Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Site Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your website using WordPress.
In Part 1 of this article series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to generating automated web traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress web site, all you have to do to automatically attract new traffic is publish content consistently!)
In Part Two, we looked at the setup phase of the traffic automation process. 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 site, and what to do if your site was built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you where to set up a WordPress website on your domain)
In this section of the series, we will look at the configuration phase of the WordPress traffic automation system. We explain how a WordPress site should be configured to drive visitors automatically just by posting new content to your web site.
WordPress Web Traffic Automation System – Configuration Phase
The ability to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by most website owners as one of their greatest challenges online. With business becoming increasingly more competitive worldwide, it’s worth looking into every advantage that can help you get better results online.
The ability to generate traffic on demand can provide you with a huge advantage over other competitors. Having an expertly configured website gives you a flying start from the moment your website is launched.
Configuration 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 an expert website builder but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s a simple way to understand the differences:
With a WordPress site 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 with an automated online business marketing process!)
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 expertise.
To illustrate this point here’s a joke.
A Semi-True Story …
All is humming along in the gizmo-making factory when suddenly, production stops.
As no one can figure out what’s gone wrong, the plant manager decides to call in an expert.
Promptly after arriving, the expert heads immediately towards the main control box. After staring at the wiring diagrams for what seems like 3 minutes, the expert then takes out a tiny hammer from his tool box and makes a single tap near the left side of the unit.
Immediately, the whole workshop lights up and springs to life again.
The manager is greatly relieved as he thanks the expert, who then leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days after resolving the incident, the factory manager receives a request for payment of $5,000.
Bewildered and bordering on a sense of outrage, the factory manager dials the expert. Demanding to know why they were expected to pay such a large amount of money for less than 5 minutes work, he then requests an itemized invoice 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 number one challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive web traffic to their sites.
In the story we’ve just described, how much money did the factory stand to lose when production stopped working and no one in the business was able to fix it? Did the expert not have the right to demand fair compensation for spending years acquiring the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to avert a crisis?
Similarly, if you could have your website set up and configured so all you ever had to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and dozens of other web properties would be automatically notified, how much time and money would this save you?
(How much time and money would you save if you could automate the process of attracting new visitors to your site?)
While the solution to many challenges can seem ridiculously easy once implemented, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site is more than adding some pages with content and configuring a few settings. It involves knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things such as:
- Which plugins need to be installed to get specific functionalities on your site.
- Which services need to be set up to get specific outcomes
- Which options need to be configured to make sure processes will work as you have imagined, etc.
(Driving new traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
This stage of the traffic automation system is not technically difficult, but it’s quite involved and complicated. This is because it’s not as easy as installing a solution, clicking on a button or two, or configuring some settings in your admin area … it’s all of this and so much more.
Expertly configuring your website is a complex process that involves your web server, your website or blog, and various third-party sites …
(The configuration phase involves more than just configuring some settings in WordPress)
If we were to create a simplified diagram of the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplistic flowchart showing the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s examine these areas in more detail.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your web-hosting account for website installation purposes. We’re talking about fine-tuning settings in your webhosting account specifically for handling all web traffic …
(In the configuration phase, your web server 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 can attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, requires planning for good and unwanted traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This can include looking at things like server-level spam protection and threat prevention, 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, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various external sites.
The purpose of adding external sites is that all content is published from one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it then gets distributed automatically to other components of your traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once you add these external services to your system, content linking back to your website gets automatically published on search, social and aggregator sites. Your content and website will receive added exposure online, helping you tap into new sources of traffic.
Some of the sites and online platforms will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress site to 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 site:
(Google Webmasters – create a Google-friendly site)
Google Webmasters lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of useful information, tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
After setting up your account with Google, you can use your information to integrate and automate web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s results, SEO, user engagement, marketing activities, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine referrers, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account is set up, you can add traffic tracking code to WordPress via a simple plugin and send data automatically to other applications and reporting tools.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. After setting up your account, you can use your account information to integrate and automate traffic settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
As discussed in Part Two, WordPress offers users the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you plan to build a professional online presence for your business.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful features, 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 web traffic system in the next installment of this article series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking Accounts
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media pages and drive new visitors to your site)
You will need to set up your various social media 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 sites and drive new traffic to your site.
Make sure you have set up accounts and profile pages with all of the big social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
There are many social bookmarking sites you can set up. You don’t need to go crazy, just pick those that will work well with your setup and/or content syndication tools.
(You can post your content to many social sites. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Solutions, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of new online platforms and content aggregators that can serve as secondary-level sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some are paid services.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that lets you add your WordPress site feed …
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 RebelMouse page.
There are many different platforms you can add to your traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these, or to discuss a configuration strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your server settings and set up external site accounts, it’s time to configure WordPress.
WordPress – Configuring Your Site For Traffic
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 of the important areas.
WordPress – Global Settings
The WordPress dashboard area contains a Settings menu that allows you to configure your site’s main settings …
(WordPress settings section)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings section contains an important and frequently overlooked automated traffic notification system …
(WordPress Settings – Writing Settings Area)
As described in this section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have specifically configured your site settings to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically notify the services entered into the Update Services box
By default, only one service is available …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically – just add a list of update services to this section …
(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 shows up in RSS readers and blog post digests, and could impact someone’s choice to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your blog to read 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 in this section as far as traffic is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility check box is enabled or not.
Generally, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked enables WordPress to notify your list of update services whenever new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, do not check this box …
(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 articles, 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)
Your Permalink settings allow you to create SEO-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalinks)
The examples below show some of the ways post permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring permalink URLs)
To learn more about setting up permalinks in WordPress, go here: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that can add just about every kind of functionality to your site, 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
WordPress Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your site for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. No blog is immune from being targeted.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress blog invisible to botnets 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 find, crawl and index your web pages …
(WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help drive traffic by improving the search engine friendliness of your website)
Use a plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your site’s SEO. When properly configured, this plugin not only makes your website 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 Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing visitors to easily share your content with others online can help drive more traffic to your site, especially if you provide content that adds value to readers.
(You can easily add social features to your site using WordPress plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing to their website with WordPress plugins.
Many social share plugins allow you to specify which 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 likes), etc. Some social plugins even allow you to protect content which visitors can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.
WordPress – Themes
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 the design and layout of your website, many themes also include built-in options for improving search optimization and site navigation structure for faster indexing, easily add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes can be configured for improved traffic results)
With many quality themes, adding social sharing buttons to your content is as easy as selecting the option to enable this functions …
(Many WordPress themes come with built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
WordPress Traffic Configuration – Additional Steps
Last (but by no means least) in the WordPress traffic blueprint configuration process, are the things that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
This includes the following:
Website Compliance Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in traffic, it’s important to plan not only for both good and unwelcome traffic but also for all the situations that can hurt your business when more and more people find and begin to visit your website.
If you engage in any form of business online (or plan to), you need to make sure that your website stays compliant with regulatory agencies.
We have written a detailed article about why it’s important to have a legally compliant website here:
WordPress post tags & post categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better organize and index your web pages.
(WordPress categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to classify and index your web pages.)
When configuring your website to automate and improve web traffic, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post tags and post categories have been set up correctly to deliver optimal results.
Add A WordPress Site Map
A visitor site map that displays all of your site’s posts and pages is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external sites find more of your website content …
(Site Map – great for site visitors and beneficial for traffic too!)
Note: An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are different things. 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 bots can interpret. Although Google will index your pages just from an XML sitemap (which plugins 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.
404 Page – A Source Of Lost Traffic Opportunities!
When visitors searching online for your website enter the wrong URL into their browser or click on a hyperlink pointing to a destination on your website that no longer exists, they are presented with a 404 Not Found page …
(Default WordPress 404 Error Page)
A 404 page can redirect confused visitors to your functional pages …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to redirect traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 page can be set up in your web server, there are several plugins for WordPress that allow you to easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once you have your WordPress site fully set up and expertly configured, all you need to do is publish new content consistently to automatically attract more traffic organically.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, is quite involved and requires the configuration and integration of a number of different elements and web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The kind of expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes many web professionals 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 our series.
This is the end of Part 3
To read the rest of this article, click here:
- Web Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – Discover How To Turn Your WordPress Website Into A Traffic Generation Machine
This article is part of a comprehensive tutorial series aimed at helping you learn how to grow your business using a WordPress-driven website or blog and proven web marketing strategies.
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