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How to Use Google Tag Manager for Your Ecommerce Business

Historically, consumer use of ecommerce stores has been a mystery to merchants. Traffic sources, bounce rates, and others were the metrics of educated guesses and opinions. Today, however, powerful tracking tools like Google Tag Manager for WordPress have brought data to that mystery, answering questions with a level of certainty never seen before. 

These tools now allow you to build a clearer picture of the customer experience. Instead of guessing a consumer’s journey, you’re able to understand their path to purchase. Not only does this help you discover crucial touchpoints, more importantly, it also helps you drive your store’s growth by identifying conversion bottlenecks and finding new opportunities. 

If you’re not sure you’re hitting the mark with Google Tag Manager, now is the right time to revisit your implementation and make sure everything is running smoothly. Here, we’ll walk through what Google Tag Manager is, how you can add it to your WordPress site, and how you can start measuring store performance where it matters

Running an ecommerce store and looking for the full rundown on SEO? Follow our complete guide to ecommerce SEO.

What Does Google Tag Manager Do?

Google Tag Manager is a free, widely-used tool that lets you create and manage the tags (more on this later) published on a website. Though it can be used on virtually any site, it’s commonly used by ecommerce business owners in conjunction with other marketing analytics platforms to manage their online stores. For example, Google Tag Manager is almost always used alongside Google Analytics for the purpose of tracking marketing campaigns, conversions, and site performance.

What Is a Tag?

When you inspect the source of a site, you see tags like <html>, <img>, <p>, <a href>, and many others. Functionally, the tags you manage with Google Tag Manager are similar to the HTML tags found in the raw code of a website. But where HTML, CSS, PHP, and other coding languages use tags as building materials for website construction, the tags in Google Tag Manager track conversions, traffic, user behavior, and a number of other important metrics.

Tags track and relay important user engagement data to another analytics platform. When a tag runs, or picks up an instance of the intended interaction, it’s called “firing” – i.e., “The tag has fired.”

Besides connecting to other platforms, tags can be created so you can track specific events — (like abandoned carts and video views) on your website. While Google Analytics can track many types of events, creating tags for certain events in Google Tag Manager can make tracking more specific, and situational events more effective.

Google Tag Manager vs. Google Analytics

Since Google Tag Manager and Analytics are used in tandem, it can be confusing as to what role each platform plays when it comes to marketing analytics.

Google Tag Manager can be used to manage many third-party tags, including the Facebook and Adobe Analytics tracking pixels. You can even customize and calibrate your tags, and decide when and why they fire. But Google Tag Manager just manages these tracking code snippets; there’s no actual analytics or in-depth reporting in Google Tag Manager. 

Google Analytics doesn’t have the granular tag controls of Google Tag Manager, but it plays the very crucial role of collecting data from those tags. In other words, it collects, analyzes, and reports data from your tags. Thus, the two platforms have a symbiotic relationship.

How to Add Google Tag Manager to WordPress

If you’re one of the many ecommerce business owners using a managed hosting platform to run your online store, you need to know how to add Google Tag Manager to your WordPress site. Let’s go over the steps for setting up Google Tag Manager with WordPress.

Step 1: Create a Google Tag Manager Account

The first thing you need is a Google Tag Manager account.

Create tag manager account

Head over to Google Tag Manager. If you already have an account, then select the account you want to use to connect to your WooCommerce store. Otherwise, click “Create Account” to begin setting up a new Google Tag Manager account. This is how you get Google Tag Manager code.

Set up tag manager container

After clicking “Create Account,” you’ll see some account setup options. 

Name the account, name the container — basically just a folder for your tags to be kept separate from other Tag Manager accounts you may have — and select “Web” as the target platform. Then click “Create” to immediately be taken into your new Google Tag Manager account.

Install the tag manager code

Once you’ve finished with the setup options, you’ll need to install the code snippets for Tag Manager to begin working with your ecommerce store on WordPress.

The first snippet needs to be added to the header of your WordPress site. This will ensure that the code appears on every single page of your site — which is important for Tag Manager to work with WordPress.

There are a couple of ways to add it to the appropriate file of your WordPress theme. However, the easiest way is to use a plugin like Yoast. Instead of editing the raw code of your site, just copy and paste the code into Yoast which will automatically add the code to every page of your site.

Then there’s the second snippet of code which must be added just after the opening <body> tag on your site. Again, Yoast and other plugins can help. 

If you need additional help, Google Tag Manager offers a useful Quick Start Guide that you can use as a reference. When these code snippets are installed, you’re ready to begin setting up Google Tag Manager with WordPress. 

Step 2: Install Google Analytics

Once you’ve created and set up a Google Tag Manager account, you’ll need to do the same for Google Analytics. After all, you won’t get much benefit from using Tag Manager unless Analytics is receiving data from your tags. If you’ve already installed Google Analytics, you can skip this step.

These steps might seem a bit odd as you’re completing them, but don’t worry. You can, in fact, install Google Analytics from within Tag Manager.

how to create new tag manager tags

From your new Google Tag Manager account, click “Tags” from the left-hand sidebar, then click “New” in the upper right-hand corner of the window.

Install analytics with tag manager

Name the tag “Google Analytics” and click “Tag Configuration” and select “Google Analytics: Universal Analytic” for tag type.

Configure using your unique Google analytics code

Set the track type to “Page View” then click “New Variable” under the Google Analytics Settings. Finally, name this new variable and install your Google Analytics tracking code on your WordPress site as prompted.

What Can I Do With Google Tag Manager?

Now that you have completed the installation and setup process, you need to know how to use Google Tag Manager. And, perhaps most importantly, how is Google Tag Manager used?

Google Tag Manager helps you gain insight into how people are using your ecommerce store. By setting up tags and events, you can gain valuable insights on key areas. That includes tracking form submissions, file downloads, and the effectiveness of interactions in your conversion funnel.

While there are many things you can do with Google Tag Manager, let’s go over a few of the most important (and most useful) for ecommerce businesses.

Track Goals and Events in Google Analytics

Although pageviews and referrals are important metrics, tracking how your customers and leads are using your ecommerce store provides the most accurate picture of your store’s performance. Without Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics, you’d have very little insight into how customers and leads are interacting with your store. In turn, you wouldn’t be able to identify and address variables that might, for instance, contribute to high cart abandonment.

Although we’re not going to spend too much time covering it in this Google Tag Manager overview, we’re going to give you examples of a goal and an event you can track with Tag Manager.

Goal: Added-to-Cart

With Google Tag Manager, you can set up a tracking goal for each and every time a product gets added to the shopping cart. Once you’ve completed the steps to set up an added-to-cart tracking goal, these interactions will be reported in Google Analytics. It’s important to note that this isn’t a goal that you’d be able to track in Google Analytics without using Tag Manager to create the event.

Event: Video Views

Video content is the most popular form of digital content today. So it follows that ecommerce sites that feature product reviews, launch videos, instructional videos, and other video content should be tracking how customers and leads are engaging with those videos, and most importantly, how those engagement rates affect conversion. Using Google Tag Manager, you can set up tracking events for videos and compare those events to cart abandonment, checkout abandonment, or any number of other metrics.

Install Tracking Pixels for Google Pay-per-Click Ads

One of the key uses for Google Tag Managers is to install and manage the Google Ads Remarketing and Google Ads Conversion Tracking pixels. The steps to install these tracking pixels are largely the same for both.

Google Ads Remarketing Pixel

Set up a remarketing pixel

From your Google Tag Manager account, create a new tag. Name it “Google Remarketing” and select “Google Ads Remarketing” as the tag type.

remarketing pixel needs a useridea and settings

In the tag configuration settings, locate your Google Ads Conversion ID. Create a label if you’d like, then set “All Pages” for triggering.

Google Ads Conversion Tracking Pixel

For the Google Ads Conversion Tracking pixel, the steps are much the same. From your Google Tag Manager account, create a new tag. Name it “Google Ads Conversion” and select “Google Ads Conversion” as the tag type.

Set the value of conversions

The main difference with the Google Ads Conversion Tracking pixel is the option to set a value for the tag. In the screenshot above, the value is set at 100 USD, meaning that each conversion the tag tracks is worth $100 to the business. Use an amount makes the most sense for your business. Many ecommerce business owners set the value of a conversion as the average transaction value.

Install Third-Party Tracking Pixels

Similar to the Google Ads tracking pixels, Tag Manager is often used to install tracking codes for third-party platforms. In particular, the Facebook Pixel is often installed on a WordPress site using this method.

The important thing to note is that when Google Tag Manager doesn’t provide a template for the tracking code you want to install, you’ll need to use the custom HTML option. To illustrate this process, here are the steps for installing the Facebook Pixel in Google Tag Manager.

Facebook pixel with tag manager

From your Google Tag Manager account, create a new pixel. Name it “Facebook Pixel” and select “Custom HTML” as the tag type.

Custom facebook code pixel

After selecting “Custom HTML” as the tag type, you’ll be given a place where you can paste the Facebook Pixel tracking code. 

As you can see in the screenshot above, the trigger is set to “All Pages” — but there are other options available, and Facebook provides some tips to help you choose the right option for your case.

Do You Need Google Tag Manager?

We’ve gone over the ins and outs of Google Tag Manager. As we bring this overview to a close, let’s tackle one last question: Should you be using it?

For the owner of an ecommerce business, there’s arguably nothing more important than learning about customer behavior. Because if you don’t know how your customers are interacting with your online store, you have no way to optimize to increase conversion. In other words, any effort made to improve the customer experience and the buying journey is just a shot in the dark.

Google Tag Manager gives you a window into your customer experience. By using Tag Manager to publish and manage tags for your ecommerce store, you can boost conversion and generate more revenue for your business.

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Hostdedi WooCommerce hosting plans were designed with three principles in mind: reliability, scalability, and speed. Every ecommerce store running on a Managed WooCommerce Hosting plan benefits from everything Hostdedi plans have to offer from cart abandonment technology to minimize lost sales to the nearly limitless ways in which you can customize the look and feel of your online store. Best of all, Hostdedi hosting plans are competitively priced and come with outstanding round-the-clock support.

Learn more about how you can benefit from Hostdedi Managed WooCommerce Hosting and get started today.

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Goals and Events eCommerce Businesses Should be Tracking with Google Analytics

Tracking interactions between customers and your ecommerce store is essential if you want to gauge the performance of your business. However, it’s not always obvious which interactions you should be tracking. If you track too little, you’re not getting the most representative picture, and if you track too much, the important data gets buried. 

In order to drive revenue effectively, it’s vital you understand the performance of each of your site’s touchpoints. By identifying key goals and events through Google Analytics, and standardizing their reporting structure, you’ll be able to leverage that data to create campaigns that promote engagement and growth. 

To help, we’ve created the ecommerce business owner’s guide to Google Analytics event tracking. With this guide, you’ll know which tracking events are most important and how to create tracking goals for your ecommerce store.

Google Analytics Event Tracking vs. Goal Tracking

Google Analytics event tracking can illuminate patterns in user behaviour that you can use to make more informed decisions. 

Finding out how customers and leads are interacting with your online store is crucial for optimizing your customer experience. As it happens, you can learn a lot about how customers are engaging with your store by tracking goals and events in Google Analytics.


As Google defines them, events are “interactions with content that can be measured independently from a webpage or screen load.” This includes things like:

  • Clicks
  • Video views
  • File downloads
  • Code loads
  • Page scrolls
  • Account logins
  • Media shares
  • Products added to the shopping cart

In a more technical sense, events are interactions between users and your ecommerce store. This includes:

  • Mouse interactions
  • Keyboard interactions
  • Frame interactions 
  • Form interactions

In Google Analytics, event tracking can illuminate patterns in user behavior that you can use to make more informed decisions and further refine your customer experience. While certain events — like abandoned carts, for instance — are often tracked by default, you can track many different customer interactions with Google Analytics custom events.

Do you run an ecommerce store that isn’t seeing the organic traffic you expect? Learn more about how to optimize your Ecommerce SEO.

Event Conditions

Google Analytics has four conditions for events: category, action, label, value, and non-interaction. Each type of event condition has its own application, whether it’s for organization in Google Analytics or for assigning monetary value to a trackable event.

An event category is a name assigned to a group of events. They’re used primarily for organizational purposes. For example, you might assign events like pageviews and clicks to an event category called “engagement.” Or you create an event category called “downloads” for events related to the downloading of files from your website.

An event action is a certain type of event that you want to track for a specific page element. For example, when users click play, pause, or rewind, or scrub through a video to a particular location, you can track those interactions as event actions.

An event label is an optional name assigned to a certain element on a webpage. Similar to event categories, event labels are largely for organizational purposes. For example, if there are multiple PDF files that can be downloaded from your website, you could use event labels to distinguish downloads of one PDF file from others.

An event value is an optional numerical value assigned to a trackable event. Although value is often a monetary value, meaning how much (in dollars) an event brings to your business, there are cases where value could be a length of time or raw quantity. For instance, you could make the value for a confirmation page event equal to your average transaction value since you know (on average) how much your business makes from each conversion.

The non-interaction condition is applied when an event is non-interactive. When the value for this condition is “true,” the event is considered non-interactive. Typically, you only classify an event as non-interactive when you don’t want it to affect your bounce rate or other metrics in Google Analytics.


Google Analytics goals are essentially events that have value and that you want to boost in order to generate more revenue. When you set a tracking goal, Google Analytics begins counting instances of that goal as a conversion. For instance, if you set a duration goal of five minutes, and then a visitor spends 5 minutes or more on your site, Google Analytics will consider that a successful conversion.

In Google Analytics, there are duration goals, destination goals, pages/views goals, and event goals. As you’d expect, a duration goal is a minimum amount of time that you want users to spend engaging with your website. Destination goals refer to when users visit a specific page on your site like a thank-you page or an order confirmation page. With pages/views goals, you want users to click onto a minimum number of pages on your site. Finally, event goals are more specific interactions including form fills, click-to-call link clicks, and file downloads.

5 Google Analytics Goals and Events You Should Track

Tracking goals and events is an effective way to gauge or boost the performance of your ecommerce business. So let’s go over some specific Google Analytics goals and events that you should be tracking. 

Goals for Google Analytics

Google Analytics makes it very easy to access and create goals. Once you’re logged into your Google Analytics account, go into the Admin menu and in the View column, then click Goals.

Goal: Confirmation Pages

A confirmation page can be used to confirm an order that’s been placed or to thank a lead for joining a mailing list. But in any context, a confirmation page is what someone sees after an interaction with your brand or company. In other words, it’s a conversion follow-up that makes confirmation pages an important goal to track.

How to Set up a Confirmation Page Goal

How to Set up a Confirmation Page Goal


From the Goals menu in Google Analytics, click the “+ New Goal” button to open the new goal template.

Set up the goal based on a template

At the top of the goal template, you’re given a list of template options. For this tutorial, we chose to set up a completed purchase confirmation page — the second option on the list.

Goal description and type


Next, create a name for your confirmation page goal. For the tracking goal type, choose “Destination” since a confirmation page is the URL destination that marks the completion of a conversion.

Verify your goal to begin

In the third section of the goal template, you’ll need to provide a destination and value, and then outline the conversion funnel for the tracking goal.

The destination is similar to a label and how the goal will be shown in Google Analytics. Think of it as a URL suffix and choose something simple that’s representative of the confirmation page you’re tracking.

The value is, quite simply, a monetary value assigned to the goal you’re tracking.

The funnel refers to your conversion or sales funnel. A confirmation page will likely take the final position in the funnel. The screenshot above shows how the funnel section will look when set up properly.

Finally, click “Verify This Goal” at the bottom. 

analyze data from the past 7 days

Verifying your goal will manually filter your Google Analytics data from the past seven days through your new tracking goal to tell you how many hits you would’ve gotten during that period. When you see numerical values for every step of the funnel, your confirmation page tracking goal is functional.

Goal: Form Submissions

There are a number of different uses for forms on an ecommerce site. For instance, many sites use forms for newsletter signups and as a convenient way for users to contact the company. You can also set up a form so leads can request a quote for made-to-order products and services.

Just as there are multiple uses for forms for your ecommerce site, there is more than one way to set up form submission goals in Google Analytics. First, if you use a confirmation page as a follow-up to a form submission, you would set up a form submission goal in much the same way as a confirmation page goal (outlined above). Alternatively, you can set up form submissions as Google Analytics events, and then use a form submission event as a tracking goal.

Before setting up a form submission goal, you need to set up form submission as a trackable event. For this step, we recommend using Google Tag Manager.

How to Set up a Form Submission Goal

Once you have completed that setup in Google Tag Manager, return to Google Analytics, open the Admin menu, click “Goals” in the View column, and click the “+ New Goal” button.

How to Set up a Form Submission Goal

In the screenshot above, you can see the options we chose while setting up a tracking goal for a contact form. In the first section, we chose the “Contact us” template. In the second section, we named the goal “Contact us” and selected “Event” as the goal type. Finally, we completed the details for the goal by filling in the category, action, and label. Since a form submission doesn’t equate to a sale, no value was assigned. However, you may choose to assign a value to an inquiry. It’s simply a matter of preference. 

Goal: Products Added to Cart

Adding products to the shopping cart is another important goal to track and is a prerequisite for a purchase. The idea is to see how many people are adding products to the shopping cart so you can compare that to how many of those added products end with transactions. Doing this gives you an idea of how often users are abandoning their shopping carts.

There are two ways to set up Added-to-Cart goal tracking in Google Analytics, depending on how your ecommerce site is setup. If there’s some sort of confirmation page when a product is added to the shopping cart, then you’d follow the same steps as you would for a confirmation page. But if adding a product to the shopping cart isn’t followed by a confirmation, you’ll need to set it up as a triggered event with Google Tag Manager. 

How to Set up an Added-to-Cart Goal

How to Set up an Added-to-Cart Goal


As you configure the trigger for the event in Google Tag Manager, you’ll want to select “Click – All Elements” as the trigger type. This ensures that mouse clicks will trigger the event. Next, select “Some Clicks” for what initiates the trigger and input the class and conditions for the event trigger. Use the + and – buttons to the right to add or remove triggers as needed.

add and remove triggers as needed

You can see how these settings are reflected in the underlying code on your site by right-clicking on your “Add to Cart” button and selecting “Inspect element.”

configure the event tracker to start tracking

After configuring the tracking event trigger, your Added-to-Cart goal is ready to start tracking.

Event: Abandoned Carts

When a cart is abandoned, it means the person who added the product to the shopping cart has changed his or her mind. On average, 69.57% of shopping carts are abandoned before purchases are made. With so many sales falling through the cracks, cart abandonment is a very important metric for ecommerce business owners to track.

It’s worth noting, though, that a tool like Jilt that can act on cart abandonment data can be especially useful. In addition, can actually show which products are being left abandoned in the shopping cart most frequently and makes it easier to identify potential roadblocks in the buyer’s journey. Both Jilt and are tools that are included with Managed WooCommerce at Hostdedi. 

How to Set up an Abandoned Cart Event

Abandoned cart event tracking is most commonly done automatically when you have ecommerce enabled in Google Analytics.

How to Set up an Abandoned Cart Event


To access your abandoned cart events, navigate to ecommerce > Cart Behavior. Not only does this show instances of cart abandonment, but you get to see instances of no products being added to the cart and instances of check-out abandonment. The idea is to get a concise visual representation of how many sales are lost at different points in the buyer’s journey.

Event: Video Views

Videos are the most popular, high-converting form of digital content today which is why setting up tracking for video views is important for ecommerce businesses. With Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, you can set up video tracking for instructional/information videos, video reviews, and product launch videos that are available on your website.

Tracking video view events on your site is particularly useful when combined with an ecommerce analytics tool like for more insightful customer analytics. When you track video views, you can compare that figure to metrics like your pageviews, unique visitors, and conversions for a clearer picture of how users are engaging with your online store.

How to Set up a Video View Event

The most effective (and easiest) way to set up video view events is to use Google Tag Manager. And if your videos are hosted on YouTube, then Google Tag Manager takes just moments to set up.

How to Set up a Video View Event

In the screenshot above, you can see a pretty standard trigger configuration for a video view event. For the trigger configuration, all four capture options are selected including progress percentages in 25-percent intervals, but you can set it to track as much or as little as is helpful for you. 

your final tag configuration layout

Once you have finished with trigger configuration, the tag configuration for your video view event should look similar to the screenshot above.

After you’ve finished setting up your video view event in Google Tag Manager, those events will be reported in Google Analytics. You can monitor instances of video view events in Behavior Event Reporting.

Hostdedi Managed WooCommerce Hosting Comes Paired With for Comprehensive Customer Insights 

Hostdedi is your premiere hosting provider, offering high-quality, performance-focused hosting plans for ecommerce businesses of any size. However, when you choose Hostdedi Managed WooCommerce Hosting, you’re not just getting the best in speed, performance, and reliability at a great price: You’re also getting tons of extras, like Jilt for cart abandonment and, a comprehensive ecommerce analytics program. So when you want the best for your growing ecommerce business, choose Hostdedi Managed WooCommerce Hosting.

Learn more and get started today

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How To Generate Post-Holiday Ecommerce Sales

The holiday season is the happiest, craziest, busiest, most profitable time of year for ecommerce retailers. Overall, holiday sales represent about 20% of annual retail sales annually, but the figure can be as high as 30% for retailers in the hobby, toy and game industry. 

Unfortunately, the rush of the holiday season is often followed by a sales slump that comes at the beginning of January. During this slump, sales are slow and returns are high as the excitement of the holiday rush fades away. As a result, retailers often find worry setting in as revenue drops.

Luckily, the new year sales slump doesn’t have to be a reality for your store. There are strategies for scaling sales and driving revenue during this period. Minimize the post-holiday dip in ecommerce sales and keep new sales coming in with the following strategic ecommerce marketing tactics.

Leverage New Year Resolutions

The new year brings with it driven, motivated people who are excited to fulfill their new year resolutions. Whether their goals are weight loss or improved health, organization, and productivity, personal development, career advancement, or home improvement, they’re on a mission and they need tools and supplies.

Leverage the power of social media by creating campaigns that tie your post-holiday ecommerce sales to new year resolutions. Run integrated email campaigns that target segments that have bought from you before. 


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Travel brands promote post-holiday sales by aligning content with consumers’ resolutions concerning discovery. As individuals begin to look towards their 2020 goals, it’s your job to make sure you get out in front of them, staying top of mind and bottom of funnel.  

The opportunities are limitless and allow you to connect with your consumers in a way you can’t during other times of the year. Once you’ve connected with them, it’s much easier to drive sales.

Release A New Product

There’s no better way to bring back customers for more, than by releasing a brand new product that wasn’t available during the holiday season. This strategy not only helps drive sales, but it also brings with it increased engagement and brand reach. 

LEGO is brilliant at this strategy. Every year, LEGO cleans house with their holiday sales. Then, in the new year, they release a new modular building (priced in the hundreds of dollars) and brand new LEGO sets that weren’t available before. Naturally, along with the new product release, comes another flood of sales from LEGO fans and collectors.

New products are also an excellent way of repositioning your brand during the new year. Tying those products into New Year resolutions and New Year themes allows your store to show distinction in your market. 

Launch A New Sale

Discounts, sales, special offers, promotions, and coupons motivate people to buy no matter what the time of year. Usually, regardless of how much they have already bought. This means that just as the holiday sales are ending, new sales need to be launched to keep the momentum going.

Post-holiday sales not only entice those making returns to make new purchases, but bring back past customers and tempt new ones. This can include products that consumers saved for later during the holiday spending frenzy.

Not sure what type of post-holiday ecommerce sale to offer? Consider offering a free gift with purchase or hosting a clearance blow-out sale.

Market To Your Email List

While social media may be the hottest marketing tool available, email is showing no signs of going away. Not only is email the first place 58% of individuals check every day, but it also has a conversion rate of 6.05% versus just 1.9% for social media.

Email marketing, which your customers and prospective customers have opted in for, can boost post-holiday ecommerce sales and stabilize ecommerce income. Roughly one in three US retail email list subscribers have purchased something from a brand whose emails they receive. And that’s not all, consumers, on average, spend 138% more when marketed to through email, as compared to those who do not receive email offers. 

By marketing to core email segments during this holiday period, you’re able to secure low-hanging business. Email marketing, when done effectively, keeps your business top of mind and ensures that as soon as consumers start looking to make purchases, you’ll be there. 

Bottom Line: Show Up

After the holiday rush is over, you may be exhausted and tempted to take a break and enjoy the slow-down that happens in January. Don’t give in. One of the biggest mistakes ecommerce stores can make is to go dark in January because it is difficult to get revenue back to where it needs after it has dropped for too long. 

Instead, show up, show off, been seen, and speak up. When other retailers take a break, launch a new product, kick off a new marketing campaign, and host a new sale. When other retailers focus on restocking inventory, host a clearance sale to clear out the rest of yours. 

If you can do that, you’ll kick off the new year ahead of the competition and set the stage to have your best year ever. And, if you want an ecommerce partner whose got your back no matter what, Hostdedi is here to help. Hostdedi managed ecommerce solutions come with bundled plugins and optimizations to ensure your business is targeting the right consumers with the right experience. 

Learn more about managed ecommerce and get started with WooCommerce

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Turning Disruption into Opportunity: Our Approach to Magento’s Platform Change

Disruption. Not a word anyone running a mission-critical business wants to hear. And there’s no shying away from the fact that Magento has introduced disruption into the commerce market by sunsetting the Magento 1 platform and encouraging merchants to re-platform to M2.  

But what about when disruption creates opportunity and innovation?  When disruption brings about a transition to something bigger, better, different, and future-proof?  Well, we think about it in a different frame. Turning disruption into opportunity is how we here at Hostdedi view the pending M1 End of Life in June of 2020.

Many companies like yours are having to make decisions about what happens next to Magento-based online stores. You’re likely seeing messaging that ‘the sky is falling’, wrapped around offers, tutorials, and guides on how to migrate as fast as you can before everything crashes down. But before you get worried, think strategically. This kind of shift will require a transformation – and transformation requires clear-headed thinking, planning, and solid change management.

This is a perfect opportunity to audit where you are and make good decisions about where you’re going. Planning for and executing strategically on this change is where Hostdedi can help you transform challenge into triumph. 

Not every business is the same and knowing that this event was coming allowed us to expand our portfolio of solutions to meet you wherever you are. We’ve developed a brand new product called Safe Harbor for those who want to stay put for now. We also have Magento agencies ready to help you migrate to M2. And if you decide that a re-platform to M2 doesn’t align with your overarching business strategy, we’re prepared to offer extensive support for other platforms that allow you to drive growth.

Getting What You Need from Open Source

With the introduction of Magento in 2007, the commerce landscape was forever changed. What was originally called Community Edition turned into Magento Open Source a few years ago. Upon its arrival, it quickly became the de facto solution for anyone selling online. And we were there. In fact, the first instances of Magento were built on the Hostdedi platform and we have been the #1 hosting provider for Magento stores ever since. 

But today’s landscape is far different than it was a decade ago. There are platforms aplenty for small and large businesses, both open and closed. And with so many options, it can be overwhelming to pare down and prioritize what features and functions are going to make your site the best it can be. Remember – easy doesn’t always mean best – especially if you’re considering a closed platform like Shopify for your foundation. As a SaaS platform, it limits customization, performance, and scalability. A lack of built-in features often requires add-ons that are costly, resource-intensive, and can slow down your site. Add to that restrictive product & SKU customization, a lack of flexibility for site design & modifications, and exorbitant subscription fees and what might seem like an easy path becomes unforgiving and expensive. Shopify’s transaction and payment gateway fees alone could cost you more than 5% of every sale you make

So if there’s one takeaway from this moment of transition, it’s that making open source your foundation for commerce directly aligns to achieving long-term growth. From its revolutionary beginnings to current day frameworks, open source optimizes people and technology. The value of rapid contribution from experts, the elimination of extra licensing and maintenance fees, and the ability to inherently know they can meet the needs of every customer is exactly why our industry-leading agency clients invest in open source with us. They know that they can meet the needs of every customer with confidence and without hesitation. We’re proud of our leadership in this space. And we’re committed to continuous investment here, developing the broadest possible community dedicated to open source ecommerce.

Taking Action 

Ready for next steps? We’re excited to share options that will provide a smooth transition for you and your clients: 

Option 1: Stay on Magento 1 with Hostdedi’ Safe Harbor: 

After June 2020, Magento will stop providing core updates and security patches. Safe Harbor offers:

  • Updates and security patches that will keep your platform running, safely. 
  • Malware scans with visibility into malicious attacks and blocked requests by our WAF. 
  • A vetted list of modules we frequently update with recommend extensions that can be used without risk.
  • Simple integration that does not require dev support. 

This is a great option available for Q120+ which can avail you more time to work on your broader strategy.

Option 2: Move from Magento 1 to Magento 2: 

If you’re growing fast, have a migration plan already in place, and a high number of customers and SKUs, this option likely makes sense for you. While it requires re-platforming, we’ve made the transition to M2 as seamless as possible by serving up a stable platform with capabilities designed to elevate the consumer experience, while still ensuring your team is supported at every turn. We have a broad set of agency partners we can connect you with who are at-the-ready to help you re-platform.


  • Apply security updates and patches
  • Create malware signatures and firewall rules

Look and feel and UX

  • Design themes
  • Data migration
  • Basic training
  • Product data loading


  • Dedicated project manager
  • Ongoing support after migration is complete
  • Security and core patches
  • Store performance analysis and optimization
  • Support for most popular extensions for payments, shipping, tax, and email marketing

Option 3: Talk with Us About Alternatives:

We’re experts in open source ecommerce and we’re ready to work with you on building out your plan. Not sure if Magento is still a good fit? We have customers of all sizes on our Managed WooCommerce Hosting platform. One example is an enterprise with more than 5,000 SKU’s, processing 25,000 orders a month, and generating more than $10M in annual revenue. Marrying needs & budget with ongoing support that aligns to your long-term growth objectives is what we do best. 

We’ve learned a lot in the last decade: not only about Magento and the surrounding community, but about ecommerce. Now that you know our plans, we’re ready to hear about yours. Whether you’re staying on Magento 1, moving to Magento 2 or considering alternatives, our ecommerce partners are ready to help you with your next move. Contact us today for a review of where you are now, and how options like Safe Harbor will keep you secure as you determine next steps.

Interested in Learning about Safe Harbor?

Let us know in the form below

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The Magento 1 End of Life With Gary Smith

Gary Smith, Strategic Partner Development Manager at Hostdedi, shares his thoughts on Magento 1, its history, and end of life. We cover the real story on PCI compliance, why staying isn’t the end of world, and how making the move to Magento 2 in your own timeframe comes with opportunities for growth. 

Ready to begin exploring your options in the runup to June 2020? Get in touch and let us help you find the right solution for your business. 

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Find the Right Ecommerce Platform for Your Clients

Agencies have a clear charter for their clients: help them get the best ROI from their technology solutions.  Part of that is making the platform recommendations that help merchants achieve their vision and drive growth.

Hostdedi managed hosting makes that choice easier, but the decision process still requires navigating a range of different options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. It’s a complex ecosystem to navigate. 

The ecommerce platform decision tree makes maneuvering those choices easier. Follow the path and find which platform is right for each and every one of your clients. 

The ecommerce platform decision tree

Learn more about Hostdedi managed hosting and how it can benefit both your agency and your clients.

The post Find the Right Ecommerce Platform for Your Clients appeared first on Hostdedi Blog.

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How to Use Keyword Research to Drive Your Content Marketing

If you own a small business and want your store to be found online via Google and other search engines, you’ll need to do keyword research. Keyword research is core to knowing both what is being searched for and what resonates with your audience. It also helps to construct resonant and valuable product descriptions, content marketing assets, and more.

As you build out your content marketing strategy for 2020, it’s important that you align your content with high-value, high-intent keywords. By doing so, you’re able to drive revenue and secure brand recognition in the locations your consumers are visiting.

Following these best practices allows you to step into content marketing with the confidence that your audience (and ultimately, your shoppers) will take a greater interest in what you have to say, and that Google will boost your site in its search rankings.

Learn more about how to optimize your Ecommerce SEO.

What Is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is how you identify the keywords your target customers are using to search online for what you’re offering. If you sell toys for babies and toddlers for example, your keywords are what parents and others shopping for kids’ toys type into the search bar (“safe toys for a 1-year-old” or “baby teething toys”).

As you do your keyword research, you’ll pull together a list of keywords to rank in search engine results. Customers use Google and other search engines to locate websites based on the questions they’re trying to answer or products they’re looking to purchase online.

Searches can include keywords or keyphrases. Simply put, these are the terms your customers type into the search bar.

Here are some essential keyword terms and metrics to know.


A keyword is a specific word searchers type into a search engine (or say to a search engine). Keywords can be tracked, charted, and measured to show what people are looking for when using search engines. They may search for “infant T-shirts” or “minivan air filters.” And yes, a keyword can (and often does) have multiple words.

Keyphrases and Long-Tail Keywords

A keyword is usually sentence-length or a sentence fragment. Keyphrases and long-tail keywords are essentially the same concept, and are much more highly specific and specialized. For instance, “orange baby tees” might be a keyphrase while “where to buy baby tees in NYC” could be a long-tail keyword.

Keyword Volume

Keyword volume is the average number of monthly searches for any given keyword. The higher the volume is for a given keyword, the more popular and valuable that keyword is. Advertisers and businesses trying to place in the search engine results pages (SERP) rankings usually want the highest volume keywords.

keyword volume

There’s a big exception, though, to the idea that all keywords must have high volumes — niche keywords often have lower volumes, as do long-tail keywords, but they can still be very desirable if they attract a valuable audience to your website.

Keyword Difficulty and Competition

Keyword difficulty tells you how challenging it is to rank high on the SERPs for a particular keyword. If a word is highly competitive, you may be better off choosing different keywords to emphasize in your content marketing. A larger number means a keyword is more competitive while a keyword with a lower difficulty number will be easier to rank for.

CPC (Cost per Click)

CPC is the price a search engine advertiser pays for a visitor’s click on the ad. Search engines offer advertising and typically use a CPC model to charge for the service. These ads are typically shown at the top of the search results, and are clearly marked as an ad. Every click charges against the accounts that advertisers hold with the search engine’s company. For instance, you can advertise with Google and pay for every individual click to your ads. The more competitive the keyword, the higher the cost per click.

Cost per click for keyword research

Cost-Per-Click (CPC) is the amount search engine advertisers pay when someone clicks their ad.

Putting It All Together: Using Keyword Metrics

Keyword and keyphrase research give you a glimpse into what your customers are looking for online so you can position your content accordingly. For content marketing, this provides shop owners with greater insight into what questions, goals, and desires customers have.

Volume, competition, and CPC information helps you identify the desirable words. The higher the volume, competition, and CPC, the more valuable a search term typically is for you (and your competitors).

Once you have your keyword list, you can start planning your content. This is the keyword strategy part of your content marketing.

How to Do Keyword Research

Online research tools for finding the right keywords and keyphrases can show you how common search terms are used, what related keywords they’re also searching for, and how you can connect these searches to specific content plans for your content marketing.

Step One: Use Search Intent to Create a Keyword List to Research

If you don’t know what questions your website visitors are asking, it’s hard to know what keywords will actually increase traffic. Start with a list of questions your audience is trying to answer. The answer to these questions should ultimately be related to your product. If you can’t think of any questions, start with a few words associated with your product.

For example, if you sell cabin air filters for cars, trucks, and other consumer vehicles, your potential customers may be asking or thinking

  • Can I change my cabin air filter myself?
  • Where can I find air filters for a Toyota Camry?
  • What’s the right air filter for my vehicle?
  • Who has the cheapest car air filters?
  • What does a cabin air filter cost?
  • How do I know if a car air filter is dirty?
  • How often should you change your air filter?

Write down keywords and keyphrases that naturally result from these questions. It’s also okay to have several hundred keywords. In fact, a typical business should rank for as many relevant keywords as possible. For example, “Where can I find air filters for a Toyota Camry?” could be expanded to dozens, if not hundreds, of car makes and models.

Step Two: Test and Expand Your Keywords With Keyword Tools

Using a keyword tool, you can prioritize the keywords you use in your content.

Good keywords bring traffic to your site and ultimately result in conversions, or purchases. Relevance is important. If you sell cabin air filters, you don’t want a large volume of traffic from people looking for T-shirts or gardening equipment. Generally speaking, a good keyword for you is highly-relevant for shoppers, has decent volume, fits your product, and is something you can rank for by putting in the effort.

Typically, you at least want to know the volume and the competitiveness of your keywords. High-volume keywords attract marketers — often making these words more competitive. If you’re offering a niche product, it generally means it’s better to have more specific terms even if they don’t attract a ton of traffic. Every keyword search matters when you’re selling a product with niche appeal. According to Moz, keywords that are less competitive and more specific (i.e., long-tail keywords that fit your customers) are 70% better at converting visitors to your website than competitive, major keywords.

You also want to identify similar keywords and start building your content with the right combinations of keywords.

Here are three, free keyword tools to get you started. All provide helpful insights that allow you to shape your content marketing.

Answer The Public

With Answer The Public, you can identify search engine user questions that are closely related to each other. This tool is very helpful if you’re looking for keywords to use with those you already have.

To uncover more long-tail, specific keywords you can use in your marketing, use Keyword Tool. This tool uses Google Autocomplete to find alternative keywords and is free even without an account — though you’ll get a lot more keywords and relevant data with a paid account.


The free keyword tool Ubersuggest provides keyword suggestions and competitor research. It can help you understand how difficult it will be to rank for a certain keyword.

As you build your knowledge of keyword research, or start working with larger data sets, you might consider using one of the top paid services: Ahrefs or SEMrush.

Step Three: Plan Your Content

And now, the moment of truth. You have your keywords and you’re ready to begin planning your content. Take your keywords and group them by topic. Create questions based on these keywords that reflect what your customers are really asking. Many keyword tools will actually do this for you.

For instance, if we use the free tool Answer The Public to create questions for “car air filter,” the results are questions and search queries:

  • What car air filter do I need?
  • Can I wash my car air filter with water?
  • How to make a car air filter
  • Where to change car air filter
  • Does car air conditioning filter smoke

Related keywords and important for planning with keyword research

These are related to our keyword and are real questions and problems consumers are trying to answer. They also happen to be good possible topics for new content. You could easily write a blog post for all of these or address the questions on your website.

In this way, eCommerce retailers can quickly and affordably create topic lists using your keywords. If you ever run out of ideas for the content you’re writing, just brainstorm more keywords and see what topics are popular in search.

Step Four: Write Content

From here, use related keywords to fill out the details in your content. If “How to change a car air filter” is your topic, you can use related keywords and questions such as “What car air filter do I need?” and “Where to change a car air filter” as headings and sections. Think about everything your readers would want to know about the topic and try to answer any relevant questions within your content.

Avoid trying to make one single piece of content fit all of your keywords, though. Take care not to confuse being comprehensive with covering all of your SEO bases in one landing page or article. Not only is this a huge turn-off for readers, but too many keywords can reduce the quality of your writing and get your website penalized by search engines. Don’t write only for keyword searches; focus on your readers.


As you analyze your keywords and build your content, don’t be afraid to make course corrections and adjustments. Content marketing requires some experimentation to get right. However, with access to the right tools and information, it’s very possible to get better traction with SEO by using content, and it’s worth putting in the work.

Remember, SEO is more than just keywords. It’s an ecosystem of techniques and strategies designed to make you content as resonant and relevant as it can be. Part of that is ensuring visitors are greeted by an unrivaled user experience that is as quick as it is easy to navigate. Hostdedi Managed hosting makes creating that experience easier with bundled integrations that help to get the most from your content and site.

Learn how Hostdedi Managed WordPress can help and get started today.

The post How to Use Keyword Research to Drive Your Content Marketing appeared first on Hostdedi Blog.

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7 Ecommerce Blueprint Considerations You May Be Overlooking

An ecommerce blueprint is your agency’s lifeline. As a vital foundational document, it helps you create a clear strategy for delivering results to a client; results that go beyond just KPIs and metrics. 

A well-executed blueprint should not just be a list of requirements and solutions. Instead, it should be seen as an evolving guide that ensures a client’s store will continue to be performant, secure, and scalable. 

Your agency is undoubtedly paying attention to every facet of a client’s business – from goals to structure, to deployment and beyond. No area should be left untouched if it will affect the technology and solution choices your client makes. Making individual recommendations for every client can be challenging, but it’s also vital. 

Our managed ecommerce solutions offer merchants and agencies a solid foundation to begin working from. Key infrastructure optimizations, security safeguards, and expandable features are inherent, enabling your agency to actively drive growth for each client. However, taking a single approach to multiple projects can only help so much. For a project to truly thrive, it’s important to nuance solutions.

Let’s take a look at seven considerations you may be rushing through when putting together the technology aspect of your ecommerce blueprint. We’ll explore some key options available to you and provide actionable advice on how to get started.

Bare Metal Server

1. Hosting Size Matters (But That’s Not the Whole Story)

The first area to address is plan size.

We know, smaller plan sizes can be appealing. Not only do they provide impressive traffic resources and a lot of the same great integrations we pack into our larger plans, but they are also available at competitive price points.

However, the more popular a store, the more traffic it’s going to get. By choosing a plan that doesn’t meet a store’s requirements, you’re – at best – bottlenecking the checkout, and – at worst – causing site slowdowns and crashes.

Stores cannot afford this. A 1-second delay in load time means a 7% decrease in conversions. To truly drive growth, stores must build in enough capacity to allow for additional resources when needed. 

Choosing the right plan size allows you to create the best foundation for building on client expectations. 

But selecting the right hosting plan isn’t as simple as just understanding traffic and resource requirements. With our managed ecommerce plans, you’re able to take advantage of additional resources to help improve ecommerce website performance and scalability. 

The first of these is auto scaling. This feature allows for a site to increase capacity as and when it needs to. This means more concurrent users (up to the next plan size) and more customers being able to proceed through checkout at the same time.

Another option is the Cloud Accelerator. Available with all cloud plans, this allows ecommerce websites to manage more concurrent users with a single click in your client portal. 

We also offer several container-based services that are run outside of a store’s core account. If you’re looking to improve product search and are interested in using Elasticsearch to do so, you can without having to worry about how that will affect your store’s performance. 

2. Platform Choice Is More Complex Than You Think

The right ecommerce platform for each client isn’t always the most obvious. What appears to be a performant and scalable choice on day one, can become a nightmare as a client’s store grows and requires more flexibility.

Despite this, serious platform considerations often find themselves forgotten about in favor of standard workflow templates; ease of use often surpassing functionality and performance requirements.

As you begin to build out an ecommerce blueprint, consider more than just the here and now. Great ecommerce website design includes a consideration of a client’s growth goals.

This couldn’t be more important than it is right now. According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, 93% of the most successful organizations in 2019 were extremely committed to content marketing. 

What that means is that successful ecommerce businesses need to start integrating content into their ecommerce blueprint. Beyond just delivering product descriptions, consumers are now looking for research sources where they can explore gift guides, read background information, and delve through reviews. 

In 2019, 93% of the most successful organizations were extremely committed to content marketing. (Content Marketing Institute)

Applications like WooCommerce, a plugin for WordPress, are perfect here as they provide excellent content management features. The platform has also become a leading standard for SEO, with over 3 million sites currently running on it along with 22% of the top 1 million sites worldwide. That means more traffic to the content you’re clients are looking to create and more conversions. 

3. Ecommerce Security Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

Security never seems like it’s going to be a problem… until it is.

Attacks can range from taking a store offline and preventing visitors from accessing it, to finding and stealing customer PII (personally identifiable information). In both cases, one security breach can have a serious and long-term impact on an ecommerce business.

According to Gartner, by 2020 100% of large enterprises will have to report on cybersecurity and technology risk to their board of directors. This isn’t because security is a template statistic, but because security breaches have increased by 67% since 2014, with damages estimated to total $6 trillion by 2021.

As we move into 2020, it’s vital – now more than ever – that merchants have a plan for handling vulnerabilities and protecting against attacks.

By 2020, 100% of large enterprises will have to report on cybersecurity and technology risk to their board of directors. (Gartner)

But security is a fickle thing. Like many of the items on this list, template solutions can do more harm than good. The right security measures should consider both a client’s consumers and their organization’s structure. 

The first line of defense is a well-maintained Web Application Firewall (WAF). This software-based firewall protects stores from known threats by blocking suspicious connection requests and preventing attackers from even getting a foot in the door. 

We block over 3.5 million attacks daily. However, To block attacks effectively with a WAF, we need to know where they are coming from. 

Understanding a client’s target geographies and known dangerous sources, and sharing these with our support team, can help us to build stronger rulesets that keep your client’s store protected. 

Beyond this, managed ecommerce helps to tighten security with automated processes that make your agency’s job easier. We provide automatic daily backups, nightly malware scans, PCI compliance assistance, and the popular iThemes security plugin on all WooCommerce and WordPress solutions.  

4. Containers Are Powerful Integrations That Don’t Draw From Core Resources

Robust functionality drives ecommerce growth and moves the needle. Consumers now expect certain functionality as standard and merchants expect your agency to be able to deliver on those by default. 

Yet as we mentioned above, feature integrations can take a sizable share of a server’s resources. Instead of providing an incredible user experience, they cause slowdowns and crashes. 

Containers are a pivotal solution, allowing you to avoid infrastructure and performance pitfalls without needing to increase your client’s plan size prematurely. 

This is because they run outside of your primary hosting account and so have their own set of dedicated resources. Currently, the container integrations available for all Hostdedi solutions include:

  • Elasticsearch
  • Varnish
  • RabbitMQ
  • SOLR

Hostdedi container solutions offer innovative capabilities to the key ecommerce business problems of product search and performance, and help take the guesswork out of the technology recommendations your agency needs to provide. 

5. Ecommerce Integrations Can Help in Areas You Don’t Expect

We offer over $2,000 in integrations for smaller WooCommerce stores and over $6,000 in integrations for larger ones. These integrations add vital functionality to stores of any size and take the complexity out of optimization.

Simply put, as stores get larger, so too do their requirements. The integrations we provide help stores to meet those requirements by offering a turnkey solution nuanced to client requirements. 

Take, for example, data analysis. Modern technology has seen data become a central part of the ecommerce industry. Now, product and content decisions are informed not by whim but by data. By 2020, Forrester predicts that businesses will double their data strategy budget. 

Businesses will double their data strategy budget in 2020. (Forrester)

To make the work of agencies and merchants easier, we’ve partnered with helps merchants to better understand both their business and their consumers by providing ecommerce analytics and business intelligence insights quickly and easily. 

We’ve also included other integrations, such as abandoned cart emails from Jilt, the Beaver Builder page builder, and more. Each of these integrations has been provided with your agency’s role in mind. 

Before reverting to the standard integrations you’ve always used, explore the options we’ve bundled with our solutions first. You may find something that allows you to deliver in areas you never thought you could.  

6. Development Is More Than Staging Sites

Development processes vary by agency. Being locked into one particular process can be both frustrating and time-consuming. 

At Hostdedi, we believe in supporting agency and merchant development practices, whatever they may be. Our managed ecommerce solutions have been engineered to provide development teams with maximum flexibility, while also incorporating optimized solutions to foundational development problems. They bring together a set of unified tools capable of bringing cohesion to an otherwise uneven development process.

Our development sites are a clear example of this. With Hostdedi, you can easily spin up a development site with optional 1:1 data duplication and PII (Personally Identifiable Information) scrubbing to ensure the security of customer data – all with only one click in your client portal.

But development processes are more than just environments to work in. A good development process considers how teams are managed, who approves changes and alterations, and how issues are reported on. As you work through the ecommerce blueprint with your client, assigning roles for different players can make development a lot easier and smoother down the road. 

7. Managed Hosting Makes Ecommerce Blueprint Decisions Easier

Managed ecommerce makes all the decisions above, and more, easier. 

Our solutions have been designed to provide agencies with a comprehensive toolset that lets you realize your client’s vision and actively accelerate growth. Beyond just hosting infrastructure, we consider platform requirements, integration opportunities, and potential. 

By hosting your clients’ stores with Hostdedi, you’ll have access to an experienced technology partner that knows how to manage the most critical of infrastructure and platform choices. We can help you translate your client’s requirements into the right technology. 

Just remember, the right option isn’t always the default. Sometimes it’s worth exploring alternatives and the benefits they can provide both short and long term. 

To see how managed ecommerce solutions can help your agency to create better ecommerce websites, talk to a Hostdedi team member and explore your options.

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Five Tips To Build A Sustainable WordPress Agency

Success and income posturing are a constant throughout social media. Across the Internet, freelancers and agency owners tout their high-dollar contracts and big money months. The hustle, grind, and slay lifestyle is glorified through staged luxury lifestyle photos. But eventually, these same people making a big splash, and even bigger claims, slowly fade away or disappear. Their tactics, while initially impressive, aren’t sustainable.

To build a sustainable WordPress agency, you need to dispense with the gimmicks and posturing and take aim at developing a strategy that maintains your agency’s momentum. Success isn’t built overnight, but it’s also not an impossible climb when you know what to pay attention to. 

By realigning your agency processes, you’ll be able to build on your core objectives to turn your WordPress agency into a business that is both sustainable, profitable, and that drives growth.

Constant And Consistent Marketing

When you become a business owner, you also become a marketer whether you like it or not. 

For a services business to thrive, it needs a pipeline full of qualified clients. That means you need to be investing in lead generation and marketing efforts — and it can’t be sporadic.

Marketing efforts can – and should – begin as soon as your business and its brand have been established. The right marketing techniques place you front-of-mind and help to bring you long term business.

Consider this:

  • The best time to market your WordPress services is when you’re booked solid because those efforts create leads that will become future clients. This is the key to ending the feast or famine roller coaster.
  • Clients decide to hire you when they are ready, not when you’re ready. You need constant and consistent marketing to stay top of mind.

Dependable Baseline Income

Earning a dependable base income every month eliminates the tremendous stress that comes from living project to project. 

A stable base income also provides more flexibility and opportunity in future projects, growth planning, and hiring. It is critical for your budding agency to not only offer single website builds and one-off projects, but services that provide reliable recurring revenue. 

Consider offering monthly website support, ongoing retainers, and other long-term services. WordPress is used by 35% of global websites. These site owners know the value of upkeep and you’re in the perfect position to deliver on that. 

Consider this:

  • To get started, set a goal to earn enough recurring revenue to cover 50% of all business expenses. When achieved, extend your goal to cover 100% of all business expenses.
  • If you’re building an agency, aim to secure enough recurring revenue to cover all of your team salaries.

Documented Systems And Processes

Systems and processes are the keys to sustainable business growth. 

When you’re freelancing and working solo, it’s okay to have all of your business systems and processes in your head. If you want to grow an agency, however, you need to document each and every system and process step-by-step. 

Process documentation can start with just a simple spreadsheet. As your agency grows and your client base expands, you can start to build this out, covering each area of your business in more detail. 

As you build out your processes, keep future goals top of mind. What are your plans for 6 months from now? What does your forecast look like in 12 months? Having insight into how your processes may have to change in the future is key to being able to provide clients with the right expectations.

Consider this:

  • Process documentation creates clear instructions that enable delegation and set new employees up for success. Without it, you become a bottleneck that prevents forward progress.
  • Documenting systems allows you to leverage software automation for repetitive tasks to save time, reduce resources, and increase profits.

Crystal Clear Communication

Ambiguity leads to confusion and uncertainty, which in turn, leads to doubt and procrastination, which in turn leads to inaction and delays. 

When it comes to communication, there can’t be too much and you can never be too clear. Whether you’re guiding your internal team, working with paying clients, or engaged in sales conversations with prospects, clear communication is critical to your success.

Consider this:

  • No matter what you’re doing, all stakeholders need to be on the same page, understand the goals, and know the expectations—and they must be aware of their role, what needs to be done, and when it must be done by.
  • When providing instructions of any kind, provide them in writing, review them verbally, and ask them to be repeated back to you so there is zero confusion.

Strong Administrative Practices

You’re great at what you do—you wouldn’t have started a business if you weren’t—but as a business owner, you now also have to be great at managing your business.

Without a foundational understanding of critical business concepts and the tactical ability to execute on them, your business will suffer and you will struggle to stay afloat. As the owner, you need to learn about bookkeeping, payroll, and taxes, estimating and invoicing, project management, client management, marketing, and sales. 

Consider this:

  • Business owners must create responsible, consistent administrative habits. Without them, it becomes easy to ignore the “paperwork” side of the business when swamped with client work. The problem with this, however, is that the unsexy administrative side of the business is what makes sure you get paid.

Grow Your Agency With Managed WordPress

Focusing on the development of your agency is a time-intensive task. Besides the everyday hustle and bustle of client requests, you’re also dealing with the continued management of existing projects. Very quickly, this can cause growth goals to fall to the wayside as maintenance tasks take over. 

By following the five tips above, you’ll be able to better align your business practices with those growth goals and strategies. Instead of finding yourself on the receiving end of an impossible workflow or uncertain project, you’ll be able to proceed quickly and efficiently; optimizing both you and your client’s time. 

At Hostdedi, we’ve created a solution designed to help you build a sustainable WordPress agency without worrying about the basics. Managed WordPress solutions from Hostdedi take care of the infrastructure, plugin updates, image compression, and more, leaving you with the time you need to develop a winning business strategy and focus on finding new clients. Get started with Managed WordPress today. 

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