Welcome to Part 3 of our Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to create an automated traffic generating machine using the WordPress CMS.
In Part One of this article series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to generating automated traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress blog, all you have to do to begin bringing more traffic is publish fresh content regularly!)
In Part Two, we focused on the setup phase of the 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 website has been built using WordPress.
(In Part two we show you where to set up a WordPress website or blog on your domain)
In this section, we discuss the configuration phase of the traffic system. We explain how to configure a WordPress site to bring web traffic automatically when you begin posting web content on your web site.
The ability to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by business owners as one of their greatest challenges online. With business getting increasingly more competitive on a global scale, it’s worth learning about any opportunity you can to get better results online.
The ability to automatically generate traffic on demand can provide you with a tremendous competitive advantage. For WordPress users, an expertly configured website means having a significant advantage from the word “go”.
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally set up by an expert website developer but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s one way to explain the differences:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a web presence and online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured site gives you a professional web presence with a built-in automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only are more steps needed to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, but also a special kind of expert knowledge.
Allow me to illustrate this with a little story.
Everything is humming along in the widget manufacturing plant when things suddenly grinds to a stop.
No one can figure out what’s happened and so the plant manager decides to call in an expert.
Promptly after arriving, the expert immediately walks towards the main control box. After staring silently at the circuit board for 5 minutes, the expert then takes out a tiny little hammer from his shirt pocket and makes a very gentle tap near the left-hand corner of the unit.
Immediately, all machinery in the assembly line begins to work as before.
The floor manager is filled with joy as he thanks the expert, who leaves as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days after resolving the incident, the manager receives a request of payment for services for $5,000.
Unable to hide his anger and sense of outrage, the factory manager dials the expert. Why had he charged them so much for so little time spent delivering a minimal amount of work? He then requests an itemized invoice and hangs up.
The next day, an invoice statement arrives on the manager’s desk. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he sees:
The main challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive traffic consistently to their sites.
In the above story, how much money did the gizmo factory stand to lose when the machines ground to a halt and no one on the business had the expertise to fix it? Did the expert not have the right to ask to be compensated fairly for investing years developing the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to avert a very serious crisis?
Similarly, if you could have a WP web site set up and configured so all you ever had to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and dozens of other online properties would be automatically 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 the solution to many challenges can seem ridiculously easy in hindsight, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site requires more than installing a website and configuring a few basic settings. It also involves knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things such as:
(Generating new traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
Although this stage of the traffic automation system may not seem technically difficult, it can be quite complicated. The reason why is because it’s not just about installing a solution, clicking on a button or two, or configuring some settings in your dashboard area … it’s all this and much more.
The configuration phase is a complex process that involves your web server, your website or blog, and various third-party sites and services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If all the steps involved in the configuration process were to be flowcharted, it would look something like this …
(A simplistic flowchart of the configuration process)
Let’s examine these areas in more detail.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your webhosting account for installation purposes. What we are talking about, is fine-tuning settings and options in your hosting account specifically for handling web traffic …
(During the configuration phase, your web hosting account settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is welcome traffic. Some of the web traffic you will attract will be unwanted traffic like bot spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This stage of the configuration process, therefore, is about evaluating your needs, planning for good and unwanted 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, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page errors, etc?)
After your web server settings have been checked and configured, the next step is to set up and configure a number of third-party sites.
The idea behind choosing external sites is that all content should be published to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will automatically get syndicated to other parts of your traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once these external sites have been added to your configuration, content linking back to your website will get automatically posted to these platforms. Your site will benefit from increased exposure online, helping your business tap into new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some of these third-party sites and online services will need to be set up before configuring your site to help 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:
(Google Search Console – create a Google-friendly site)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides you with useful data, tools and reports about your website.
After setting up your account with Google Webmasters, this information can be used to integrate and automate web traffic settings in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s traffic performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrals, etc.
After setting up your Google Analytics account, traffic tracking information can be easily integrated with WordPress via a plugin used with other applications.
(Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. Once your account and site data have been set up, the account information can be used with web traffic settings in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO) and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress offers both a hosted (WordPress.com) and a self-hosted (WordPress.org) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress version if you plan to grow 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 explain how to integrate this into your automated web traffic system in Part Four of this series.
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and drive new visitors to your site)
You will need your various social media and social bookmarking accounts set up 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 and social bookmarking accounts and bring new traffic to your site.
Set up profiles with all of the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, 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 setup and/or content syndication tools (we will cover some of these tools in more detail during the Automation phase).
(There are loads of social bookmarking sites you can post your content to. Image: ShareThis.com)
There are many new online platforms and content aggregators that can act as secondary-level traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some are paid services.
For example, here is a content aggregator that lets you add a feed from your WordPress blog …
(RebelMouse – Distribute your content to social networks)
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 own RebelMouse social feed.
There are many different solutions you can incorporate into your 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.
Once you have configured your server settings and set up external site accounts, it’s time to configure your site.
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to make sure that its global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some key areas.
The WordPress dashboard area contains a Settings section that allows you to configure your site’s main settings …
(WordPress menu – Settings)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search listings, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings Section)
The Writing Settings section contains an important and often overlooked traffic notification system …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings)
As described in this section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have purposely configured your settings to prevent search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically notify the list of services entered into the Update Services text area
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, this section displays only one entry …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature)
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 and WordPress will do 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:
Download A List Of Ping Services For Your WordPress Site
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 on this page can have an influence web traffic. For example, your choice to display the full text vs a summary of your post, affects how your content shows up in RSS readers and blog post digests, and could play a part in someone’s decision to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your blog to get the rest of the content from summaries, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
The main setting in this section as far as your traffic system is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility checkbox is enabled or not.
Generally, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked enables your site to automatically ping all the update services you have specified in the Update Services box whenever a new post gets 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 …
(WordPress 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)
Permalinks allow you to display posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalinks)
The examples below show some of the options for configuring your search-friendly URLS …
(Configuring post permalinks)
We have created a detailed tutorial about using permalinks here: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that can add just about 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
Once again, it’s important to configure your site for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. No website or blog is immune from being attacked by hackers.
(Security Plugins help prevent bad traffic from harming your web presence)
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress site invisible to botnet and hacker attacks.
Go here for more info:
SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your web pages more indexable …
(WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your site more search engine friendly)
A plugin like Yoast SEO can significantly improve your website’s search engine optimization. Properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines like Google and Bing to find and index, it allows you to configure how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Allowing your visitors to share your content online can help drive more traffic to your site, especially if you publish great content that adds value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing features to their website using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
You can easily add social sharing to your site with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
Most social share plugins allow you to select which 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 shares), etc. Some social plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content or downloads which users can unlock by sharing your page.
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help grow your traffic.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring design and layout aspects of your website, some themes also include options for improving search optimization and site navigation structure for faster indexing, add tracking snippets, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes like Graphene (a free theme) have built-in traffic optimization features)
With a number of themes, adding social sharing buttons to your site is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons to enable the feature …
(Many WordPress themes have built-in social sharing features)
Last but not least in the traffic configuration process, are the areas that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
This includes the following:
Once again, when preparing your site for an increase in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for both good and bad traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong as more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you are making money online (or are planning to), it’s important that your website is found to comply with all regulations.
(Does Your Site Comply With The Law?)
We have written a detailed article about the importance of having a legally compliant website here:
Post categories & tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better understand and index your pages.
(Post categories help improve traffic by improving your site’s search engine optimization.)
As we strongly recommend in this article, your site’s categories and tags should be set up during the Website Planning Process.
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that the post tags and categories you have set up.
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 sites find more of your site’s content …
(Site Map – great for visitors and beneficial for web traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are not the same thing. An HTML site map is a web page that links to all other content on your site, whereas an XML sitemap is code that only search engines can understand. Although search engines like Google can index your pages 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 results in increased traffic.
When visitors searching online for your site enter the wrong URL or click on an invalid hyperlink, they will typically be presented with a 404 error page …
(A 404 Error Page)
Configuring your 404 Not Found error page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 page can be set up in your server, there are plugins for WordPress that let you easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress dashboard.
Once you have your website fully set up and expertly configured, all you have to do then is post fresh content consistently to begin bringing more web traffic.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of various components and web properties …
(WordPress Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The knowledge and expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site can take many 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 System series.
This is the end of Part 3
To keep reading about this topic, click on the link below:
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive article series aimed at helping you learn how to grow your business online and drive traffic sustainably using a WordPress-driven website and proven online marketing strategies.
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