Welcome to Part Three of our Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your site using the WordPress CMS.
In Part One of this article 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 site …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website or blog, all you have to do is post new content on a regular basis to start attracting web traffic!)
In Part Two, we discussed critical setup decisions. We helped you understand the best way to start if you don’t have a web presence yet, how to set everything up if you already have a website, and what to do if your site was built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you where to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this article, we will look at the configuration stage of the traffic system. You will learn why an expertly configured site is different. You will also discover how much work is required to ensure that when all is set up and fully configured, you can automatically start to get new traffic just by regularly adding new content to your WordPress site.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase
Finding ways to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by most website owners as the greatest challenge they face online. Also, the business landscape is becoming ever more competitive on a global scale and businesses are exploring every advantage they can that can help you improve their performance online.
The ability to automatically generate traffic on demand can be a huge advantage over the competition. For businesses, an expertly configured website gives WordPress users a flying start as soon as their website is launched.
The Configuration Stage Is What Makes The Difference
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally set up by a website-building expert but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here is a simple way to explain the main difference:
An expertly configured WordPress site gives you a professional web presence and online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured website gives you a web presence and a built-in automated online business marketing process!)
Not only are more steps needed to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, it also takes a special type of expertise.
Let’s illustrate this with a story.
Knowing Where To Tap
All was going just fine in the gizmo-making plant when suddenly, the equipment ground to a halt.
As no one could figure out what went wrong, the manager decided to call in an expert.
Promptly after arriving, the expert walked immediately to the control box. After staring silently at the electronic components for what seemed like 5 minutes or so, the expert then took out a teeny-weeny little hammer and made a gentle tap near the right corner of the unit.
Immediately, the machinery came back to life.
The manager was filled with joy as he thanked the expert, who left just as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days later, the manager received a request of payment for services for $5,000.
The manager dialed the expert, demanding to know why he had charged them such a ridiculously high fee for so little time spent delivering such minimal amount of work and then requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice arrived and was placed in the manager’s in-tray. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he saw:
The main challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive traffic to their sites.
In the story we’ve just described, how much money did the gizmo plant stand to lose when the machines stopped working and no one in the business had the expertise to get things up and running again? Did the expert in our story not have the right to get paid fairly for years spent building up the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to immediately repair a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a blog set up so all you have to do is publish new content and search engines, social media 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 site?)
Although the solution to many challenges often seems ridiculously easy once it’s been implemented, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than installing a website and configuring some basic settings. It also involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which programs you need to install to get various functionalities on your site.
- Which accounts you need to set up to get desired results
- Which settings you need to configure to ensure that processes will work as planned, etc.
(Generating web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
This part of the WordPress traffic automation system is not technically difficult, but it’s quite involved. It’s not just about installing and configuring a solution, clicking a couple of buttons … it’s all of this and much more.
The configuration phase involves the integration of many components including your web server, your site, and a number of third-party sites and services …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring some settings in WordPress)
If the activities involved in the configuration process were to be flowcharted, it would look like this …
(A simplistic flowchart of the activities involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s examine these areas.
Web Server Configuration
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your hosting account for website installation purposes (this should have been done during the Setup phase). What we are talking about, is configuring settings and options in your web server specifically for handling web traffic …
(In the configuration phase, your web server settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is positive traffic. Some of the traffic your business may attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, is about evaluating your needs, planning for good and unwanted traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes things like implementing server-level 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 server settings and configuring these (if required), the next step of the configuration phase is to set up a number of third-party sites and services.
The basic idea of setting up external sites is that all content will get posted to a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will get automatically distributed to other components of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
After incorporating these external services into your system, content linked back to your site is automatically published on these platforms. Your content and site will be given exposure to new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some of the sites and services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress site’s settings to 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 before configuring your settings:
(Google Webmaster Tools)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides you with a range of essential data, tools and reports about your website.
Once your Google Webmasters account has been set up, you can use the account information with traffic settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s results, SEO, marketing efforts, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrers, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site details are set up, account information can be integrated with WordPress using a plugin and instantly fed to other useful applications and reporting tools.
(Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. After setting up your account and entering site data, use this information to automate traffic settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
As discussed in Part 2, WordPress provides users with the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you are planning to build a professional online presence for your business.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great tools, which a number of WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate this into your automated web traffic system in the next installment of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking Sites
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media sites and social bookmarking accounts and attract new traffic to your site)
You will need your social media accounts set up in order to integrate these with 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 get new visitors to your site.
You should have profiles set up with all the main social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
There are many social bookmarking sites you can You can syndicate your content to lots of social bookmarking sites. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just choose those that will work well with your setup and/or content sharing tools.
(There are many social bookmarking sites you can post your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, Content Aggregators, Etc.
There are many emerging platforms and RSS 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 that lets you add a feed from your WordPress site …
(RebelMouse – Publishing platform for distributed content)
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 own RebelMouse social feed.
There are many different technologies and third-party applications you can add to your web traffic blueprint. Please 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 external sites, it’s time to configure your WordPress site.
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to ensure that its global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Configuring Global WordPress Settings
By default, all WordPress installations include a Settings menu that allows you to modify your site’s global settings …
(WordPress settings section)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains a powerful and often overlooked automated traffic notification system …
(Global Settings – 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 specifically chosen to prevent search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically notify the list of services entered into the Update Services text box
By default, when WordPress is installed, only one service is listed …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature Of WordPress)
You can notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress …
(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 in this section can influence traffic. For example, your choice of displaying the full text vs summaries of your post, affects how your content appears in RSS feeds and RSS email campaigns, and could affect 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 summaries, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
The most important setting here as far as your traffic system is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is ticked or not.
Normally, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked enables WordPress to instantly notify your list of update services whenever new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, leave this box unchecked …
(WordPress Settings – 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 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 …
(Global Settings – Discussion Settings Screen)
Your Permalink settings allow you to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalinks)
Here are some of the options for configuring your site’s permalinks …
(Configuring search-friendly URLS)
If you need help setting up permalinks in WordPress, see this tutorial: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings
WordPress provides users with plugins that help to add almost every type of functionality imaginable to your site, including plugins with features that help to improve traffic generation.
Here are some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
WordPress Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your site for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. Regardless of the kind of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, securing your sites is something you cannot ignore.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress blog invisible to botnets and hackers.
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive more traffic by making your website more search engine friendly …
(SEO plugins help drive more traffic by making your website more search engine friendly)
A plugin like Yoast SEO can improve your SEO. Properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines like Google and Bing to index, it allows you to specify how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and GooglePlus.
Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing visitors to share your content with members of their social communities can help drive more traffic to your site, especially if your site provides content that adds value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing buttons to their site using free or inexpensive plugins)
You can easily add social sharing features to your website with free or inexpensive plugins.
Most social share plugins allow you to choose which social sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some social plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content or downloads which visitors can unlock by sharing your page.
Configuring WordPress Traffic Features In Themes
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, some themes also include built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site linking structure for better indexing, add analytics snippets, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes like Graphene (a highly customizable free theme) 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)
Additional Configuration Steps For WordPress Sites
Last (but by no means least) in the configuration process, are the areas that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
Once again, when preparing your site for an increase in traffic, it’s important to plan not only for how to handle good and bad traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong when more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you are making money online (or plan to), you need to make sure that your website remains compliant with legal requirements of government agencies that regulate business online.
If you need help adding legal pages to WordPress, see this article:
Post categories and post tags help improve traffic by improving your site’s SEO.
(Post categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better classify and index your pages.)
When configuring your website or blog to automate and improve web traffic, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s tags and categories have been set up correctly to deliver optimal benefits and results.
Visitor Site Map
A site map that lists all of your site’s posts and pages to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external sites discover your web content …
(Site Map – great for visitors and beneficial for web traffic too!)
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, whereas an XML sitemap is mostly code that only search engine bots can interpret. Although Google can index your pages just from an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
Don’t Forget Your Site’s 404 Page Not Found
When online visitors type in the wrong web address or click on a link pointing to a page on your website that no longer exists, they will typically be presented with a 404 Not Found page …
(Default WordPress 404 Page)
Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found 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 plugins for WordPress that allow you to easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Process – Summary
Once you have your website fully set up and expertly configured, all you have to do then to start generating web traffic is post fresh content regularly.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, is quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of various elements and external web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The knowledge and expertise required to perform this stage of the traffic automation process typically takes some website developers months to learn.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is addressed in the next article in the WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint series.
This is the end of Section 3
To read the rest of this article, click here:
- Web Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – A Complete Guide To Generating More Website Traffic For Your Business Automatically
This article is part of an article series designed to help site owners learn how to grow their business using a WordPress website and proven online marketing strategies.
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