Welcome to Part Three of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to drive new visitors automatically to your site using WordPress.
In Part One of this article series, we provided an overview of the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to automating traffic to your site …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website, all you have to do is publish web content consistently to automatically attract more web traffic!)
In Part Two, we looked at the setup phase of the traffic automation process. We helped you understand the best way to get started if you don’t have a web presence yet, how to set everything up if you already have a website, and what to do if your existing site has been built using WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you where to set up a WordPress site on your domain)
In this article, we will discuss the configuration phase of the traffic system. We explain how to configure a WordPress site so you can automatically start to get traffic as you begin posting fresh content to your WordPress site.
WordPress Traffic Automation System – Configuration Phase
Finding ways to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by many business owners as one of the greatest challenges they face online. Businesses are becoming increasingly more competitive and are looking for any advantage available to get better results online.
Being able to automatically generate traffic on demand can provide you with a tremendous advantage over the competition. With an expertly configured WordPress site, your business has a flying start as soon as your site is launched.
Configuration Is The Difference
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a website that has been professionally installed and set up by a web-building expert but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here is a simple way to describe the key difference:
With a WordPress website that has been expertly configured you get a professional web presence plus online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured website gives you a professional web presence and a built-in automated online business marketing system!)
Not only does it take extra labor to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, but also a special type of expert knowledge.
To illustrate this here is a joke.
A True Story (Kind Of) …
All was running smoothly in the widget plant when things suddenly came to a stop.
As no one could figure out what was wrong, the plant manager decided to call in an expert.
Promptly after arriving, the expert headed immediately towards the control box. After staring silently at the schematics for less than 3 minutes, the expert then produced a little hammer from his shirt pocket and made a very gentle tap near the left-hand side of the unit.
Immediately, everything returned to normal.
The manager was relieved as he thanked the expert, who left as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days after resolving the incident, the manager received a bill for $5,000.
The manager rang back the expert, demanding to know why they had been charged such an exorbitant fee for less than 5 minutes work. He promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice statement arrived and was placed in the manager’s in-tray. Upon opening it, this is what he saw:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is being able to consistently drive web traffic to their sites.
In the above story, how much money did the plant stand to lose when production ground to a halt and no one on the business had the expertise required to get things up and running again? Did the expert not have every right to ask to be compensated fairly for having spent years building up the knowledge, skills and expertise that allowed him to quickly fix a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a WordPress web site set up and configured so all you ever had to do is publish new content and search engines, social sites and dozens of other traffic-generating web properties would be automatically notified, how much time and money would you save?
(How much time and money would you save if you could automate the process of driving traffic to your site?)
Although experts often make complex things look simple, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site involves more than adding some pages with content and configuring settings for a client. It requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which programs you need to install to get various functionalities on your site.
- Which third-party accounts you need to set up and activate to achieve desired outcomes
- Which internal and external settings need to be configured in order to ensure that processes will work as you have imagined, etc.
(Driving new traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
Although this stage of the WordPress traffic automation system may not seem so technically challenging, it can be quite complicated. This is because it’s not just about installing a solution, tweaking some options and settings in your dashboard area … it’s all this and much more.
Expertly configuring your website involves the integration of different parts such as your web server, your website, and various external sites and services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we were to create a simple flowchart of the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplified diagram of all the steps involved in the configuration process)
Let’s take a look at what’s involved.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your web hosting account for site installation purposes. What we are talking about, is tweaking settings in your hosting account that affect how your website will handle web traffic …
(In the configuration phase, your server settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is welcome traffic. Some of the traffic your website will attract will be unwelcome traffic like bot spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This area of the configuration process, therefore, is all about planning for both bad and good traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This could include things like server-level spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring domain and email redirections, setting up htaccess file redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page errors, etc?)
After fine-tuning your web server settings and configuring these (if required), the next step is to set up and configure a number of external sites and online services.
Integration With External Solutions
The purpose of adding external sites is that all of your content will be published to one central location (your site) and from there, it will get syndicated automatically to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once you add these external sites to your configuration, content linking back to your website is automatically syndicated to these platforms, indexed by search engines and shared to other social media sites, even to visitors attracted to the platform itself. Your site will then be given exposure to new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some external sites will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress site to save time and some will need to be done later, during the automation phase.
For example, here are just some of the accounts you will need to have set up before configuring your WordPress settings:
Google Search Console lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides you with essential data, tools and reports about your website.
After setting up your account and entering site details, use your account information to integrate and automate web traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing activities, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrers, etc.
After setting up your Once you have set up Google Analytics, you can add traffic tracking code to WordPress via any of several Google Analytics plugins and send data automatically to various other online applications and web properties.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. After setting up your account and entering site data with Bing, you can use this information with web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
As explained in Part Two, WordPress provides users with the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you plan to grow a professional web presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great features, which a number of WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate these features into your automated web traffic system in Part 4 of this series.
Social Media Sites
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media sites and get new traffic to your site)
You will need your social media accounts set up in order to integrate these with 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 get new traffic to your site.
You should have accounts with all of the main social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can You can syndicate your content to lots of social sites. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just select those that will work with your setup and/or content sharing tools (we discuss some of these tools in greater detail when we discuss the Automation phase).
(You can syndicate your content to loads of social sites. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Sites, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are many new online platforms and RSS aggregators that can act as secondary-level sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free access levels, and some offer a range of pricing plans.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that allows you to add an RSS feed from your WordPress site …
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 website.
There are many different solutions that can be added to your traffic blueprint. Please contact us if you would like to explore this area further and discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
After you have configured your web server and set up external site accounts, it’s time to configure your WordPress site.
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to ensure that your global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Global WordPress Settings
Your WordPress administration area contains a Settings section that allows you to configure your site’s global settings …
(WordPress menu – Settings)
Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings)
The Writing Settings section contains a powerful and frequently overlooked automated traffic notification system …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings Screen)
As described in the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you or your webmaster have intentionally chosen to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically notify the list of services entered into the Update Services section
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, this section includes only one entry …
You can notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress …
(WordPress lets you 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 your content gets seen by visitors when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings in this section can have an influence traffic. For example, choosing to display the full text vs a summary of your post, affects how your content displays to users in RSS readers and blog post digests, and could impact someone’s decision to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your site 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 main setting in this section as far as traffic is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is enabled or not.
Normally, you would want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked enables WordPress to ping various update services whenever new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, do not check this box …
(Global Settings – Reading Settings)
Although discussion settings are mostly concerned with how users engage with content on your site, you have the option to allow notifications to sites 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 …
(Global Settings – Discussion Settings Screen)
Your Permalink settings allow you to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalinks Section)
Here are some of the options for configuring your permalink URLs …
To learn more about setting up WP permalinks, see this tutorial: How To Improve Your WordPress SEO Using SEO-Friendly URLs
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
WordPress provides users with thousands of plugins that help to add just about every type of functionality imaginable to your site, including plugins that add traffic generation capabilities.
Here are examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help drive more traffic
Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your WordPress site for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. No matter what kind of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, you cannot ignore the importance of securing your website.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your website invisible to hackers and bots.
Go here to learn more:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by making your web content easy for search engines like Google to index …
(WP Plugins For SEO – Yoast SEO)
A plugin like Yoast SEO can improve your site’s SEO. When properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines to find, crawl and index, it also lets you configure how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
WordPress Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing visitors to easily share your content with their social networks can help boost traffic to your site, especially if you post great content that adds real value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing buttons to their site with free or inexpensive plugins)
There are many social sharing plugins available for WordPress users.
Many social plugins let you select which social sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default update notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of followers), etc. Some social share plugins even allow you to set up protected content areas on your pages which users can unlock by liking your page.
Configuring Settings – WP Themes
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help you drive more traffic to your site.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your website, many themes also give you built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site linking structure for faster indexing, easily add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WP themes like Graphene (a free theme) come with built-in traffic optimization features)
With many quality themes, adding social sharing buttons to your pages is as easy as clicking a few buttons to configure your settings and enable the feature …
(Many WordPress themes provide users with built-in social sharing features that can be easily enabled on with the click of a button)
WordPress Traffic System Configuration – Additional Things To Consider
Last but not least in the WordPress traffic blueprint configuration process, are the components that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Website Compliance Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in traffic, it’s important to plan not only for how to handle bad and good traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong when more and more people begin to visit your website.
If you engage in any form of commercial activity online, it’s important that your website is found to comply with regulatory agencies.
If you need help understanding why it’s important to have a legally compliant website, go here:
Tags and categories help improve traffic by improving your site’s SEO.
(Categories help to improve your site’s SEO, which helps to increase traffic.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post tags and categories have been correctly set up to deliver optimal benefits and results.
A Site Map Of Your Posts And Pages
A site map that lists all of your pages and posts to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external sites find your web content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for web traffic too!)
It’s important to note that an HTML site map and an XML sitemap are two different things. HTML site maps are web pages that provide users with a an understandable representation of how your content is organized, while XML sitemaps are mostly code that only search engine bots can read. Although search engines like Google will index your site just from an XML sitemap (which a plugin like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), making it easier for visitors to find more pages on your site can result in increased traffic.
404 Page – Don’t Forget This!
When visitors type in the wrong web address into their browser or click on an invalid hyperlink, they will typically be greeted with a 404 Not Found error page …
(Default WordPress 404 Error Page)
A 404 Not Found page can be turned into a useful source of traffic to your functional web pages …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found error page allows you to recover web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 page can be set up on your web server, there are WordPress plugins that allow you to easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once you have your website or blog expertly configured and fully set up, all you then need to do is publish fresh content consistently to start generating traffic.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate and requires the configuration and integration of different components and external web properties …
(WordPress Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of skills and expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site can take many web developers a long time to acquire.
Once you have expertly configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is addressed in the next section of the series.
This is the end of Section Three
To read more, click on the link below:
- Web Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – Discover How To Generate More Traffic For Your Business With WordPress
This article is part of a comprehensive series of articles aimed at helping website owners learn how to grow their business with a WordPress-driven website or blog and proven online marketing methods.
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"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum