Welcome to Part 3 of our WordPress Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn a website into an automated web traffic machine using the WordPress CMS.
In Part One of this series, we described the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website or blog is the key to generating automated traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress blog, all you have to do is publish content on a regular basis to begin attracting new web traffic!)
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 website yet, how to set things up if you already have a site, and what to do if your site has been built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section of the series, we will look at the configuration stage of the WordPress traffic automation system. You will learn how to configure a WordPress site to automatically begin bringing traffic when you add new content to your WordPress site.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint – Configuration
The ability 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 business becoming ever more competitive worldwide, it’s worth looking into any advantage available to improve your own performance online.
Being able to generate traffic on demand can provide you with a tremendous advantage. For business owners, having an expertly configured website gives WordPress users a flying start from the moment their site is launched.
The Configuration Stage Is The Difference
There is a difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally set up by an expert website developer but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here is a simple way to describe the key difference:
An expertly configured WordPress website gives you a web presence and online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured website gives you a web presence and a built-in automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only does it take additional labor to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, but also a special kind of expertise.
Let’s illustrate this with an amusing anecdote.
A Semi-True Story …
All is going well in the gizmo-making factory when things suddenly cease working.
As no one can figure out what’s happened, the floor manager decides to call in an expert to fix the problem.
Soon afterwards, the expert arrives and, without uttering a word, walks directly towards the main control box. After staring at the electronic components for less than 2 minutes, the expert then takes out a teeny-weeny little hammer from his tool belt and makes a single tap about one inch from the left-hand corner of the unit.
Immediately, every machine starts working again.
The manager is filled with joy as he thanks the expert, who leaves as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days later, the manager receives a bill for $5,000.
Bewildered and bordering on a sense of outrage, the factory manager dials the expert. Demanding to know why the expert has charged them so much for so little time spent delivering such minimal amount of work, he then 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 main challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive web traffic to their sites.
How much money did the gizmo plant stand to lose when the equipment ground to a halt and no one on the business was able to get things up and running again? Did the expert in our story not have every right to be compensated fairly for having invested years acquiring the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to fix a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a WP website fully configured so all you have to do is publish content to it and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and dozens of other online properties would be immediately notified, how much time and money would you save?
(How much time and money would you save if you could automate the process of attracting new visitors to your website?)
Although the solution to many problems often seems quite easy once it’s been implemented, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site requires more than adding some pages with content and configuring a few basic settings. It involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things such as:
- Which programs you need to install for certain things to occur on your site.
- Which accounts you need to set up to get desired results
- Which internal and external settings you need to configure in order to ensure that everything functions the way you have envisioned, etc.
(Generating new traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
Although this part of the WordPress traffic automation system may not seem so technically challenging, it can be quite complicated. It’s not as easy as installing and configuring one or two plugins, configuring some options and settings in your dashboard area … it’s all this and much more.
The configuration stage involves the integration of many parts including your web hosting server, your WordPress site, and various third-party sites and services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring some settings in WordPress)
If we create a simple flowchart showing the activities involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplistic diagram showing the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s take a look at what’s involved in more detail.
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your webhosting account for site installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about configuring settings and options in your server specifically for handling web traffic …
(In the configuration stage, your webhosting 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 can attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This stage of the configuration process, therefore, requires planning for both good and unwanted traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This can include looking at things like integrating spam protection and securing server files, to configuring domain and email redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your webhosting settings for handling things like emails, page errors, 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 third-party sites and services.
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, get distributed automatically to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you add these external services to your network, content with links pointing back to your site gets automatically added to search, social and aggregator accounts. Your content will be exposed to new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some of these sites will need to have accounts set up before configuring your site’s settings to help 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:
(Google Webmaster Tools – create a Google-friendly website or blog)
Google Search Console lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides site owners with essential information, tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
Once your account with Google Webmasters have been set up, this information can be used to integrate and automate web traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s traffic results, SEO, user engagement, marketing efforts, sales conversions, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrals, etc.
After setting up your account, your account code can be added to all of your web pages in WordPress using a plugin used with other applications.
(Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. Once your account has been set up, use this information with traffic settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
As explained in Part Two, WordPress offers both a hosted and a self-hosted option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you plan to grow a professional online presence for your business.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful tools, which a number of WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate this into your automated traffic system in Part 4 of this article series.
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and get new traffic to your site)
You will need your various social media and social bookmarking accounts set up before you can configure these as part of 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 drive new traffic to your site.
Make sure you have accounts and profiles set up with all the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.
There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can set up. You don’t need to go crazy, just choose the ones that will work with your system and/or content syndication tools.
(There are loads of social sites you can syndicate your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Solutions, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of online platforms and content aggregators that can act as second-tier traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some offer a range of pricing plans to suit different users.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that lets you add an RSS feed from your site …
(RebelMouse – Publishing platform for distributed content)
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your RebelMouse account.
There are many different sites and platforms you can incorporate into your own web traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring this area further, or to discuss a configuration strategy to suit your needs.
After you have configured your server settings and set up accounts with third-party sites, it’s time to configure your WordPress settings.
WordPress – Configuring Your Site
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to ensure that your global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some key areas.
The WordPress admin area contains a Settings menu that allows you to set up your site’s main settings …
(WordPress settings menu)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains an important and frequently overlooked traffic notification system …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings Section)
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 prevent search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically notify the services entered into the Update Services text area
By default, when WordPress is installed, this section lists only one entry …
(Writing Settings – Update Services)
You can notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress – just add a list of update services to this section and WordPress will do the rest …
(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 visitors will see your content when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings on this page can have an influence web traffic. For example, your choice of displaying the full text vs summaries of your post, affects how your content appears in RSS readers and blog post digests, and could impact someone’s choice to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your blog to view 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 your traffic system is concerned, however, the most important setting in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility checkbox is ticked or not.
Generally, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked enables your site to instantly notify all the update services you have listed in the Update Services box when new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason to discourage search indexing spiders from visiting your site, do not check this box …
(Global Settings – 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 blogs linked to from your posts, 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)
Your Permalink settings allow you to create search engine-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalinks)
Here are some of the ways your site’s permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring SEO-friendly URLs)
We have created a detailed tutorial about using permalinks here: How To Improve Your WordPress SEO With SEO-Friendly URLs
WordPress provides users with plugins that can add almost every type of functionality to your website, including traffic generation.
Let’s take a brief look at examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help to bring more visitors to your site
Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your website 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, you simply cannot ignore the importance of website security.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your website invisible to hackers and botnets.
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive more traffic by improving your website’s SEO …
(WordPress Plugins For SEO – Yoast SEO)
A plugin like Yoast SEO (previously called WordPress SEO by Yoast) can improve your website’s search engine optimization. When properly configured, this plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines like Google to index, it allows you to specify how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and GooglePlus.
Allowing your visitors to share your content online can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if your site provides 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 with free or inexpensive plugins.
Many social share plugins allow you to select which sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of likes), etc. Some social plugins even allow you to set up protected content sections on your site which users can unlock by sharing your page.
WordPress – Themes
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help improve your site’s traffic generation capabilities.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your website, some themes also give you built-in features that let you improve SEO and site navigation structure for faster indexing, add analytics snippets, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes have built-in traffic optimization features)
With many WordPress themes, adding social sharing features to your content is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes provide built-in social sharing features that can be easily enabled on with the click of a button)
Other Areas To Configure
Last but not least in the web traffic configuration process, are the components that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
This includes the following:
Website Legal Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for both bad and good traffic but also for all the situations that can damage your business as more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you do any type of business online (or plan to), it’s important that your website complies with regulatory agencies.
We have written a detailed article about adding compliance pages to WordPress here:
Post categories and tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better index your website.
(WordPress post categories help search engines index your pages, which helps you get more traffic.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post categories and tags have been set up correctly to deliver optimal benefits.
A Site Map Of Your Posts And Pages
A site map that displays all of your posts and pages is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external sites discover your website content …
(Site Map – great for visitors and beneficial for web traffic too!)
Note: An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are not the same thing. An HTML site map is a web page that links to all other content on your site, while an XML sitemap is mostly filled with code that only search engine bots can understand. Although Google can index your pages just using an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO can provide – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site can result in increased traffic.
404 Page Not Found – Don’t Lose Traffic!
When visitors searching for your site type in the wrong URL or click on a dead link, they are presented with a 404 page …
(A 404 Page)
Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to redirect traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 error page can be set up in your server, there are WordPress plugins that let you easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Process – Summary
Once you have your WordPress site fully set up and expertly configured, all you have to do is post fresh content regularly to begin attracting more traffic organically.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, is quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of various components and web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The knowledge and expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes some web professionals months to learn.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate as much of the process as you can. This step is addressed in the next article in our WordPress Traffic System series.
This is the end of Section 3
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This article is part of an tutorial series aimed at helping you learn how to grow your business and drive traffic sustainably with a WordPress-powered website or blog and proven online marketing strategies.
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