Welcome to Part Three of our WordPress Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to drive new visitors automatically to your site using the WordPress CMS.
In Part One of this article series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to automating traffic to your site …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website or blog, all you have to do to bring more web traffic is post great content regularly!)
In Part Two, we looked at the setup phase of the blueprint. We helped you understand the best way to get started if you don’t have a website yet, how to set everything up if you already have a website, and what to do if your existing website was built using WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you where to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section, we will look at the configuration phase of the traffic automation process. You will learn how to configure a WordPress site so you can automatically get new visitors simply by posting new content on a regular basis to your WordPress site.
WordPress Traffic System – Configuration
The ability to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by most website owners as their greatest challenge online. With competition making business survival progressively tougher businesses are exploring every opportunity they can to improve their performance online.
Having the ability to generate traffic on demand is a tremendous advantage over the competition. For businesses, having an expertly configured website gives WordPress users a flying start from the moment their site is launched.
The Configuration Process Is What Makes All 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 builder but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress has to offer.
Here’s a simple way to understand the differences:
An expertly configured WordPress website gives you a web presence with an automated online business marketing process!
(An expertly configured site gives you a web presence with a built-in automated online business marketing system!)
Not only is additional work required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, but also a special kind of expertise.
Let me illustrate this point with a story.
A True Story (Kind Of) …
Things are going well in the widget assembly line when everything suddenly just stops.
As no one can figure out what is wrong, the floor manager decides to call in an expert to fix the problem.
Promptly after arriving, the expert walks immediately to the main control box. After staring silently at the electronic components for less than 3 minutes, the expert then produces a teensy-weensy hammer from his tool box and makes a gentle tap about 1 inch from the right edge of the control unit.
Immediately, everything returns to normal.
The manager is overjoyed as he thanks the expert, who leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days after resolving the incident, the manager receives a request for payment of services rendered totalling $5,000.
Bewildered, the manager dials the expert. Why did he charge them such a ludicrous fee for less than 5 minutes work? He then requests an itemized invoice to be sent and hangs up.
The next day, a bill of payment arrives in the manager’s intray. Upon opening it, this is what he sees:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive web traffic consistently to their sites.
How much money did the gizmo plant 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 be compensated fairly for years spent building up the knowledge and expertise that allowed him to quickly avert a very serious crisis?
Similarly, if you could have your blog set up so all you have to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest 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 is often ridiculously easy once implemented, it rarely is that simple or easy when you are trying to work things out.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than simply installing a website and configuring some basic settings. It also requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things such as:
- Which plugins need to be installed to get desired functionalities on your site.
- Which third-party accounts need to be set up and activated to achieve desired outcomes
- Which internal and external settings need to be configured to ensure that things work as envisioned, etc.
(Generating web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
Although this part of the WordPress traffic automation system may not seem technically difficult, it can be quite involved and time-consuming. This is because it’s not just about installing a solution, tweaking some settings in your dashboard area … it’s all this and much more.
The configuration stage is a complex process that involves your server, your website, and various third-party sites …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If we create a simple flowchart of the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplistic diagram of all the steps involved in the configuration process)
Let’s examine these steps.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your web-hosting account for site installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). What we are talking about, is fine-tuning settings in your web server specifically for handling all web traffic …
(In the configuration phase, your server settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is positive traffic. Some of the web traffic you can attract will be unwelcome traffic like bot spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This part of the configuration process, therefore, is all about evaluating your needs, planning for bad and good traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This could include looking at things like configuring spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring your domain and email redirections, setting up htaccess and 404 redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your webhosting settings for handling things like emails, page errors, etc?)
Once your web server settings have been checked and configured (if required), the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various external sites and services.
External Web Properties And Solutions – Configuration
The idea behind choosing external sites is that all content will get published to a central location (your site) and from there, it will get syndicated automatically to other components of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once you add these external platforms to your traffic network, content linked back to your site gets automatically fed to search, social and aggregator sites. Your website will then be given exposure to a new audience and source of traffic.
Some of these third-party sites will need to be set up before configuring your site 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 settings:
(Google Webmaster Tools – create a Google-friendly website)
Google Search Console lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with useful information, SEO tools, and reports about their website.
Once your account with Google Webmaster Tools are set up, you can use the information to integrate and automate web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO – see further below) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s results, SEO, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user behaviour, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine and organic referrals, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site details are set up, account data can be easily integrated with WordPress via a simple plugin used with other applications.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. After setting up your account and entering site data with Bing Webmaster Tools, your information can be used to automate web traffic-related settings in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO – see further below) and other applications.
As discussed in Part 2, WordPress offers users the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you are planning 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 at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate this into your automated traffic system in Part Four of this series.
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media pages and get 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.
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 set up accounts and profile pages with all the leading social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are many social bookmarking sites you can set up. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just pick the ones that will work with your setup and/or content syndication tools (we cover some of these tools in more detail when we discuss the Automation phase).
(There are loads of social sites you can post your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of new online web platforms and RSS aggregators that can serve as secondary sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free plans, and some offer a range of pricing plans to suit different user types.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that lets you add an RSS feed from your site …
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your own RebelMouse page.
There are many different sites and platforms that can be added to your web traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these further, or to discuss a configuration plan to suit your needs.
After you have configured your web server and set up third-party site accounts, it’s time to configure WordPress.
Configuring Your WordPress Site
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to make sure that your global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Global WordPress Settings
Your WordPress admin area contains a Settings menu that allows you to set up your site’s global settings …
(WordPress menu – Settings)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most powerful and often overlooked automated traffic notification systems available to WordPress users …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings)
As described in this section,
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 services entered into the Update Services field
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, only one service is listed …
(Writing Settings – WordPress Update Services)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically – just add a list of all the update services you want to notify as soon as you publish a new post 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 in this section can have an influence traffic. For example, choosing to display the full content vs a summary of your post, affects how your content appears in RSS feeds and RSS email campaigns, and could play a part in someone’s choice to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your website 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.
The most important setting here as far as your traffic system is concerned 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 allows WordPress to automatically ping your update services list whenever a new post gets published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, make sure this box is left unticked …
(Global 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 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 …
(Settings Menu – Discussion Settings Screen)
Permalinks allow you to create SEO-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalink Settings)
The examples below show some of the options for configuring your SEO-friendly URLs …
(Configuring permalink URLs)
We have created a detailed tutorial on using permalinks in WordPress here: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
WordPress – Traffic Generation Plugins
WordPress provides users with plugins that can add almost every type of functionality to your site, including many plugins that improve traffic generation.
Let’s take a brief look at examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help to increase traffic
Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your website for dealing with the effects of both good traffic and bad traffic. No website is guaranteed immunity from being attacked by hackers.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to bots and hackers.
For more information, go here:
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by improving improving the way search engines like Google find, crawl and index your web pages …
(WP Plugins For SEO – Yoast SEO)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO (previously called WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your site’s SEO. Properly configured, this plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines to find and index, it also lets you configure how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and GooglePlus.
WordPress Social Plugins
Allowing visitors to easily share your content online can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if you provide content that adds real value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing to their site with free or inexpensive plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing features to their website using WordPress plugins.
Most social sharing plugins let you select 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 followers), etc. Some plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content which users can unlock by liking your page.
Configuring WordPress Theme Settings For Traffic Generation
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help grow your site’s traffic.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring the layout and design of your site, many themes also include built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site navigation structure for faster indexing, easily add analytics code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes allow you to configure settings for better traffic results)
With a number of themes, adding social sharing buttons to your pages is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in social sharing features)
WordPress Traffic Configuration – Additional Don’t Forget These
Last (but by no means least) in the web traffic configuration process, are the elements that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in traffic, it’s important to plan not only for both bad and good traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong as more and more people begin to visit your website.
If you do business online (or plan to), it’s important that your website complies with all government legal requirements.
To learn more about the importance of having a legally compliant website, go here:
Categories and post tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better index your pages.
(Post categories help search engines index your website, which improves traffic.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post tags and categories have been set up correctly to deliver optimal benefits and results.
Add A WordPress Site Map
A site map that lists all of your pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external tools find your site’s content …
(Site Map – great for visitors and beneficial for traffic too!)
Note: An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are not the same things. An HTML site map is a web page that links to all other content on your site, while an XML sitemap contains code that only search engines can read. Although search engines like Google can 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 results in increased traffic.
404 Error Page – Don’t Lose Traffic!
When visitors searching for your website type in the wrong web address or click on links pointing to pages on your site that no longer exist, they will normally be greeted with a 404 error page …
(Default WordPress 404 Error Page)
A 404 page can be turned into a useful source of traffic to your functional pages …
(Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to recover web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 error page can be set up on your server, there are WordPress plugins that let you easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once your site has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you then need to do to automatically begin bringing new web traffic is post fresh content consistently.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of different components and external web properties …
(Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The knowledge and expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes many 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 section of our series.
This is the end of Section Three
To read more, click on the link below:
- Website Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – Discover How To Turn Your Website Into An Automated Traffic Machine
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive tutorial series aimed at helping site owners learn how to grow their business online cost-effectively and drive traffic sustainably with a WordPress-driven website and proven online marketing strategies.
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