Welcome to Part Three of our WordPress Web Site Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn your site into an automated traffic machine using the WordPress CMS platform.
In Part 1 of this series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to generating automated traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress blog, all you have to do to start generating more web traffic is publish fresh content on a regular basis!)
In Part 2, we focused on the setup phase of this process. We helped you understand the best way to start if you don’t have a web presence yet, how to set everything up if you already have a site, and what to do if your site was built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up a WordPress site on your domain)
In this article, we will look at the configuration stage of the traffic blueprint. You will learn how to configure a WordPress site to ensure that new traffic will automatically start flowing just by publishing web content on your site.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint – Configuration
The ability to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by most business owners as their greatest challenge online. Businesses are becoming so much more competitive and are exploring every advantage they can to get better results online.
The ability to generate traffic on demand can be a tremendous advantage over other competitors. An expertly configured website gives you a flying start and a significant advantage online.
The Difference Is In The Configuration Process
There is a 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’s one way to understand the key difference:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a professional web presence with online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured website gives you a professional web presence with a built-in automated online business marketing process!)
Not only are more steps required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, it also takes a special type of expert knowledge.
Let’s illustrate this with a little story.
Knowing Where To Tap
Things were going well in the gizmo-making plant when everything came to a sudden stop.
No one could figure out what is wrong and so the floor manager decided to call in an expert to try and fix the problem.
Promptly after arriving, the expert immediately went towards the main control box. After staring silently at the board for no more than 3 minutes, the expert then took out a teeny-weeny little hammer and made a gentle tap about 3 inches from the right edge of the control unit.
Immediately, everything sprang back to life.
The manager was relieved 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 request for payment of $5,000.
The manager called the expert, demanding to know why he had charged them such a ludicrous fee for less than 5 minutes work and promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice arrived in the manager’s intray. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he saw:
The main challenge most businesses face online is driving new visitors to their sites.
How much money did the factory stand to lose when production stopped functioning and no one on the factory floor was able to get things up and running again? Did the expert not have every right to demand fair compensation for having invested years acquiring the knowledge, skills and expertise that allowed him to avert a potentially costly crisis?
Similarly, if you could have a web site fully set up and configured so all you have to do is publish content to it and search engines, social media and dozens of other online properties would be immediately notified, how much time and money would this save you?
(How much time and money would you save if you could automate the process of driving traffic to your website?)
Although the solution to many challenges is often ridiculously simple in hindsight, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site is more than adding some pages with content and configuring a few settings. It also requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things such as:
- Which programs you need to install to get specific functionalities on your site.
- Which 3rd-party services you need to set up to get desired outcomes
- Which options need to be configured to ensure that everything will work as envisioned, etc.
(Generating web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
Although this part of the traffic automation system may not seem technically challenging, it can be quite complicated. This is because it’s not just about installing and configuring one or two plugins, configuring some settings in your admin area or clicking on a button or two … it’s all of this and much more.
Expertly configuring your website is a process that involves your server, your website or blog, and a number of external sites …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring some WordPress settings)
If we try to flowchart all the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplistic diagram of the configuration phase)
Let’s take a look at these steps.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your hosting account for installation purposes. We’re talking about configuring settings and options in your server specifically for handling all web traffic …
(In the configuration stage, your web server settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is positive traffic. Some of the web traffic your site will attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This stage of the configuration process, therefore, requires evaluating your needs, planning for both bad and good traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This could include things like spam protection and threat prevention, to configuring domain and email forwarding, setting up htaccess redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page errors, etc?)
After checking your web server settings and configuring these, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various external sites and services.
The purpose of choosing external sites is that all of your content should be published from one central location (your site) and from there, it will automatically be syndicated to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once you incorporate these external platforms into your setup, content with links pointing back to your website gets automatically syndicated to these platforms, indexed by search engines and distributed to social networks, even to visitors attracted to the platform itself. Your website receives exposure online, helping your business tap into a whole new audience and source of traffic.
Some of these sites and services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your site’s settings to help 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 settings:
(Google Webmasters – create a Google-friendly site)
Google Webmasters lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of essential data, tools, and reports about their website.
Once your account has been with Google are set up, use your account information with traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing activities, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine referrals, etc.
After setting up your Google Analytics account and site data, you can add traffic tracking information to WordPress using a plugin and send data instantly to various other useful applications and reporting tools.
(Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. After setting up your account with Bing, this information can be used with traffic settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO – see further below) and other applications.
As discussed in Part 2, WordPress offers website owners a hosted and a self-hosted option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you are planning to grow a professional online presence for your business.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful tools, which various 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 traffic system in Part Four of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and drive new visitors to your site)
You will need to have already set up your various social media and social bookmarking accounts before you can 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 attract new visitors to your site.
Make sure you have profiles set up with all of the big social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
There are many social bookmarking sites you can You can syndicate your content to many social bookmarking sites. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just choose the ones that will work well with your setup and/or content syndication tools (we will review some of these tools in more detail when we discuss the Automation phase).
(There are loads of social sites you can post your content to. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, Aggregators, Etc.
There are many new online web platforms and content aggregators that can serve as secondary-level sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free levels, and some offer a range of pricing plans to suit different user types.
For example, here is a content aggregator that allows you to add your WordPress blog feed …
(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 users can follow your own RebelMouse account.
There are many different solutions that can be added to your own web traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to explore this area further and discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
After you have configured your server settings and set up accounts with external services, it’s time to configure your site’s settings.
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to ensure that its global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Configuring WordPress Settings
By default, WordPress includes a Settings section that allows you to configure your site’s main settings …
(WordPress menu – Settings)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings Section)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most powerful and frequently overlooked automated traffic notification systems available to WordPress users …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings)
As stated in this section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have intentionally configured your settings to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically notify the list of services entered into the Update Services text box
By default, when WordPress is installed, this section contains only one entry …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature Of WordPress)
You can notify dozens of update services automatically – just add a list of all the update services you want to notify as soon as you publish a new post to this section …
(You can 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 in this section can influence traffic. For example, your choice of displaying the full content vs summaries of your post, affects how your content displays to users in RSS feeds and RSS email campaigns, and could affect someone’s decision to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your 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 in this section as far as your traffic system is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility checkbox is enabled or not.
Typically, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows WordPress to automatically notify all the update services you have listed when new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, leave this box unchecked …
(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings)
Although this section is mostly concerned with how users engage with content on your site, you have the option to allow notifications to sites linked to from your content, 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)
Your Permalink settings allow your site to publish posts with search engine-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalinks)
The examples below show some of the ways SEO-friendly URLs can be configured …
(Configuring search-friendly URLS)
For a detailed tutorial about setting up permalinks, go here: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
The WordPress developer community makes available thousands of plugins that help to add almost every kind of functionality imaginable to your website, including plugins that add traffic generation capabilities.
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 site for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. No website is completely immune from cyber attacks.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your website invisible to botnets and hackers.
To learn more, go here:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive traffic by improving improving the way search engines like Google and Bing find and index your web pages …
(SEO plugins help increase traffic by making your website more search engine friendly)
A plugin like Yoast SEO (previously called WordPress SEO by Yoast) can significantly improve your website’s SEO. Properly configured, this plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines like Google to find, crawl and index, it also lets you specify how to display your content to Google’s search results and social media sites Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Allowing your visitors to easily share your content with others online can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if you provide content that adds value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing features to their website with free or inexpensive plugins)
There are loads of free or inexpensive social sharing plugins available for WordPress.
Most social sharing plugins let you select which social sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of likes), etc. Some social plugins even allow you to set up protected content areas on your site which visitors can unlock by sharing your page.
WordPress Theme Features – Configuration
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help grow your site’s traffic.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring the layout and design of your site, some themes also include built-in options for improving search optimization and site linking structure for faster indexing, add analytics snippets, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes can be configured for improved traffic results)
With a number of WordPress themes, adding social sharing buttons to your site is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes have built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
WordPress Traffic Automation – Additional Configuration Steps
Last (but by no means least) in the traffic configuration process, are the elements that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
This includes the following:
Website Legal Pages
Once again, when preparing your website 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 start finding and visiting your website.
If you do business online (or plan to), you need to make sure that your site stays compliant with all government legal requirements.
If you need help adding compliance pages to WordPress, go here:
WordPress tags & categories help search engines index your website, which helps you get more traffic.
(Post categories help search engines index your pages, which improves traffic.)
When configuring your website or blog to automate and improve traffic, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post tags and post categories have been correctly set up to deliver optimal results.
Add A Site Map To Your WordPress Site
A site map that lists all of your posts and pages to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external applications find your website content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for web traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are different things. Although search engines like Google will index your site just using an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO can provide – see earlier section), making it easier for visitors to find more pages on your site can result in increased traffic.
Configure Your 404 Page Not Found
When online users enter the wrong URL or click on an invalid link, they are greeted with a 404 error page …
(Default WordPress 404 Page)
A 404 page can be configured into a useful source of traffic to your functional web pages …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found error page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 page can be set up in your web server, there are plugins for WordPress that allow you to easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once you have your WordPress site fully set up and expertly configured, all you then have to do is publish fresh content on a consistent basis to begin bringing new traffic organically.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of various elements and external web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The kind of expertise required to perform this phase of the traffic automation process typically takes some web developers a long time to learn.
Once you have expertly configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate as much of the process as you can. This step is explained in the next article in our WordPress Traffic Blueprint series.
This is the end of Part 3
To read more, click here:
- WordPress Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – Learn How To Create An Automated Traffic-Getting Machine
This article is part of an tutorial series aimed at helping you learn how to grow your business online cost-effectively using a WordPress website or blog and proven online marketing strategies.
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