Welcome to Part Three of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn your site into an automated traffic generating machine using the WordPress CMS platform.
In Part 1 of this series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to generating automated traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress web site, all you have to do is add new content on a regular basis to automatically attract new traffic!)
In Part 2, we looked at critical setup decisions. We explained the best way to start if you don’t have a website yet, how to set things up if you already have a website, and what to do if your existing site was built using WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section of the series, we discuss the configuration stage of this process. We will explain why an expertly configured site is different, and just what kind of work needs to be done to ensure that when all is set up and configured, you can automatically attract traffic whenever you publish new content to your web site.
WordPress Web Traffic Automation System – Configuration
Finding ways to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by most business owners as one of the greatest challenges they face online. Businesses are becoming ever more competitive worldwide and are looking for any and every advantage they believe will improve their performance and results online.
Being able to generate traffic on demand can be a tremendous advantage. An expertly configured website gives you a significant advantage from the very beginning.
The Difference Is In The Configuration Stage
There is a difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a website that has been professionally 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 describe the differences:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a professional web presence plus online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured site gives you a web presence with a built-in automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only does it take more work to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, but also a special type of expert knowledge.
Let’s illustrate this with a little story.
A True Story (Kind Of) …
All is going well in the gizmo manufacturing plant when things grind to a sudden stop.
As no one can figure out what’s gone wrong, the plant manager decides to call in an expert to fix the problem.
Soon afterwards, the expert arrives and, without saying a word, heads out directly to the main control box. After staring silently at the electronic components for what seems like 5 minutes, the expert then takes out a teeny-weeny hammer and makes a single tap about one inch from the top-right corner of the box.
Immediately, everything springs to life once more.
The plant manager is overjoyed as he thanks the expert, who leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days later, the factory manager receives a bill for $5,000.
Bewildered, the manager dials the expert. Demanding to know why they were charged so much for so little time spent delivering such minimal amount of work, he then requests an itemized invoice and hangs up.
The next day, an invoice arrives in the manager’s intray. Upon opening it, this is what he sees:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is driving new traffic to their sites.
How much money did the gizmo plant stand to lose when production ground to a halt and no one on the factory floor was able to get things up and running again? Did the expert not have the right to get paid fairly for years spent building up the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to assess and repair a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your WP blog fully set up and configured so all you ever had to do is publish new content and search engines, social networks and dozens of other traffic-generating web properties would be immediately notified, how much time and money would you save?
(How much better would your business be if you could automate the process of attracting new visitors to your website?)
While the solution to many problems is often ridiculously simple once it’s been implemented, it rarely is that simple or easy when you are trying to figure things out.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site is more than just installing a website and configuring some basic settings. It involves knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which plugins you need to install to add desired functionalities to your site.
- Which services need to be set up to get desired outcomes
- Which internal and external settings need to be configured to make sure things function as planned, etc.
(Driving web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
Although this part of the WordPress traffic automation system may not seem so technically difficult, it can be quite complicated. The reason why is because it’s not as easy as installing and configuring a solution, clicking a button … it’s all of this and so much more.
The configuration stage is a complex process that involves your web server, your site, and various external sites and/or online services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If the activities involved in the configuration process were to be flowcharted, it would look something like this …
(A simplified flowchart showing the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s examine these areas in more detail.
Your Web Server – Configuration
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your web-hosting account for website installation purposes (this should have been done during the Setup phase). What we are talking about, is tweaking settings in your server specifically for handling all web traffic …
(During the configuration stage, your web server settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is beneficial traffic. Some of the web traffic you may attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, is about planning for both good and bad traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This could include looking at things like integrating server-level spam protection and threat prevention, to configuring domain and email redirections, setting up 404 error page redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page error redirections, etc?)
After fine-tuning your web server settings and configuring these, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up a number of external sites.
External Web Properties And Accounts – Configuration
The purpose of setting up external sites is that all content should be published to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, get distributed automatically to other parts of your traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you incorporate these external platforms into your network, content linked back to your site is automatically fed to your search, social and aggregator accounts. Your content and site will be given exposure to a new audience and new sources of traffic.
Some sites will need to have accounts set up before configuring your site to help save time 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 Webmaster Tools – create a Google-friendly website or blog)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides you with a range of essential data, tools and diagnostic reports about your website.
After setting up your account, this information can be used with traffic settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s results, SEO, marketing campaigns, sales conversions, 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 data, traffic monitoring information can be easily integrated with WordPress via any of several Google Analytics plugins and and fed to other useful applications.
(Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. After setting up your account, use this information to integrate and automate web traffic-related settings in WordPress and other applications.
As discussed in Part Two, WordPress offers website owners a hosted (WordPress.com) and a self-hosted (WordPress.org) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress version if you plan to build a professional online presence for your business.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great features, which can be accessed by a number of WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate these features 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 sites and social bookmarking accounts and bring new visitors to your site)
You will need to set up your social media accounts 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 sites and social bookmarking accounts and bring new traffic to your site.
You should set up accounts and profile pages with all of the leading social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
There are many social bookmarking sites you can You can post your content to lots of social sites. You don’t need to go crazy, just pick those that will work with your system and/or content syndication tools (we cover some of these tools in greater detail in the Automation phase).
(You can syndicate your content to loads of social sites. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are many online technology platforms and content aggregators that can act as secondary sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free plans, 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 an aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your social feed.
There are various platforms that can be incorporated into your web traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring this area further, or to discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
After you have configured your web server and set up accounts with third-party sites, it’s time to configure your WordPress settings.
WordPress Traffic Configuration
The first step in configuring your 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.
WordPress – Global Settings
Your WordPress admin 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 indexing, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings Screen)
The Writing Settings section contains one of the most powerful and often overlooked traffic notification systems available to WordPress site owners …
(WordPress 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 chosen to discourage search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically notify the services entered into the Update Services section
By default, when WordPress is installed, this section includes only one entry …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature)
You can 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 influence web traffic. For example, choosing to display the full content vs summaries of your post, affects how your content appears in RSS feeds and blog post digests, and could affect someone’s decision to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your blog to read the rest of the content from excerpts, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
The most important setting in this section as far as traffic is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility check box is ticked or not.
Generally, you would want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked enables WordPress to ping various update services whenever a new post is published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, leave this box unchecked …
(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings Screen)
Although discussion settings 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)
Permalinks allow you to create SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalinks Screen)
Here are some of the ways site’s permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring permalink URLs)
We have written a detailed tutorial on using WordPress permalinks here: Setting Up Your WordPress Permalinks
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings
WordPress provides users with thousands of plugins that can add just about every type of functionality to your website, including plugins that add traffic generation capabilities.
Let’s look at some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your website for dealing with the effects of both good traffic and bad traffic. No web site is guaranteed immunity from being attacked.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress site invisible to malicious attacks from hackers and bots.
- How To Prevent Malicious Intrusions On Your WP Web Site From Hackers & Bots With Blog Defender Security Plugin
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive traffic by improving improving the way search engines like Google find, classify and index your website …
(WordPress SEO plugins help increase traffic by making your site more search engine friendly)
A plugin like Yoast SEO can significantly improve your site’s SEO. Once properly configured, this plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines to index, it also gives you control over how your content is displayed to Google’s search results and social media sites Twitter, Facebook, and GooglePlus.
WordPress Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing your visitors to easily 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 site with WordPress plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social features to their site using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
Many social sharing plugins let you select which sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some plugins even allow you to protect content or downloads which visitors can unlock by sharing your page.
WordPress – Themes
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 the layout and design of your site, some themes also provide built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site navigation structure for better indexing, add tracking snippets, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes like Graphene (a highly customizable free theme) have built-in traffic optimization features)
With a number of themes, adding social sharing features to your website is as easy as clicking a few buttons to configure your settings and enable the feature …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in social sharing features)
Configuring Additional Sections Of WordPress
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.
These include the following:
Website Compliance Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for how to deal with bad and good traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong when more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you do any kind of business online, it’s important that your website is compliant with legal requirements of government agencies that regulate how business online is done.
If you need help adding legal pages to WordPress, see this article:
Post categories and tags help search engines better organize and index your website, which helps you get more traffic.
(WordPress post categories help improve traffic by improving your site’s SEO.)
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.
A Site Map Of Your Posts And Pages
A site map that lists all of your posts and pages is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external applications discover more of your online content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for traffic too!)
Note: An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are not the same things. Although Google can index your pages just from an XML sitemap (which a plugin like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site can result in increased traffic.
Configure Your WordPress 404 Error Page
When visitors searching for your site type in the wrong web address or click on links pointing to pages on your website that no longer exist, they will normally be greeted with an error – page not found message …
(Default WordPress 404 Error Page)
Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to redirect traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to recover web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 error page can be set up in your server, there are WordPress plugins that allow you to easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Process – Summary
Once your website has been fully set up and expertly configured, all you have to do then is add fresh content regularly to automatically attract more web traffic.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of various elements and external web properties …
(Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of knowledge and expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site can take some web professionals 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 explained in the next article in the WordPress Traffic Automation System series.
This is the end of Section 3
To read the rest of this article, click on the link below:
- WordPress Website Traffic Blueprint Part Four – Discover How To Create An Automated Web Traffic-Getting Machine With WordPress
This article is part of a comprehensive article series aimed at helping you learn how to grow your business online inexpensively with a WordPress-driven website and proven web marketing methods.
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