Welcome to Part 3 of our Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your website using the WordPress CMS platform.
In Part 1 of this article series, we provided an overview of the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website or blog is the key to automating traffic to your website …
(With an expertly configured WordPress blog, all you have to do is add fresh content on a consistent basis to start generating more traffic!)
In Part Two, we focused on the setup phase of this process. We explained the best way to start if you don’t have a website yet, how to set things up if you already have a website, and what to do if your site has been built using WordPress.
(In Part two 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. We explain how a WordPress site should be configured to get traffic automatically as you start to publish new content on your website.
WordPress Traffic System – Configuration
The ability to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by website owners as the greatest challenge they face online. With business getting so much more competitive worldwide, it’s worth learning about every opportunity you can to increase your own competitiveness online.
The ability to generate traffic on demand can provide you with a tremendous advantage. Having an expertly configured website gives you a flying start as soon as your site is launched.
The Difference Is In The Configuration Stage
There is a difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a website that has been professionally installed and set up by a web-building expert but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here is a simple way to understand the key difference:
An expertly configured WordPress site gives you a professional web presence plus 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 it take more labor to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, but also a special type of expert knowledge.
To illustrate this here is a little story.
Ludicrous Or Fair? You Decide …
All is going according to schedule in the widget-making factory when everything suddenly stops.
As no one can figure out what’s wrong, the manager decides to call in an expert.
Soon afterward, the expert arrives and, without saying a word, immediately goes towards the main control box. After staring at the control unit for what seems like about 3 minutes, the expert then produces a tiny hammer from his pocket and makes a single tap about three inches from the right side of the box.
Immediately, everything returns to normal.
The manager is greatly overjoyed as he thanks the expert, who then leaves as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days later, the manager receives an invoice for the amount of $5,000.
Unable to contain his anger and sense of outrage, the factory manager dials the expert. Demanding to know why they were charged so much for less than 5 minutes work, he then requests an itemized invoice and hangs up.
The next day, an invoice notice arrives on the manager’s desk. Upon opening it, this is what he sees:
The main challenge most businesses face online is driving new visitors to their sites.
In the above story, how much money did the widget factory stand to lose when the machines stopped working and no one on the business was able to fix it? Did the expert not have every right to demand fair compensation for spending years acquiring the knowledge and expertise that allowed him to quickly avert a very serious crisis?
Similarly, if you could have your web site set up so all you ever had to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and dozens of other web properties would be automatically notified, how much time and money would this save you?
(How much better would your business be if you could automate the process of driving traffic to your site?)
Although many experts often make complicated things look simple, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than adding some pages with content and configuring a few settings. It requires knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which plugins need to be installed to add various functionalities to your site.
- Which services need to be set up and activated to get desired results
- Which internal and external settings need to be configured in order to make sure things function to plan, etc.
(Driving web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
Although this part of the WordPress traffic automation system may not seem so technically challenging, it can be quite complicated. It’s not as simple as installing and configuring one or two plugins, clicking a button, or tweaking some settings in your admin area … it’s all of this and so much more.
The configuration phase involves the integration of many components such as your web server, your WordPress site, and various third-party sites and/or online services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If we try to flowchart the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplified diagram showing the steps 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 hosting account for site installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about configuring settings in your web server specifically for handling all web traffic …
(During the configuration stage, your server settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is welcome traffic. Some of the web traffic your business can attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This stage of the configuration process, therefore, is all about planning for both good and bad traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like configuring server-level spam protection and threat prevention, to configuring domain and email forwarding, setting up 404 error page redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like emails, page error redirections, etc?)
After checking your web server settings and configuring these, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various third-party sites and/or online services.
Integration With External Solutions
The basic idea of adding external sites is that all content will get published to one central location (your site) and from there, it will radiate outwards automatically to other components of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
After adding these external sites to your traffic network, content with links pointing back to your site will be automatically fed to these platforms, indexed by search engines and distributed to social networks, even to users of the platform itself. Your content will then be exposed to new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some third-party sites and services will need to be set up before configuring your WordPress settings to 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:
(Google Search Console)
Google Webmasters lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides you with useful information, SEO tools and diagnostic reports about your website.
After setting up your Google Webmaster Tools account, this information can be used with traffic settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s performance, SEO, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrals, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site data have been set up, you can add visitor tracking code to WordPress using a plugin and feed data automatically to various other online applications and web properties.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. After setting up your account and entering site details with Bing, the details can be used with traffic settings and notifications in WordPress 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 platform if you plan to build a professional web presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great features, which can be accessed by a number of WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate these features into your web traffic generation system in the next installment of this article series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media sites and social bookmarking accounts and get new traffic to your site)
You will need your various social 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 attract new traffic to your site.
Make sure you have profiles set up with all of the leading social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can set up accounts with and syndicate your content to. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just pick those that will work well with your setup and/or content sharing tools (we cover some of these tools in greater detail when we discuss the Automation phase).
(You can syndicate your content to lots of social sites. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Solutions, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of emerging web platforms and content aggregators that can act as second-tier sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free plans, and some offer a range of pricing plans.
For example, here is a content aggregator that lets you add your WordPress site feed …
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your page.
There are many different sites and platforms you can incorporate into your own traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to explore some of these further and discuss a configuration strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up third-party service accounts, it’s time to configure your WordPress settings.
WordPress – Configuring Your Web Site For Traffic
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to make sure that its global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some key areas.
WordPress – Global Settings
By default, WordPress includes a Settings menu that allows you to modify your site’s global settings …
(WordPress settings menu)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings Screen)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most powerful and often overlooked automated traffic notification systems available to WordPress site owners …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings Section)
As described in this section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have purposely chosen to discourage search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically notify the list of update services entered into the Update Services field
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, this section displays only one entry …
You can notify dozens of update services automatically …
(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 your content gets seen by visitors when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings on this page can influence web traffic. For example, choosing to display the full content vs a summary of your post, affects how your content displays to users in RSS feeds and blog post digests, and could impact someone’s decision to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your blog to read 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 in this section as far as your traffic system is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is enabled or not.
Typically, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows your site to instantly notify various update services whenever a new post is published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason to discourage search indexing spiders from visiting your site, do not check this box …
(Settings Menu – 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)
Your Permalink settings enable your site to display posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalink Settings Section)
The examples below show some of the ways your post permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring search-friendly URLS)
We have written a detailed tutorial about using permalinks here: Improve Your WordPress SEO Using SEO-Friendly URLs
Configuring Settings – Plugins
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that help to add just about every kind of functionality to your website, including plugins with features that help to improve traffic generation.
Let’s take a brief look at examples of plugin categories and plugins that improve traffic generation
WordPress Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your website for dealing with both good traffic and bad traffic. No blog is immune from a cyber attack.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress site invisible to botnet and hacker attacks.
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by making your website more search engine friendly …
(WordPress Plugins For SEO – Yoast SEO)
A plugin like Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) can improve your SEO. When properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines like Google to find and index, it also lets you specify how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Allowing visitors to share your content with members of their social communities can help drive more traffic to your site, especially if you publish content that adds real value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social features to their website with free or inexpensive plugins)
There are loads of social sharing plugins available for WordPress users.
Most social sharing plugins allow you to select which sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of followers), etc. Some plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content which visitors can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.
WP Traffic Generation Theme Features
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help you drive more traffic to your site.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring the layout and design of your website, some themes also provide options for improving SEO and site navigation structure for faster indexing, add tracking code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes allow you to configure options and settings for better traffic results)
With many quality themes, adding social sharing buttons and features to your content is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes come with built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
Configuring Additional Areas Of WordPress For Better Traffic Flow
Last but not least in the web traffic system configuration process, are the things that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
These include the following:
Legal Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for an increase in visitor numbers, it’s important to plan not only for how to deal with bad and good traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong when more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you do any kind of business online (or are planning to), it’s important that your site complies with all legal requirements.
If you need help adding legal pages to WordPress, go here:
WordPress post tags and post categories help to improve your site’s search engine optimization, which improves traffic.
(Post categories help improve traffic by improving your site’s SEO.)
When considering ways to automate and improve web traffic, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post tags and categories have been set up correctly to deliver optimal 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 applications discover your website content …
(Site Map – great for site visitors and beneficial for web traffic too!)
Note: An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are not the same thing. Although Google will index your pages just from 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 can result in increased traffic.
404 Error Page – Don’t Lose Traffic!
When visitors searching online for your website enter the wrong web address into their browser or click on an invalid link, they will normally be greeted with a 404 error page …
(A 404 Error Page)
A 404 page can be turned into a useful source of traffic to your functional pages …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found error page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 page can be set up in your server, there are several plugins for WordPress that let you easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Process – Summary
Once your website has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you have to do to begin attracting new traffic is post great content consistently.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, is quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of different elements and web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The kind of knowledge and expertise required to perform this phase of the traffic automation process can take some website professionals a long time to acquire.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate as much of the process as you can. This step is explained in the next article in the WordPress Traffic System series.
This is the end of Section 3
To read the rest of this article, click here:
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive tutorial series designed to help site owners learn how to grow their business online with a WordPress-driven website or blog and proven web marketing strategies.
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