Welcome to Part 3 of our WordPress Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn a website into an automated web traffic generation machine using WordPress.
In Part 1 of this article 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, all you have to do to attract web traffic is publish fresh 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 things up if you already have a website, and what to do if your site was built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you where to set up a WordPress web site on your domain)
In this section, we will discuss the configuration phase of this process. We explain how a WordPress site should be configured to ensure that traffic will automatically start flowing as you start posting fresh content to your WordPress site.
- WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint – Configuration
- Your Web Server
- Integration With External Web Properties
- WordPress – Configuring Your Website
- Configuring WordPress Settings
- Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
- Configuring WordPress Traffic Features In Themes
- Additional Sections Of WordPress To Configure
- Website Legal Pages
- WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Process – Summary
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint – Configuration
Finding ways to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by most website owners as the greatest challenge they face online. With competition becoming increasingly more difficult businesses are researching every advantage available to get better results online.
Having the ability to automatically generate traffic on demand is a huge advantage over other competitors. For WordPress users, an expertly configured website allows their business to get off with a flying start as soon as their site is launched.
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 builder but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s a simple way to understand the differences:
An expertly configured WordPress website gives you a web presence plus an automated online business marketing system!
(An expertly configured site gives you a professional web presence with a built-in automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only is extra labor required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, but also a special kind of expert knowledge.
Let’s illustrate this with an amusing anecdote.
A Semi-True Story …
Things are moving along in the gizmo assembly line when everything comes to a sudden stop.
No one can figure out what is wrong and so the floor manager decides to call in an expert.
Soon afterwards, the expert arrives and immediately goes to the control box. After staring at the schematics for 2 minutes or less, the expert then produces a teeny-weeny hammer from his pocket and makes a very gentle tap near the top-right side of the unit.
Immediately, everything starts working again.
The floor manager is grateful and relieved as he thanks the expert, who leaves as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days after resolving the incident, the factory manager receives a request for payment of $5,000.
Bewildered and angry, the factory manager dials the expert. Why had he charged them so much for so little time delivering such minimal amount of work? He then requests an itemized invoice to be sent and hangs up.
The next day, a bill of payment arrives and is placed on the manager’s desk. Upon opening it, this is what he sees:
The main challenge most businesses face online is driving traffic to their sites.
How much money did the factory stand to lose when the machines ground to a halt and no one on the business had the expertise to get things up and running again? Did the expert not have the right to ask to be compensated fairly for years spent building up the knowledge, skills and expertise that allowed him to quickly avert a serious crisis?
Similarly, if you could have a website or blog configured so all you ever had to do is publish content to it and search engines, social networking sites and dozens of other web properties would be instantly 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 website?)
Although the solution to many challenges often seems quite 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 internal settings. It also involves knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which programs you need to install to add various functionalities to your site.
- Which services need to be set up to achieve desired results
- Which options you need to configure to ensure that everything works as expected, etc.
(Generating web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
This stage of the WordPress traffic automation system is not technically challenging, but it’s quite involved and complicated. It’s not as easy as installing a plugin, configuring some options and settings in your dashboard area or clicking a couple of buttons … it’s all of this and so much more.
The configuration stage involves the integration of many components such as your server, your web site, and various third-party sites …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If we try to flowchart the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplistic flowchart showing the configuration phase)
Let’s take a better look at what’s involved.
Your Web Server
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your web-hosting account for website installation purposes. We’re talking about tweaking settings and options in your web hosting account that affect how your website 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 web traffic you may attract will be unwanted traffic like bot spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This area of the configuration process, therefore, is about evaluating your needs, planning for both bad and good traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This could include things like 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 email forwarding, page errors, etc?)
After your web server settings have been checked and configured (if required), the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various third-party sites and services.
Integration With External Web Properties
The concept behind choosing external sites is that all of your content is posted to a central location (your site) and from there, it then gets distributed automatically to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
After adding these external services to your traffic network, content linking back to your site will be automatically added to these platforms. Your content and site will be given added exposure to a new audience and new sources of traffic.
Some of these sites and online platforms will need to have accounts set up before configuring your site’s settings 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 – create a Google-friendly website or blog)
Google Search Console lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with essential information, SEO tools, and reports about their website.
After setting up your account and entering site data with Google Webmasters, use this information to automate traffic-related settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s traffic results, SEO, marketing activities, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrers, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account is set up, you can add tracking information to all of your pages in WordPress using a simple Google Analytics plugin and send data instantly to other applications.
(Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. After setting up your account with Bing Webmaster Tools, you can use the details to automate web traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress offers the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you plan to grow a professional web presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great features, which a number of WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate this into your web traffic generation system in the next installment of this article series.
Social Media Accounts
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media accounts and get new visitors to your site)
You will need to set up your various social accounts before you can 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 accounts and attract new traffic to your site.
You should have accounts and profiles set up with all of the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can set up accounts with. 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.
(There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can syndicate your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Solutions, Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of online platforms and RSS aggregators that can act as second-tier sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free access levels, and some are more suitable for enterprise-level applications.
For example, here is a content aggregator that allows you to add your WordPress blog feed …
(RebelMouse – Distribute social content to social networks)
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your account.
There are various solutions that can be added to your own web traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring this area further, or to discuss a configuration plan to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your server settings and set up external site accounts, it’s time to configure your site’s settings.
WordPress – Configuring Your Website
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 main settings …
(WordPress settings menu)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings section contains one of the most powerful and often overlooked traffic notification systems available to WordPress site owners …
(Global 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 specifically configured your site settings to prevent search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically notify the list of services entered into the Update Services text area
By default, only one service is available …
(Writing Settings – WordPress Update Services)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically …
(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 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 web traffic. For example, choosing to display the full text vs a summary of your post, affects how your content appears 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 checkbox is enabled or not.
Typically, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows your site to automatically ping all the update services you have listed when a new post is published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, do not check this box …
(Settings Menu – Reading Settings Screen)
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 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 …
(WordPress Settings – Discussion Settings Section)
Your Permalink settings allow your site to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalink Settings Screen)
Here are some of the options for configuring your site’s permalinks …
(Configuring search-friendly URLS)
To learn more about setting up WP permalinks, refer to this tutorial: How To Set Up Your WordPress Permalinks
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
WordPress provides users with plugins that help to add almost every kind of functionality 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 website for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. Regardless of the kind of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, you cannot afford to ignore the importance of securing your websites.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress blog invisible to bots and hackers.
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive more traffic by making your site more search engine friendly …
(Yoast SEO – WP SEO Plugin)
Use a plugin like Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your site’s SEO. Once properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines like Google to find, crawl and 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 Google+.
Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing your visitors to share your content online can help boost traffic to your site, especially if you provide content that adds real value to readers.
(You can easily add social sharing features to your site with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social features to their site using free or inexpensive plugins.
Many social plugins allow you to select which sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some social plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content which visitors can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.
Configuring WordPress Traffic Features In 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 layout and design aspects of your site, many themes also provide options for improving SEO and site linking structure for better indexing, easily add analytics, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes can be configured for improved traffic results)
With many quality themes, adding social sharing buttons to your website is as easy as selecting the option to enable this functions …
(Many WordPress themes provide built-in social sharing features that can be easily enabled on with the click of a button)
Additional Sections Of WordPress To Configure
Last but not least in the web traffic system configuration process, are the areas that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
Website Legal Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for how to handle good and bad traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong as more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you do any type of business online, it’s important that your website stays compliant with regulatory agencies.
For a detailed article about why it’s important to have a legally compliant website, go here:
Categories & post tags help search engines index your web pages, which improves traffic.
(Categories help improve traffic by improving your site’s SEO.)
When looking at ways to automate and improve web traffic, you will want to review and make sure that the post tags and categories you have set up.
A Site Map Of Your Posts And Pages
A visitor site map that lists all of your pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external tools find more of your website content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for web traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are not the same thing. HTML site maps are web pages that provide visitors with a logical map of how your content is structured, whereas XML sitemaps are mostly filled with code that only search engine bots can interpret. Although search engines like Google can index your site 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 can result in increased traffic.
404 Page Not Found – A Source Of Lost Traffic Opportunities!
When visitors searching online for your website enter the wrong web address into their browser or click on a link pointing to a page on your website that no longer exists, they are presented with a 404 error page …
(A WordPress 404 Not Found page)
A 404 page can be configured to funnel traffic to your functional web pages …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 error page can be set up on your server, there are WordPress plugins that let you easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Process – Summary
Once you have your WordPress site expertly configured and fully set up, all you then have to do to drive more web traffic is add fresh content consistently.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, is quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of different components and external web properties …
(Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The kind of expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes some website professionals a long time to acquire.
Once you have expertly configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate as much of the process as can be automated. This step is addressed in the next section of our series.
This is the end of Part Three
To read the rest of this article, click on the link below:
This article is part of a comprehensive series of articles aimed at helping site owners learn how to grow their business using a WordPress-powered website and proven marketing methods that are easy to implement.
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