Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn your site into an automated traffic machine using WordPress.
In Part One of this article series, we described the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website or blog is the key to automating traffic to your website …
(With an expertly configured WordPress site, all you have to do to automatically start generating traffic is post web content on a consistent basis!)
In Part Two, we discussed critical setup decisions. We explained the best way to get started if you don’t have a website yet, how to set everything up if you already have a website, and what to do if your website has been built using WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you where to set up a WordPress website or blog on your domain)
In this section of the series, we discuss the configuration phase of the WordPress traffic automation system. The focus of this section is to help you understand why an expertly configured site is different. You will also learn just what kind of work needs to be done to make sure that when all is fully configured, you can attract traffic automatically when you add web content to your website.
WordPress Web Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase
The ability to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by business owners as the greatest challenge they face online. With business becoming increasingly more competitive worldwide, it’s worth looking into every opportunity you can to increase your own competitiveness online.
Having the ability to generate traffic on demand can provide website owners with a tremendous advantage over other competitors. With an expertly configured WordPress site, your business has an immediate advantage from the very beginning.
The Configuration Process Is What Makes All The Difference
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally set up by an expert website builder but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress has to offer.
Here’s one way to understand the differences:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a web presence plus online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured website gives you a professional web presence and an automated online business marketing process!)
Not only does it take extra labor to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, it also takes a special type of expertise.
To illustrate this point here is an amusing little story.
Knowing Where To Tap
All was humming along in the gizmo-making workshop when everything came to a sudden stop.
As no one could figure out what happened, the floor manager decided to call in an expert to try and fix the problem.
The expert arrived shortly afterwards and, without uttering a word, headed immediately towards the control box. After staring silently at the control unit for 3 minutes or so, the expert then produced a tiny little hammer from his tool belt and made a single tap about one inch from the left-hand corner of the control unit.
Immediately, all the machinery inside the factory floor returned to normal.
The manager was relieved as he thanked the expert, who left as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days later, the manager received a request for payment of $5,000.
The factory manager called the expert, demanding to know why they had been charged such a large amount of money for less than five minutes work. He promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice arrived in the manager’s intray. Upon opening it, this is what he saw:
The #1 challenge most businesses face online is driving new traffic to their sites.
How much money did the gizmo plant stand to lose when production stopped functioning and no one on the factory floor had the expertise to get things up and running again? Did the expert in our story not have the right to demand fair compensation for having invested years building up the knowledge, skills and expertise that allowed him to fix a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your WP site set up and configured so all you ever had to do is publish new content and search engines, social media and dozens of other traffic-generating web properties would be immediately notified, how much time and money would you save?
(How much time and money would you save if you could automate the process of attracting new visitors to your site?)
Although experts often make complicated things look easy, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than adding some pages with content and configuring some basic settings. It also involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things such as:
- Which plugins need to be installed to add desired functionalities to your site.
- Which accounts need to be set up to achieve specific outcomes
- Which internal and external settings you need to configure in order to ensure that processes will run the way you have envisioned, etc.
(Generating traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
This stage of the traffic automation system is not technically challenging, but it’s quite involved. This is because it’s not as easy as installing a plugin, clicking a couple of buttons, or tweaking some options and settings in your admin area … it’s all this and so much more.
Expertly configuring your website is a process that involves your web server, your WordPress site, and a number of external sites and services …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we create a simple diagram 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 in more detail.
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your web-hosting account for website installation purposes (this should have been done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about tweaking settings and options in your web server that affect how your website will handle all web traffic …
(During the configuration stage, your web hosting account settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is beneficial traffic. Some of the web traffic your website will attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, malicious threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This part of the configuration process, therefore, is about planning for bad and good traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This could include things like configuring spam protection and securing server files, to configuring your domain and email forwarding, setting up 404 error page redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your webhosting settings for handling things like emails, page errors, etc?)
After checking your server settings and configuring these (if required), the next step is to set up and configure various external sites and online services.
The basic idea of choosing external sites is that all of your content should be published to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, radiate outwards to other parts of your web traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once you add these external sites to your system, content pointing back to your site is automatically syndicated to these platforms. Your content and website will be exposed to a new audience and source of traffic.
Some sites and services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress site’s settings to speed up the configuration process 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 site:
(Google Webmaster Tools)
Google Webmasters lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides you with essential information, SEO tools and reports about your website.
After setting up your account with Google Search Console, you can use the details with web traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. 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 behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrers, etc.
After setting up your account, traffic monitoring information can be integrated with WordPress using any of several Google Analytics plugins used with other applications.
(Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. Once your account and site data have been set up, this information can be used with traffic settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
As discussed in Part Two, WordPress offers the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you plan to build a professional web presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful features, which can be accessed by a number of WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate these features into your automated traffic system in Part Four of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media accounts and attract new traffic to your site)
You will need to have already set up your various social media and social bookmarking accounts in order to configure these as part of your traffic generation system.
After setting up and configuring everything, you will be able to syndicate your content automatically to your social media pages and attract new traffic to your site.
Make sure you have set up accounts with all the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are many social bookmarking sites you can syndicate your content to. You don’t need to go crazy, just select the ones that will work with your setup and/or content sharing tools (we discuss some of these tools in greater detail in the Automation phase).
(There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can post your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are many new online technology platforms and content aggregators that can serve as secondary-level traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free levels, and some offer a range of pricing plans to suit different users.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that allows you to add an RSS feed from your WordPress blog …
(RebelMouse – Publishing platform for distributed content)
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your RebelMouse page.
There are various sites and platforms that can be added to your web traffic system. Please contact us if you would like to explore your options and discuss a configuration plan to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up external site accounts, it’s time to configure your site.
Configuring Your WordPress Site
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to ensure that your global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Configuring Global WordPress Settings
Your WordPress admin area contains a Settings section that allows you to modify your site’s main settings …
(WordPress settings section)
Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline can affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search listings, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings Section)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most important and often overlooked built-in traffic notification systems available to WordPress site owners …
(WordPress Settings – Writing Settings Section)
As described below the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you or your webmaster have purposely chosen to prevent search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically notify the services entered into the Update Services text area
By default, this section displays only one entry …
(WordPress Update Services)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically …
(Notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress!)
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 readers 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 text vs summaries of your post, affects how your content displays in RSS feeds and blog post digests, and could play a part in someone’s choice to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your blog to read the rest of the content from excerpts, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
As far as traffic is concerned, however, the main setting in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is enabled or not.
Typically, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows your site to instantly ping all the update services you have listed when new posts are published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason to discourage search indexing spiders from visiting your site, do not check this box …
(Settings Menu – 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 blogs linked to from your posts, 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 search engine-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalinks Section)
Here are some of the options for configuring your permalink URLs …
(Configuring search-friendly URLS)
If you need help 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 just about every type of functionality imaginable to your website, including traffic generation.
Let’s take a brief look at examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help improve traffic generation
WordPress Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your website for dealing with both good traffic and bad traffic. No blog is completely safe from a cyber-attack.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress blog invisible to attacks from hackers and bots.
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by making your web pages more indexable …
(SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help drive more traffic by improving the search engine friendliness of your website)
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, this plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines like Google and Bing to index, it also gives you control over how your content is displayed in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Allowing your visitors to easily share your content with members of their online communities can help boost traffic to your site, especially if your site provides great content that adds value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing to their website using WordPress plugins)
There are loads of free or inexpensive social sharing plugins to choose from.
Most social plugins allow you to select which sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of likes), etc. Some social sharing plugins even allow you to set up protected content areas on your site which users can unlock by sharing your page.
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help you drive more traffic to your site.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring layout and design elements of your site, many themes also provide options for improving SEO and site navigation structure for better indexing, easily add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes have built-in traffic optimization features)
With a number of WordPress themes, adding social sharing buttons and features to your website is as easy as selecting the option to enable this functions …
(Many WordPress themes come with built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
Other Areas To Configure For Better Traffic
Last but not least in the web traffic configuration process, are the components that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
These include the following:
Website Legal Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for both good and unwanted traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong as more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you do any kind of business online, you need to make sure that your site is compliant with regulatory agencies.
If you need help adding legal pages to WordPress, see this article:
Tags & post categories help to improve your site’s search optimization, which helps you get more traffic.
(Categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better index your pages.)
When considering ways to automate and improve traffic, you will want to review and make sure that the categories and tags that have been set up.
Add A Site Map To Your WordPress Site
A visitor site map that lists all of your site’s posts and pages is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external sites discover more of your website content …
(Site Map – great for site visitors and beneficial for traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are different things. An HTML site map is a web page that links to all other content on your site, while an XML sitemap is mostly just a bunch of code that only search bots can interpret. Although Google can index your pages just using an XML sitemap (which a plugin like Yoast SEO can provide – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
Don’t Forget Your WordPress 404 Page
When visitors searching for your website type in the wrong web address into their web browser or click on an invalid link, they are presented with a 404 error page …
(Default WordPress 404 Error Page)
Configuring your 404 page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to recover web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 Not Found error page can be set up on your server, there are several WordPress plugins that allow you to easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Process – Summary
Once you have your site expertly configured and fully set up, all you have to do then to begin bringing more web traffic is publish new content consistently.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and requires the configuration and integration of various elements and external web properties …
(WordPress Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The kind of expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes some web developers a long time 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 covered in the next section of the series.
This is the end of Part Three
To read more, click on the link below:
- Website Traffic Blueprint Part Four – How To Automatically Grow Your Web Traffic For Your Business Using WordPress
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive tutorial series designed to help small business owners learn how to grow their business online cost-effectively using a WordPress-driven website or blog and proven online marketing strategies.
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