Growth hacking and WordPress is not a topic that is talked about very often. That’s surprising since growth hacking is very prominent in the world of startups as is WordPress. Besides that, the platform is perfectly suited for growth hacking, making the two a match made in heaven.
However, what exactly is growth hacking? And how can you use it to grow WordPress websites? That’s exactly the type of question we will answer in this article.
In the following we will define growth hacking, how it applies to websites, state why WordPress is the perfect tool to use and then list concrete plugins that help apply growth hacking techniques to websites.
Ready? Then let’s get growing.
First, Let’s Define Growth Hacking
As the name suggests, growth hacking is all about growth. It’s a certain type of marketing approach to produce sustainable, scalable growth for startups, companies or websites.
The term was coined by Sean Ellis who was the first to write about what makes someone a growth hacker:
- Growth as the true north — Unsurprisingly, moving the needle forward is the single most important metric for a growth hacker. All decisions derive from that objective. As long as revenue, users or any other metric is moving up, the growth hacker is doing her job.
- Non-linear approach — However, it doesn’t really matter how the growth is achieved. There is no limit in communication channels or tools. As long as it works, it’s permissible. This is often combined with trying to find shortcuts in existing processes.
- User and product focused — In growth hacking, the boundary between marketing and product is blurry at best. In fact, the product is often part of the marketing. Example: Dropbox users get free additional space for bringing in new users.
- Employing a diverse skill set — Growth hacking often involves a wide range of knowledge and working across multiple disciplines. Growth hackers need an understanding of technology as well as marketing. A/B tests and writing landing page copy are equally part of their repertoire.
In short, growth hacking about finding efficient and effective ways to game the existing environment in order to achieve rapid growth for your projects.
How to Apply Growth Hacking to Websites
Now that we know more about growth hacking, how can we apply this approach to our website? When looking at the above principles, we are left with the following:
- Data tracking — Knowing your metrics is important to make informed decisions, predictions and repeat success. Otherwise, how would you know whether you are growing?
- Experimentation — We already mentioned A/B testing above. Growth hacking is about trying new things to see what works and finding creative ways to achieve growth.
- Focus on the core product — The same way startups need a great product to market it, websites need to deliver enough value to make them worth advertising.
- Diverse communication channels — Growth hacking is marketing across many different channels. No need to limit yourself, take advantage of all possibilities to find what works best.
WordPress – The Perfect Growth Hacking Tool
When you take a look at the above, as a regular WordPress user you should notice easily that WordPress is an awesome tool for growth hacking. It offers lots of control and flexibility to run experiments. Almost any site element can be modified and the platform comes with loads of marketing tools.
It is also search-engine and mobile friendly out of the box (especially with the right theme) and highly extendable. In fact, in the following we will have a look at concrete tools WordPress offers for would-be growth hackers.
As mentioned, growth hacking is all about experiments as well as constantly tweaking and improving. Thankfully, WordPress has plenty of tools for that.
- Nelio AB Testing — The plugin for conversion optimization. Has cloud-based A/B testing and heat maps. You can test any site element and the plugin is compatible with WooCommerce.
- Simple Page Tester — Split test different page versions without coding.
- WordPress Calls to Action — A/B test plugin for calls to action to improve lead generation and build an email list. Also works with popups.
- Title Experiments Free — Unsure about your post titles? This plugin can help. Provide several variants, find out which performs best and go with the winner.
Besides experiments, collecting data is another hallmark of growth hacking. The tools below let you find out loads about your visitors and customers.
- Google Analytics by MonsterInsights — One of the easiest ways to set up Google Analytics. It takes just a few clicks. Also adds a dashboard with your most important data inside WordPress.
- Jetpack — Also has an analytics tool. It’s not quite as detailed as Google’s but great for keeping track over the general direction of your site.
- Hotspots Analytics — Heat maps for WordPress. Understand how users interact with your site. Awesome for A/B testing single site elements. Alternative: SumoMe heatmaps
- Instant Visual Feedback — Gauge the feelings of your visitor. Let them show you their reaction to your content Buzzfeed style. Alternative: DW Reactions
SEO is the first hurdle of growth hacking. Without making your content search engine friendly, you will miss out on a lot of organic traffic. WordPress is already pretty good at this by itself but there’s always room for improvement.
- Yoast SEO — The most popular SEO plugin for a reason. Customize all aspects of SEO on your site globally and on a per-page basis. Also analyzes your content to improve on-page SEO and even readability. Must have!
- W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache — Site speed is important for click through, user engagement and SEO. Caching is one of the best ways to make your site faster. The two plugins mentioned here are the leading methods of doing so. Read our comparison to find out which one is for you.
- Autoptimize — Excellent to complement caching plugins. Makes your site faster by concatenating and minifying scripts, styles and HTML. Highly recommended!
Social networks with their millions of users are an important source of traffic and should always be part of your growth hacking strategy. The plugins below will help with that.
- Monarch — Customizable social sharing plugin. 20 networks to choose from, five button locations from floating sidebar to above and below content, popup and more. Can also display your social following.
- Jetpack — The Jetpack modules sharing and publicize easily add (completely customizable) social sharing buttons to your site and automatically publish new content on social platforms.
- Ultimate Social Media — Social sharing buttons in 16 different designs. Customizable functions and animations. Available as sticky bars, popups and more.
- Sumome Image Sharer — Part of SumoMe. Made to share visuals. Sharing options automatically appear when hovering over an image on your website. Monarch also has this function built in.
- Better Click to Tweet — Allows visitors to share pre-made quotes, and lines from your content with one click.
Email remains one of the most direct and important avenues to your audience. It’s an incredibly important marketing channel and one of the best ways to grow website traffic.
- Bloom — Awesome email opt-in plugin with many options to collect email addresses (popup, fly-in, content lock and more). Comes with fully customizable triggers and design options and works with all major email marketing providers.
- MailChimp for WordPress — A free alternative to create opt-in forms for MailChimp users. Alternatives: MailChimp Forms by MailMunch, Easy Forms for MailChimp
While everyone and your mom is talking about how important creating quality content is in today’s online world, promotion is just as important (if not more). It’s a lot of work so you can use all the help you can get.
- Jetpack Related Posts — Showing related posts is a great way to increase time on site. However, plugins of this kind are infamous for being resource hogs that bog down the database. To address this, Jetpack outsources the heavy lifting to the WordPress.com servers.
- WordPress Popular Posts — Customizable widget to show the most popular posts on your site however and wherever you want. Good to combine with the built-in latest posts plugin.
- Revive Old Post — Re-sharing older content is an awesome way to keep it in rotation and move visitors to your site. This plugin takes the work off your hands and automatically publishes older stuff on social networks of your choice.
Engaged users are users that come around more often and recommend your site to others. Here are tools to keep them coming.
- Postmatic — Subscribe to and answer comments via email. Stay on top of the discussion without constantly having to sign in.
- Contact Form 7 — Contact forms are one of the easiest ways for visitors to get in touch with you. This one is trusted by millions and free.
Growth Hacking for WordPress in a Nutshell
Growth hacking is a discipline aimed at keeping the needle moving forwards. It involves a mindset that uses creativity, interdisciplinary thinking and focuses on users and product.
While common in the world of startups, growth hacking is also applicable to websites and WordPress is the perfect platform to put it into action. The CMS offers just the right flexibility and loads of tools.
The list above will help you get started with growth hacking yourself to web success. The plugins are a useful foundation to put the principles mentioned above into action.
Are you going to give growth hacking a try on your WordPress website? Let us know in the comment section below!
Article thumbnail image by Sammby / shutterstock.com