Welcome to Part Three of our Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to create an automated 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 traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress site, all you have to do to start generating new traffic is publish new content regularly!)
In Part 2, we focused on the setup phase of the traffic automation process. 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 existing website has been built using WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up a WordPress site on your domain)
In this article, we discuss the configuration stage of the traffic automation process. We will show you what makes an expertly configured site different than a professionally configured one, and what type of work is required to ensure that when all is fully set up and configured, you will bring new visitors automatically simply by publishing web content on your site.
WordPress Web Traffic Automation Blueprint – Configuration
Finding ways to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by business owners as the greatest challenge they face online. With business becoming ever more competitive on a global scale, it’s worth exploring any advantage that can help you increase your own competitiveness online.
The ability to generate traffic on demand can provide website owners with a huge advantage over other competitors. With an expertly configured website, your business has an immediate competitive advantage from the very start.
The Difference Is In The Configuration
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 has to offer.
Here is a simple way to understand the differences:
With a WordPress website 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 an automated online business marketing system!)
Not only does a whole lot more labor go into building and integrating an automated online business marketing system into your website, but also a special kind of expertise.
To illustrate this point here’s a story.
A True Story (Kind Of) …
All is going according to schedule in the widget-making factory when suddenly, production grinds to a halt.
As no one can figure out what’s happened, the floor manager decides to call in an expert to fix the problem.
The expert arrives shortly afterwards and, without saying a word, immediately heads to the control box. After staring at the wires and circuitry for no more than 5 minutes, the expert then takes out a teensy-weensy little hammer and makes a gentle tap near the left corner of the unit.
Immediately, all machinery inside the assembly plant springs back to life.
The manager is relieved as he thanks the expert, who leaves as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days later, the manager receives a request of payment for services totalling $5,000.
With great anger, the manager dials the expert. Why had he charged them such a ludicrous fee for less than five minutes work? He then requests an itemized invoice to be sent and hangs up.
The next day, a bill of payment arrives and is placed in the manager’s in-tray. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he sees:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive visitors to their sites.
In the story we’ve just described, how much money did the gizmo plant stand to lose when production ground to a halt and no one in the factory floor was able to fix it? Did the expert in our story not have the right to get paid fairly for having invested years developing the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to immediately avert a potentially costly crisis?
Similarly, if you could have your site configured so all you have to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and dozens of other traffic-generating 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 complex situations and problems look simple, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than adding some pages with content and configuring basic settings. It also involves knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which plugins you need to install to add specific functionalities to your site.
- Which services you need to set up to get desired results
- Which internal and external settings need to be configured to make sure everything will function to plan, etc.
(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 so technically difficult, it can be quite involved and complicated. This is because it’s not as easy as installing and configuring a piece of software, configuring some settings in your admin area … it’s all of this and much more.
Expertly configuring your website is a process that involves your web hosting server, your site, and various third-party sites …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If we try to flowchart the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplistic diagram showing all the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s take a better look at these areas.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your web hosting account for site installation purposes. We’re talking about tweaking settings and options in your web server specifically for handling all web traffic …
(In 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 traffic you may attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This area of the configuration process, therefore, is all about evaluating your needs, planning for good and unwanted traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This can include things like configuring server-level spam protection and threat prevention, to configuring domain and email redirections, setting up htaccess redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like emails, page errors, etc?)
Once your web server settings have been fine-tuned and configured, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various external sites.
The purpose of choosing external sites is that all of your content should be published from a central location (your site) and from there, it will automatically get syndicated to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you add these external platforms to your configuration, content pointing back to your website will get automatically posted to search, social and aggregator accounts. Your content and website will be given exposure to a new audience and new sources of traffic.
Some external web properties and online services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress site to speed up the process and some will need to be done later, during the automation phase.
For example, you will want to set up the following accounts before configuring your settings:
Google Search Console lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides you with important information, tools and reports about your website.
After setting up your account and entering site data, this information can be used to automate web traffic settings in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s performance, SEO, marketing efforts, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine and organic referrers, etc.
After setting up your Google Analytics account and site details, visitor tracking information can be added to WordPress using a simple plugin and automatically fed to other useful applications and reporting tools.
(Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. After setting up your account, use this information to integrate and automate traffic settings in WordPress and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress provides users with a hosted (WordPress.com) and a self-hosted (WordPress.org) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you are planning to build a professional business presence online.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful features, which various WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate these features into your web traffic generation system in the next installment of this series.
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media sites and social bookmarking accounts and drive new traffic to your site)
You will need your social media and social bookmarking accounts set up before you can integrate these with 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 visitors to your site.
You should set up profiles with all of the popular social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
There are lots of social sites you can set up and post your content to. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just select those that will work with your setup and/or content sharing tools (we will cover some of these tools in greater detail during the Automation phase).
(You can post your content to loads of social bookmarking sites. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Services, Aggregators, Etc.
There are many new online web platforms and content aggregators that can serve as secondary-level sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free access levels, and some offer a range of pricing plans.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that lets you add your WordPress blog feed …
(RebelMouse – Distribute your content to social networks)
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your website.
There are various solutions that can be incorporated into your own traffic system. Please contact us if you need assistance exploring this area further, or to discuss a configuration plan to suit your needs.
After you have configured your web server and set up third-party site 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 of the important areas.
Configuring WordPress Settings
The WordPress administration area contains a Settings menu that allows you to configure your site’s main settings …
(WordPress settings menu)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings Screen)
The Writing Settings area contains an important and often overlooked built-in traffic notification system …
(WordPress Settings – Writing Settings Section)
As described below the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have intentionally chosen to prevent search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically ping the services entered into the Update Services box
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, only one service is available …
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 …
(You can notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress!)
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 on this page can have an influence traffic. For example, choosing to display the full content vs a summary of your post, affects how your content shows up in RSS feeds and RSS email campaigns, and could impact someone’s decision to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your blog to read the rest of the content from a partial feed, 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 enabled or not.
Generally, you would want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows your site to automatically notify all the update services you have listed in the Update Services field when new posts are published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, leave this box unchecked …
(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings Section)
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 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 …
(Settings Menu – Discussion Settings)
Permalinks allow you to display posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalink Settings Section)
Here are some of the options for configuring your post permalinks …
(Configuring post permalinks)
To learn more about setting up permalinks in WordPress, see this step-by-step tutorial: Configuring Your WordPress Permalinks
WordPress Plugins – Configuration
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that help to add just about every type of functionality imaginable to your site, including plugins that add traffic generation capabilities.
Here are examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help drive more visitors to your site
Blog Defender Security Plugin
Once again, it’s important to configure your website for dealing with both good traffic and bad traffic. No blog is completely safe from a cyber-attack.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress blog invisible to bots and hackers.
For more information, go here:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by improving improving how search engines like Google and Bing find, crawl and index your website …
(WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help drive more traffic by improving the search engine friendliness of your website)
A plugin like Yoast SEO (previously 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, crawl 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 GooglePlus.
Allowing visitors to easily share your content with others 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 WordPress plugins)
You can easily add social sharing buttons to your website using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
Many social plugins let you 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 followers), etc. Some social share plugins even allow you to set up protected content sections on your site which users can unlock by sharing your page.
WordPress – Traffic Generation Theme Features
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help grow your traffic.
For example, in addition to 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, easily add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in traffic optimization features)
With many WordPress themes, adding social sharing buttons to your content is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes come with built-in social sharing features that can be easily enabled on with the click of a button)
Configuring Other WordPress Areas
Last but not least in the web traffic configuration process, are the things that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
These include the following:
Website Compliance Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in visitor numbers, it’s important to plan not only for how to deal with bad and good traffic but also for all the situations that can seriously affect your business as more and more people begin to visit your website.
If you do business online (or plan to), it’s important that your website is compliant with regulatory agencies.
To learn more about the importance of having a legally compliant website, go here:
WordPress tags & categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better index your pages.
(Post categories help search engines better classify and index your web pages, which improves traffic.)
When configuring your web site to automate and improve web traffic, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post categories and tags have been set up correctly to deliver optimal results.
A Site Map Of Your Posts And Pages
A site map that displays all of your site’s posts and pages to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external tools find more of your website 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 two different things. Only search engines can understand XML sitemaps. Although search engines like Google will index your pages just from an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
404 Page – Don’t Forget This!
When visitors searching online for your website enter the wrong web address or click on links pointing to pages on your website that no longer exist, they are presented with an error page (known as a 404 page) …
(Default WordPress 404 Page)
Configuring your 404 page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 Not Found page can be set up in your web server, there are WordPress plugins that let you easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Process – Summary
Once you have your website fully set up and expertly configured, all you need to do to generate more traffic is publish new content on a consistent basis.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, is quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of a number of different components and web properties …
(WordPress Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of knowledge and expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site can take some website professionals a long time to learn.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is addressed in the next section of the WordPress Traffic Blueprint series.
This is the end of Part Three
To read more, click on the link below:
- WordPress Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part Four – A Complete Guide To Attracting More Traffic For Your Business Automatically
This article is part of a comprehensive series of articles aimed at helping you learn how to grow your business online with a WordPress-powered website or blog and proven online marketing strategies.
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"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)