Welcome to Part 3 of our WordPress Web Site Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your site using WordPress.
In Part 1 of this series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to generating automated web traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress blog, all you have to do is post fresh content regularly to automatically attract more web traffic!)
In Part 2, we looked at the setup phase. 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 website, and what to do if your site 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 phase of the WordPress traffic automation system. You will learn what makes an expertly configured WordPress site different, and just what type of work needs to be done to make sure that when all is set up and configured, visitors will automatically start flowing when you add web content to your WordPress site.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint – Configuration
The ability to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by website owners as one of their greatest challenges online. Also, the business landscape is becoming so much more competitive on a global scale and businesses are looking for any and every opportunity they can to increase their competitiveness online.
Being able to automatically generate traffic on demand can provide you with a huge advantage over other competitors. Having an expertly configured WordPress site gives your business a flying start and a significant advantage online.
The Configuration Phase Is The Difference
There is a difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site 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 difference:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a professional web presence and an automated online business marketing tool!
(An expertly configured website gives you a professional web presence and a built-in automated online business marketing system!)
Not only is more work required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, it also takes a special type of expert knowledge.
To illustrate this here is a little story.
A True Story (Kind Of) …
Everything was going well in the gizmo-making plant when things suddenly stopped.
As no one could figure out what happened, the floor manager decided to call in an expert to try and fix the problem.
Shortly after arriving, the expert headed immediately towards the main control box. After staring silently at the electronic components for about 2 minutes or less, the expert then took out a tiny hammer and made a very gentle tap near the right-hand side of the control unit.
Immediately, all machines in the assembly line began to work once again.
The floor 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 dialled the expert, demanding to know why they were being charged so much for less than 5 minutes work and then requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice arrived in the manager’s in-tray. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he saw:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive traffic to their sites.
In the above story, how much money did the gizmo factory stand to lose when the equipment ground to a halt and no one in the business was able to get things up and running again? Did the expert not have the right to demand fair compensation for investing years developing the knowledge and expertise that allowed him to avert a serious crisis?
Similarly, if you could have a website set up so all you ever had to do is publish content to it and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and dozens of other web properties would be instantly notified, how much time and money would this save you?
(How much better would your business be if you could automate the process of driving traffic to your site?)
While experts often make complex solutions look simple, it rarely is that simple or easy.
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! In other words, knowing things such as:
- Which plugins you need to install for specific things to occur on your site.
- Which 3rd-party accounts need to be set up to get specific outcomes
- Which internal and external settings you need to configure to ensure that processes will run exactly as you would like, etc.
(Driving traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
Although this stage of the WordPress traffic automation system may not seem technically challenging, it can be quite involved. This is because it’s not as simple as installing a plugin, clicking a button, or tweaking some options and settings in your dashboard area … it’s all of this and so much more.
Expertly configuring your website is a complex process that involves your web server, your website, and various external sites and services …
(The configuration phase involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If all the steps involved in the configuration process were to be flowcharted, it would look something like this …
(A simplified flowchart of the steps involved in the configuration process)
Let’s examine these steps.
Your Server – Configuration
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your hosting account for website installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about configuring settings and options in your server specifically for handling all web traffic …
(During the configuration phase, 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 your site may attract will be unwanted traffic like bot spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This part of the configuration process, therefore, is about planning for both good and bad traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes things like configuring server-level spam protection and securing server files, to configuring your domain and email forwarding, setting up error page redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page error redirections, etc?)
After your server settings have been checked and configured (if required), the next step is to configure various third-party sites.
The purpose of adding external sites is that all content will get published from one central location (your site) and from there, it will get automatically distributed to other components of your web traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once you incorporate these external services into your network, content pointing back to your website gets automatically fed to these platforms. Your content will benefit from exposure online, helping your business tap into new sources of traffic.
Some of the external sites and services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress site’s settings to help 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:
(Google Search Console)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides you with a range of important data, tools and reports about your website.
Once your account and site details with Google are set up, this information can be used to automate traffic-related settings in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing efforts, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrers, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account has been set up, you can add traffic tracking information to all of your pages in WordPress using a plugin and send data instantly to many other useful applications and reporting tools.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. Once your account has been with Bing have been set up, you can use your details to integrate and automate web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress provides users with the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you are planning to build a professional online presence for your business.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful features, which various WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate these features into your traffic generation system in Part Four of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media sites and social bookmarking accounts and get new traffic 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 sites and bring new visitors to your site.
Make sure you have set up accounts and profiles with all of the popular social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can set up. 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.
(There are lots of social sites you can post your content to. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of online platforms and RSS 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.
For example, here is a content aggregator that allows you to add your WordPress site feed …
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your RebelMouse website.
There are various technologies and third-party applications that can be incorporated into your own traffic system. Please contact us if you would like to explore some of these further and discuss a configuration plan to suit your needs.
After you have configured your web server and set up external service accounts, it’s time to configure your WordPress settings.
WordPress – Configuring Your Site For Traffic
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to make sure that its global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some of the important points.
Configuring WordPress Settings
The WordPress administration area contains a Settings menu that allows you to configure your site’s main settings …
(WordPress settings menu)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most important and often overlooked automated traffic notification systems available to WordPress site owners …
(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 or your webmaster have specifically configured your settings to prevent search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically ping the services entered into the Update Services text area
By default, when WordPress is installed, this section lists only one entry …
(WordPress Update Services)
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 influence traffic. For example, your choice to display the full content vs summaries of your post, affects how your content shows up in RSS feeds and RSS email campaigns, and could play a part in someone’s decision to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your website to read the rest of the content from summaries, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
As far as your traffic system is concerned, however, the main setting in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility check box is ticked or not.
Normally, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows WordPress to instantly ping various update services whenever new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason to discourage search engines from visiting your site, leave this box unchecked …
(Settings Menu – 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 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 …
(Settings Menu – Discussion Settings Screen)
Permalinks allow you to create SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalink Settings)
The examples below show some of the ways permalink URLs can be configured …
(Configuring permalink URLs)
If you need help setting up WP permalinks, go here: Configuring WordPress Permalinks
WordPress – Plugin Settings
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that help to add just about every type 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
Blog Defender Security Plugin
Once again, it’s important to configure your website 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 cannot afford to ignore the importance of web security.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog 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 pages more indexable …
(Yoast SEO – WordPress SEO Plugin)
A plugin like Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) can improve your website’s search engine optimization. Once properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines to find and index, it also lets you specify 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 share your content online can help drive significant traffic to your site, especially if you post content that adds value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing buttons to their website using WordPress plugins)
There are loads of free or inexpensive social sharing plugins to choose from.
Many social plugins let you specify which sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some plugins even allow you to set up protected content sections on your site which users can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.
WordPress Theme Settings – Configuration
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help grow your site’s traffic.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring design and layout elements of your website, some themes also give you built-in options for improving SEO and site linking structure for faster indexing, add tracking code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes can be configured for improved traffic results)
With a number of WordPress themes, adding social sharing buttons and features to your pages is as easy as clicking a few buttons and enabling the function …
(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 Automation System – Other Important Sections To Configure
Last (but by no means least) in the web traffic system configuration process, are the components that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Website Compliance Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for both good and bad traffic but also for all the situations that can cause serious damage to your business when more and more people find and begin to visit your website.
If you engage in any form of commercial activity online, it’s important that your site is compliant with all laws and regulations.
If you need help adding legal pages to WordPress, see this article:
Post categories and tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better understand and index your web pages.
(WordPress post categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better index your website.)
When looking at ways to automate and improve traffic, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s categories and tags have been correctly set up to deliver optimal benefits and results.
Visitor Site Map
A site map that displays all of your site’s pages and posts to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external applications discover your online 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 from 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 results in increased traffic.
404 Page Not Found – An Additional Source Of Traffic!
When online users enter the wrong URL into their web browser or click on an invalid hyperlink, they are greeted with an error page …
(Default WordPress 404 Not Found page)
A 404 Error Page can redirect confused visitors to your functional web pages …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to recover web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 error page can be set up in your web server, there are several plugins for WordPress that allow you to easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once you have your WordPress site fully set up and expertly configured, all you have to do is add web content consistently to automatically begin attracting more web traffic organically.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, is quite involved and requires the configuration and integration of a number of different elements and external web properties …
(Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The kind of knowledge and expertise required to perform the configuration process can take some website 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 explained in the next article in our series.
This is the end of Section 3
To read more, click here:
- Website Traffic Blueprint Part Four – How To Grow Your Website Traffic For Your Business Using WordPress
This article is part of an article series designed to help you learn how to grow your business online with a WordPress-powered website and proven web marketing strategies.
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