Welcome to Part Three of our Web Site Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to create an automated web traffic machine using the WordPress CMS.
In Part One of this series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website or blog is the key to generating automated web traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website or blog, all you have to do to start driving traffic is post web content regularly!)
In Part 2, we focused on critical setup decisions. We helped you understand the best way to get started if you don’t have a web presence yet, how to set things up if you already have a website, and what to do if your existing site was built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you where to set up a WordPress website on your domain)
In this article, we look at the configuration stage of the traffic automation process. You will learn how to configure a WordPress site so you can start driving new traffic automatically simply by regularly adding web content to your website.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase
Being able to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by most website owners as the greatest challenge they face online. With business becoming increasingly more competitive on a global scale, it’s worth looking into every advantage available to get better results online.
Having the ability to generate traffic on demand can provide website owners with a tremendous advantage over the competition. Having an expertly configured WordPress site gives you a flying start and a significant competitive advantage online.
The Difference Is In The Configuration
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a website that has been professionally set up by a web-building expert but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress can offer.
Here’s a simple way to describe the difference:
An expertly configured WordPress site gives you a professional web presence plus online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured site gives you a professional web presence and a built-in automated online business marketing process!)
Not only does it take extra labor to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, but also a special type of expert knowledge.
To illustrate this here’s a joke.
Knowing Where To Tap
All is going fine in the gizmo manufacturing plant when production suddenly stops.
No one can figure out what’s wrong and so the plant manager decides to call in an expert to fix the problem.
Soon afterwards, the expert arrives and, without uttering a word, heads out directly to the control box. After staring at the board for 5 minutes, the expert then takes out a teeny-weeny hammer from his pocket and makes a gentle tap about one inch from the left-hand edge of the unit.
Immediately, the whole workshop lights up and springs back to life.
The plant manager is overjoyed 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 bill for $5,000.
Bewildered and angry, the factory manager rings the expert. Why were they charged so much for less than five minutes work? He promptly requests an itemized invoice to be sent 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 #1 challenge most businesses face online is being able to consistently drive traffic to their sites.
In the story we’ve just described, how much money did the widget plant stand to lose when production stopped working and no one in the business had the expertise required to get things up and running again? Did the expert not have the right to demand fair compensation for spending years developing the knowledge and expertise that allowed him to immediately assess and fix a potentially costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your WP site configured so all you ever had to do is publish content to it and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest 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 attracting new visitors to your site?)
Although experts often make complicated solutions look easy, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site requires more than simply installing a website and configuring a few basic settings. It also involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which programs need to be installed to get specific functionalities on your site.
- Which services you need to set up to get desired outcomes
- Which options need to be configured to ensure that things will work as envisioned, etc.
(Driving web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
Although this part of the traffic automation system may not seem technically difficult, it can be quite involved and time-consuming. The reason why is because it’s not as simple as installing and configuring a solution, clicking a couple of buttons … it’s all this and much more.
Expertly configuring your website is a complex process that involves your web server, your WP site, and various external sites and services …
(The configuration phase involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If we were to create a simplified flowchart of the activities involved in the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplified flowchart showing the steps involved in the configuration process)
Let’s take a brief look at what’s involved.
Configuring The Web Server
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your hosting account for website installation purposes. We’re talking about tweaking settings in your web server specifically for handling all web traffic …
(During the configuration phase, your server settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is positive traffic. Some of the traffic your site will attract will be unwelcome traffic like bot spam, malicious threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This area of the configuration process, therefore, is about planning for bad and good traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes things like implementing spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring domain and email redirections, setting up htaccess file redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page error redirects, etc?)
After checking your web server settings and configuring these (if required), the next step is to set up and configure various external sites.
External Web Properties & Services – Configuration
The concept behind choosing external sites is that all of your content is published from a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it syndicates automatically to other components of your web traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once these external sites have been added to your setup, content with links pointing back to your website will get automatically syndicated to search, social and aggregator sites. Your website will then be given exposure to new sources of traffic and new audiences.
Some of these external sites will need to be set up before configuring your site’s settings to 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:
(Google Search Console)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of useful information, tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
Once your account is with Google have been set up, use this information to integrate and automate web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s results, SEO, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user behaviour, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine referrers, etc.
After setting up your Google Analytics account, you can add traffic monitoring information to WordPress via a simple plugin and send data automatically to many other applications and web properties.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. Once your account and site details are set up, use this information with web traffic settings in WordPress 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 option if you plan to grow a professional online presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great tools, which a number of WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate this into your automated traffic system in the next installment of this article series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking Accounts
(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 accounts set up in order to integrate these with 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 pages and get new visitors to your site.
Set up profiles with all of the main social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.
There are lots of social sites you can You can post your content to many social sites. You don’t need to go crazy, just pick those that will work with your system and/or content syndication tools (we discuss some of these tools in greater detail when we discuss the Automation phase).
(There are loads of social sites you can syndicate your content to. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Sites, Aggregators, Etc.
There are many online web platforms and RSS aggregators that can serve as second-tier sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free plans, 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 a feed from your site …
(RebelMouse – Publishing platform for distributed content)
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your RebelMouse page.
There are many different platforms that can be incorporated into your own web traffic system. Please contact us if you need assistance exploring this area further, or to discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up external site accounts, it’s time to configure your WordPress settings.
WordPress Traffic Configuration
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to make sure that your global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some of the important points.
Global Settings – WordPress
By default, all WordPress installations include a Settings menu that allows you to modify your site’s global settings …
(WordPress settings menu)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search listings, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains an important and frequently overlooked traffic notification system …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings Area)
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 purposely chosen to discourage search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically ping the list of services entered into the Update Services section
By default, when WordPress is installed, this section lists only one entry …
You can notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress …
(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 to display the full content vs summaries of your post, affects how your content appears in RSS feeds and RSS email campaigns, and could impact 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 excerpts, 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 feature is ticked or not.
Typically, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows WordPress to ping your list of update services whenever new posts are published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, do not check this box …
(Global Settings – Reading Settings Section)
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 sites linked to from your articles, 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 …
(Global Settings – Discussion Settings)
Your Permalink settings allow you to create search engine-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalinks)
The examples below show some of the ways your permalink URLs can be configured …
(Configuring search-friendly URLS)
For a detailed step-by-step tutorial about setting up permalinks, go here: Improve Your WordPress SEO Using SEO-Friendly URLs
Configuring WordPress Traffic Plugins
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that help to add almost 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 drive more traffic to your site
Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your site for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. Regardless of the type of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, securing your website or blog is something you cannot ignore.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress site invisible to malicious attacks from hackers and bots.
Go here to learn more:
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your web pages easier for search engines like Google to index …
(SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help drive more traffic by improving your site’s SEO)
A plugin like Yoast SEO can significantly improve your SEO. Properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines like Google and Bing to find 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 online can help boost traffic to your site, especially if your site provides great content that adds real value to readers.
(You can easily add social features to your website using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
There are many free or inexpensive social sharing plugins available for WordPress.
Many social sharing plugins allow you to specify 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 shares), etc. Some social share plugins even allow you to protect content or downloads which users can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.
Configuring WordPress Theme Settings
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help you drive more traffic to your site.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your site, many themes also include options for improving SEO and site linking structure for faster indexing, add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WP themes like Graphene (a free theme) allow you to configure options and settings for better traffic results)
With a number of quality themes, adding social sharing buttons to your website is as easy as selecting the option to enable this functions …
(Many WordPress themes have built-in social sharing features)
Configuring Other WordPress Sections For Traffic Results
Last (but by no means least) in the web traffic configuration process, are the elements that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
Website Legal Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in visitor numbers, it’s important to plan not only how to handle good and unwelcome traffic but also for all the situations that can damage your business as more and more people begin to visit your website.
If you make money online, it’s important that your website is found to comply with legal requirements of government agencies that regulate business online.
We have written a detailed article about adding legal pages to WordPress here:
Post categories & tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better classify and index your web pages.
(Categories help search engines better organize and index your website, which helps to increase traffic.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post tags and post categories have been set up correctly to deliver optimal benefits and 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, it can also help external applications discover your web content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for web traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are two different things. Although search engines like Google can index your site just using an XML sitemap (which a plugin like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), making it easier for visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
Your Site’s 404 Error Page
When visitors searching for your site type in the wrong web address into their browser or click on links pointing to an incorrect destination on your site, they will normally be presented with an error page (known as a 404 page) …
(Default WordPress 404 Error Page)
A 404 Error Page can be configured to funnel visitors to your functional pages …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found 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 WordPress plugins that let you easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Process – Summary
Once your website has been fully set up and expertly configured, all you need to do then is add great content on a consistent basis to automatically begin attracting more web traffic.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, is quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of different elements and web properties …
(Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The expertise required to perform this phase of the traffic automation process typically takes some web developers months to acquire.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is covered in the next section of our WordPress Traffic Blueprint series.
This is the end of Section 3
To read the rest of this article, click on the link below:
This article is part of an tutorial series designed to help you learn how to grow your business online cost-effectively with a WordPress-driven website or blog and proven online marketing strategies.
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"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now