Welcome to Part 3 of our Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your site using WordPress.
In Part One of this series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website or blog is the key to generating automated traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress web site, all you have to do is add new content on a regular basis to attract traffic!)
In Part 2, we focused on 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 website, and what to do if your existing website has been built using WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up a WordPress website or blog on your domain)
In this article, we discuss the configuration stage of this process. You will learn how a WordPress site should be configured to automatically start driving new traffic when you start posting web content to your website.
WordPress Web Traffic Automation Blueprint – Configuration
Finding ways to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by business owners as the greatest challenge they face online. Also, the business landscape is becoming increasingly more competitive and businesses are looking for every opportunity they can to increase their competitiveness online.
Being able to automatically generate traffic on demand can provide you with a huge competitive advantage. For businesses, having an expertly configured website gives WordPress users a flying start as soon as their site is launched.
The Configuration Process Is The Difference
There is a difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a website that has been professionally installed and set up by a website-building expert but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress has to offer.
Here’s a simple way to explain the key difference:
With a WordPress website that has been expertly configured you get a professional web presence plus online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured site gives you a web presence with an automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only is more work required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, it also takes a special kind of expert knowledge.
Let me illustrate this with an amusing little story.
Are Experts Worth The Money They Charge?
Everything is humming along in the widget assembly line when suddenly, production grinds to a complete stop.
No one can figure out what’s gone wrong and so the floor manager decides to call in an expert to try and fix the problem.
Shortly after arriving, the expert heads straight towards the main control box. After staring at the schematics for no more than 3 minutes or so, the expert then takes out a teeny-weeny hammer from his utility belt and makes a gentle tap about 1 inch from the left side of the box.
Immediately, everything comes back to life.
The floor manager is relieved as he thanks the expert, who then leaves as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days after resolving the incident, the manager receives an invoice for $5,000.
Angry to the point of feeling outrage, the manager picks up the phone and rings the expert. Why have they had been charged so much for so little time delivering such a minimal amount of work? He then requests an itemized invoice to be sent and hangs up.
The next day, an invoice arrives and is placed in the manager’s intray. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he sees:
The #1 challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive new visitors consistently to their sites.
In the above story, how much money did the factory stand to lose when the machines ground to a halt and no one in the business was able to fix it? Did the expert not have the right to demand fair compensation for investing years building up the knowledge and expertise that allowed him to fix a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your WordPress web site set up so all you have to do is publish new content and search engines, social sites and dozens of other online properties would be automatically notified, how much time and money would you save?
(How much better would your business be if you could automate the process of driving traffic to your site?)
Although the solution to many problems is often quite simple once it’s been implemented, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site is more than installing a website and configuring settings for a client. It involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things such as:
- Which plugins you need to install for specific things to occur on your site.
- Which third-party services need to be set up to achieve certain outcomes
- Which internal and external settings you need to configure to ensure that everything will work as expected, etc.
(Generating traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
This part of the 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 admin area or clicking a button … it’s all this and so much more.
The configuration phase involves the integration of many different parts including your server, your web site, and various third-party sites or online services …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring some WordPress settings)
If we try to flowchart the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplistic diagram of the steps involved in the configuration process)
Let’s take a brief look at these steps.
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your web hosting account for site installation purposes. What we are talking about, is tweaking settings in your web-hosting account that affect how your website will handle all web traffic …
(In the configuration stage, your web server 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 can attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This part of the configuration process, therefore, is all about planning for bad and good traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes things like integrating spam protection and securing server files, to configuring your domain and email redirections, setting up htaccess file redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like emails, page errors, etc?)
After your web server settings have been fine-tuned and configured, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up a number of external sites and services.
Integration With External Solutions
The purpose of setting up external sites is that all of your content will be published to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will get distributed automatically to other components of your web traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you incorporate these external services into your traffic network, content with links pointing back to your website is automatically published on these platforms, indexed by search engines and shared to other social networks, even to users of the platform itself. Your business will be given added exposure to new sources of traffic and new audiences.
Some of these web properties and online solutions will need to have accounts set up before configuring your site to help 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 Webmasters – create a Google-friendly website or blog)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides you with a range of essential data, SEO tools and reports about your website.
Once your account and site data have been set up, this information can be used to integrate and automate traffic-related settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s traffic performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user behaviour, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrals, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site data have been set up, you can add visitor tracking information to WordPress using plugins and send data automatically to various other useful applications and reporting tools.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. Once your account and site details have been set up, this information can be used with web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
As discussed in Part Two, WordPress offers website owners a self-hosted and a hosted option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you plan to build a professional web 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 with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate this into your automated web traffic system in the next installment of this article series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking Accounts
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and drive new traffic to your site)
You will need to set up your social media 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 sites and bring new traffic to your site.
Set up profiles with all of the leading social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can set up accounts with. You don’t need to go crazy, just pick the ones that will work with your setup and/or content sharing tools.
(There are loads of social sites you can syndicate your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Services, Content Aggregators, Etc.
There are many emerging technology platforms and RSS aggregators that can serve as secondary sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some are paid services.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that lets you add an RSS feed from your site …
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your own RebelMouse account.
There are many different technologies and third-party applications you can incorporate into your web traffic system. Please contact us if you would like to explore this area further and discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up third-party service accounts, it’s time to configure your site’s settings.
WordPress Site 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 key areas.
Configuring Global WordPress Settings
Your WordPress admin area contains a Settings section that allows you to modify your site’s main settings …
(WordPress settings section)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings Section)
The Writing Settings section contains one of the most powerful and often overlooked built-in traffic notification systems available to website owners …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings Screen)
As stated in this section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you or your webmaster have specifically chosen 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, only one service is available …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature Of WordPress)
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 in this section can have an influence traffic. For example, choosing to display the full text vs a summary of your post, affects how your content displays to users in RSS feeds 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 website or blog to read 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 enabled or not.
Typically, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked enables your site to instantly notify various 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, make sure this box is left unchecked …
(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings)
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 …
(WordPress Settings – Discussion Settings)
Your Permalink settings allow you to create search engine-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalinks)
Here are some of the ways permalink URLs can be configured …
(Configuring permalink URLs)
If you need help setting up permalinks in WordPress, refer to this step-by-step tutorial: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
Configuring WordPress Traffic Generation Plugins
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that help to add just about every kind of functionality imaginable to your website, including plugins that add traffic generation capabilities.
Here are examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help to bring more visitors to your site
Blog Defender Security Plugin
Once again, it’s important to configure your site for dealing with both good traffic and bad traffic. No blog is immune from being attacked by hackers.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to hackers and bots.
Go here to learn more:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your site more search engine friendly …
(Yoast SEO – WP Plugins For SEO)
A plugin like Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) can significantly improve your SEO. When properly configured, this plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines like Google and Bing to find, classify and index, it allows you to configure how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and GooglePlus.
Allowing your visitors to share your content with others online can help drive more traffic to your site, especially if you provide content that adds value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing features to their website using free or inexpensive plugins)
There are loads of social sharing plugins to choose from.
Many social sharing plugins let you specify which social 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 shares), etc. Some plugins even allow you to protect content which visitors can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.
Configuring WordPress Theme Settings For Traffic Generation
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help improve your site’s traffic generation capabilities.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your site, many themes also include built-in features that let you improve SEO and site linking structure for better indexing, easily add tracking snippets, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WP themes like Graphene (a highly customizable free theme) allow you to configure options and settings for better traffic results)
With a number of themes, adding social sharing buttons and features to your website is as easy as selecting the option to enable this functions …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in social sharing features)
Configuring Additional WordPress Areas
Last (but by no means least) in the web traffic configuration process, are the areas that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
This includes the following:
Legal Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for an increase in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for how to deal with good and unwelcome 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 business online, you need to ensure that your site complies with government legal requirements.
If you need help adding compliance pages to WordPress, see this article:
WordPress categories and tags help improve traffic by improving your site’s search engine optimization.
(Post categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better organize and index your web pages.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that the categories and tags that have been set up.
A site map that lists all of your pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external sites find your site’s content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for web traffic too!)
It’s important to note that an HTML site map and an XML sitemap are different things. Only search engines can read an XML sitemap. Although search engines like Google will index your site just using an XML sitemap (which plugins 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 Error Page – Don’t Forget This!
When visitors searching for your site type in the wrong URL or click on an invalid hyperlink, they will typically be presented with an error page (known as a 404 page) …
(A WordPress 404 Error Page)
Configuring your 404 page allows you to redirect 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 in your web server, there are several WordPress plugins that let you easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once you have your website expertly configured and fully set up, all you need to do is add fresh content regularly to automatically begin attracting web traffic.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of various components and web properties …
(WP Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of skills and knowledge required to perform this phase of the traffic automation process typically takes many website 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 section of the WordPress Traffic System series.
This is the end of Part 3
To read more, click here:
- Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – A Complete Guide To Driving More Website Traffic Automatically With WordPress
This article is part of an tutorial series designed to help small business owners learn how to grow their business and drive traffic sustainably with a WordPress-driven website and proven marketing methods that are easy to implement.
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