Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Site Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to create an automated web traffic generation machine using WordPress.
In Part 1 of this series, we provided an overview of the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website or blog is the key to automating traffic to your site …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website, all you have to do to automatically bring more traffic is post web content on a regular basis!)
In Part 2, we discussed the setup phase. We explained the best way to start if you don’t have a web presence yet, how to set things up if you already have a site, and what to do if your existing site was built using WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you how to set up a WordPress web site on your domain)
In this section, we will look at the configuration phase of this process. You will understand what makes an expertly configured site different from a professionally configured one. You will also understand how much work needs to be done to make sure that when all is fully set up and configured, you will bring new visitors automatically just by publishing web content to your site.
WordPress Web Traffic System – Configuration Phase
Being able to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by many website owners as the greatest challenge they face online. With business becoming ever more competitive worldwide, it’s worth learning about any and every opportunity you can to increase your own competitiveness online.
Being able to automatically generate traffic on demand can provide website owners with a tremendous advantage. With an expertly configured WordPress site, you have a flying start from the moment your website is launched.
Configuration Is The Difference
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a website that has been professionally set up by a web-building expert but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here is a simple way to explain 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 website gives you a professional web presence and an automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only does a whole lot more work go into building and integrating an automated online business marketing system into your website, but also a special kind of expert knowledge.
Let’s illustrate this with a story.
A True Story (Kind Of) …
All was going just fine in the gizmo assembly workshop when all equipment suddenly ground to a halt.
No one could figure out what happened and so the plant manager decided to call in an expert.
The expert arrived shortly afterward and walked immediately to the control box. After staring at the control unit for less than 5 minutes or so, the expert then produced a tiny hammer and made a very gentle tap near the left side of the box.
Immediately, the assembly line came back to life.
The floor manager was filled with joy as he thanked the expert, who left as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days later, the manager received a request for payment of $5,000.
The factory manager picked up the phone and dialled the expert, demanding to know why they were charged such a ludicrous fee for so little time delivering such a minimal amount of work. He promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, a bill of payment arrived and was placed in the manager’s in-tray. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he saw:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive new visitors to their sites.
In the story we’ve just described, how much money did the widget plant stand to lose when production ground to a halt and no one on the business had the expertise to get things up and running again? Did the expert in our story not have the right to demand fair compensation for years spent acquiring the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to immediately assess and repair a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your WordPress web site configured so all you had 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 this save you?
(How much better would your business be if you could automate the process of driving traffic to your website?)
Although experts often make complex solutions look simple, it rarely is that simple or easy when you try to work things out.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site is more than adding some pages with content and configuring some basic settings. It also involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things such as:
- Which plugins you need to install to get various functionalities on your site.
- Which accounts need to be set up and activated to get specific results
- Which options need to be configured in order to make sure everything works as you have imagined, etc.
(Generating web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
This part of the traffic automation system is not so technically difficult, but it’s quite complicated. It’s not as simple as installing and configuring one or two plugins, configuring some settings in your admin area or clicking a button … it’s all of this and so much more.
The configuration phase involves the integration of different parts such as your web hosting server, your web site, and a number of external sites and online services …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we create a simplified flowchart of all the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplistic flowchart of the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s examine what’s involved in more detail.
Your Server – Configuration
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your hosting account for website installation purposes. What we are talking about, is tweaking settings and options in your server specifically for handling web traffic …
(During the configuration phase, 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 your website may attract will be unwanted traffic like bot 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 can include things like implementing spam protection and security threat prevention, to configuring your domain and email redirections, setting up htaccess and error page redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like emails, page error redirections, etc?)
Once your server settings have been checked and configured (if required), the next step is to configure various external sites and services.
Configuring External Services
The basic concept of adding external sites is that all content will get published to a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will be distributed automatically to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
After incorporating these external sites into your setup, content pointing back to your website will be automatically posted to your search, social and aggregator accounts. Your content and business will benefit from increased exposure online, helping you tap into new sources of traffic.
Some sites and services will need to be set up before configuring your WordPress 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 Webmaster Tools lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides you with a range of essential information, tools and reports about your website.
After setting up your account with Google, the account details can be used with traffic settings in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s traffic performance, SEO, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user behaviour, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrers, etc.
After setting up your Google Analytics account, you can add traffic tracking information to WordPress via any of several Google Analytics plugins and send data instantly to other applications.
(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 data are set up, this information can be used to integrate and automate traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
As explained in Part Two, WordPress offers website owners a self-hosted and a hosted option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you plan to grow a professional online presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful features, which various 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 traffic generation system in the next installment of this article series.
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and bring new traffic to your site)
You will need to have already set up your various social accounts in order to 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 and social bookmarking accounts and bring new visitors to your site.
You should have accounts set up with all the big social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
There are many social sites you can You can post your content to loads of social bookmarking sites. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just select those that will work with your system and/or content syndication tools (we cover some of these tools in more detail when we discuss the Automation phase).
(There are many social sites you can syndicate your content to. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Solutions, Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of online platforms and content aggregators that can serve as second-tier traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free access levels, and some are more suitable for enterprise-level applications.
For example, here is a content aggregator that lets you add an RSS feed from your WordPress site …
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your own RebelMouse account.
There are many different platforms you can incorporate into your own web traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to explore some of these and discuss a configuration strategy to suit your needs.
After you have configured your server settings and set up external service accounts, it’s time to configure your WordPress site.
WordPress – Configuring Your Website
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to ensure that your global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Configuring Global WordPress Settings
Your WordPress dashboard area contains a Settings section that allows you to set up your site’s main settings …
(WordPress settings menu)
Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline can affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search listings, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings)
The Writing Settings section contains an important and often overlooked traffic notification system …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings Screen)
As described in 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 – see next section, then your site will automatically ping the services entered into the Update Services section
By default, when WordPress is installed, this section displays only one entry …
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically …
(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 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 a summary of your post, affects how your content shows up 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 website to get 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 your traffic system is concerned 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 ping your list of update services whenever a new post is published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, leave this box unchecked …
(Settings Menu – Reading Settings)
Although this section is mostly concerned with how users engage with content on your site, you have the option to allow notifications to sites 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 …
(Global Settings – Discussion Settings Screen)
Your Permalink settings allow your site to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalinks Screen)
Here are some of the ways permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring post permalinks)
For a detailed step-by-step tutorial about setting up permalinks in WordPress, go here: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
WordPress Plugin Settings
WordPress provides users with plugins that can add almost every kind of functionality to your website, including plugins with features that help to improve traffic generation.
Let’s take a brief look at some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
Blog Defender Security Plugin
Once again, it’s important to configure your WordPress site for dealing with both good traffic and bad traffic. No web site is completely safe from cyber-attacks.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to bot and hacker attacks.
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by making your website more search engine friendly …
(SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help increase traffic by improving the search engine friendliness of your website)
Use a plugin like Yoast SEO (previously known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your website’s search engine optimization. Properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines to find and index, it also gives you control over how your content is displayed in Google’s search results and social media sites Twitter, Facebook, and GooglePlus.
WordPress Social Plugins
Allowing visitors to easily share your content with others online can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if your site provides great content that adds real value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing buttons to their website with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
You can add social features to your site easily with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
Many social plugins let you select which social sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom update notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of likes), etc. Some social share plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content or downloads which visitors can unlock by liking your page.
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help improve your site’s traffic generation capabilities.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring design and layout elements of your site, some themes also provide options for improving search optimization and site navigation structure for better indexing, add analytics code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes allow you to configure settings and options for improved traffic results)
With many quality themes, adding social sharing features to your content is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in social sharing features that can be easily enabled on with the click of a button)
WordPress Traffic System – Additional Configuration Steps
Last (but by no means least) in the web traffic system configuration process, are the elements that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
These include the following:
Compliance Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in visitor numbers, it’s important to plan not only for both bad and good traffic but also for all the situations that can hurt your business when more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you do any type of business online (or are planning to), you need to ensure that your site is found to comply with regulatory agencies.
We have created a detailed article on why it’s important to have a compliant website here:
Post categories and tags help search engines index your web pages, which helps to increase traffic.
(Post categories help search engines index your web pages, which helps you get more traffic.)
When considering ways to automate and improve traffic, you will want to review and make sure that the post tags and post categories that have been set up.
Add A Site Map
A visitor site map that displays all of your pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external sites discover your site’s 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 search engines like Google will index your pages just using an XML sitemap (which a plugin like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), making it easier for visitors to find more pages on your site can result in increased traffic.
Your Site’s 404 Page Not Found
When visitors searching for your website enter the wrong URL or click on a hyperlink pointing to a destination on your website that no longer exists, they are presented with a 404 page …
(A 404 Error Page)
Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to redirect traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 page can be set up on your server, there are WordPress plugins that allow you to easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Process – Summary
Once you have your website fully set up and expertly configured, all you then need to do to start generating new web traffic is publish great content regularly.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of various components and external web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes some web professionals a long time to acquire.
Once you have expertly 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 our series.
This is the end of Part Three
To read more, click on the link below:
- Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part Four – Discover How To Automatically Increase Your Web Visitors For Your Business With WordPress
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive tutorial series designed to help you learn how to grow your business online with a WordPress-powered website or blog and proven online marketing strategies.
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"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now