitors can talk to you directly, which more people take advantage of than you think.
SEO the Hell Out of Your Site
SEO is par for the course when it comes to growth hacking. Search engines remain one of the main sources of traffic for most websites. Since the competition is steadily growing, you really need to nail this part in order to secure high search rankings.
My definitely recommended tool here is Yoast SEO. I run it on literally every site that I own or take care of. It’s a full-fledged SEO solution that includes a detailed content analysis tool. Check our detailed tutorial and how it compares with All-in-One SEO Pack.
However, other things also matter to search engines. To really knock it out of the park, make sure your site is responsive and mobile friendly, invest in optimizing site speed and consider using AMP to your site.
Engage in Content Marketing
Investing in content marketing is an excellent growth hacking strategy. Many brands and websites out there have built an audience and user base by producing unique, helpful content for them.
One of the best examples is the blog of the social scheduling tool Buffer. They regularly publish detailed blog posts that help their users get the most out of social media. They are also completely open about what’s going on in their company, things they try and fail at. Not only do readers feel like they get to know them but also get lots of value.
For that reason, learning about content marketing is your first task. However, WordPress also offers a number of plugins to make this growth hacking strategy more effective.
- Editorial Calendar — Manage your publishing schedule by dragging and dropping blog posts on a calendar. Alternative: CoSchedule
- Related posts by Jetpack — One of the best plugins out there for showing related posts. Easy on the database since everything happens over at the WordPress.com servers. A similar, speed-optimized solution is Yuzo Related Posts.
- WordPress Popular Posts — Showing the most popular posts on your site is a great way to keep people engaged. The plugin is highly customizable.
- Revive Old Posts — Give older content a regular go-around on social media with this plugin. Keeps your evergreen content in rotation and bringing in visitors.
Build an Email List
Email marketing is essential for growth hacking. Subscribers are among the most loyal visitors. Since they have already shelled out their email address they are likely to come back for more and spread your content wide and far. For that reason, not building an email list is not an option.
- OptinMonster — One of my favorite tools of all time that makes adding forms of all types and shapes to WordPress super easy. While it’s a premium product, the plugin is worth the price.
- SumoMe — Another collection of tools for list building. Add sign-up forms as fly-ins, full-screen calls to action, triggered popups and more. Also comes with other tools and is free for the basic version. Read our detailed article for more information.
- MailChimp for WordPress — MailChimp is the favorite email marketing services of many, not least because it’s free up to 2,000 subscribers. This plugin lets you easily connect MailChimp to WordPress. We also have a detailed tutorial and a beginner’s guide to MailChimp.
Optimize Your Site for Social Media
When you submit your content to social media sites, it has the chance to go viral. These platforms have millions of users and so can get your site content in front of many eyeballs.
For that and other reasons, every growth hacking strategy should also include a social strategy. Use this article to get started developing your own. In addition to that, WordPress offers a lot of tools to optimize your website for social traffic:
- Jetpack — The Jetpack modules sharing and publicize allow you to add customizable social sharing buttons and automatically send content updates to your social accounts.
- Ultimate Social Media — Social sharing buttons with 16 different designs for 200+ social platforms. Fully customizable too!
- SumoMe Image Sharer — Made especially to share visuals. When installed, social sharing buttons appear on mouse hover over any visual on your site.
I also recommend using a tool like the aforementioned Buffer to take care of your social scheduling. It makes things a lot easier and saves loads of time.
Add eCommerce Capabilities
Finally, an important growth metric for many sites is revenue. If selling things online is your goal as well, choose from these plugins:
- WooCommerce — The most popular WordPress WordPress eCommerce solution and one of the most popular on the net. Has everything you need for a full-fledged online shop. Check our detailed tutorial on how to use it and learn what’s new in WooCommerce 3.0.
- Easy Digital Downloads — For vendors of virtual products. Comes with multiple payment options and has loads of premium upgrades available.
Growth Hacking WordPress in a Nutshell
Growth hacking is a marketing approach made popular by startups that is also applicable to websites. It is different from conventional marketing in that the only thing it cares about is growth.
In the article above, you have learned exactly what growth hacking is and how to use it with WordPress. As has become apparent, the platform’s flexibility, available tools and a wide range of integration make it the perfect tool for growth hackers.
The recommended plugins and tools will help you get started growth hacking WordPress on your own. However, there are many more options to discover and ways to grow your site. If you know more, please come back to share it with the rest of us.
How do you use WordPress for growth hacking? Do you have additional tools to share? Please do so in the comments section below!