Wordpress for organizations

So, you want the ultimate WordPress website and accompanying blog to represent and market your organization.  Great idea!  It’s true, a well designed search engine optimized website is an amazing digital marketing tool. Before you embark on this exciting, new adventure, understand what a WordPress website can do and be aware of the the good and bad that comes with it.

We are in the midst of a digital Renaissance.
Something big is happening online inspiring organizations and those they serve to interact in a totally new way.  Today, it’s all about sharing as much useful information as possible in order to educate current and potential customers. Marketing has transformed and the lines which once separated PR, marketing, and sales are blurred. In the not so distant past, what used to work was push marketing or forcing ads on customers.  Today it’s pull marketing or the sharing of useful, search engine optimized content in an interactive manner which generates leads and conversions. Your website and blog are the hub of your pull marketing endeavors.

What can a WordPress website and blog do for my organization?
The real question is what can’t a WordPress website and blog do?  When used correctly, the two make an unbeatable digital marketing team, spreading the word about your organization and creating a “top of mind” effect.  Google loves WordPress blogs because they’re fresh and filled with links and blogging is the number one – yes – number one way to get found on Google and drive traffic to your website. Your blog is where your organization interacts with your clients in a friendly manner encouraging affinity toward your brand.  Your website is your home base – the place where people may register for a class, give feedback, make an appointment, download information, request a quote, make a donation,  interact on a forum, or apply for a job.  Analytics play a strong role in how to best update your site, increase your traffic, and generate additional leads and conversions.

What about WordPress?
WordPress is dynamic open source software.  It’s both flexible and friendly as well as rigid and challenging. A site and blog constructed in WordPress requires special consideration before, during and after the design/construction process.

The WordPress design challenge
Design and functionality are NOT mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact, one cannot have an outstanding website without both. Yet, more often than not, many WordPress sites appear homogeneous and boring. This reason for this – WordPress’ pre-programmed design constraints combined with a lack of artistic ability and experience.   An interest generating WordPress site demands a legitimate artist who knows how to transform the WordPress template into a stunning, visual EXPERIENCE. This is marketing step one: Get their attention. Your design sets the tone and is your the first impression: Make sure you hire a real artist who knows WordPress.

WordPress set-up matters – a lot!
WordPress is dynamic, which means it’s always changing.  It’s also open source software which means WordPress code is free to anyone.  Poor, outdated set-up will hinder your marketing.  Many WordPress templates are not URL friendly and must be expertly upgraded in order for your URL to be indexed by the search engines.  Your set-up determines whether or not visitors can share your posts with others,  view your site on a smart phone, or sign up for your RSS and email feeds. Because WordPress (just like all open source software)  is sometimes vulnerable to security issues, your marketing company must install updated security plugins as well as provide you with a web host who automatically backs-up your database.  Accept nothing less than a professional with a successful WordPress site of her own to create your WordPress site.

Compelling content and SEO required
The most important and least understood element of digital marketing is search engine optimization or SEO. In the U.S. alone, there were 10.5 billion Google searches in the month of July 2009! Think about these numbers. They represent only one month! Great SEO is created by combining compelling content with keyword research and marketing to the long tail.  This means your site and blog text must be infused with passion and creativity as well as keywords gleaned from keyword research.  WordPress’ Platinum SEO pack is a great tool which should be used on every blog post and website page.  Your quality marketing company must be able to create compelling, search engine optimized content for your site as well as teach you how to accomplish this.  This requires real writing and SEO talent. In addition, your quality marketing company should submit your site and blog to the search engines and directories and train you in linkbuilding.

Working with WordPress
If you never worked with any kind of moderately complicated software or you just aren’t technology savvy then you need training to effectively use WordPress. Bring a notebook and take copious notes as you learn so you don’t burden your trainer and yourself with sluggish progress. Practice using the software over and over until it becomes easy.  Expect to run into little obstacles.  WordPress, like any software can be glitchy.  A quality marketing company knows how to effectively train your organization via webinar or in person, and should include homework – homework that must be completed before advancement.  Knowing how to use WordPress is a fantastic skill and worth every second of study.

Your social signal strength reflects your commitment.
Social signal strength is your social influence rating. Google and Bing both integrate their evaluation of your social signal into your standing on search. In other words, if you’re influential on your blog, Facebook and Twitter,  then you receive more search engine attention.  Understand successful digital marketing requires hours upon hours of  your time and energy.  You must write and optimize one useful blog post a week as well as spend time every day posting on your Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.  10 years ago one would just buy advertising and move on. If you want results, you have to make and keep the commitment. All the training in the world isn’t going to give you and your team the diligence required for top results.  If you can’t keep the commitment, hire a quality marketing company to keep it for you or risk missing out on the most important conversation of all – the conversation about your organization.