Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Site Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to drive new traffic automatically to your website using WordPress.
In Part 1 of this 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 bring traffic is publish web content on a regular basis!)
In Part 2, we looked at the setup phase of this 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 existing site has been built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up a WordPress website or blog on your domain)
In this section, we will discuss the configuration phase of this process. You will learn what makes an expertly configured site different than a professionally configured site, and how much work needs to be done to ensure that when everything is set up and fully configured, visitors will automatically start flowing as you start to post content to your website.
WordPress Web Traffic Blueprint – Configuration
Being able to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by many business owners as one of their greatest challenges online. Businesses are becoming so much more competitive and are researching any and every advantage they believe will get better results online.
Having the ability to automatically generate traffic on demand can provide website owners with a tremendous advantage. For business owners, having an expertly configured website means having an immediate competitive advantage from the very start.
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 set up by an expert website builder but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress can offer.
Here is a simple way to explain the key difference:
With a WordPress website that has been expertly configured you get a web presence and online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured website gives you a professional web presence with an automated online business marketing process!)
Not only is extra work required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, but also a special type of expert knowledge.
To illustrate this point here’s a little story.
A Semi-True Story …
All was going fine in the widget-making plant when all machinery suddenly stopped.
No one could figure out what has happened and so the manager decided to call in an expert to fix the problem.
The expert arrived shortly afterwards and, without saying a word, walked immediately to the control box. After staring silently at the wiring board for no more than 3 minutes, the expert then produced a teensy-weensy hammer and made a single tap about 1 inch from the right-hand side of the control unit.
Immediately, everything started working as before.
The manager was relieved as he thanked the expert, who left just as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days after resolving the incident, the factory manager received a request of payment for services rendered totalling $5,000.
The factory manager rang back the expert, demanding to know why the expert had charged them such an exorbitant fee for less than 5 minutes work. He promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice arrived and was placed in the manager’s intray. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he saw:
The #1 challenge most businesses face online is driving web traffic to their sites.
How much money did the plant stand to lose when production stopped functioning and no one on the business had the expertise to get things up and running again? Did the expert in our story not have the right to demand fair compensation for spending years acquiring the knowledge and expertise that allowed him to quickly assess and repair a potentially costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a WP site set up so all you have to do is publish content to it and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and dozens of other traffic-generating online properties would be immediately notified, how much time and money would this save you?
(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 quite easy once implemented, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site is more than adding some pages with content and configuring a few internal settings. It requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which plugins need to be installed to get various functionalities on your site.
- Which accounts you need to set up and activate to achieve certain outcomes
- Which settings need to be configured in order to ensure that everything works as envisioned, etc.
(Driving web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
This stage of the traffic automation system is not so technically challenging, but it’s quite complicated. It’s not just about installing and configuring a solution, clicking a button … it’s all this and so much more.
The configuration stage involves the integration of different parts such as your server, your site, and various third-party sites …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring some WordPress settings)
If all the steps involved in the configuration process were to be flowcharted, it would look like this …
(A simplified flowchart showing the configuration phase)
Let’s examine these areas.
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your web hosting account for installation purposes. We’re talking about fine-tuning settings in your server specifically for handling web traffic …
(During the configuration phase, your hosting account settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is welcome traffic. Some of the web traffic your business may attract will be unwelcome traffic like bot spam, malicious threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, is about planning for good and bad traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes things like configuring server-level spam protection and securing server files, to configuring domain and email forwarding, setting up htaccess file redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like emails, page error redirections, etc?)
Once your web server settings have been fine-tuned and configured, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various external sites.
The idea behind choosing external sites is that all of your content will be posted to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will get distributed automatically to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once you incorporate these external services into your setup, content linking back to your website will be automatically published on these platforms. Your site will then receive additional exposure online, helping your business tap into new sources of traffic.
Some of the sites will need to be set up before configuring your site’s settings to save time 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 Search Console lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides you with a range of important information, tools and diagnostic reports about your website.
After setting up your account, your details can be used to integrate and automate web traffic-related settings in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s traffic performance, SEO, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrers, etc.
After setting up your account and site details, traffic tracking information can be added to WordPress via a simple Google Analytics plugin and instantly sent to other useful 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, this information can be used with web traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
As discussed in Part Two, WordPress offers website owners a self-hosted (WordPress.org) and a hosted (WordPress.com) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you plan to build a professional online presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful tools, which can be accessed by various WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate these features into your automated web traffic system in the next installment of this article series.
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and bring new visitors to your site)
You will need to set up your social media and social bookmarking accounts in order to 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 and social bookmarking accounts and bring new visitors to your site.
You should have accounts with all the leading social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
There are loads of social sites you can You can syndicate your content to loads of social sites. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just select the ones that will work with your system and/or content syndication tools.
(There are many social sites you can syndicate your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Sites, Aggregators, Etc.
There are many emerging platforms and content aggregators that can serve as secondary-level traffic generation sources. 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 that lets you add a feed from your WordPress blog …
(RebelMouse – Publishing platform for distributed content)
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your social feed.
There are many different sites and platforms that can be incorporated into your own traffic system. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these, 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 your site’s settings.
WordPress Site Configuration
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to ensure that your global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some of the important areas.
WordPress – Global Settings
Your WordPress dashboard area contains a Settings menu 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 …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings Section)
The Writing Settings section contains a powerful and frequently overlooked built-in traffic notification system …
(WordPress Settings – Writing Settings Section)
As stated in the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have intentionally configured your settings to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically notify the services entered into the Update Services text area
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, only one service is listed …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature Of WordPress)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically – just add a list containing all of the update services you want notified to this section …
(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 readers when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings in this section can have an influence traffic. For example, your choice to display the full content vs a summary of your post, affects how your content appears in RSS readers 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 or blog 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 check box is enabled or not.
Generally, you would want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked enables WordPress to automatically ping all the update services you have specified in the Update Services area whenever a new post gets published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason to discourage search engines from visiting your site, make sure this box is left unchecked …
(Global Settings – Reading Settings Screen)
Although discussion settings are mostly concerned with how users engage with content on your site, you have the option to allow notifications to blogs 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 …
(Settings Menu – Discussion Settings Section)
Your Permalink settings allow your site to publish posts with search engine-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalinks)
Here are some of the ways your permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring permalink URLs)
If you need help setting up WP permalinks, go here: How To Improve Your WordPress SEO With Permalinks
WordPress Traffic Plugin Settings – Configuration
WordPress provides users with plugins that can add almost every type of functionality imaginable to your website, 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
Blog Defender Security Plugin
Once again, it’s important to configure your site for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. No matter what kind of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, securing your site is something you cannot afford to ignore.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress blog invisible to bots and hackers.
Go here for more information:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by improving your website’s SEO …
(WP SEO Plugin – Yoast SEO)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO to 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 pages, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and GooglePlus.
Allowing your visitors to easily share your content with their friends and networks can help drive more traffic to your site, especially if you provide great content that adds real value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social features to their website with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
There are loads of social sharing plugins available for WordPress.
Most social sharing plugins allow you to specify which sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of likes), etc. Some social share plugins even allow you to protect content which visitors can unlock by liking your page.
WordPress – Traffic Generation Theme Features
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 design and layout elements of your site, some themes also provide options for improving search optimization and site navigation structure for better indexing, easily add analytics snippets, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes allow you to configure options and settings for improved traffic results)
With many quality themes, adding social sharing buttons to your pages is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes provide built-in social sharing features)
Configuring Additional WordPress Sections
Last but not least in the web traffic system configuration process, are the components that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
This includes the following:
Compliance Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for both 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 engage in any form of commercial activity online (or plan to), you need to make sure that your website stays compliant with legal requirements of government agencies that regulate business practices online.
We have written a detailed article about why it’s important to have a legally compliant website here:
Tags and categories help search engines index your pages, which improves traffic.
(WordPress categories help search engines classify and index your pages, which helps you get more traffic.)
When looking at ways to automate and improve web traffic, you will want to review and make sure that the categories and tags that have been set up.
A Site Map Of Your Pages and Posts
A site map that displays all of your site’s posts and pages is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external sites discover your website content …
(Site Map – great for visitors and beneficial for traffic too!)
It’s important to note that an HTML site map and an XML sitemap are not the same thing. Although search engines like Google can index your site just using an XML sitemap (which a plugin like Yoast SEO can provide – see earlier section), making it easier for visitors to find more pages on your site can result in increased traffic.
Don’t Forget Your 404 Error Page
When online visitors enter the wrong URL or click on an invalid link, they will normally be presented with a 404 Not Found page …
(A 404 Error Page)
A 404 Not Found page can be configured to redirect confused visitors to your functional pages …
(Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 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 Blueprint: Configuration Process – Summary
Once you have your WordPress site expertly configured and fully set up, all you have to do is post web content on a consistent basis to automatically begin bringing more traffic.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, is quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of various elements and web properties …
(WP 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 acquire.
Once you have expertly configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is covered in the next article in the series.
This is the end of Part 3
To read the rest of this article, click on the link below:
- Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – Discover How To Turn Your WordPress Blog Into An Automated Web Traffic Machine
This article is part of a comprehensive article series designed to help you learn how to grow your business and drive traffic sustainably using a WordPress website and proven online marketing methods.
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"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now