Welcome to Part 3 of our WordPress Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your site using the WordPress CMS.
In Part 1 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 web site, all you have to do to automatically begin bringing new web traffic is publish web content regularly!)
In Part Two, we discussed the setup phase of the traffic automation process. We explained the best way to start if you don’t have a web presence yet, how to set everything up if you already have a website, and what to do if your existing site has been built with WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you how to set up a WordPress website on your domain)
In this article, we discuss the configuration phase of this process. You will learn how a WordPress site should be configured to get web traffic automatically when you add content on your web site.
WordPress Web Traffic System – Configuration Phase
Finding ways to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by most website owners as their greatest challenge online. With competition becoming increasingly more difficult businesses are looking for every advantage they can that can help you increase their competitiveness online.
The ability to generate traffic on demand can provide you with a tremendous advantage. For WordPress users, an expertly configured website allows their business to get off with a flying start from the moment their website is launched.
The Configuration Stage Is What Makes All 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 is a simple way to describe the key difference:
An expertly configured WordPress website gives you a professional web presence with an automated online business marketing tool!
(An expertly configured site gives you a web presence with an automated online business marketing tool!)
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 expert knowledge.
Let’s illustrate this with a little story.
A True Story (Kind Of) …
Things are going fine in the widget-making plant 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 to fix the problem.
The expert arrives soon afterward and walks straight towards the control box. After staring silently at the electronic components for 2 minutes or less, the expert then produces a little hammer and makes a very gentle tap about one inch from the top-right corner of the unit.
Immediately, the whole workshop lights up and starts working once again.
The plant manager is delighted as he thanks the expert, who then leaves as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days later, the manager receives a service bill for $5,000.
Outraged and bewildered, the factory manager dials the expert. Why had they had been charged such a ludicrous fee for less than five minutes work? He promptly requests an itemized invoice and hangs up.
The next day, a bill of payment arrives and is placed in the manager’s in-tray. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he sees:
The main challenge most businesses face online is driving visitors to their sites.
How much money did the widget plant stand to lose when the equipment stopped working and no one in the business had the expertise to get things up and running again? Did the expert not have the right to demand fair compensation for years spent building up the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to quickly repair a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a site fully set up and configured so all you had to do is publish content to it and search engines, social followers from sites like Facebook and Twitter and dozens of other online properties would be immediately 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?)
While the solution to many problems may seem quite easy in hindsight, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site is more than installing a website and configuring a few internal settings. It requires knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things such as:
- Which programs you need to install to get various functionalities on your site.
- Which accounts you need to set up to achieve desired results
- Which settings need to be configured in order to ensure that things work as envisioned, etc.
(Generating traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
This part of the traffic automation system is not technically challenging, but it’s quite involved. This is because it’s not just about installing and configuring a solution, configuring some options and settings in your dashboard area … it’s all this and so much more.
Expertly configuring your website is a process that involves your web hosting server, your website or blog, and various external sites and/or online services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring some WordPress settings)
If we try to flowchart the activities involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplified diagram showing the steps involved in the configuration process)
Let’s examine what’s involved in more detail.
Your Web Server
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your web hosting account for site installation purposes. We’re talking about tweaking settings in your webhosting account specifically for handling all web traffic …
(During the configuration stage, 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 site can attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, malicious threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This stage of the configuration process, therefore, is all about planning for both good and unwanted traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like integrating spam protection and securing server files, to configuring your domain and email forwarding, setting up htaccess redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like emails, page error redirections, etc?)
After checking your server settings and configuring these, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various external sites or online services.
The basic idea of adding external sites is that all content is posted to a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it gets distributed automatically to other parts of your traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you incorporate these external platforms into your configuration, content linking back to your site will be automatically fed to these platforms. Your site will receive added exposure online, helping your business tap into new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some of these sites and services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress 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 before configuring your site’s settings:
(Google Search Console)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of essential data, tools, and reports about their website.
After setting up your Google Search Console account and entering site details, use the details to integrate and automate traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrals, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account has been set up, account code can be added to WordPress using plugins used with other applications.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. Once your Bing Webmaster Tools account has been set up, use this information to automate traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
As explained in Part Two, WordPress provides users with a hosted (WordPress.com) and a self-hosted (WordPress.org) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you plan to grow a professional online presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful features, which various WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate this into your automated web traffic generation system in Part Four of this article series.
Social Media Sites
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media sites and social bookmarking accounts and drive new traffic to your site)
You will need to have already set up your various social media and social bookmarking accounts before you can 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 pages and attract new visitors to your site.
Make sure you have profiles set up with all of the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.
There are many social bookmarking sites you can set up accounts with and post your content to. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just select those that will work with your setup and/or content syndication tools (we will cover some of these tools in greater detail when we discuss the Automation phase).
(There are lots of social sites you can post your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, Content Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of online platforms and content aggregators that can serve as secondary 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 an RSS feed from your website …
(RebelMouse – Publishing platform for distributed content)
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 solutions you can incorporate into your traffic system. Please contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these further, or to discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up external service accounts, it’s time to configure WordPress.
WordPress Traffic Configuration
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to ensure that your global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some of the important areas.
Global WordPress Settings
By default, WordPress includes a Settings menu that allows you to configure your site’s global settings …
(WordPress menu – Settings)
Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline can affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most powerful and often overlooked built-in traffic notification systems available to WordPress site owners …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings)
As described 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 – see next section, then your site will automatically notify the list of services entered into the Update Services text area
By default, this section contains only one entry …
WordPress lets you 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 visitors will see your content when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings on this page can influence traffic. For example, choosing to display the full text vs summaries of your post, affects how your content shows up in RSS readers and blog post digests, and could play a part in someone’s choice to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your blog to get 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 main setting here as far as traffic is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility check box is ticked or not.
Normally, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows WordPress to automatically ping various update services when new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, leave this box unchecked …
(Global Settings – 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 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)
Permalinks allow you to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalink Settings)
The examples below show some of the ways post permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring permalink URLs)
For a detailed step-by-step tutorial on setting up permalinks in WordPress, go here: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
WordPress provides users with thousands of plugins that can add just about every type of functionality to your site, including traffic generation.
Let’s take a brief look at examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help drive more traffic to your site
Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your website for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. No matter what type of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, you simply cannot afford to ignore the importance of securing your sites.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to malicious attacks from hackers and botnets.
For more information, go here:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your web content easily indexable …
(WordPress SEO Plugin – Yoast SEO)
A plugin like Yoast SEO (previously known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) can improve your SEO. Properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines to find and index, it allows you to configure how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
WordPress Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing your visitors to easily share your content online can help drive significant traffic to your site, especially if you provide content that adds real value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing features to their website using free or inexpensive plugins)
There are loads of free or inexpensive social sharing plugins to choose from.
Many social sharing plugins allow you to specify which social 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 followers), etc. Some social share plugins even allow you to protect content or downloads which visitors can unlock by sharing your page.
Configuring Settings – WordPress Themes
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help grow your traffic.
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 SEO and site navigation structure for better indexing, add analytics, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes like Graphene (a free theme) have built-in traffic optimization features)
With a number of quality themes, adding social sharing features to your website is as easy as selecting the option to enable this functions …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in social sharing features that can be easily enabled on with the click of a button)
Additional Configuration Steps For WordPress Sites
Last but not least in the traffic configuration process, are the things that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Website Compliance Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in traffic numbers, 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 do business online, you need to make sure that your website is found to comply with legal requirements of government agencies that regulate business online.
We have created a detailed article about the importance of having a compliant website here:
Post tags & categories help search engines better classify and index your web pages, which helps to increase traffic.
(WordPress post categories help to improve your site’s SEO, which improves traffic.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that the post tags and categories that have been set up.
A Site Map Of Your Pages and Posts
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 find your site’s 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 two different things. An HTML site map is a web page that links to all other content on your site, while an XML sitemap is mostly code that only search engines can interpret. Although search engines like Google will index your site just using an XML sitemap (which a plugin like Yoast SEO can provide – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
404 Error Page – Don’t Forget To Configure This Too!
When visitors searching online for your site enter the wrong URL or click on an invalid link, they are presented with a 404 error page …
(A 404 Not Found page)
A 404 Error Page can be turned into a useful source of traffic to your functional web pages …
(Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 Not Found page can be set up on your web server, there are several plugins for WordPress that allow you to easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Process – Summary
Once you have your website or blog expertly configured and fully set up, all you need to do then to begin attracting more web traffic is post content consistently.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate and requires the configuration and integration of different components and web properties …
(WP Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The skills and knowledge required to perform this process can take some web professionals months to learn.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is addressed in the next section of the WordPress Traffic Blueprint series.
This is the end of Part Three
To read the rest of this article, click on the link below:
- Web Traffic Blueprint Part Four – A Complete Guide To Increasing Your Web Traffic Automatically Using WordPress
This tutorial is part of an article series aimed at helping website owners learn how to grow their business with a WordPress-driven website and proven online marketing methods.
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