Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to drive new visitors automatically to your site using the WordPress CMS.
In Part 1 of this article series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website or blog is the key to automating traffic to your site …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website or blog, all you have to do is post web content on a regular basis to begin attracting more web traffic!)
In Part 2, we focused on critical setup decisions. We helped you understand the best way to start if you don’t have a website yet, how to set things up if you already have a website, and what to do if your website has been built with WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you how to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section of the series, we discuss the configuration stage of the WordPress traffic automation system. You will learn how a WordPress site should be configured to attract new visitors automatically when you begin to publish fresh content to your website.
WordPress Web Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase
Finding ways to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by most website owners as one of the greatest challenges they face online. With business becoming ever more competitive worldwide, it’s worth learning about any and every advantage available to improve your performance and results online.
Being able to automatically generate traffic on demand can provide website owners with a huge advantage. With an expertly configured WordPress site, your business has a significant competitive advantage from the word “go”.
Configuration Is The Difference
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally installed and set up by an expert website builder but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s one way to understand the differences:
An expertly configured WordPress site gives you a web presence and online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured website gives you a web presence with a built-in automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only does it take extra work to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, it also takes a special kind of expertise.
Let’s illustrate this with an anecdote.
A True Story (Kind Of) …
Everything was going well in the gizmo-making factory when things came to a sudden stop.
No one could figure out what happened and so the plant manager decided to call in an expert to try and fix the problem.
The expert arrived shortly afterwards and, without saying a word, headed immediately towards the main control box. After staring at the wires and circuitry for less than 3 minutes, the expert then produced a teensy-weensy hammer and made a gentle tap near the left edge of the box.
Immediately, every machine in the factory floor returned to normal.
The manager was overjoyed as he thanked the expert, who left just as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days after resolving the incident, the manager received a service bill for $5,000.
The manager dialled the expert, demanding to know why they had been charged such a ridiculously high fee for less than 5 minutes work and then requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice statement arrived and was placed in the manager’s intray. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he saw:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is being able to consistently drive web traffic to their sites.
How much money did the widget plant stand to lose when production ground to a halt and no one on the business was able to fix it? Did the expert not have every right to demand fair compensation for years spent building up the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to immediately repair a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a WP website set up so all you ever had to do is publish new content and search engines, social networking sites and dozens of other online properties would be immediately notified, how much time and money would this save you?
(How much better would your business be if you could automate the process of attracting new visitors to your website?)
Although the solution to many challenges is often quite simple once it’s been implemented, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site involves more than adding some pages with content and configuring a few internal settings. It also requires knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things such as:
- Which programs need to be installed for specific things to occur on your site.
- Which accounts you need to set up and activate to get desired results
- Which options need to be configured to make sure things function as you have imagined, etc.
(Driving new traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
This part of the WordPress traffic automation system is not technically challenging, but it’s quite involved and complicated. It’s not as easy as installing and configuring a plugin, clicking on a button or two … it’s all of this and so much more.
The configuration stage involves the integration of many parts including your web hosting server, your website or blog, and a number of third-party sites or online services …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring some WordPress settings)
If we create a simple diagram showing the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplistic diagram of all the steps involved in the configuration process)
Let’s take a look at these areas.
Configuring The Web Server
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your hosting account for website installation purposes. What we are talking about, is configuring settings and options in your server specifically for handling all web traffic …
(During the configuration stage, your web server settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is beneficial traffic. Some of the web traffic you may attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, is all about planning for bad and good traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This can include things like server-level spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring your domain and email redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like emails, page errors, etc?)
After your server settings have been fine-tuned and configured, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various external sites.
The idea behind adding external sites is that all of your content will get posted to a central location (your site) and from there, it will syndicate automatically to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once these external platforms have been added to your setup, content pointing back to your website will get automatically syndicated to search, social and aggregator sites. Your site will be exposed to a new audience and source of traffic.
Some external sites will need to be set up before configuring your settings to save time and some will need to be done later, during the automation phase.
For example, you will want to set up the following accounts before configuring your WordPress site’s settings:
Google Search Console lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of useful information, tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
Once your Google Webmasters account and site details are set up, you can use this information with web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s results, SEO, user engagement, marketing activities, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrers, etc.
After setting up your Google Analytics account, you can add visitor tracking code to all of your pages in WordPress using any of several Google Analytics plugins and feed data instantly to many other online applications.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. Once your Bing Webmaster Tools account and site data have been set up, your account information can be used to automate traffic settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
As discussed in Part Two, WordPress offers users a self-hosted (WordPress.org) and a hosted (WordPress.com) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you plan to build a professional business presence online.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful tools, which can be accessed by a number of WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate these features into your web traffic generation system in the next installment of this series.
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media sites and attract new visitors to your site)
You will need to have already set up your social media and social bookmarking accounts in order to configure these as part of your traffic generation system.
Once you have set up and configured everything, you will be able to syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and bring new visitors to your site.
You should have accounts and profiles set up with all the leading social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.
There are many social sites you can set up and post your content to. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just pick the ones that will work well with your system and/or content syndication tools (we will cover some of these tools in greater detail in the Automation phase).
(There are loads of social sites you can post your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Services, Aggregators, Etc.
There are many new online technology platforms and RSS aggregators that can act as second-tier sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free access levels, and some are paid services.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that lets you add a feed from your site …
(RebelMouse – Distribute social content to social networks)
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your RebelMouse page.
There are many different sites and platforms you can add to your own traffic blueprint. Please contact us if you would like to explore your options and discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
After you have configured your web server and set up third-party service accounts, it’s time to configure your site’s settings.
Configuring Your WordPress Site For Traffic
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to make sure that your global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some of the important areas.
Global Settings – WordPress
The WordPress dashboard area contains a Settings menu that allows you to set up your site’s global settings …
(WordPress menu – Settings)
Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search listings, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings section contains a powerful and frequently overlooked automated traffic notification system …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings Section)
As described in the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have intentionally configured your site settings to prevent search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically ping the list of update services entered into the Update Services text box
By default, when WordPress is installed, only one service is listed …
(WordPress Update Services)
You can notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress …
(Notify dozens of update services automatically!)
Download A Comprehensive List Of Ping Services For Your WordPress Site!
Click the link below to download a comprehensive list of reliable and authoritative ping services for your WordPress site or blog:
Note: If you need help setting up the list of ping services on your site, we recommend using a professional web services provider. You can find professional WordPress service providers in our WordPress Services Directory.
This section affects how visitors will see your content when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings on this page can have an influence web traffic. For example, your choice to display the full content vs summaries of your post, affects how your content appears in RSS readers and blog post digests, and could impact someone’s choice to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your website or blog to view the rest of the content from a partial feed, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
The most important setting here as far as traffic is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility check box is enabled or not.
Typically, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows your site to automatically ping various update services whenever new posts are published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason to discourage search engines from visiting your site, leave this box unchecked …
(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings Section)
Although discussion settings are mostly concerned with how users engage with content on your site, you have the option to allow notifications to blogs linked to from your articles, and to allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks). This can work for you, but it can also drive bad traffic in the form of SPAM comments …
(WordPress Settings – Discussion Settings)
Permalinks allow you to create SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalinks)
The examples below show some of the options for configuring your site’s permalinks …
(Configuring search-friendly URLS)
If you need help setting up permalinks in WordPress, see this step-by-step tutorial: How To Improve Your WordPress SEO Using Permalinks
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
WordPress provides users with plugins that help to add almost every kind of functionality to your website, including plugins with features that help to improve traffic generation.
Here are some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
WordPress Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your website for dealing with the effects of both good traffic and bad traffic. Regardless of the kind of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, securing your website is something you simply cannot afford to ignore.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to hackers and botnets.
To learn more, go here:
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive more traffic by improving your website’s SEO …
(WordPress Plugins For SEO – Yoast SEO)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO (previously known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your website’s search engine optimization. Once properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines like Google and Bing to find and index, it allows you to specify how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and GooglePlus.
WordPress Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing visitors to share your content with members of their online communities can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if you publish content that adds value to readers.
(You can easily add social sharing to your site with free or inexpensive plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing features to their website with free or inexpensive plugins.
Many social share plugins let you specify which social sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of followers), etc. Some plugins even allow you to protect content or downloads which visitors can unlock by liking your page.
Configuring WordPress Theme Settings For Traffic Generation
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help improve your site’s traffic generation capabilities.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your site, many themes also give you built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site linking structure for better indexing, easily add analytics code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes like Graphene (a highly customizable free theme) allow you to configure settings for better traffic results)
With a number of quality themes, adding social sharing buttons to your website is as easy as clicking a few buttons and enabling the feature …
(Many WordPress themes provide users with built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
Additional Configuration Features For WordPress Sites
Last (but by no means least) in the traffic configuration process, are the things that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
This includes the following:
Legal Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for an increase in visitor numbers, it’s important to plan not only for both good and bad traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong when more and more people find and begin to visit your website.
If you do any type of business online, it’s important that your website is compliant with legal requirements of government agencies that regulate how business online is done.
We have written a detailed article about adding legal pages to WordPress here:
WordPress categories & tags help search engines better organize and index your web pages, which helps you get more traffic.
(WordPress categories help search engines index your website, which improves traffic.)
When looking at ways to automate and improve traffic, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post tags and post categories have been set up correctly to deliver optimal benefits.
Add A Site Map
A site map that lists all of your pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external sites find your site’s content …
(Site Map – great for site visitors and beneficial for web traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are two different things. Although Google will index your pages just from an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
404 Page – Don’t Forget This!
When online visitors type in the wrong web address or click on an invalid hyperlink, they will typically be greeted with a 404 error page …
(Default WordPress 404 Page)
Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to redirect traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 error page can be set up on your web server, there are several plugins for WordPress that let you easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once your website or blog has been fully set up and expertly configured, all you need to do then to begin attracting more web traffic is add new content consistently.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of a number of different components and external web properties …
(Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The kind of expertise required to perform the configuration stage of the traffic automation process typically takes many website developers months to acquire.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate as much of the process as can be automated. This step is explained in the next section of our series.
This is the end of Part Three
To keep reading about this topic, click here:
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive article series aimed at helping you learn how to grow your business online cost-effectively and drive traffic sustainably using a WordPress website or blog and proven online marketing strategies.
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