Build a WordPress Multisite monster for multiple landing pages

Like most things in nature, there seems to be no end to the number of clever ways animals use to capture a meal. The same could be said for testing different variations of a landing page. There is no end to the number of search engine optimized (SEO) versions your content can take as you attempt to figure out which one will attract more traffic. From social media posts and word-of-mouth, to advertisements and search engine pay-per-click campaigns, the number of ways that traffic can find your landing page can be equally endless. But how do you manage all of these potential opportunities to feed your company without being eaten yourself? By learning from nature!

Ocean of Objects
It is surprising how often nature shows us a better way to do something. Take the Deep Sea Dweller for instance. This monster is commonly called the Anglerfish, but most versions have sinister sounding names like Black Sea Devil. And like a creature of the dark, this one does not disappoint when it comes to showing us how intelligent predators can be. Unlike the raw aggression of the shark, or the stalking crawl of the octopus, the Black Sea Devil is a patient hunter, choosing to lure-and-wait strategy that brings the prey to them. Most call this simple act “fishing”, but the metaphor behind the way the Deep Sea Dweller fishes is a more than fitting description of what someone in marketing does. As a landing page optimizer, the marketer is always looking for the perfect copy, or lure, to attract that next customer. Just like the anglerfish, marketers have adopted a similar approach to capturing their “target audience”. Both extend out something shinny to attract attention, with the real purpose often disguised until the they take the bait. They both also need to be patient. Act to quick or be to bold, and you scare off your prey. But respond too slow, or not at all, and your customer moves on to another shinny object, forgetting everything about what attracted them to you in the first place!

Sea of Lures
For the angularfish, this is a matter of simple survival; eat or die. They have one type of luminescent lure and only one chance to snap up the meal. In the deep dark sea, there is not an abundance of prey, so each meal is an important part of staying alive. Unfortunately for the marketer, their is an overabundance of prey, or customers, on the Internet, and not all customers react to the same lure the same way. Some have already seen your type of lure, and pan your offer. Others are not looking for the kind of lure your using, and find your competitors. For these reasons, you have to formulate multiple versions of your lure in an attempt to figure out what new lures will attract enough customers to fiscally “stay alive”. Because your business does not run on hope, your job becomes even harder when considering the exceedingly high number of other Deep Sea Dwellers lurking around your pool of potential customers. And these other angulars are just as hungry, come with their own lures, and can often have better better bait then you! The resulting feeding frenzy is so chaotic that the only way to get your lure to get noticed at all, is to find the angle the others don’t have. Then get that angle in front of as many customer channels as possible, as many times as possible, and in as many working versions as possible. Once you’ve done that, you have to sit back, be patient, and be prepared to manage the knowledge of who took the bait, when, and from where.

Cove of Customers
Say that you want to create 30 similar landing pages with copy variations to use with Facebook posts or advertisements. Your target audience is known, our channel is set, and all 30 of your landing page’s copy is ready; its time to set the lures and get to baiting! The trick now is to manage all your lures in one, centralized place so that you can quickly understand which lures are working, and which need to be adapted or dropped. However, multiple landing pages means multiple sets of content, multiple analytic tracker codes, multiple data feeds, and multiple landing page URLs. Thankfully, WordPress Multisite provides the orchestration to run it all without making you become a starving Deep Sea Dweller in the process. Here’s why:

  1. Building out individual sites for each landing page would be a monster task, especially when it came time to managing 30 pages of content. You could make them all HTML, but chances are you’ll want more control over each landing page, better data collection locally, and an easier time updating everything. Fortunately, building 30 sub-sites within a WordPress Multisite Network would provide you all that control. Imagine an environment where you can move between landing pages with just a few clicks, aggregate data directly without having to open some other analytics tool, and know exactly how each landing page was performing. A WordPress Multisite monster like this would give you the orchestration each variation would require, while also making updating, security, and edits easier to perform.
  2. Control over the management of each landing page would also be paired with its own subdomain address for even more benefits. By using subdomains as a type of “codeword” to each variation, both operations and marketing would know which-page-was-which, making communication of changes easier between the two DevOps entities. Subdomain addressing would also keep the primary business domain name in the URL. Since branding is an important part of your SEO strategy, having your domain name in each subdomain link creates a foundation upon which your landing pages connect back to the brand you’ve already built. If you consider your domain name is how users find you online, having it in the link you put out on social media can build trust that your landing page link is actually going where you say it’s going.
  3. Shared resources is yet another reason why WordPress Multisite helps solve this problem. The chances are good that most of the the landing pages will share groups of common themes (or all the same theme with different copy). WordPress Multisite promotes this kind of code reuse via its network by sharing themes with any of the subdomains. This means you can build multiple child theme variations, while only having to make global changes or updates to a single theme codebase. Try doing that to a group of ordinary HTML pages! To further extend the power of WordPress Multisite functionality, feature controls via a refined assortment of trusted/tested plugins can be managed from landing page site to landing page site. Do you want collect customer information on 10 sites, but only provide links on 20 others? There’s a plugin for that! Want the subdomain landing page to actually redirect somewhere within your main website? There’s a plugin for that! Want analytics of each landing page site shown on your Super Admin dashboard? There’s probably a plugin for that too (and if not, that would be a cool one to build)!
  4. Security is by far the most important part of this solution. While the security and administration of all 30 landing pages would be controlled centrally, so too would any collected data that would most likely include the contact information of generated leads. A WordPress Multisite Network could easily be secured with a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encrypted link (e.g. HTTPS://), providing a small visual cue to reassure visitors that their contact info is safe. This encryption could then be conveniently passed down to each subdomain with a Wildcard SSL Certificate, and even provide a small cost savings in the process!

River of Leads
The Deep Sea Dweller is a WordPress Multisite monster that is not difficult to conceptualize. However, this black water angler is a tough creature to feed. Taking the 30 landing page’s example from above into consideration, the administration of this pattern would be challenging to build. But feeding it would be someone’s full time gig! Provided the DevOps principles were equally employed between developer and marketer as they are between developer and operations, a very powerful leads generation engine could created using the Deep Sea Dweller concept.

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Posted by Kyle Bondo

@Trenchbucket -- Creative strategy dragon, off-road racing podcaster, WordPress & PHP developer, outdoor race promoter, and US Navy Veteran. Current products: Reckoneer, Merchants of Dirt Podcast, and Wolf Bouncer All-Mountain Series.

Buckets of Strategy
We think about six
impossible things
before breakfast.
Do not miss the
next six!
Let's Strategize
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.
Buckets of Strategy
We think about six impossible things
before breakfast.
Do not miss the next six!
Let's Strategize
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.