WordPress is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to create your website. With over 45 million websites all running on WordPress, it has remained the leading CMS because it’s easy to customize, offers a wide variety of plugins, is flexible and secure, SEO friendly and more.
Having said that, is WordPress the best choice for a local marketing agency that builds websites for clients?
One of the biggest benefits of using WordPress for a marketing agency is that it’s open source – meaning you have 100% ownership of the websites you build. Also, it has a large ecosystem of functionalities that can be built into the website through plugins. This allows for greater flexibility which can be passed on to the clients as well.
Let’s look in more detail on how WordPress can be used in your marketing agency and provide your clients with a fully functional website that generates leads.
Factors to consider when building websites on WordPress
If you are planning to use WordPress for your marketing agency, then you should keep the following points in mind before getting started.
As mentioned above, WordPress is an open source platform and you will therefore need a hosting provider.
A simple analogy is to think of a hosting provider as a house where you can store your website files. They can either be purchased (your own servers) or rented (shared, cloud, VPS hosting). Without a hosting provider, your site wouldn’t have space on a server to “live.”
Owning your own servers can be expensive, so the preferred option is to use a hosting provider. For local businesses, the requirements of a website are simple and would not require much resources. As such, a simple WordPress installation on a cloud server should suffice.
Different types of hosting setup
- Shared: This is a common choice for most business websites. It’s cheap and easy to get started. As the name suggests, several websites will be sharing your hosting server.
- Virtual Private Servers (VPS): These offer agencies better uptime and storage space, but at lower cost. It is ideal for medium businesses that need more control but do not have a dedicated server budget.
- Cloud: Cloud hosting is a new hosting type that is gradually replacing the traditional hosting services. In this cloud hosting model, your site files are stored on several servers and they are all working together to provide uninterrupted website availability.
- Managed: This is where the hosting provider is designated to manage the dedicated servers such hardware and software setup, regularly updating, patching and monitoring. It’s the most suitable hosting for non-technical users. However, it’s the most expensive type of hosting.
So which type of hosting is best for you?
If you are just starting up a local marketing agency, you could start with a VPS hosting plan and then eventually move towards cloud hosting once you have more clients.
There are many options for WordPress hosting which include Siteground (best for shared/VPS hosting), WP Engine (best for managed WordPress hosting), and Cloudways (best for cloud hosting).
Themes and templates allow you to customize your WordPress website so it looks professional and appealing to your visitors.
For local business websites, the theme you choose doesn’t have to be too complex. Any lightweight, minimal theme should serve the purpose as the functionalities can be built on top of it.
Ideally, the theme should be lightweight, fast, secure, mobile responsive, follow accessibility guidelines, customizable and easy to use. Some examples of good themes are WPAstra, GeneratePress and KadenceWP.
Each theme provides a library of starter sites that can help reduce website design time by using ready to use website templates.
As a local marketing agency, it’s important that you design a set of templates that can be easily replicated for each client.
There are specific functionalities that you may need to add to a local business website which can be achieved through certain plugins. Ranging across free and paid ones, below is a list of functionalities that you’ll need plugins for:
- Page Builders: Elementor (see below)
- Image optimization: TinyPNG
- On-page SEO: Rankmath, SEOPress
- Schema: SchemaPro
- Analytics: MonsterInsights
- Form Submission: WPForms, GravityForms
- Security: iThemes Security
- Caching: W3 Total Cache, WP Fastest Cache
- Backup: Updraft
Important considerations when choosing a WordPress plugin
- Check plugin compatibility with your version of WordPress site.
- Read through the reviews of the plugin and its author.
- Minimize the use of plugins as much as possible. Try to use plugins that serve multiple functionalities.
- Check the impact of the plugin on the website performance.
Though a theme can provide some of the functionality and customizations you need, it may be necessary to use a page builder to enhance these pages further.
With a page builder plugin, you can add any type of content to a page using ready-made drag and drop content elements like blocks, modules, or widgets. This can help speed up the process of designing and developing a local business website.
Page builders have now evolved into allowing you to customize various parts of the theme such as the header, footer, archive pages, single posts etc. This is one of the reasons why I’ve suggested you use a lightweight (barebones) theme to reduce the bloat.
Some popular WordPress page builders include Elementor, Beaver Builder and Oxygen. Personally, I’d recommend Elementor given its flexibility and ease of use even for a non-coder.
Speed & Performance
It’s always important to think about the performance and speed of your site when implementing any type of plugin into your website. This is especially the case when visitors browse through their mobile devices.
Below are some steps you can take to improve page load speed:
- Choose a reliable hosting provider.
- Use a lightweight theme free of bloat (as discussed above)
- Have all themes and plugins up to date.
- Remove any unused plugins.
- Optimize images.
- Install a WordPress caching plugin.
With regards to SEO, using WordPress for a marketing agency can ease so many tasks for you. These include:
- Creating a blog with SEO-friendly URL structures;
- Incorporating on-page SEO principles such as meta titles, meta descriptions, alt-tags etc.;
- Integrating Analytics to track the behavior of the audience and other important metrics;
- Creating sitemaps to submit on Google and Bing Webmasters;
- Submit new pages and articles to Google and Bing’s Index seamlessly.
There are various plugins that can help you with these and some of the popular ones are YoastSEO, RankMath and SEOPress.
Backup & Security
Every WordPress site should be secured with the basic security measures.
One of the first steps is to make sure to install SSL on your website and redirect all traffic via HTTPS. Most hosting providers offer this as part of their package.
You will also need to ensure that the standard WordPress forms are secured with a Google recaptcha plugin. This is to avoid spam and unauthorized form entries. Additionally, consider using a plugin to enable login protection, set up security keys and limit brute force login attempts.
Despite the security, it’s important to create regular backups of your WordPress site. In addition to backups offered by most hosting providers, it’s better that you maintain a separate copy on your own servers (GDrive, OneDrive) using a backup plugin like UpdraftPlus.
Tracking and reporting is one of the core functions of any marketing agency. As such, you need to have it in place for all the clients. WordPress makes it easy to install the tracking codes and monitor the traffic within the dashboard itself.
Plugins like MonsterInsights help you easily connect with your Google Account, which can then be used to monitor vital metrics for local business websites. This includes pageviews, visitor count, form submission tracking, call tracking and similar insights which you can configure.
As a local marketing agency, you’re likely to have multiple WordPress websites and managing its themes, plugins and updates can be a nightmare.
The beauty of using WordPress for a marketing agency is that it allows you to bring them into one dashboard. This makes it so much easier to manage all the websites in one place. Software such as MainWP and ManageWP are great examples of offering such services.
Why local marketing agencies prefer WordPress
Given that WordPress is well established and that it has a vast community of users, developers and programmers, most marketing agencies prefer using it for their clients. Should you come across any problems, the WordPress community is accessible and can be reached out to anytime.
Besides, it provides great flexibility in terms of functionality and customizations for the website. This is especially important when building websites for local businesses.
From managing content, to building websites optimized for conversions and tracking these metrics, WordPress provides a full-suite ideal for local marketing agency owners.
Its simple user interface makes it a lot easier for clients to add and update content, structure their blog posts and also add calls to action (CTAs) to improve the conversion rate on their website.
Instances when WordPress may not work
Let’s hit the breaks here a bit. WordPress may not always be the best choice.
For example, if you’re looking to create custom designs and functionality for every client, you may end up paying for plugin licenses that are used for one-off projects. This can be quite costly and managing them can be a daunting task.
In some instances, you may require more complex website builds that require managing databases, incorporating web apps etc. Simply put, WordPress is not built for these types of websites. It can therefore impact performance and speed of the website.
In most cases, using WordPress for a marketing agency is the ideal solution. Once you have the themes and plugins figured out, these can be easily replicated and you can build powerful websites for local businesses that convert and generate leads.
As such, it’s important that you spend some time to ensure you have the right themes, tracking tools, SEO plugins and hosting. This will not only set you up for success, but will also cause less problems in the future.