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 article series, we described the process, and 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 add new content consistently to drive traffic!)
In Part 2, we discussed the setup phase of the blueprint. We explained the best way to start 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 was built using WordPress.
(In Part two we show you where to set up a WordPress site on your domain)
In this article, we look at the configuration stage of the WordPress traffic automation system. We explain how to configure a WordPress site to ensure that traffic will automatically start flowing when you begin to publish new content on a regular basis on your web site.
WordPress Traffic Automation System – Configuration Phase
Being able to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by many website owners as one of the greatest challenges they face online. With competition becoming progressively tougher businesses are researching any and every advantage they can that can help you get better results online.
The ability to generate traffic on demand can be a tremendous advantage over the competition. An expertly configured WordPress site gives you a significant competitive advantage from the very beginning.
Configuration Is The Difference
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a website that has been professionally installed and set up by an expert website builder but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress can offer you.
Here’s one way to understand the differences:
An expertly configured WordPress site gives you a professional web presence plus an automated online business marketing process!
(An expertly configured website gives you a web presence and a built-in automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only does it take additional work to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, it also takes a special kind of expertise.
Let me illustrate this point with a little story.
Knowing Where To Tap
All was moving along in the widget workshop when suddenly, production ground to a halt.
As no one could figure out what was wrong, the plant manager decided to call in an expert to fix the problem.
Promptly after arriving, the expert went immediately to the control box. After staring silently at the wiring board for about 5 minutes, the expert then took out a teeny-weeny little hammer from his pocket and made a very gentle tap near the left-hand side of the box.
Immediately, the whole workshop lit up and started working once more.
The plant manager was grateful and relieved as he thanked the expert, who left as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days later, the factory manager received a service bill for $5,000.
The manager picked up the phone and called the expert, demanding to know why they were expected to pay such a large amount of money for so little time spent delivering such a minimal amount of work. He promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice arrived and was placed in the manager’s intray. Upon opening it, this is what he saw:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is driving visitors to their sites.
In the above story, how much money did the widget plant 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 in our story not have the right to get paid fairly for investing years acquiring the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to immediately assess and avert a potentially costly crisis?
Similarly, if you could have your WordPress website configured so all you had to do is publish new content and search engines, social media and dozens of other online properties would be immediately notified, how much time and money would this save you?
(How much better would your business be if you could automate the process of attracting new visitors to your site?)
Although many experts often make complex solutions look easy, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site involves more than installing a website and configuring site settings for the client. It also involves knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which plugins you need to install to get desired functionalities on your site.
- Which services need to be set up and activated to achieve desired outcomes
- Which options need to be configured to ensure that processes will work as envisioned, etc.
(Generating new traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
Although this part of the traffic automation system may not seem technically challenging, it can be quite involved and time-consuming. The reason why is because it’s not as simple as installing one or two plugins, configuring some settings in your admin area … it’s all this and much more.
Expertly configuring your website involves the integration of many parts such as your web hosting server, your WP site, and a number of external sites and services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we try to flowchart the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplified flowchart of the configuration process)
Let’s examine these steps.
Web Server Configuration
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your webhosting account for website installation purposes. We’re talking about fine-tuning settings in your web server that affect how your website will handle web traffic …
(In the configuration stage, 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 business can attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, requires evaluating your needs, planning for good and unwelcome traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes things like implementing spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring domain and email forwarding, setting up htaccess and 404 redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page errors, etc?)
After fine-tuning your server settings and configuring these (if required), the next step is to set up and configure a number of third-party sites and online solutions.
Configuring External Services
The purpose of adding external sites is that all of your content gets posted to a central location (your site) and from there, it gets automatically distributed to other parts of your web traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you incorporate these external platforms into your system, content pointing back to your site gets automatically fed to these platforms, indexed by search engines and distributed to social networks, even to visitors attracted to the platform itself. Your website will then be given additional exposure to new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some sites and online solutions will need to have accounts 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, you will want to set up the following accounts:
(Google Search Console)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides you with essential data, tools and diagnostic reports about your website.
Once your account has been with Google have been set up, you can use the details with web traffic settings in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s traffic performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing activities, sales conversions, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine referrals, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account has been set up, you can add traffic tracking information to all of your web pages in WordPress via any of several Google Analytics plugins and send data instantly to various other applications and reporting tools.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. Once your Bing Webmaster Tools account and site details have been set up, the account information can be used with web traffic-related settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress offers both 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 features, which can be accessed by various WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate this into your automated web traffic system in the next installment of this article series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking Accounts
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media pages and get new traffic to your site)
You will need to have already set up your various social media and social bookmarking accounts before you can 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 social bookmarking accounts and attract new visitors to your site.
Set up accounts with all the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.
There are many social bookmarking sites you can You can post your content to many social sites. You don’t need to go crazy, just choose those that will work with your system and/or content syndication tools (we will review some of these tools in greater detail further below and in the Automation phase).
(There are many social bookmarking sites you can post your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of emerging web platforms and content aggregators that can serve as second-tier sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free access 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 a news aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your website.
There are many different solutions that can be incorporated into your own web traffic system. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these further, or to discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up accounts with external services, it’s time to configure your WordPress site’s settings.
WordPress – Configuring Your Site
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to ensure that its global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some of the important areas.
By default, WordPress includes a Settings section that allows you to modify your site’s main settings …
(WordPress menu – Settings)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search listings, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings Screen)
The Writing Settings section contains a powerful and frequently overlooked automated traffic notification system …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings Screen)
As described below the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have specifically chosen to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically notify the list of services entered into the Update Services text area
By default, when WordPress is installed, only one service is listed …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature Of WordPress)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically …
(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 on this page can have an influence traffic. For example, choosing to display the full text vs summaries of your post, affects how your content displays to users in RSS feeds and blog post digests, and could play a part in someone’s choice to explore your content 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.
As far as traffic is concerned, however, the main setting in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility checkbox is ticked or not.
Generally, you would want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows WordPress to instantly ping all the update services you have listed when a new post gets published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason to discourage search indexing spiders from visiting your site, leave this box unchecked …
(Settings Menu – 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 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 …
(WordPress Settings – Discussion Settings)
Permalinks enable WordPress to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalink Settings Section)
Here are some of the ways site’s permalinks can be configured …
We have written a detailed tutorial on using WP permalinks here: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
WordPress Traffic Plugins
The WordPress developer community makes available thousands of plugins that help to add almost 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
Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your site for dealing with 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 website security.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress blog invisible to attacks from hackers and bots.
For more details, go here:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your web content more indexable …
(SEO plugins help increase traffic by making your site more search engine friendly)
Use a plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your site’s search engine optimization. When properly configured, this plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines like Google to index, it also gives you control over how your content is displayed in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and GooglePlus.
WordPress Social Plugins
Allowing visitors to share your content online can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if you provide great content that adds real value to readers.
(You can easily add social sharing features to your site with free or inexpensive plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing to their website with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
Many social plugins allow you to specify which social 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 likes), etc. Some social plugins even allow you to protect content which users can unlock by liking your page.
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help improve your site’s traffic generation capabilities.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring the layout and design of your site, many themes also include options for improving SEO and site linking structure for better indexing, add analytics snippets, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes like Graphene (a free theme) allow you to configure settings and options for better traffic results)
With many themes, adding social sharing features to your pages is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons and enabling the feature …
(Many WordPress themes provide built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
WordPress Traffic System Configuration – Additional Areas
Last (but by no means least) in the web traffic system configuration process, are the things that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in visitor numbers, it’s important to plan not only how to handle good and bad traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong when more and more people find and begin to visit your website.
If you make money online, it’s important that your website is compliant with all government regulations.
We have created a detailed article on the importance of having a compliant website here:
Post categories and post tags help search engines better classify and index your pages, which helps to increase traffic.
(WordPress categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better understand and index your pages.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that the post tags and categories that have been set up.
Add A WordPress Site Map
A site map that displays all of your pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external tools discover more of your site’s content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are two different things. HTML site maps provide visitors with a logical map of how your content is organized, whereas XML sitemaps are mostly code that only search bots can understand. Although Google will index your site just using an XML sitemap (which plugins 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.
Don’t Forget Your 404 Page Not Found
When visitors enter the wrong URL or click on an invalid link, they are greeted with an error page (known as a 404 Not Found page) …
(A 404 Page)
A 404 page can be configured into a useful source of traffic to your functional pages …
(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 in your server, there are plugins for WordPress that allow you to easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic System: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once your website or blog has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you then need to do to automatically begin bringing new web traffic is add fresh content on a consistent basis.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, is quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of different components and external web properties …
(WordPress Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The knowledge and expertise required to perform this phase of the traffic automation process can take some website developers months to learn.
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 addressed in the next article in our WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint series.
This is the end of Section 3
To read more, click on the link below:
This article is part of a comprehensive series of tutorials aimed at helping small business owners learn how to grow their business online cost-effectively and drive traffic automatically with a WordPress-powered website or blog and proven web marketing methods.
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