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The Ultimate Guide to WordPress Content Management

March 03, 2020 - Posted to Job Interview

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The fact that you came here to read this article means you’ve already chosen WordPress as your content management system (CMS). Well, at least you’re seriously considering WordPress for content management. And that’s a great choice shared by the owners of over 27 mln live websites, according to BuiltWith. That’s how many websites operate with WordPress.

Please note that by WordPress here we refer to WordPress.org, the open-source network, not WordPress.com, the paid and all-in-one version of the CMS.

Now, let’s ask an important question here. Is WordPress content management any different than it is on other platforms? It is. The essentials are the same, of course: plan your content, create it, optimize it, and publish it. But with WordPress, you have endless integration possibilities and can have all the tools for most optimal content management in one place. 

We’ll start with the basics. Here’s how it goes: 

  1. Build the Website
  2. Create an Editorial Calendar
    1. Content types
    2. Frequency
    3. Tools
  3. Publish and Optimize
    1. Permissions for Authors
    2. SEO Optimization
  4. Promote Your Cntent 
    1. Send out Newsletters
    2. Share on Social Media

Build the Website

Building a website with WordPress can be super easy. You can, of course, design and code it all manually, but the open-source community of WordPress offers tons of ready-to-use plugins including WordPress LMS, themes, templates, and builders to create a website in a few clicks with minimal effort and no tech skills required. 

When choosing themes and templates, see if they’re compatible with one or another page builder, so you can customize its parts later. Plus, it is a must to take a look at reviews and make sure that you won’t have any problems with page load speed because it’s a key ranking factor.

Elementor is my page builder of choice. It comes with literally tons of customizable templates both from the Elementor team and third-party designers and is really affordable. Beaver is another great builder for WordPress.

You might want to try one of the integrated solutions where managed WordPress hosting comes with templates, a builder, and all the necessary WordPress tools.

In the process of building your website, start thinking about the content you’ll be posting in the near future.

Creating an Editorial Calendar

It’s better to start planning your content ahead even before you publish your newly-built website. There’s a couple of things you should decide: what content types you’re going to produce, how frequently you need to publish, and what tools you need to help you plan all of this. 

Content types

Two deciding factors of your content types are your resources/skills and Google rankings. 

You would benefit from always starting the content planning process with SEO research.

What are the keywords you want to rank for? What kind of content ranks the highest for those keywords? How are you going to compete to win the #1 ranking? These are the questions you need to ask first. Then, see what resources you have.

Text articles are the easiest and fastest to create. Listicles rank pretty well and take less time to write than, say, analytical articles. 

Podcasts’ popularity is growing significantly in the last couple of years, and it’s so much easier to record audio than video. You can just use a decent microphone and a noise-canceling app such as Krisp to turn your articles into podcasts. 

Once you've chosen the types of content you'll be publishing, it's time to decide how frequently you can create new pieces.

Frequency

Post frequency is not just a matter of resources. Overkill is just as bad as an empty page. 

Research your competitors’ post frequency. How many posts a week do they make? How many of them are successful? Come up with an optimal number and test it to see how it works out for you.

Make sure to publish on the days when your audience is most active. If you already have a website with your target audience, go to Google Analytics to check for the most active days and hours. Or use social media analysis of your competitors’ activity to begin with. 

My team’s experience has shown that posting twice a week is the safest. People don’t read much on weekends and try to catch up on their work on Monday, so it’s worth waiting for Tuesday to publish. Friday is also usually an optimal publishing day because many users prefer passive reading at the end of the working week.

Tools for WordPress Content Planning

My team uses a Calendar plugin for Jira to maintain my editorial calendar and really like it. But that’s good enough for my team because content creation and publishing are only a small part of our workflow, and we’re using Jira for task management anyway. 

You can use a free Excel/Google Sheets/Google Calendar template for your editorial calendar just as effectively. I’ve used Hubspot’s template before and can definitely recommend it.

But the great thing about WordPress is having all in one place. So consider one of the content calendar plugins for a smoothly integrated planning and publishing process. PublishPress and Editorial Calendar plugin look like decent ones from the description and most reviews though I haven’t had the chance to test them yet. Before making the decision on which plugin will work best for you, do your own small research. Here’s how you can choose a trustworthy WordPress plugin for your website.

In your calendar, include a post’s date of publishing, content type, a short description, and the name of the person responsible for delivering it.

Publish and Optimize

Let’s skip the part of producing the content itself. You’re (hopefully) backed by your SEO research and probably know what you need by now. Thanks to the content calendar.

There are lots of tools to make your writing better such as Hemingway and Grammarly (not just the spellchecker, but also plagiarism checker and style advisor). But that’s all going on outside of WordPress and each writer/creator chooses their own tools, so let’s go back to WP.

What I’d really rather talk about is who publishes the final draft and how.

Authors and Permissions

It all comes down to what part a user takes in creating and publishing content and how much you trust them.

Building an author profile is much more important than most publishers realize. An author’s credibility adds to a website’s credibility and helps you rank higher on search engines. So when one of your content creators contributes to another decent publication or is quoted, that’s another point to your SEO game. If you’ve integrated Gravatar, you can just assign users their roles and they can use WordPress-wide profiles for both your website and other they contribute to.

So let’s see what user roles you should assign to your team members. 

  • Subscribers can’t change a thing on your website: they’re just followers. Skip this one; it’s not about authors.
  • Contributors can add and edit their own posts but can’t publish them. It makes it super easy to make sure everything’s perfect before your final review.
  • Authors are those who can both create and publish their posts but can’t touch others’ work. So if you trust a contributor to optimize and finalize their work by themselves, you make them an author.
  • Editors can modify and publish other people’s posts as well as their own. To publish a contributors draft, you either have to be an editor or an admin.
  • Admins have wider access to the website, including all the permissions of the above-mentioned roles. 

Now you know what role to assign to each member of your team. Let’s see how we optimize the content you’ve all created.

SEO Optimization

Search engine optimization is basically the complex process of assuring Google that your pages are worth delivering to users. Even talking about SEO basics will take longer than this entire article. So let’s just outline what you need to do.

  • Create high-quality user-centric content because Google only values content that users are truly interested in. Don’t be afraid to write long articles as long as you have something to say.
  • Speed up your website: page speed is a crucial ranking factor because it’s all about user-friendliness. Speed is becoming more important with every other Google update. Thankfully, it’s easier than you think to speed up a WordPress website.
  • Optimize the meta tags including the page title, page description, and image description that you want Google to see.
  • Add links to reliable sources (external links) and other pages of your website (internal links).
  • Create an XML sitemap and update it at least monthly so that search bots see what pages you have and which of them matter most.
  • Build backlinks by getting high-quality websites to link to yours.
  • Play a fair SEO game because Google penalizes those who don’t, and a penalty can cost you your entire organic traffic. 

To make optimization easy, there are tons of SEO plugins for WordPress. I’m using SEO by 10Web and am fond of it especially after the February 2020 update. Another one I like is Yoast: it helps you simplify your written content and make it more user-friendly, hence Google-friendly.

Promoting Your Content

We have now planned, created, and optimized our content to grow organic traffic.

After we hit the Publish button, it’s time to promote out content. It’s very important to have as many readers as possible within the first 48 hours after publishing to show Google that you have a followers’ base that trusts you. Let’s start with email subscribers. 

Send out Newsletters

If you manage to build an email follower base, send them newsletters on a regular basis. The frequency depends on the amount of content you publish. But try not to go as far more than once a day or less than once every two weeks. 

Create an engaging subscription bar with a catchy CTA (call to action). Use one of the many form maker plugins to collect and integrate user emails. Make sure it’s compatible with the email outreach tool you choose. 

For the outreach itself, I’m using our own custom tool but have used Mailchimp in the past.

What you should really pay attention to is that the tool you choose offers the most detailed analytics and helps you avoid the spam folder.

Compose your email in an engaging way, using emojis and other pattern interrupts to stand out among the many email subjects on a user’s device. But don’t overdo them if you don’t want to get marked as a spammer.

Share on Social Media

The first thing you should do is build your social media audience. 

Start by finding the social networks where your users hang out most. You don’t have to be present everywhere.

Create a community where you share the content your target audience loves. Back in the day, Grammarly was making tons of educational posts on its Facebook page. English teachers loved those and helped the app to gain recognition among students. 

Most pages just can’t grow their entire audience organically which is fine. Don’t be afraid to spend some budget on social media. But make sure to optimize the spendings daily.

Integrate social media sharing buttons on your website. Adam Connell has this list of social sharing plugins for WordPress.

And last but not least, develop your own personal brand online because social media is all about people. Get followers to see whom they are following personally.

 

About the author

 

Ani Barseghyan

Ani is the blog manager at 10Web — a platform for building, hosting, and managing WordPress websites. She’s been using WordPress since 2011 and writing about it for the last couple of years. You can always have a chat with Ani in the WordPress Family Facebook community.