Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Site Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your site using the WordPress CMS platform.
In Part One of this article series, we described the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website or blog is the key to generating automated web traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress site, all you have to do to automatically attract more traffic is add great content on a regular basis!)
In Part Two, we discussed the setup phase. We explained 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 using WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this article, we discuss the configuration stage of the WordPress traffic automation system. We will show you how a WordPress site should be configured in order to ensure that new web traffic will automatically start flowing when you post content on your site.
WordPress Traffic Automation System – Configuration
Being able to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by many website owners as one of their greatest challenges online. With business getting ever more competitive, it’s worth looking into every advantage that can help you improve your results online.
Having the ability to generate traffic on demand is a tremendous advantage over other competitors. An expertly configured WordPress site gives your business a flying start from the moment your site is launched.
The Configuration Stage Is What Makes All The Difference
There is a significant 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 understand the differences:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a web presence and an automated online business marketing tool!
(An expertly configured site gives you a professional web presence and an automated online business marketing system!)
Not only does it take more labor to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, but also a special kind of expert knowledge.
Let’s illustrate this with an amusing story.
Are Experts Worth The Money They Charge?
Everything is going fine in the gizmo-making workshop when the machinery suddenly stops.
As no one can figure out what’s gone wrong, the manager decides to call in an expert.
Shortly after arriving, the expert immediately goes to the control box. After staring at the schematics for about 3 minutes, the expert then produces a tiny hammer from his pocket and makes a gentle tap near the left corner of the control unit.
Immediately, the whole workshop lights up and begins working once more.
The floor manager is greatly relieved as he thanks the expert, who leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days later, the manager receives an invoice for the amount of $5,000.
With a sense of outrage, the manager picks up the phone and rings the expert. Demanding to know why they were charged such an exorbitant 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 it, this is what he sees:
The main challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive visitors to their sites.
In the story we’ve just described, how much money did the widget plant stand to lose when production stopped working and no one in the business was able to get things up and running again? Did the expert not have every right to demand fair compensation for having spent years building up the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to quickly avert a serious crisis?
Similarly, if you could have a WP website or blog set up so all you ever had to do is publish new content and search engines, social networking sites and dozens of other online properties would be instantly notified, how much time and money would you save?
(How much time and money would you save if you could automate the process of attracting new visitors to your site?)
While many experts often make complex situations and problems look easy, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than installing a website and configuring some basic settings. It also involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which plugins need to be installed for specific things to occur on your site.
- Which third-party services need to be set up and activated to get desired results
- Which internal and external settings you need to configure in order to make sure things will work as planned, etc.
(Generating traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
This part of the WordPress traffic automation system is not technically difficult, but it’s quite complicated. This is because it’s not as easy as installing a plugin, clicking a button, or tweaking some settings in your dashboard area … it’s all of this and much more.
Expertly configuring your website is a complex process that involves your web server, your web site, and a number of external sites or online services …
(The configuration phase involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we try to flowchart the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplified diagram of the configuration process)
Let’s take a look at what’s involved in more detail.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your web hosting account for site installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). What we are talking about, is tweaking settings and options in your server specifically for handling web traffic …
(In the configuration stage, your server settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is beneficial traffic. Some of the traffic your site may attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, malicious threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, requires planning for both good and unwanted traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This can include looking at 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 webhosting settings for handling things like email forwarding, page error redirects, etc?)
Once your server settings have been fine-tuned and configured, the next step is to configure various third-party sites and online services.
The basic idea of choosing external sites is that all content should be posted to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will radiate outwards to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once these external services have been added to your traffic system, content with links pointing back to your site is automatically syndicated to these platforms, indexed by search engines and shared to other social media sites, even to users of the platform itself. Your content and site will receive added exposure online, helping your business tap into new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some third-party sites will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress 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:
(Google Search Console – create a Google-friendly site)
Google Search Console lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides you with a range of essential data, tools and reports about your website.
Once your account has been with Google have been set up, use this information with web traffic settings in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s results, SEO, user engagement, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrals, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site details are set up, visitor tracking code can be added to WordPress via a simple Google Analytics plugin and and sent to many other useful applications.
(Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. After setting up your account and entering site data with Bing Webmaster Tools, this information can be used to integrate and automate web traffic settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
As discussed in Part 2, WordPress offers both a self-hosted (WordPress.org) and a hosted (WordPress.com) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress version if you are planning to grow a professional online presence for your business.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great tools, which can be accessed by various WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate these features into your web traffic generation system in Part 4 of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media sites and get new traffic to your site)
You will need to have already set up your social 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 sites and bring new visitors to your site.
Set up accounts and profiles with all of the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.
There are many social sites you can You can syndicate your content to loads of social bookmarking sites. You don’t need to go crazy, 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, Content Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of new online web platforms and content aggregators that can act as secondary-level sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free levels, and some are more suitable for enterprise-level applications.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that allows you to 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 visitors can follow your account.
There are various technologies and third-party applications that can be added to your own traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to explore some of these and discuss a configuration plan to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your server settings and set up third-party service accounts, it’s time to configure your site’s settings.
Configuring Your WordPress Site 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 of the important areas.
Configuring WordPress Settings
The WordPress administration area contains a Settings section that allows you to configure your site’s global settings …
(WordPress settings section)
Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline can affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most powerful and frequently overlooked automated traffic notification systems available to WordPress users …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings Section)
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 settings to prevent search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically ping the list of services entered into the Update Services text area
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, this section lists only one entry …
(Writing Settings – WordPress Update Services)
You can notify dozens of update services automatically – just add a list containing all of the update services you want notified to this section and WordPress will do the rest …
(You can 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 web traffic. For example, your choice of displaying the full content vs a summary of your post, affects how your content displays in RSS readers and blog post digests, and could impact 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 excerpts, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
The main setting in this section as far as your traffic system is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is ticked or not.
Typically, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows WordPress to notify all the update services you have listed whenever new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, do not check this box …
(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 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 …
(Global Settings – Discussion Settings)
Your Permalink settings allow you to create search engine-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalinks)
The examples below show some of the options for configuring your permalink URLs …
(Configuring permalink URLs)
We have written a detailed tutorial on using WordPress permalinks here: How To Improve Your WordPress SEO Using Permalinks
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that help to add just about every kind of functionality imaginable to your website, including many plugins that improve traffic generation.
Here are 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 website is completely immune from being attacked by hackers.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your website invisible to botnets and hackers.
For more information, go here:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive more traffic by improving your site’s SEO …
(WordPress Plugin – Yoast SEO)
A plugin like Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) can improve your SEO. Properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines like Google to find, crawl and index, it also lets you specify how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
WordPress Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing visitors to easily share your content online can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if you provide content that adds real value to readers.
(You can easily add social sharing buttons to your site using free or inexpensive plugins)
You can easily add social sharing to your website with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
Most social sharing plugins let you select which sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default update notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some social share plugins even allow you to set up protected content sections on your site which visitors can unlock by liking 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 website, many themes also give you built-in features that let you improve SEO and site linking structure for better indexing, add analytics snippets, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes can be configured for better traffic results)
With many themes, adding social sharing buttons and features to your content is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes provide built-in social sharing features that can be easily enabled on with the click of a button)
Other Configuration Steps For WordPress Traffic
Last but not least in the web traffic system configuration process, are the things that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
These include the following:
Compliance Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for an increase in visitor numbers, it’s important to plan not only how to handle good and unwelcome traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong as more and more people find and begin to visit your website.
If you engage in any form of commercial activity online, it’s important that your website remains compliant with regulatory agencies.
If you need help adding compliance pages to WordPress, go here:
Categories and post tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to classify and index your web pages.
(Post categories help to improve your site’s SEO, which helps you get more traffic.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post tags and categories have been set up correctly to deliver optimal benefits.
A site map that lists all of your site’s pages and posts to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external tools discover 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. Although Google can index your pages just from an XML sitemap (which a plugin like Yoast SEO can provide – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site can result in increased traffic.
404 Page – Don’t Forget This!
When online visitors enter the wrong web address into their browser or click on a dead link, they will normally be greeted with an error page …
(A 404 Not Found page)
A 404 Error Page can be configured to redirect confused visitors to your functional web pages …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 page can be set up on your server, there are several WordPress plugins that allow you to easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once you have your WordPress site expertly configured and fully set up, all you then need to do to start attracting web traffic is add web content on a regular basis.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, is quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of various components and web properties …
(Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The expertise required to perform the configuration process can take many 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 explained in the next article in the WordPress Traffic Automation System series.
This is the end of Section 3
To read the rest of this article, click here:
This article is part of a comprehensive series of articles aimed at helping website owners learn how to grow their business online cost-effectively and drive traffic sustainably using a WordPress website and proven marketing methods that are easy to implement.
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