Welcome to Part Three of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn your website into an automated web traffic machine using WordPress.
In Part 1 of this article series, we provided an overview of the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to generating automated web traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress site, all you have to do to start generating new traffic is publish fresh content consistently!)
In Part Two, we focused on the setup phase of the automation process. 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 website, and what to do if your site has been built using WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up a WordPress web site on your domain)
In this article, we look at the configuration phase of the traffic automation process. We explain how a WordPress site should be configured in order to ensure that web traffic will automatically start flowing just by regularly posting fresh content on your website.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase
Being able to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by many website owners as their greatest challenge online. With business becoming so much more competitive worldwide, it’s worth looking into any and every advantage available to increase your own competitiveness online.
The ability to generate traffic on demand is a tremendous advantage over the competition. For WordPress users, an expertly configured website allows their business to get off to a flying start from the moment their site is launched.
The Configuration Stage Is What Makes The Difference
There is a difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally installed and set up by an expert website developer but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s a simple way to explain the differences:
An expertly configured WordPress website gives you a web presence plus an automated online business marketing process!
(An expertly configured website gives you a professional web presence and a built-in automated online business marketing system!)
Not only does it take additional labor 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’s a joke.
Ludicrous Or Fair? You Decide …
Everything is going well in the gizmo-making assembly line when things grind to a sudden stop.
As no one can figure out what’s happened, the floor manager decides to call in an expert.
Promptly after arriving, the expert heads out directly to the main control box. After staring silently at the wiring board for less than 2 minutes or so, the expert then produces a tiny little hammer from his utility belt and makes a very gentle tap near the left edge of the unit.
Immediately, everything comes back to life.
The manager is delighted as he thanks the expert, who leaves as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days after resolving the incident, the factory manager receives a request of payment for services for the sum of $5,000.
Bewildered and angry, the factory manager dials the expert. Why did he charge them so much for less than five minutes work? He promptly 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 the envelope, this is what he sees:
The main challenge most businesses face online is being able to consistently drive new traffic to their sites.
How much money did the plant stand to lose when production ground to a halt and no one on the business had the expertise required to get things up and running again? Did the expert not have every right to demand fair compensation for having spent years developing the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to quickly avert a serious crisis?
Similarly, if you could have a website set up and configured so all you had to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and dozens of other web properties would be instantly notified, how much time and money would you save?
(How much time and money would you save if you could automate the process of driving traffic to your site?)
While many experts often make complex situations and problems look easy, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than installing a website and configuring basic settings. It also involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things such as:
- Which programs need to be installed to get desired functionalities on your site.
- Which services need to be set up to get specific results
- Which options you need to configure in order to make sure everything will work as expected, etc.
(Generating traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires 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 just about installing and configuring a piece of software, tweaking some options and settings in your admin area or clicking a couple of buttons … it’s all of this and so much more.
The configuration stage is a complex process that involves your web hosting server, your website or blog, and a number of third-party sites …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we were to create a simplified diagram of the activities involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplistic flowchart of the activities involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s take a look at what’s involved in more detail.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your hosting account for website installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). What we are talking about, is tweaking settings and options in your web-hosting account that affect how you will handle all 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 can attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, security threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, is about evaluating your needs, planning for good and bad traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes things like implementing server-level spam protection and securing server files, to configuring your domain and email forwarding, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like emails, page errors, etc?)
Once your server settings have been checked and configured (if required), the next step is to set up and configure a number of third-party sites and services.
The purpose of choosing external sites is that all content is posted to a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it gets distributed automatically to other components of your web traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
After adding these external platforms to your traffic system, content pointing back to your site is automatically published on these platforms. Your content and site will be given additional exposure to a new audience and new sources of traffic.
Some sites and services will need to be set up before configuring your site to help speed up the 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 Webmaster Tools)
Google Webmasters lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides you with useful information, SEO tools and diagnostic reports about your website.
After setting up your account, your details can be used with web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress 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 and social media referrals, etc.
After setting up your up your Google Analytics account and site details has been entered, visitor tracking information can be easily integrated with WordPress via a simple plugin and instantly sent to other useful applications and reporting tools.
(Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. After setting up your account and entering site details with Bing, you can use your account information with web traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO) 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 are planning to grow a professional online presence.
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 at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate this into your traffic system in the next installment of this series.
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and attract new traffic to your site)
You will need your various social 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 pages and attract new visitors to your site.
Make sure you have set up profiles with all of the popular social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.
There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can syndicate your content to. You don’t need to go crazy, just select those that will work well with your setup and/or content sharing tools (we cover some of these tools in greater detail during the Automation phase).
(You can syndicate your content to lots of social bookmarking sites. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are many emerging web platforms and content aggregators that can act as second-tier sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some offer a range of pricing plans.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that allows you to add your WordPress site feed …
(RebelMouse – Distribute your content to social networks)
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your account.
There are various platforms 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.
After you have configured your web server and set up third-party service accounts, it’s time to configure your WordPress site.
WordPress – Configuring Your Site
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to make sure that its global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some of the important areas.
The WordPress administration area contains a Settings section that allows you to configure your site’s global settings …
(WordPress settings menu)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings Screen)
The Writing Settings section contains one of the most important and frequently overlooked built-in traffic notification systems available to website owners …
(WordPress Settings – Writing Settings Section)
As described below the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have specifically chosen to discourage search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically ping the list of update services entered into the Update Services text box
By default, this section lists only one entry …
(Writing Settings – WordPress Update Services)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically …
(Notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress!)
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, choosing to display the full text vs summaries of your post, affects how your content displays in RSS readers and blog post digests, and could affect someone’s decision to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your blog to get the rest of the content from excerpts, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
As far as traffic is concerned, however, the main setting in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility check box is ticked or not.
Generally, you would want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows WordPress to notify the update services list 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, leave this box unchecked …
(Settings Menu – 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 …
(Settings Menu – Discussion Settings Screen)
Permalinks enable your site to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalinks)
Here are some of the options for configuring your permalinks …
If you need help setting up WordPress permalinks, refer to this step-by-step tutorial: Improve Your WordPress SEO Using SEO-Friendly URLs
WordPress provides users with thousands of plugins that help to add almost every kind of functionality imaginable to your site, including plugins with features that help to improve traffic generation.
Let’s look at examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help to bring more visitors to your site
WordPress Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your site for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. No web site is immune from being targeted.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to botnet and hacker attacks.
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by making your web content easy for search engines to find and index …
(SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help increase traffic by improving your website’s SEO)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO (previously called WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your website’s search engine optimization. When properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines to find and index, it allows you to specify how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Allowing your visitors to share your content with members of their own online communities can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if your site provides great content that adds value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social features to their website using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social features to their site with WordPress plugins.
Most social plugins let you choose which sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom update notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of likes), etc. Some social sharing plugins even allow you to set up protected content sections on your pages which users can unlock by sharing your page.
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help improve your site’s traffic generation capabilities.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring the layout and design of your site, some themes also include built-in options for improving search optimization and site navigation structure for faster indexing, add tracking code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in traffic optimization features)
With many themes, adding social sharing buttons and features to your pages is as easy as selecting the option to enable this functions …
(Many WordPress themes come with built-in social sharing features)
Configuring Other Areas Of WordPress For More Traffic Results
Last (but by no means least) in the web traffic system configuration process, are the things that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Website Legal Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in traffic, it’s important to plan not only for both good and unwanted traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong as more and more people find and begin to visit your website.
If you make money online (or are planning to), you need to make sure that your site stays compliant with regulatory agencies.
For a detailed article about why it’s important to have a compliant website, refer to this article:
WordPress categories and tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better classify and index your web pages.
(Post categories help improve traffic by improving your site’s search optimization.)
When looking at ways to automate and improve 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 benefits and results.
Add A WordPress Site Map
A site map that lists all of your site’s pages and posts to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external sites discover your site’s content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for web traffic too!)
Note: An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are two different things. HTML site maps are web pages that link to all other content on your site and provide users with a visual map of how your content is structured, while XML sitemaps are mostly code that only search bots can understand. Although Google will index your site just from 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.
Configure Your WordPress 404 Error Page
When visitors searching online for your site enter the wrong web address into their web browser or click on links pointing to pages on your website that no longer exist, they will normally be presented with an error – page not found message (known as a 404 Not Found error page) …
(A WordPress 404 Not Found page)
Configuring your 404 page allows you to recover web traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to recover web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 Not Found error page can be set up on your web server, there are several WordPress plugins that allow you to easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once your WordPress site has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you have to do to automatically begin attracting new web traffic is publish content on a consistent basis.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of different components and external web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of knowledge and expertise required to perform the configuration process typically takes many web developers months 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 addressed in the next article in our series.
This is the end of Section 3
To read the rest of this article, click here:
- Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part Four – A Complete Guide To Generating More Website Visitors Automatically
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive series of tutorials designed to help business owners learn how to grow their business online and drive traffic organically using a WordPress website or blog and proven online marketing strategies.
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