Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to create an automated traffic generating machine using the WordPress CMS.
In Part One of this article series, we described the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to generating automated traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website, all you have to do to automatically start generating new traffic is add content on a consistent basis!)
In Part 2, we discussed the setup phase of the automation process. We helped you understand the best way to start 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 existing website has been built using WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you where to set up a WordPress site on your domain)
In this section, we discuss the configuration stage of the traffic automation process. You will understand why an expertly configured WordPress site is different than a professionally configured website, and how much work needs to be done to ensure that when all is set up and configured, web traffic will automatically start flowing when you post web content to your website.
WordPress Web Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase
The ability to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by most business owners as their greatest challenge online. With business getting so much more competitive worldwide, it’s worth learning about every advantage that can help you get better results online.
The ability to automatically generate traffic on demand can provide you with a tremendous advantage. For WordPress users, an expertly configured website means having a significant advantage from the word “go”.
The Configuration Stage Is The Difference
There is a difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a website that has been professionally installed and set up by a website-building expert but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress can offer.
Here is a simple way to describe the main difference:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a professional web presence with an automated online business marketing tool!
(An expertly configured website gives you a professional web presence and a built-in automated online business marketing process!)
Not only does a whole lot more work go into building and integrating an automated online business marketing process into your website, but also a special type of expert knowledge.
Let’s illustrate this with an amusing story.
Ludicrous Or Fair? You Decide …
All was going well in the gizmo plant when things suddenly ground to a stop.
No one could figure out what has happened and so the floor manager decided to call in an expert to try and fix the problem.
Promptly after arriving, the expert walked immediately towards the control box. After staring silently at the schematics for 2 minutes, the expert then took out a tiny little hammer from his pocket and made a single tap near the left-hand side of the box.
Immediately, all machines in the assembly plant returned to normal.
The plant manager was greatly overjoyed as he thanked the expert, who left as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days after resolving the incident, the factory manager received a request for payment of $5,000.
The manager picked up the phone and rang the expert, demanding to know why they were charged such a large amount of money for so little time spent delivering a minimal amount of work. He then requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, a bill of payment arrived in the manager’s intray. Upon opening it, this is what he saw:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is driving new traffic to their sites.
How much money did the gizmo factory stand to lose when the machines stopped functioning and no one in the factory floor had the expertise to get things up and running again? Did the expert not have every right to demand fair compensation for having spent years building up the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to quickly avert a very serious crisis?
Similarly, if you could have a site set up and configured so all you have to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and dozens of other 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 experts often make complicated solutions look easy, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than simply installing a website and configuring a few settings. It requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things such as:
- Which programs you need to install to add certain functionalities to your site.
- Which services you need to set up to get certain outcomes
- Which internal and external settings need to be configured in order to make sure processes will run how you have planned, etc.
(Driving web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
This part of the traffic automation system is not technically challenging, but it’s quite complicated. The reason why is because it’s not as simple as installing and configuring one or two plugins, clicking a button, or configuring some settings in your dashboard area … it’s all of this and much more.
The configuration stage is a process that involves your web server, your website, and various external sites and online services …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring some settings in WordPress)
If we create a simple diagram showing all the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplistic diagram of the activities involved in the configuration process)
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). What we are talking about, is tweaking settings in your hosting account specifically for handling all web traffic …
(In 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 will attract will be unwanted traffic like bot spam, malicious threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This area of the configuration process, therefore, is all about evaluating your needs, planning for both good and unwanted traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes things like integrating spam protection and threat prevention, to configuring your domain and email redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page error redirects, etc?)
After fine-tuning your server settings and configuring these (if required), the next step of the configuration phase is to set up a number of external sites or online services.
Configuring External Web Properties
The idea behind choosing external sites is that all of your content should be posted to a central location (your site) and from there, it will get syndicated automatically to other components of your web traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
After incorporating these external services into your setup, content pointing back to your website is automatically posted to these platforms. Your content receives added exposure online, helping your business tap into new sources of traffic.
Some of these sites and services will need to be set up before configuring your WordPress site’s settings to help save time 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 WordPress settings:
(Google Webmaster Tools – create a Google-friendly website)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of useful data, SEO tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
After setting up your account with Google, you can use this information with traffic settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s results, SEO, user engagement, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrals, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account is set up, you can add visitor tracking information to WordPress via a simple plugin and feed data instantly to many other applications.
(Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. After setting up your account with Bing Webmaster Tools, use your account information with traffic settings in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO – see further below) and other applications.
As discussed in Part Two, WordPress provides users with a self-hosted and a hosted option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress version if you are planning to build a professional online presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great tools, which various WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate these features into your automated traffic generation system in Part Four of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking Accounts
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and get new traffic to your site)
You will need to have already set up your social media and social bookmarking accounts before you can 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 accounts and get new traffic to your site.
You should have accounts with all the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are many social sites you can set up. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just select those that will work with your system and/or content sharing tools (we will cover some of these tools in greater detail further below and in the Automation phase).
(You can syndicate your content to loads of social sites. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, Content Aggregators, Etc.
There are many emerging platforms and RSS 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 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 displays in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your RebelMouse website.
There are various platforms that can be added to your web traffic system. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to explore this area further and discuss a configuration strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up accounts with external services, it’s time to configure your WordPress site’s settings.
WordPress Site Configuration
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to make sure that its global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some of the important points.
Configuring Global WordPress Settings
Your WordPress admin area contains a Settings section that allows you to configure your site’s main settings …
(WordPress menu – Settings)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings Section)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most important and frequently overlooked automated traffic notification systems available to WordPress users …
(WordPress Settings – Writing Settings)
As described in the Update Services 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 list of update services entered into the Update Services section
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, this section lists 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 in this section can influence web traffic. For example, your choice to display the full text vs a summary of your post, affects how your content displays in RSS feeds and RSS email campaigns, and could play a part in someone’s decision to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your site 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 traffic is concerned, however, the main setting here is whether the Search Engine Visibility check box is ticked or not.
Normally, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked enables your site to automatically notify your update services list when a new post gets published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, do not check this box …
(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings)
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 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 …
(WordPress Settings – Discussion Settings Section)
Permalinks allow your site to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalink Settings Screen)
Here are some of the ways SEO-friendly URLs can be configured …
(Configuring post permalinks)
We have written a detailed tutorial on using permalinks here: Configuring Your WordPress Permalinks
Configuring WordPress Traffic Plugins
The WordPress developer community makes available thousands of plugins that help to add almost every type of functionality imaginable to your site, including traffic generation.
Let’s take a brief 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 WordPress site 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, securing your web site is something you simply cannot afford to ignore.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress blog invisible to botnet and hacker attacks.
For more details, go here:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive more traffic by improving the search engine friendliness of your website …
(SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help drive more traffic by making your site more search engine friendly)
A plugin like Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) can significantly improve your SEO. Properly configured, this plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines like Google and Bing to index, it also gives you control over how your content is presented to Google’s search results and social media sites Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
WordPress Social Plugins
Allowing your visitors to share your content with their social networks can help drive significant traffic to your site, especially if your site provides content that adds value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social features to their site with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
There are loads of social sharing plugins to choose from.
Many social plugins allow you to choose which social 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 shares), etc. Some social sharing plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content or downloads which visitors can unlock by liking your page.
WordPress Theme Settings – Configuration
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help you drive more traffic to your site.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring design and layout aspects of your website, many themes also give you built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site navigation structure for better indexing, add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes allow you to configure options and settings for better traffic results)
With a number of quality themes, adding social sharing buttons to your website is as easy as selecting the option to enable this functions …
(Many WordPress themes provide built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
Other Areas To Configure
Last (but by no means least) in the configuration process, are the things that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
Website Compliance Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for an increase in traffic, it’s important to plan not only for how to handle good and unwanted traffic but also for all the situations that can seriously affect your business when more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you do business online, it’s important that your site stays compliant with government laws and regulations.
We have written a detailed article on why it’s important to have a legally compliant website here:
Post tags & post categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better classify and index your pages.
(Categories help to improve your site’s search optimization, which helps to increase traffic.)
When configuring your web site to automate and improve traffic, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post tags and categories have been correctly set up to deliver optimal benefits.
Visitor Site Map
A site map that lists all of your site’s pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external sites discover more of your online content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for web traffic too!)
Note: An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are two different things. An HTML site map is a web page that links to all other content on your site, while an XML sitemap is mostly code that only search bots can understand. Although search engines like 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 results in increased traffic.
404 Page Not Found – Don’t Lose Traffic!
When visitors searching online for your site enter the wrong URL or click on an invalid hyperlink, they are presented with an error – page not found message …
(A 404 Not Found page)
Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 error page can be set up on your server, there are plugins for WordPress that let you easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once your website has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you then have to do to start generating web traffic is publish web content consistently.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of a number of different components and web properties …
(Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The knowledge and expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site can take some web professionals a long time to acquire.
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 addressed in the next section of the WordPress Traffic Automation System series.
This is the end of Part 3
To read the rest of this article, click on the link below:
- Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – Learn How To Turn Your WordPress Blog Into An Automated Traffic Machine
This article is part of an article series designed to help you learn how to grow your business online cost-effectively with a WordPress-driven website or blog and proven web 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)