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 One of this series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to automating traffic to your website …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website or blog, all you have to do to automatically start generating new web traffic is post web content on a consistent basis!)
In Part Two, we focused on the setup phase of the blueprint. We helped you understand 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 site, and what to do if your website has been built using WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you where to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section of the series, we will look at the configuration stage of the traffic system. We will show you how a WordPress site should be configured in order to ensure that new traffic will automatically start flowing just by publishing new content on a regular basis to your website.
- 1 WordPress Web Traffic Automation System – Configuration Phase
- 2 Configuring The Server
- 3 Configuring External Sites
- 4 Configuring WordPress For Traffic
- 4.1 Configuring WordPress Settings
- 4.2 Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
- 4.3 WordPress – Themes
- 4.4 Configuring Other WordPress Areas For Improved Traffic
- 4.5 Legal Pages
- 5 WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Process – Summary
WordPress Web Traffic Automation System – Configuration Phase
Finding ways to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by many website owners as their greatest challenge online. Businesses are becoming so much more competitive on a global scale and are looking for any advantage they can to improve their performance and results online.
The ability to automatically generate traffic on demand can be a huge competitive advantage. An expertly configured website gives your business a significant advantage from the very start.
Configuration Is 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 take advantage of everything WordPress can offer you.
Here is a simple way to understand the differences:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a web presence plus online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured website gives you a web presence and a built-in automated online business marketing process!)
Not only does a whole lot more work go into building and integrating an automated online business marketing process into your website, but also a special kind of expertise.
Let’s illustrate this with an anecdote.
A Semi-True Story …
All is going fine in the gizmo workshop when everything grinds to a sudden stop.
As no one can figure out what’s happened, the plant manager decides to call in an expert to try and fix the problem.
The expert arrives shortly afterwards and, without uttering a word, walks immediately towards the main control box. After staring silently at the schematics for no more than 5 minutes or so, the expert then takes out a tiny hammer and makes a very gentle tap near the right side of the box.
Immediately, the assembly line returns to normal.
The manager is delighted as he thanks the expert, who then leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days after resolving the incident, the manager receives a service bill for $5,000.
Feeling furious, the factory manager rings the expert. Demanding to know why they were charged so much for less than 5 minutes work, he promptly 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 consistently drive new visitors to their sites.
How much money did the widget factory stand to lose when production stopped working and no one on the factory floor had the expertise required to fix it? Did the expert not have the right to be compensated fairly for years spent developing the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to immediately assess and avert a crisis?
Similarly, if you could have your WordPress web site set up and configured so all you ever had to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube 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 website?)
While experts often make complex situations and problems look easy, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site is more than simply installing a website and configuring a few basic settings. It also involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things such as:
- Which programs you need to install for certain things to occur on your site.
- Which accounts you need to set up and activate to get desired outcomes
- Which internal and external settings need to be configured to ensure that processes will run as expected, etc.
(Driving traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
Although this stage of the traffic automation system may not seem technically challenging, it can be quite involved. The reason why is because it’s not as simple as installing a solution, clicking a button, or configuring some options and settings in your dashboard area … it’s all of this and so much more.
The configuration phase is a process that involves your server, your website, and a number of third-party sites and online services …
(The configuration phase involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we were to create a simplified flowchart of the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplified diagram of the configuration process)
Let’s take a look at these areas in more detail.
Configuring The Server
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your web hosting account for site installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about configuring settings and options in your web server specifically for handling web traffic …
(In the configuration stage, your web server settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is beneficial traffic. Some of the web traffic your website will attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This area of the configuration process, therefore, is all about planning for good and unwanted 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 error page redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your webhosting settings for handling things like emails, page error redirections, etc?)
After fine-tuning your web server settings and configuring these (if required), the next step of the configuration phase is to set up a number of third-party sites or online services.
Configuring External Sites
The idea behind setting up external sites is that all of your content gets posted to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it gets distributed automatically to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once these external platforms have been added to your system, content with links pointing back to your site will get automatically published on search, social and aggregator sites. Your content and business will be exposed to new sources of traffic and new audiences.
Some of the sites and services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your settings 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:
(Google Search Console)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides you with essential data, SEO tools and diagnostic reports about your website.
Once your account with Google Search Console are set up, the details can be used with traffic-related 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 performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing efforts, sales conversions, and more, by tracking all user behaviour, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrals, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site details have been set up, account code can be added to WordPress via a simple plugin used with other applications.
(Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. After setting up your account and entering site details, use this information to automate web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO) and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress offers users a self-hosted and a hosted option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress version if you are planning to build a professional online presence for your business.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great features, which can be accessed by various WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate these features into your automated web traffic system in Part Four of this article series.
Social Media Pages
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media accounts and drive new traffic to your site)
You will need your various social media and social bookmarking accounts set up before you can 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 pages and get new traffic to your site.
You should have accounts set up with all the big social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can set up and syndicate your content to. You don’t need to go crazy, just choose those that will work well with your setup and/or content sharing tools.
(There are lots of social sites you can syndicate your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Sites, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are many online technology platforms and content aggregators that can serve as secondary-level sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free levels, 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 your WordPress site feed …
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your account.
There are various technologies and third-party applications you can incorporate into your traffic system. Please contact us if you need assistance exploring this area further, or to discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
After you have configured your server settings and set up third-party site accounts, it’s time to configure your site’s settings.
Configuring WordPress For Traffic
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to ensure that its global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Configuring WordPress Settings
The WordPress admin area contains a Settings section that allows you to modify your site’s global settings …
(WordPress admin menu – Settings)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings Screen)
The Writing Settings section contains an important and often overlooked automated traffic notification system …
(WordPress Settings – Writing Settings Area)
As stated in the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have purposely configured your settings to prevent search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically notify the update services entered into the Update Services field
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, this section lists only one entry …
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 …
(WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically!)
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 on WPServiceFinder.com.
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 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 RSS email campaigns, and could affect someone’s decision to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your site to get the rest of the content from summaries, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
As far as your traffic system is concerned, however, the most important setting in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility checkbox is ticked or not.
Typically, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked enables WordPress to automatically ping the list of update services when a new post gets published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason to discourage search indexing spiders from visiting your site, leave this box unchecked …
(Global Settings – Reading Settings Section)
Although the settings in this section 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 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 Screen)
Your Permalink settings allow your site to display posts with search engine-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalinks Screen)
Here are some of the ways your post permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring permalink URLs)
If you need help setting up WordPress permalinks, refer to this tutorial: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
WordPress provides users with thousands of plugins that help to add almost every type of functionality imaginable to your website, including plugins that add traffic generation capabilities.
Let’s take a brief look at some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
Once again, it’s important to configure your site for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. No website is safe from cyber-attacks.
(Security Plugins help prevent bad traffic from causing your website harm)
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress site invisible to bots and hackers.
For more information, go here: Prevent Hackers From Attacking Your Blog With Blog Defender Security Plugin For WordPress
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by improving the search engine friendliness of your website …
(SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help drive traffic by improving the search engine friendliness of your website)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO (previously known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your SEO. Once properly configured, this plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines to find and index, it also lets you specify how to display your content to Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and GooglePlus.
WordPress Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing your visitors to share your content with others online can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if you publish content that adds real value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing features to their website with free or inexpensive plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing buttons to their website with free or inexpensive plugins.
Most social sharing plugins allow you to choose which social sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom update notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some social sharing plugins even allow you to set up protected content areas on your pages which visitors can unlock by liking your page.
WordPress – Themes
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help you drive more traffic to your site.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your site, some themes also provide built-in options for improving search optimization and site navigation structure for better indexing, easily add tracking snippets, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes allow you to configure settings for better traffic results)
With many WordPress 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)
Configuring Other WordPress Areas For Improved Traffic
Last but not least in the traffic configuration process, are the components that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
This includes the following:
Once again, when preparing your website for an increase in traffic, it’s important to plan not only for both good and bad traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong when more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you are making money online (or plan to), it’s important that your website stays compliant with all government regulations.
(Is Your Website Compliant?)
To learn more about why it’s important to have a compliant website, go here: How To Add Legal Pages To Your Website
Categories & post tags help search engines better organize and index your web pages, which helps you get more traffic.
(WordPress categories help improve traffic by improving your site’s search optimization.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s categories and tags have been set up correctly to deliver optimal benefits.
HTML Site Map
A site map that lists 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 online 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 things. 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), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
Configure Your Site’s 404 Error Page
When visitors searching online for your site enter the wrong URL or click on a dead link, they are presented with a 404 error page …
(Default WordPress 404 Page)
Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to recover web 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 let you easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Process – Summary
Once you have your WordPress site fully set up and expertly configured, all you need to do is post fresh content consistently to begin attracting 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 components and web properties …
(WP Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of knowledge and expertise required to perform this phase of the traffic automation process can take some web developers months to acquire.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the aspects of the process that can be automated. This step is covered in the next section of our series.
This is the end of Section Three
To read the rest of this article, click here:
This tutorial is part of an tutorial series aimed at helping business owners learn how to grow their business using a WordPress website and proven online marketing methods.
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