Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Site Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to create an automated traffic generation machine using WordPress.
In Part 1 of this series, we provided an overview of the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website or blog is the key to generating automated web traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress blog, all you have to do to begin bringing web traffic is publish content regularly!)
In Part Two, we looked at critical setup decisions. We explained 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 site, and what to do if your website was built with WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you how to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section of the series, we will discuss the configuration phase of the WordPress traffic automation system. We will show you how to configure a WordPress site to ensure that visitors will automatically start flowing when you begin to publish new content on a regular basis on your WordPress site.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint – Configuration
Being able to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by website owners as one of their greatest challenges online. With competition becoming increasingly more difficult businesses are looking for any and every advantage they believe will help them increase their competitiveness online.
The ability to generate traffic on demand is a tremendous advantage. For businesses, having an expertly configured website gives WordPress users a flying start from the moment their website is launched.
The Configuration Phase Is The Difference
There is a difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a website that has been professionally set up by an expert website builder but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress can offer you.
Here’s a simple way to explain the main difference:
With a WordPress website that has been expertly configured you get a web presence with online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured site gives you a web presence with an automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only is additional work required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, but also a special kind of expert knowledge.
To illustrate this point here’s an amusing little story.
Ludicrous Or Fair? You Decide …
All is going just fine in the widget-making factory when things grind to a sudden stop.
No one can figure out what’s happened and so the manager decides to call in an expert.
Promptly after arriving, the expert goes directly to the main control box. After staring silently at the box for less than 3 minutes, the expert then takes out a teensy-weensy hammer and makes a gentle tap about 1 cm from the right corner of the box.
Immediately, the whole workshop lights up and begins working again.
The plant manager is filled with joy as he thanks the expert, who then leaves as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days later, the factory manager receives a request of payment for services totalling $5,000.
Angrily, the factory manager picks up the phone and rings the expert. Demanding to know why they have been charged so much for so little time spent delivering such minimal amount of work, he promptly requests an itemized invoice and hangs up.
The next day, an invoice notice arrives in the manager’s in-tray. Upon opening it, this is what he sees:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive visitors consistently to their sites.
How much money did the plant stand to lose when the equipment stopped functioning and no one in the business had the expertise required to get things up and running again? Did the expert in our story not have every right to be compensated fairly for investing years building up the knowledge and expertise that allowed him to assess and repair a costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a website or blog set up so all you ever had to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube 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 website?)
While the solution to many problems may seem quite simple in hindsight, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site involves more than simply installing a website and configuring a few basic settings. It requires knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which programs you need to install to get certain functionalities on your site.
- Which accounts you need to set up to achieve desired results
- Which settings need to be configured in order to ensure that things will function as you have imagined, etc.
(Driving traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
This stage of the WordPress traffic automation system is not technically challenging, but it’s quite involved and complicated. The reason why is because it’s not as easy as installing a solution, configuring some settings in your dashboard area … it’s all this and much more.
The configuration phase is a process that involves your web server, your site, and a number of external sites …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If we were to create a simple flowchart of the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplistic diagram of all the steps involved in the configuration process)
Let’s examine what’s involved in more detail.
Your Web Server
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your hosting account for website installation purposes. What we are talking about, is fine-tuning settings in your hosting account specifically for handling all web traffic …
(In the configuration stage, your web hosting account settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is welcome traffic. Some of the web traffic your website can attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, is all about evaluating your needs, planning for good and bad traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like implementing spam protection and securing server files, to configuring your domain and email redirections, setting up htaccess file redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like emails, page errors, etc?)
After fine-tuning your server settings and configuring these (if required), the next step of the configuration phase is to set up a number of external sites and online services.
The basic idea of choosing external sites is that all content will be posted to a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will be distributed automatically to other components of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
After incorporating these external sites into your traffic network, content linking back to your website will get automatically posted to your search, social and aggregator accounts. Your content and business will be exposed to a new audience and source of traffic.
Some of the third-party sites and online solutions will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress site’s settings to speed up the 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 WordPress site’s settings:
(Google Webmaster Tools)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides you with a range of useful information, tools and reports about your website.
Once your account is set up, your details can be used with traffic settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s performance, SEO, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrers, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site data are set up, you can add traffic monitoring information to WordPress using plugins and send data automatically to other applications and reporting tools.
(Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. After setting up your Bing Webmaster Tools account, this information can be used to integrate and automate traffic settings in WordPress and other applications.
As discussed in Part 2, WordPress offers users a hosted (WordPress.com) and a self-hosted (WordPress.org) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you plan to build a professional business presence online.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great features, which can be accessed by various WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate these features into your web traffic system in Part Four of this series.
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and drive new traffic to your site)
You will need your various social media accounts set up 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 accounts and get new visitors to your site.
You should have accounts and profile pages with all of the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
There are loads of social bookmarking sites you can syndicate your content to. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just select those that will work well with your system and/or content sharing tools (we discuss some of these tools in more detail further below and during the Automation phase).
(You can syndicate your content to loads of social sites. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are many emerging web platforms and content aggregators that can act as secondary-level traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free levels, and some are paid services.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that allows you to add your WordPress blog feed …
(RebelMouse – Publishing platform for distributed content)
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your own RebelMouse social feed.
There are various solutions that can be incorporated into your own traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to explore some of these further and discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your server settings and set up accounts with external sites, it’s time to configure your WordPress site.
WordPress – Configuring Your Website
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to ensure that your global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Configuring Global WordPress Settings
The WordPress dashboard area contains a Settings menu that allows you to modify your site’s main settings …
(WordPress dashboard menu – Settings)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings Section)
The Writing Settings section contains one of the most powerful and frequently overlooked traffic notification systems available to WordPress users …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings)
As described below the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have intentionally chosen to prevent search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically notify the update services entered into the Update Services box
By default, when WordPress is installed, this section displays only one entry …
(WordPress Update Services)
WordPress lets you 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 and WordPress takes care of the rest …
(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 on this page can influence traffic. For example, your choice 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 play a part in someone’s decision to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your site to get 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 want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows WordPress to instantly ping the list of update services when a new post is published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason to discourage search indexing spiders from visiting your site, do not check this box …
(Global Settings – Reading Settings)
Although the settings in this section 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 Screen)
Permalinks enable your site to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalinks)
The examples below show some of the options for configuring your site’s permalink URLs …
(Configuring permalink URLs)
To learn more about setting up WordPress permalinks, see this step-by-step tutorial: Configuring Your WordPress Permalinks
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
The WordPress developer community makes available thousands of plugins that help to add almost every kind of functionality to your site, including plugins that add traffic generation capabilities.
Here are some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
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 type of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, you simply cannot ignore the importance of securing your websites.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your website invisible to malicious attacks from hackers and botnets.
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by improving your website’s SEO …
(WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help drive traffic by making your website more search engine friendly)
A plugin like Yoast SEO (previously known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) can improve your SEO. Properly configured, this plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines to index, it allows you to configure how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing visitors to share your content online can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if you provide great content that adds value to readers.
(You can add social sharing to your website easily using WordPress plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing buttons to their site using WordPress plugins.
Most social share plugins allow you to select which social sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of followers), etc. Some social plugins even allow you to set up protected content areas on your site which visitors can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help improve your site’s traffic generation capabilities.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring layout and design aspects of your website, some themes also provide options for improving SEO and site linking structure for better indexing, easily add tracking code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes can be configured for better traffic results)
With a number of quality themes, adding social sharing buttons and features to your website is as easy as clicking a few buttons and enabling the function …
(Many WordPress themes come with built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
Configuring Other WordPress Settings For Improved Traffic Results
Last but not least in the configuration process, are the elements that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
This includes the following:
Compliance Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in visitor numbers, it’s important to plan not only for how to deal with good and unwelcome traffic but also for all the situations that can damage your business when more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you engage in any form of commercial activity online (or are planning to), it’s important that your website stays compliant with regulatory agencies.
For a detailed article about how to quickly add legal pages to your website or blog, go here:
WordPress tags & post categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better organize and index your website.
(Post categories help improve traffic by improving your site’s search optimization.)
When configuring your web site to automate and improve web traffic, 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.
Add A WordPress Site Map
A visitor site map that lists all of your pages and posts 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!)
It’s important to note that an HTML site map and an XML sitemap are two different things. Although search engines like Google will index your site just using an XML sitemap (which a plugin 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.
Your 404 Error Page
When visitors searching online for your site type in the wrong web address into their browser or click on hyperlinks pointing to pages on your website that no longer exist, they will normally be greeted with a 404 error page …
(A WordPress 404 Error Page)
Configuring your 404 Not Found error page allows you to recover web traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found error page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 page can be set up on your web server, there are plugins for WordPress that let you easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Process – Summary
Once you have your website expertly configured and fully set up, all you then have to do is post great content on a regular basis to automatically attract web traffic organically.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, is quite involved and requires the configuration and integration of a number of different elements and web properties …
(Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of knowledge and expertise required to perform the configuration process can take many website developers months to acquire.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the aspects of the process that can be automated. This step is explained in the next article in the WordPress Traffic System series.
This is the end of Section 3
To continue reading about this topic, click here:
- Website Traffic Blueprint Part Four – Learn How To Turn Your WordPress Site Into An Automated Traffic Generation Machine
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive series of articles aimed at helping you learn how to grow your business online cost-effectively with a WordPress-driven website and proven web marketing methods.
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