This is part 2 of a 5-part series on how to create an automated traffic generation system for your WordPress site. This tutorial explains the processes and methods used in this system.
In Part 1 of our WordPress Website Traffic Blueprint article series overview, we explained that the key to creating an automated traffic generation machine is to use an “expertly configured” WordPress website.
As we also explained, an expertly configured WordPress website or blog is not the same thing as a professionally-configured WordPress web site. An ”expertly configured” WordPress web site is a blog that is not only powered by the WordPress CMS, but has also been expertly set up and configured (either by yourself or professionally) to take full advantage of the tremendous power, features and functionality of WordPress and its integration with various sites, specifically in areas like search engine optimization, content syndication and analytics.
(With an expertly configured WordPress blog, all you have to do to start driving traffic is publish great content regularly!)
Once your WordPress site has been fully set up and expertly configured, all you need to do to start driving traffic is add content regularly.
As outlined in Part One of this article series, the components of the automated web traffic blueprint are as follows:
In this article, we discuss the “Setup” phase of the traffic automation process. We will help you understand the best way to get started if you don’t have a website yet, or if you already have an existing site that may or may not have been built using WordPress.
WordPress Traffic Automation System – Setup
If You Haven’t Got A Website
If you don’t have a website yet, then it’s really quite simple … build your site with WordPress!
WordPress is the most powerful, flexible, cost-effective and the easiest to use content management system available. We provide loads of articles, tutorials, and tips about the benefits and advantages of using WordPress to grow your business online.
After choosing to build your web presence with WordPress, the next step is to choose which WordPress platform you will run your web presence on.
This step is important because there are two types of WordPress platforms you can choose from …
WordPress.org Or WordPress.com?
(WordPress.org vs WordPress.com)
WordPress offers users a “self-hosted” and a “hosted” option.
WordPress.org lets you download the full-featured WordPress software at no cost and host a WordPress site or blog using your own domain name. This is the “self-hosted” WordPress option.
With the “hosted option”, WordPress will host your blog for free at WordPress.com. There are, however, a number of limitations on what you can and can’t do with your blog when WordPress.com hosts it for free.
If you plan to build a professional business presence online and you want to set up the traffic system described here, then choose the “self-hosted” WordPress version. The benefits of choosing the “self-hosted” option (WordPress.org) far outweigh those of hosting a free site at WordPress.com. You can fully customize your web presence and avoid the limitations of the hosted option. Keep in mind that the free hosting limitations can be overcome by upgrading to a paid option, but then why not just start off by hosting a WordPress site on your own domain and avoid the hassles of upgrading later?
If You Already Have An Existing Website
If you already own an existing site, check first if the site has been built using WordPress.
If your existing web site was built with WordPress, move to the next step, and make sure that your site’s internal settings have been properly configured. We cover this step in more detail in another tutorial.
If your site is not a WP website, then you will need to make some choices.
Take a look at the diagram below. It will help you choose how to set up a WordPress site on your domain …
(Use this simple diagram to decide where to set up a WordPress web site on your domain)
Basically, you have two choices:
Replace your existing website so that your main website is powered by WordPress, or
Keep your existing web site and add a WordPress-driven blog. This blog will then be used to drive traffic to your main web site.
If you choose to keep your existing web site and add a WordPress blog, make sure to use the self-hosted version of WordPress, which requires your own domain name and webhosting, but allows you to fully configure your blog’s settings and customize the look and feel of your existing site using a closely-matching theme.
To use WordPress for your main website, install the software in the “root” directory of your domain (e.g. http://mydomainname.com).
If you have an existing website, then you will want to install WordPress in a subfolder of your domain, e.g. www.mydomainname.com/blog (you can name your subfolder anything you want).
If you already have an existing site that you don’t want to delete or replace with a WordPress site, you can choose to set up your WordPress site or blog on an entirely different domain.
mydomainname.com – goes to your existing website
myotherdomain.com – goes to your WordPress site
Once you have set up your WordPress site, the next step is to configure it. This step is explained in the next article in the series.
This article is part of a comprehensive series of tutorials designed to help small business owners learn how to grow their business online cost-effectively with a WordPress-driven website and proven online marketing methods.
Subscribe To Our Site And Get Notified Of New WordPress Tutorials!
"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
This is part 3 of a 5-part series on how to create an automated traffic generation system for your WordPress site. In this tutorial, you will learn how to configure the essential settings of the WordPress automated traffic system.
Welcome to Part 3 of our WordPress Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your website using the WordPress CMS.
In Part One of this series, we provided an overview of the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to automating traffic to your website …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website, all you have to do is post web content regularly to attract traffic!)
In Part 2, we discussed critical setup decisions. We explained the best way to get started 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 site has been built using WordPress.
(In Part two we show you where to set up a WordPress web site on your domain)
In this article, we will look at the configuration phase of this process. We will show you how to configure a WordPress site so you can start getting new visitors automatically simply by posting new content regularly on your site.
WordPress Traffic Automation System – Configuration Phase
The ability to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by most business owners as one of the greatest challenges they face online. Also, the business landscape is becoming so much more competitive worldwide and businesses are looking for any and every opportunity they can to increase their competitiveness online.
The ability to automatically generate traffic on demand is a huge advantage. An expertly configured website gives you a significant advantage from the very beginning.
Configuration Is The Difference
There is a difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a website that has been professionally set up by a website-building expert but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress has to offer.
Here’s one way to describe the differences:
With a WordPress website that has been expertly configured you get a professional web presence plus an automated online business marketing tool!
(An expertly configured site gives you a professional web presence and an automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only are more steps required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, but also a special type of expert knowledge.
To illustrate this here is a story.
Are Experts Worth The Money They Charge?
Everything is running smoothly in the widget plant when all of a sudden, the machines stops.
No one can figure out what’s wrong and so the plant manager decides to call in an expert.
Shortly after arriving, the expert heads out directly to the control box. After staring silently at the schematics for less than 3 minutes, the expert then takes out a little hammer and makes a gentle tap about 1 inch from the right-hand edge of the control unit.
Immediately, everything begins to work once more.
The plant manager is delighted as he thanks the expert, who leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days later, the factory manager receives a request of payment for services for $5,000.
With great anger, the manager picks up the phone and rings the expert. Why had he charged them such an exorbitant 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 on the manager’s desk. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he sees:
The #1 challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive traffic to their sites.
How much money did the gizmo factory stand to lose when the machines ground to a halt and no one in the factory floor was able to get things up and running again? Did the expert not have the right to demand fair compensation for investing years building up the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to quickly repair a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a blog set up and configured so all you ever had to do is publish content to it and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and dozens of other web properties would be instantly notified, how much time and money would this save you?
(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 turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site involves more than installing a website and configuring a few settings. It involves knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
Which plugins you need to install for certain things to occur on your site.
Which accounts need to be set up and activated to achieve certain results
Which options you need to configure to make sure processes will run as envisioned, etc.
(Generating new traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
Although this stage of the WordPress traffic automation system may not seem technically difficult, it can be quite involved and time-consuming. It’s not just about installing one or two plugins, clicking a button … it’s all of this and so much more.
Expertly configuring your website involves the integration of different parts including your web server, your website or blog, and various external sites and services …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we try to flowchart the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplistic diagram showing the activities involved in the configuration process)
Let’s take a look at these areas in more detail.
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 web hosting account specifically for handling web traffic …
(During the configuration stage, your web-hosting account settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is positive traffic. Some of the web traffic your business may attract will be unwelcome traffic like bot spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This area of the configuration process, therefore, is about planning for both good and unwelcome traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like implementing spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring domain and email redirections, setting up htaccess redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your webhosting settings for handling things like email forwarding, page error redirects, etc?)
After your web server settings have been fine-tuned and configured (if required), the next step is to set up and configure various external sites and services.
Configuring External Web Properties
The basic concept of setting up external sites is that all content will get posted to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will get automatically distributed to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you add these external platforms to your traffic network, content linking back to your site will be automatically added to these platforms, indexed by search engines and shared to other social sites, even to visitors attracted to the platform itself. Your business will benefit from added exposure online, helping you tap into new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some sites and services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress settings to help speed up the configuration process 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 before configuring your site:
Google Webmasters lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides you with a range of important data, SEO tools and reports about your website.
Once your account with Google Webmasters have been set up, you can use the details with traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s results, SEO, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine and social media referrers, etc.
After setting up your Once you have set up Google Analytics, you can add traffic monitoring code to all of your pages in WordPress using any of several Google Analytics plugins and feed data instantly to other applications and reporting tools.
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. After setting up your account and entering site details with Bing, use the details with traffic settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress offers a hosted (WordPress.com) and a self-hosted (WordPress.org) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress version if you are planning to build 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 explain how to integrate this into your traffic system in the next installment of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media pages and bring new traffic to your site)
You will need your various social media and social bookmarking accounts set up 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 drive new traffic to your site.
You should have pages set up with all of the big social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.
There are loads of social bookmarking sites you can set up accounts with. You don’t need to go crazy, just pick those that will work with your setup and/or content sharing tools (we will review some of these tools in more detail further below and during the Automation phase).
(There are lots of social sites you can syndicate your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of emerging web platforms and RSS aggregators that can act as secondary-level traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free plans, and some are more suitable for enterprise-level applications.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that lets you add a feed from your website …
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your website.
There are various technologies and third-party applications you can add to your own traffic system. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to explore some of these further and discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up third-party service accounts, it’s time to configure WordPress.
WordPress Site Configuration
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to ensure that its global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some key areas.
By default, all WordPress installations include a Settings menu that allows you to modify your site’s global settings …
(WordPress settings section)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most powerful and frequently overlooked traffic notification systems available to website owners …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings)
As stated below the Update Services section title,
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 ping the update services entered into the Update Services text area
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 containing all of the update services you want notified to this section …
(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 have an influence traffic. For example, your choice of displaying the full content vs a summary of your post, affects how your content appears in RSS readers and blog post digests, and could play a part in someone’s decision to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your blog to view the rest of the content from excerpts, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
The main setting here as far as your traffic system is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility checkbox is enabled or not.
Typically, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked enables your site to instantly ping various 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, 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 …
(Global Settings – Discussion Settings Screen)
Permalinks enable WordPress to display posts with search engine-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalinks Screen)
Here are some of the options for configuring your permalink URLs …
SEO plugins help drive more traffic by making your web pages easy for search engines like Google to index …
(Yoast SEO – WordPress Plugin)
A plugin like Yoast SEO can improve your SEO. Properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines like Google and Bing to index, it also lets you specify how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
WordPress Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing your visitors to share your content with others online can help drive more traffic to your site, especially if your site provides content that adds real value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing buttons to their site with WordPress plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing buttons to their website using free or inexpensive plugins.
Most social share plugins let you 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 shares), etc. Some social share plugins even allow you to protect content or downloads which visitors can unlock by sharing your page.
Configuring WordPress Theme Settings For Traffic Generation
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help grow your site’s traffic.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your site, many themes also give you built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site navigation structure for faster indexing, easily add analytics, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes come with built-in traffic optimization features)
With a number of themes, adding social sharing buttons and features to your pages is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons to enable the function …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
Additional Configuration Aspects For WordPress Traffic
Last but not least in the configuration process, are the things that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
Compliance Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in traffic, it’s important to plan not only for both bad and good traffic but also for all the situations that can seriously affect your business when more and more people find and begin to visit your website.
If you are making money online (or plan to), you need to ensure that your site is found to comply with regulatory agencies.
(Does Your Site Comply With All Legal Requirements?)
We have written a detailed article about the importance of having a legally compliant website here:
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that the post tags and post categories you have set up.
Add A Site Map
A site map that lists all of your pages and posts to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external tools find your web 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. HTML site maps are web pages that link to all other content on your site and provide users with a logical map of how your content is organized, whereas XML sitemaps are code that only search engines can read. Although search engines like Google will index your site just using 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.
404 Error Page – Don’t Forget To Configure It!
When visitors searching for your site type in the wrong web address or click on an invalid hyperlink, they will typically be presented with an error page (known as a 404 Not Found page) …
(A 404 Not Found page)
A 404 Error Page can redirect confused visitors to your functional web pages …
(Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 page can be set up in your server, there are WordPress plugins that let you easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Process – Summary
Once your website or blog has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you then have to do is add fresh content consistently to automatically drive web traffic organically.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and requires the configuration and integration of various elements and external web properties …
(Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site can take many website developers a long time to learn.
Once you have expertly configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is explained in the next article in the series.