Are you considering incorporating a blog into your marketing strategy? Looking for WordPress alternatives? Although our conversion software has long been used in tandem with WordPress blogs, an increasing number of small businesses are using the Leadpages drag and drop website builder to simplify their blog publishing.
Whether you use WordPress, Leadpages, both, or something else, it’s time to finally commit to creating content that converts.
Here’s what you’ll discover in this article:
- The 4 benefits of blogging (no matter what platform you use)
- The truth about blogs
- Should I use WordPress or Leadpages for my blog?
- Blogging options with Leadpages
- How to create your blog with Leadpages
- Get more organic traffic with SEO and social media
- Generate more leads with every post
Blogging for business?
Grab this 4-step checklist for creating blog posts that actually build your business.
The 4 benefits of blogging
Since its inception, blogging has rightfully earned a reputation for boosting business in four key areas.
Credibility – When what you say has meaning to individual readers, they come to know you as a thought leader in your area of expertise, whether that’s what type of flowers to plant in your climate zone or how to develop better communication between members of your team.
Traffic – As people enjoy your content, it’s natural for them to share it. Your article gets links from other people’s websites (SEO), and social posts on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest. This brings new visitors to your door, where (hopefully) this cycle of organic traffic continues.
Conversions – When you strike the right chord with your readers, it becomes easier to turn them into email subscribers, clients, and customers. As long as your content matches what you’re selling or giving away, and you actually ask them to take the next step with a lead magnet or product/service for sale, you’ll boost your conversions with your blog.
Content – Having a blog encourages you to create and test out ideas that can unlock future offers. Take an article you write about 5 ways to get more attention for your resume and repurpose it into a video for social media. High response to the topic can turn into a 5-day challenge or a paid course. Only hear crickets? Then you avoid the mistake of turning it into a product that nobody wants to buy.
The truth about blogs
With the promise of blogging being so big, it’s easy for any small business owner to be seduced into blogging for the sake of blogging.
The truth is more nuanced than “if you build it they will come.”
A blog that boosts your business will do so because you intentionally create content that matters to your ideal customers. And because you intentionally turn that content into a customer conversion journey that brings in revenue for you.
In truth, it’s not about the blog per se. Creating article after article without strategy and goals is a hamster wheel of disappointment.
You will realize the benefits of blogging when you create content that matters to people. That’s true whether you deliver your content in video, webinar, podcast, or written formats. And it’s true whether you write 5 signature articles per year, or you decide to publish every day.
Shift your perspective to focusing on content marketing as a lead and acquisition channel. Resist locking into having a blog just because some guru said it was important.
Should I use WordPress or Leadpages for my blog?
As with many questions in business (and life), the answer to this question is: “it depends.”
Most of our customers who have established businesses before they started their Leadpages account already had a WordPress site. Many of them continue to use both. New business owners turn to Leadpages as their single source for their web presence, particularly if they view blogging as a low priority. Others who are bringing an existing business online use Leadpages as the front end of their web presence, and use WordPress as a backend content management system.
We’ll cover these blogging options more below. But first, a brief discussion on the foundations of this question is key.
Most people think blogging requires WordPress, and often the two terms are used interchangeably.
However, the concept of a blog is simply a “web log,” a series of updates and thoughts of a particular person or brand, no matter what platform you’re using to publish it.
WordPress is the ubiquitous, open-source content management system (CMS) that powers about ⅓ of the websites online. However, it is hardly the only platform for blogging. Other typical blogging platforms include Medium, Typepad, LinkedIn, and Tumblr, just to name a few.
The hidden costs of WordPress
Although WordPress is technically free to install, it’s hardly without expense.
The free themes and plugins you can get are prone to major security flaws. Fixing a hacked WordPress site is expensive, ranging from a $200 DIY solution like Sucuri, to thousands of dollars from a specialist.
Premium themes and plugins range from $20 – $500 and higher, which still doesn’t guarantee security or support.
There is no WordPress “support desk” to turn to in case you run into problems. The software is open-source, and so is the help. If you run into a snag, you’ll spend time searching for solutions from a morass of questionable sources
In truth, effective deployment of WordPress for business requires at least the help of a virtual assistant, freelancer, or web developer to keep the plugins and themes up to date and the site protected.
The opportunity cost of WordPress can be high as well. Every hour you spend trying to figure out WordPress is an hour you can’t impact the lives of your customers.
To be clear, WordPress is an amazing platform. We use WordPress ourselves (you’re reading this article on it, in fact), but we also have a team that works on the infrastructure, content, and design.
If you don’t have a squad of your own, WordPress can be a lot more expensive than that attractive sticker price.
Leadpages sites as a blogging platform
For many coaches, consultants, and service providers who know that converting leads from content is critical, Leadpages is the ideal platform because it doesn’t require nearly the level of backend management and security that WordPress does.
It’s simple to share your thought leadership on a site built with Leadpages. But to be clear, Leadpages is first and foremost a conversion platform, not a CMS.
Since Leadpages is not overloaded with plugins and is powered by the Google cloud, sites built on our platform are fast. This is not only great for the visitors’ experience of your site, but it also means that search engines and advertising platforms give your faster site extra points for speed.
Sites built on Leadpages are mobile-responsive by default, and it’s easy to optimize for mobile without having to install separate software or do backend coding.
An additional perk you don’t get with WordPress: customers of Leadpages can connect with members of our support team for fast answers to your questions.
How much does Leadpages cost?
Customers of Leadpages can use it for their entire website (blog included) starting at $19/month (even less with an annual subscription). Most of our customers are on the Standard ($37/month) or Pro ($79/month) plans to take advantage of more conversion tools that accelerate the growth of their business.
In addition to the various features within the platform, the price of Leadpages includes support, templates, weekly group Conversion Coaching sessions, hosting, and constant software updates without having to touch the code yourself.
You know exactly how much to budget for Leadpages every month, and you won’t be hit by surprise overage fees, or emergency fixes requiring the help of a freelancer or webmaster.
Blogging options with Leadpages
Leadpages always comes from a “yes, and…” position, instead of forcing you into an “our way or the highway” situation that fails to truly meet the unique needs of your business (we’re looking at you, overly complex all-in-one systems).
Customers of Leadpages enjoy three primary blogging options.
- Leadpages only
- Leadpages with WordPress
- WordPress with Leadpages
Each of these has its merits, and we encourage you to pick the route that works best for your business. Which setup you choose truly depends on the prominence of your blogging strategy, and how frequently you create new content.
And don’t worry – the choice you make doesn’t have to feel so daunting. With the ease of the Leadpages domain connection serving your account, switching your preferred setup is as easy as moving your toaster from one side of your kitchen to another – simply change which plug you connect to.
Bryan Nguyen combines Leadpages and WordPress together at CleverTaxes.com
If your idea of blogging gives you the shivers because you don’t see yourself as a prolific writer, then this is the best option for you. Use a Leadpages Site for your complete web presence, including your blog. Think: YourDomain.com, published 100% on Leadpages.
This option is best if your goal is to create 5-7 high impact, “signature” articles for the entire year. It’s also best if you want the flexibility to specify the importance of particular articles based on their topic, instead of the chronology of when the articles are written.
Bettina Buhr uses the full suite of conversion tools within Leadpages for her website.
Below, I’ve laid out more details on how you can set up your blog on Leadpages. But first, let’s discuss the other two viable options.
Leadpages with WordPress
If you’re just getting started in your business, or finally bringing your business online, AND you plan on writing 2-3 articles per month, then this is the best choice for you. You’ll use a Leadpages Site for the front end (yourdomain.com), and WordPress for the blog on a subdomain (thoughts.yourdomain.com).
This choice requires you to work with a third-party hosting company for your WordPress installation. Follow the instructions in our support article to set this up: Leadpages domain connection.
Within WordPress, the navigation menu links back to the pages on the Leadpages site.
Customers who choose this method typically create a content gallery page on their Leadpages site and link each of the post previews to the individual posts on WordPress. This way, you can have a conversion-focused blog home page that has more flexibility, and direct traffic to posts that matter the most to your business goals.
This method also works well if you prefer to blog on Medium, LinkedIn, or another WordPress alternatives.
Dylan King links to her Queen of Grit blog posts on Medium from her Leadpages site
WordPress with Leadpages
This option is best if you already have an existing WordPress site and a team to help you manage it. You’ll use WordPress for the front end blog, and add a Leadpages Site and landing pages for specific promotions, such as a book launch, live event, or new program.
Kindra Hall uses a Leadpages site to sell her book, Stories That Stick, while maintaining her existing WordPress site at KindraHall.com.
Your WordPress installation is on a third-party web host and you’ll connect your Leadpages Site to a subdomain (or alternate domain) using either your domain registrar or your web host’s control panel.
Like the previous option, a content gallery page on the Leadpages site gives you more control over what visitors see, independent of the chronology of your posts’ publishing dates.
Follow the instructions in our support article to set Leadpages up as a subdomain on your existing site: Leadpages domain connection.
How to create your blog with Leadpages
Once you’ve decided to create your blog on Leadpages, you’re ready to take action by following these simple steps. Remember, for a quick, but deep, visual dive on doing this, check out our free Website in a Weekend course.
Start with planning
First, create a site with the Leadpages website builder by choosing from our conversion-first templates.
Next, plan out your first 3 blog posts. These should cover topics that are the hottest issues that your ideal customers face. And they should be topics that can stand the test of time.
Then pick the one post that fires you up the most to create first.
Create your posts
Inside the Leadpages builder, duplicate a content page you may already have in the template you’re using, or add a fresh page and choose the “Blog Article” from the page types available with each website theme.
For the content, you can type directly into the Leadpages builder text widgets.
Alternatively, you can write your article in your favorite word processing program like Google Docs or Microsoft Word. When you’re ready, simply copy and paste the article into a page on your Leadpages site. Our page builder will retain your links, H1 and H2 tags, and key formatting.
Make it easy to find
By default, the new page you create is added to your navigation menu. You can rename the menu link, move the link as a child menu item in the navigation, or hide the page from navigation altogether.
Add at least one conversion opportunity
Within your post, be sure to include opportunities to build your email list. Adding a content upgrade lead magnet to the top, middle, and/or bottom of your post will give readers a clear incentive to subscribe.
Repeat this process for additional posts you want to write, either now or in the near future.
[FREE VIDEO COURSE]
Create your Website in a Weekend
Skip the webmaster drama and technical traps as you follow our plan to launch a professional-looking, lead-generating website.
Create a blog home page with a content gallery
Once you have more than one blog post, it’s time to create your content gallery.
Unlike WordPress and other platforms, Leadpages does not force you to show your content in chronological order. Instead, you have complete flexibility on the order and appearance of each article on your blog home page.
Create a new page based on the “Content Gallery” page type in the Leadpages builder. Replace the template’s content with an image, headline, and short description for each of your articles.
Add links to the image and “read more” buttons that you put on the page, making it easy for readers to navigate to your content.
Be sure to add another opt-in opportunity to this content gallery page to build your email list faster.
This content gallery page becomes your blog home page, and should be included in your navigation menu. Then, you can move individual articles you’ve written into the sub-navigation positions of your menu.
Get more organic traffic with Leadpages SEO and sharing settings
Part of the appeal of blogging is the potential for organic traffic from readers sharing your content and new prospects finding you through search engines.
Instead of relying on separate plugins to learn and keep updated, Leadpages comes pre-built with options to handle this with ease.
Leadpages and open graph
After you’ve written your blog articles, be sure to customize the post’s social media preview settings.
Control your social preview with Leadpages
Open graph is a protocol standardized by Facebook. Simply put in your preferred title, description, and image to customize the way your post will be previewed when shared on social.
You can also improve the likelihood of readers sharing your posts by including social sharing widgets in key areas of your post, such as the start, middle, and end. Many Leadpages customers see benefits from adding social share buttons to the thank you pages their new subscribers visit after they’ve joined their mailing list.
Simply drag the social sharing widget wherever you want it to go on a page, and set the URL to be shared to the post or to a landing page of your choice.
Drag social sharing buttons into any post
SEO and Leadpages
The primary driver of your blog posts appearance in search engine result pages (SERPs) is the content you write. Additionally, you can improve your results with the SEO options built into your Leadpages site.
Your site includes sitewide SEO settings, and each page can be customized with its own SEO title and description.
Control your SEO settings easily in Leadpages
Within your content, each blog article should start with a headline that’s tagged as H1. All the other subheadlines on the page should be either H2 or H3. Simply adjust the headline type in the text widget and Leadpages creates the appropriate code in the background.
Adjust the alt-text values for each image on your page, including important keyword phrases in the title and description. These settings are primarily for screen readers used by visually impaired visitors, but they are also important for your SEO.
You may have heard that having a sitemap is helpful for your website pages to get discovered by search engines. Leadpages automatically generates the sitemap for you, and publishes it at YourDomain.com/sitemap.xml.
Generate more leads with every post
When you focus your blog on conversion instead of just content, you’ll generate more leads and grow your audience faster.
Successful bloggers deploy a number of techniques to build their list, and Leadpages makes it easy.
Each post can include a small section near the top and bottom that highlights a lead magnet or incentive for opting in. An image and/or button should be used to trigger a pop-up instead of an inline form in the top of the post. At the bottom of the post, an inline form can work well.
Jill Heath maximizes list building with an alert bar at the bottom of her site, plus a CTA at the end of each post.
Additionally, on your content gallery page, include an alert bar that sticks to the top or bottom of the page to give away your primary lead magnet. At a minimum, encourage people to sign up so that they’ll receive updates from you via email when you’ve added more content.
Next, when used wisely, timed and exit pop-ups can be used to capture leads. The more related to the content the lead magnets are, the more successful timed and exit pop-ups are. However, if you set the frequency too high, or the time delay too low, your pop-ups have the potential of annoying your visitors more than helping. Always keep what’s best for your visitor in mind when adding interruption to their experience.
Finally, your site built with Leadpages includes a site-wide footer section. Use this to offer your primary lead magnet via a subheadline and a CTA button that triggers your primary pop-up.
Now choose wisely
Blogging is not for everyone, but if you want to benefit from faster credibility, increased traffic and conversions, and a testing ground of your ideas, then get your blog going ASAP.
Choose your own content marketing goals and get your message out there. Use Leadpages to accelerate your results, with or without WordPress. And as you make your choice, remember that the flexibility of Leadpages domain connections makes it easy to change your mind.
Wondering what to read next?
Here’s what we suggest:
→ The 10 Must-Knows for Small Business SEO
→ How to Run a Website Usability Test