How To Awake The Sumo & Automate The Growth Of Your Website
For solo niche marketers like yourself growing your website can be a burden at times.
On top of all this, you have to do the technical stuff as well and manage your WordPress dashboard, moderate comments, find the right plugins to grow your site and keep them updated.
It can all get a bit overwhelming.
It makes your job much easier by helping you get rid of all the unnecessary stand-alone marketing plugins, while still giving you the tools to exponentially grow your audience in no time.
That’s exactly what I’ll be covering in this post.
If you're looking for new ways to grow your traffic, check out Stuart's 101 Traffic Hacks for some insanely useful traffic generation strategies he has used to grow NicheHacks.
Sumo – The Ultimate Audience Growth Toolkit
Sumo isn’t just a WordPress plugin.
With almost 600,000 active users, it’s simply one of the best collections of online marketing tools.
From analytics and heat maps to multiple list building and social sharing features, Sumo offers everything you need to grow your blog’s traffic and audience on complete auto-pilot.
I’ll tell you exactly how you can install and set up Sumo on your niche blog later in the post.
But first, let’s take a quick look at the tools you get with Sumo and what you can do with them.
- List Builder: Use fancy animated email popups to capture more leads
- Welcome Mat: Add a welcome screen to your blog with an opt-in form to convert more visitors
- Smart Bar: Drive more clicks on a call to action or capture emails by displaying Smart Bar at the top of your site
- Scroll Box: A harmless opt-in box that pops up at the bottom of the screen and scrolls down with the page.
- Share: Add eye-catching social media sharing buttons under the post title or as a scrolling widget
- Image Sharer: Increase shares by allowing readers to share images directly on social media
- Highlighter: Use this to highlight any part of your post and encourage sharing it on social media
- Google Analytics: Get all your website stats right in your WordPress dashboard
- Content Analysis: Know exactly how your audience is engaging with your content
- Heat Maps: Find out the areas on your site that receive the most clicks
- Contact Form: Get rid of boring contact forms and generate more email messages with this slick little tool.
That’s one impressive list.
Seriously, it has everything you need to set up a high converting website.
Let’s take a close look at this now.
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Getting Started With Sumo
Sumo isn’t a WordPress-specific product. It can be used on any other CMS or custom coded website as well.
You only need to copy/paste a few lines of code to your site and you’re ready to go.
You can download the plugin directly from the link above or install it from your site’s WordPress dashboard
Type “Sumo” in the search box on the Add Plugin Page, install Sumo WordPress Plugin and click on “Activate” to start using it.
Once the plugin is activated, you need to create Sign Up for a free Sumo account to enable its features on your site.
But you don’t need to go anywhere for it.
You’ll see this notification at the corner of your screen to open the sign-up box
Enter a username and choose a password to create your free Sumo account.
As soon as you sign up, you’ll be taken straight to your Sumo dashboard where you can see all the apps available to you for free.
That’s it, Sumo is now activated on your site and you’re ready to start growing your audience using these awesome tools.
A small Sumo badge is added to the top of your screen from where you can access your dashboard
When you bring your mouse pointer closer, the badge will pop out
Click on it to access the main dashboard of Sumo where all your apps and settings are listed.
How To Grow Your Site With Sumo
All the tools and features included in Sumo are mainly designed to help you achieve growth in two areas – traffic and subscribers.
You can use them as standalone features or all at once. It’s really up to you.
Let me categorize them by objectives and explain them one by one to help you understand their utility better.
1. Grow Your Email List and Subscriber Base With Sumo
I recently did a review of Optin Monster here on NicheHacks.
It’s a wonderful tool to grow your email list and offers lots of features in one window.
But for my personal blogs, I still prefer Sumo because it gives me just the right tools that I need to grow my email subscriber base.
Here’s how you can do it as well.
List builder, as the name suggests, is the ultimate email list building tool in Sumo.
You can use it to create various types of opt-ins for your site, customize them according to your needs, and place them wherever you want.
But first, you need to activate List Builder from your Sumo dashboard.
Now this is where the fun starts.
When you activate List Builder, you’ll be redirected to the configuration page where you can start setting up your opt-ins
You can set up different opt-ins for different goals by choosing from this list
I think you can already see how versatile this tool is and how much control it gives you.
If you choose “Collect Emails” as your goal, you’ll get the standard opt-in box.
But if your goal is to increase social shares or add a call to action, the pop-up changes.
For this post, I’m choosing “Collect Emails” as my goal.
The second step is to decide the kind of form you want to use.
There are lots of options here.
- You can choose the standard pop-up box
- Add a scroll box that sticks to the bottom of the page
- Place a form in the middle of your post
- You can setup content upgrade links using Click Trigger Popups
- Or display a smart bar at the top or bottom of the screen
The forms are also highly customizable.
You can add elements like checklists, radio buttons, counters etc. to make your popups really stand out
And to make things even better, there's a long list of design themes you can choose from or upload your own image to align your opt-in boxes with your brand’s theme
Once you’re done with setting up the design and the content of your form, you can adjust its visibility settings and define when your audience sees it.
Or you could choose the automatic settings and let Sumo decide when to show your pop-up.
Before publishing your form, you can integrate it with any of the leading email marketing tools so that all the emails collected through it are added directly to your list.
However, this is a pro feature not available in the free version of Sumo.
Overall, List Builder gives you 5 different types of forms and pop-ups you can use to grow your subscriber base.
Other than the “Welcome Mat”, all other forms are controlled from the dashboard of List Builder.
The full-screen welcome mat that so many websites and blogs use these days are great for converting visitors into subscribers.
In Sumo, Welcome Mat is an individual tool separate from List Builder and needs to be activated from the main dashboard
Once you’ve activated the app, you can go straight to its design settings and start creating your welcome mat
You can directly create individual Welcome Mats or create a campaign with multiple mats.
The settings here are pretty similar to List Builder, but there are more customization options available.
For example, you can add your own logo, your own background image or choose from the list of templates.
You can also get a preview of how your welcome mat appears on mobile and desktop devices.
In the “Behaviour” tab you can adjust the display settings of your mat and define your target audience.
You can set up more advanced display rules, with If-Then-Else commands and A/B testing, you’ll need to set up multiple Welcome Mats under a single campaign.
You can create different mats for different pages on your site.
This is particularly useful for increasing the conversion rate on your most popular blog posts.
Another smart way to boost your conversions is by creating separate mats for all your major traffic sources.
For example, you can create different mats for the visitors coming to your site from Facebook, Google, Twitter or any other sites.
This would help you create a more personalized message and convert more visitors into subscribers.
Welcome Mat can be integrated with any popular email marketing tool to send all the emails directly to your list.
When you combine the features of Welcome Mat and List Builder, you get some of the most useful and innovative email list building tools at your fingertips.
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2. Grow Your Traffic and Social Media Following With Sumo
Sumo gives you three powerful tools to optimize your content for social media and encourage users to share your content more frequently.
At first glance, you might not see anything extraordinary with these three tools (anyone can give you share buttons, right?)
But it’s the backend settings and the room for customization that makes these tools better than any other social sharing plugin.
Let’s have a closer look
As the name suggests, Share lets you add highly customizable social media sharing buttons to your site that can be displayed on different pages under different sets of rules.
Like all other apps, Share needs to be activated from the main dashboard of Sumo
The backend options of Share really set it apart from other social media sharing plugins.
You can start by choosing the services or social networks you want to show on your site by simply dragging them to the active services list.
You can make other adjustments like the number of services to show, the order in which they’re displayed and the design of your share buttons.
Sumo offers multiple display options for your social media buttons for both mobile and desktop devices.
This is particularly useful since mobile and desktop users have different preferences when it comes to sharing content on social media.
For example, desktop users rarely share content on WhatsApp, but mobile users do it frequently.
So, you’d want to display a WhatsApp share button to your mobile visitors only.
You can do this by enabling mobile optimization for your Share widget.
This is how the buttons appear on your site’s desktop version.
And here’s the same page on a smartphone
Users can share on other networks by clicking on the Sumo Crown button at the end of the widget.
You can also enable the URL Shortner feature to reduce the length of the URLs shared on social media.
The free version only offers Sumo.ly URL shortener.
But premium users can also use services like Bit.ly or Goo.gl.
I’m sure you know that content with more images and multimedia gets more social shares and higher user engagement.
Sumo Image Sharer just makes it easier for your readers to share your images and drive additional traffic to your site.
The backend settings are pretty similar to the Share App where you can use shortened URLs, select sharing services and create display rules for different pages.
Here at NicheHacks, you must’ve noticed that we love using Clicks to Tweet quotations to drive more social shares and traffic.
It works really well.
Sumo’s Highlighter App takes this to a completely new level.
It allows your readers to simply highlight any sentence or section of your post and share it directly on Twitter or Facebook
This not only drives more traffic to your site via social shares but also allows your readers to share any part of your post with their social media followers resulting in more exposure for your content.
It’s a simple but fascinating feature to have as a marketer.
3. Understand and Analyse Your Audience With Sumo
Are they reading your content or just bouncing back after reading the title?
Are they scrolling down your page?
Are they even looking at your CTAs?
These and many other questions can only be answered if you have the right analytics tools working for you.
Thankfully Sumo offers three brilliant tools to make audience analysis much easier.
Sumo’s Google Analytics App consolidates all the key website metrics from your analytics account and displays it on one dashboard.
Once you activate this app, you only need to integrate it with your Google Analytics account by authorizing Sumo to access it.
You can also enable On-Page Analytics (only visible to you) to find all the key metrics at a glance.
This really is one of my favorite features in Sumo.
Heat Maps tell you exactly where your audience is clicking on your site and how it's interacting with your content.
It gives you great insights on where the most important elements of your site (like CTAs) should be placed.
After turning Heat Maps on from the main Sumo dashboard, go to the page you want to track and simply start recording a new campaign.
You can set up unlimited campaigns for different pages of your site. However, the free version of Sumo allows tracking of up to 1000 clicks per campaign.
There are no limits in the Pro version though.
Did you know that an average internet user never reads more than 50% of an online article?
All that hard work you put into your content often goes in vain because your reader doesn’t bother scrolling down.
Sumo’s Content Analysis tool tells you exactly how much of your content actually gets read.
Knowing this is important so that you can decide where to display your CTA or the most important parts of your content.
Just like heat maps, content analysis can be activated on as many pages of your site as you want.
You just need to start separate recording campaigns for each page.
Pricing – Is Sumo Pro Right for You?
All the features I’ve discussed in this post are absolutely free to use.
But Sumo does offer a pro version as well with different pricing structures and features.
But do you really need to invest in it?
That’s the big question, right?
In my honest opinion, most beginner bloggers and affiliate marketers don’t need the pro version of Sumo simply because they get almost everything they need in the free version anyway.
If you’re running multiple niche sites with not a lot of traffic, the free version is good enough for you.
However, if your site has started to attract regular traffic and you’re thinking about growing it into a proper brand, then investing in Sumo is certainly worth it.
The pro version not only allows you to remove all the Sumo branding from your site but also gives you access to several locked features and much better customer support.
So, it’s really a question of where you stand as a niche marketer right now and how aggressively you’re looking to invest in tools.
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Sumo is my go to plugin for list building, traffic growth, and content analysis.
And I think you can see why
The tools it offers are more useful and versatile than most other competing plugins, and the room for customization is endless.
So if you haven’t tried Sumo yet, you’ve no reason to delay it anymore.