Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn your site into an automated web traffic machine using the WordPress CMS platform.
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 site, all you have to do is publish great content regularly to automatically start driving web traffic!)
In Part 2, we focused on critical setup decisions. We explained the best way to get started if you don’t have a website 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 stage of the traffic blueprint. We explain how to configure a WordPress site so you can get traffic automatically as you begin to post new content to your site.
WordPress Web Traffic Automation System – Configuration Phase
Being able to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by most website owners as one of the greatest challenges they face online. With business becoming increasingly more competitive, it’s worth learning about any and every advantage available to get better results online.
Having the ability to generate traffic on demand can be a tremendous advantage. An expertly configured WordPress site gives your business a flying start as soon as your site is launched.
The Configuration Process Is What Makes All The Difference
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally installed and set up by an expert website builder but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress has to offer.
Here’s a simple way to explain the main difference:
An expertly configured WordPress website gives you a web presence plus online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured website gives you a web presence with an automated online business marketing process!)
Not only are more steps required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, it also takes a special type of expertise.
Let’s illustrate this with an anecdote.
Knowing Where To Tap
Everything is moving along in the widget workshop when suddenly, things stops.
No one can figure out what’s happened and so the plant manager decides to call in an expert.
The expert arrives shortly afterwards and, without uttering a word, walks directly towards the control box. After staring silently at the circuit board for what seems like 3 minutes, the expert then takes out a little hammer from his shirt pocket and makes a gentle tap near the bottom-right side of the box.
Immediately, everything starts working once again.
The plant manager is grateful and relieved as he thanks the expert, who then leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days after resolving the incident, the factory manager receives a request for payment of $5,000.
Furious, the factory manager picks up the phone and dials the expert. Why had they had been charged so much for less than 5 minutes work? He promptly requests an itemized invoice to be sent and hangs up.
The next day, an invoice arrives and is placed on the manager’s desk. Upon opening it, this is what he sees:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is driving new traffic to their sites.
In the above story, how much money did the factory stand to lose when the machines ground to a halt 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 having invested years acquiring the knowledge, skills and expertise that allowed him to avert a serious crisis?
Similarly, if you could have a WP website fully set up and configured so all you have to do is publish content to it and search engines, social networks and dozens of other online properties would be instantly notified, how much time and money would you save?
(How much time and money would you save if you could automate the process of driving traffic to your website?)
Although many experts often make complicated situations and problems look easy, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than installing a website and configuring basic settings. It involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which plugins need to be installed for certain things to occur on your site.
- Which third-party accounts you need to set up to get desired results
- Which internal and external settings you need to configure in order to ensure that things will work as envisioned, etc.
(Driving traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
This stage of the WordPress traffic automation system is not so technically difficult, but it’s quite complicated. This is because it’s not just about installing one or two plugins, configuring some options and settings in your dashboard area or clicking a couple of buttons … it’s all this and so much more.
The configuration phase is a complex process that involves your web hosting server, your site, and a number of third-party sites and online services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring some WordPress settings)
If we try to flowchart the activities involved in the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplified flowchart showing the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s examine what’s involved.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your hosting account for website installation purposes (this should have been done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about fine-tuning settings and options in your server specifically for handling all web traffic …
(During the configuration stage, your server settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is positive traffic. Some of the web traffic you can attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, is about planning for good and unwelcome traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like integrating server-level spam protection and security threat prevention, to configuring domain and email redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like emails, page errors, etc?)
After your server settings have been checked and configured, the next step is to set up and configure a number of external sites and services.
Configuring External Web Properties
The purpose of adding external sites is that all of your content should be posted to a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will automatically get syndicated to other components of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
After incorporating these external services into your traffic system, content with links pointing back to your site will be automatically added to search, social and aggregator sites. Your business will benefit from additional exposure online, helping your business tap into a new audience and source of traffic.
Some of the web properties and online services will need to be set up before configuring your site’s settings to 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 before configuring your site’s settings:
(Google Webmaster Tools – create a Google-friendly website or blog)
Google Webmasters lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides you with essential information, tools and diagnostic reports about your website.
Once your account with Google Webmasters are set up, use your information with web traffic settings in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s results, SEO, marketing campaigns, sales conversions, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine referrers, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account is set up, traffic monitoring data can be integrated with WordPress via plugins and instantly sent to many other useful applications and reporting tools.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. After setting up your account, your information can be used with traffic settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress offers users 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 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 traffic system in the next installment of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(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 social media accounts before you can 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 sites and social bookmarking accounts and get new traffic to your site.
You should have accounts and pages set up with all the popular social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
There are many social sites you can You can post your content to loads of social bookmarking sites. You don’t need to go crazy, just select the ones that will work well with your system and/or content sharing tools (we cover some of these tools in greater detail when we discuss the Automation phase).
(You can syndicate your content to lots of social bookmarking sites. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of emerging web platforms and RSS aggregators that can serve as secondary-level traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some are more suitable for enterprise-level applications.
For example, here is a content aggregator that lets you 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 displays in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your page.
There are many different technologies and third-party applications that can be added to your own web traffic system. Please contact us if you would like to explore some of these and discuss a configuration strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your server settings and set up external service accounts, it’s time to configure your 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.
Your WordPress dashboard area contains a Settings menu that allows you to set up your site’s global settings …
(WordPress settings menu)
Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings Screen)
The Writing Settings section contains a powerful and often overlooked traffic notification system …
(Global Settings – 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 intentionally chosen to prevent search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically notify the update services entered into the Update Services text box
By default, when WordPress is installed, this section displays only one entry …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature)
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 readers when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings in this section can have an influence web traffic. For example, your choice of displaying 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 excerpts, 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 here is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is ticked or not.
Normally, you would want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows WordPress to ping your update services list whenever a new post gets published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, leave this box unchecked …
(Settings Menu – Reading Settings Section)
Although discussion settings 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 content, 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 …
(WordPress Settings – Permalink Settings)
Here are some of the options for configuring your post permalinks …
(Configuring SEO-friendly URLs)
We have created a detailed tutorial on using WordPress permalinks here: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
WordPress Traffic Plugin Settings – Configuration
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that can add almost every type of functionality to your website, including plugins with features that help to improve traffic generation.
Let’s look at some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
Blog Defender WordPress Security Plugin
Once again, it’s important to configure your website for dealing with both good traffic and bad traffic. Regardless of the kind of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, you simply cannot afford to ignore the importance of web security.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress blog invisible to botnets and hackers.
Go here for more information:
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your web pages easy for search engines like Google to index …
(WP Plugin – Yoast SEO)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO (previously called WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your SEO. Properly configured, this plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines like Google to find, crawl and index, it allows you to configure how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and GooglePlus.
WordPress Social Plugins
Allowing your visitors to easily share your content online can help boost traffic to your site, especially if you post great content that adds value to readers.
(You can add social sharing buttons to your website easily with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social features to their site using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
Most social sharing plugins let you select which sites visitors can share your content 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 ‘lock’ content or downloads which visitors can unlock by sharing your page.
WP Traffic Features In Themes
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help you drive more traffic to your site.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your website, many themes also provide built-in features that let you improve SEO and site navigation structure for faster indexing, easily add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes allow you to configure settings for improved traffic results)
With a number of themes, adding social sharing features to your pages is as easy as selecting the option to enable this functions …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in social sharing features that can be easily enabled on with the click of a button)
Other Areas To Configure For Increased Traffic
Last but not least in the WordPress traffic system configuration process, are the elements that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for how to handle good and unwelcome traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong as more and more people find and begin to visit your website.
If you engage in any form of commercial activity online, you need to ensure that your site is found to comply with regulatory agencies.
To learn more about how to quickly and easily add legal pages to your site, refer to this article:
WordPress post categories and tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better index your website.
(Post categories help search engines index your website, which helps to increase traffic.)
When configuring your web site to automate and improve traffic, you will want to review and make sure that the post categories and tags that have been set up.
Add A WordPress Site Map
A visitor site map that lists all of your site’s posts and pages is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external applications discover your site’s content …
(Site Map – great for visitors and beneficial for traffic too!)
It’s important to note that an HTML site map and an XML sitemap are different things. Only search engine bots can interpret an XML sitemap. Although Google can 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.
404 Page Not Found – Don’t Lose Traffic!
When visitors searching for your site type in the wrong URL into their web browser or click on a dead link, they will normally be presented with a 404 Not Found error page …
(A 404 Page)
A 404 Error Page can be configured into a useful source of traffic to your functional pages …
(Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 Not Found error page can be set up in your web server, there are several plugins for WordPress that let you easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once you have your website or blog fully set up and expertly configured, all you then need to do is publish great content consistently to drive traffic organically.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate and requires the configuration and integration of different components and external web properties …
(Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of skills and knowledge required to perform the configuration process typically takes some web professionals months to acquire.
Once you have expertly configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate as much of the process as can be automated. This step is explained in the next section of our series.
This is the end of Section 3
To read more, click on the link below:
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive article series aimed at helping site owners learn how to grow their business online inexpensively and drive traffic sustainably with a WordPress-powered website and proven online marketing methods.
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