WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint – Part 3 (Configuration)

This is part 3 of a 5-part series on how to create an automated traffic generation system for your WordPress site. In this tutorial, you will learn how to configure the essential settings of the WordPress automated traffic system.

Web Traffic Blueprint Part Three - Learn How To Create A Web TrafficGenerating Machine

Welcome to Part Three of our Web Site Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn a website into an automated traffic generation machine using WordPress.

In Part One of this article series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to generating automated web traffic …

With an expertly configured WordPress website or blog, all you have to do is publish content regularly to automatically drive more traffic!

(With an expertly configured WordPress web site, all you have to do is post fresh content on a regular basis to bring more traffic!)

In Part 2, we focused on critical setup decisions. We helped you understand the best way to start if you don’t have a website yet, how to set things up if you already have a site, and what to do if your website was built using WordPress.

Where to set up a WordPress site on your domain

(In Part 2 we show you where to set up WordPress on your domain)

In this section, we will look at the configuration stage of the traffic automation process. You will learn why an expertly configured site is different than a professionally configured one. You will also discover what type of work needs to be done to ensure that when all is fully set up and configured, traffic will automatically start flowing just by consistently publishing fresh content on your site.

WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint – Configuration

Being able to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by most website owners as their greatest challenge online. With business getting ever more competitive, it’s worth looking into any opportunity you can to get better results online.

The ability to automatically generate traffic on demand can provide website owners with a tremendous competitive advantage. With an expertly configured WordPress site, you have a significant advantage from the word “go”.

Configuration Is The Difference

There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally installed and set up by a web-building expert but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress can offer you.

Here’s a simple way to explain the difference:

An expertly configured WordPress site gives you a web presence plus an automated online business marketing tool!

A professional website gives you a professional web presence, but an expertly configured site gives you a web presence plus online business marketing automation.

(An expertly configured site gives you a professional web presence and an automated online business marketing process!)

Not only are more steps needed to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, but also a special type of expert knowledge.

Let’s illustrate this with a story.

Are Experts Worth The Money They Charge?

All is going fine in the gizmo-making workshop when things grind to a sudden halt.

As no one can figure out what is wrong, the manager decides to call in an expert.

Promptly after arriving, the expert heads straight towards the main control box. After staring at the wires and circuitry for 3 minutes or so, the expert then produces a teeny-weeny hammer and makes a very gentle tap near the right side of the box.

Immediately, everything begins working once again.

The floor manager is grateful and relieved as he thanks the expert, who leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.

A couple of days after resolving the incident, the factory manager receives a request for payment of $5,000.

Bewildered, the factory manager rings the expert. Demanding to know why they were expected to pay such a ludicrous fee for so little time spent delivering a minimal amount of work, he promptly requests an itemized invoice and hangs up.

The next day, an invoice statement arrives and is placed in the manager’s intray. Upon opening it, this is what he sees:

invoice statement

The number one challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive traffic consistently to their sites.

How much money did the factory stand to lose when the equipment ground to a halt and no one on the business had the expertise to fix it? Did the expert in our story not have every right to get paid fairly for having spent years developing the knowledge and expertise that allowed him to quickly assess and avert a crisis?

Similarly, if you could have a site configured so all you ever had to do is publish new content and search engines, social networks 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 attracting new visitors to your website?

(How much time and money would you save if you could automate the process of attracting new visitors to your site?)

While the solution to many problems may seem quite easy in hindsight, it rarely is that simple or easy.

Expertly configuring a WordPress site involves more than adding some pages with content and configuring some basic settings. It requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things such as:

  • Which plugins need to be installed for specific things to occur on your site.
  • Which 3rd-party accounts need to be set up and activated to get certain outcomes
  • Which settings need to be configured to ensure that everything functions as envisioned, etc.

Generating web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise

(Generating new traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)

This stage of the traffic automation system is not so technically challenging, but it’s quite involved and complicated. It’s not as easy as installing a plugin, tweaking some settings in your admin area or clicking a couple of buttons … it’s all of this and so much more.

The configuration phase is a complex process that involves your web hosting server, your web site, and a number of third-party sites …

The configuration phase involves more than just configuring some WordPress settings

(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring some WordPress settings)

If the activities involved in the configuration process were to be flowcharted, it would look like this …

A simplistic flowchart showing the activities involved in the configuration phase

(A simplistic diagram of the steps involved in the configuration process)

Let’s examine these areas in more detail.

Your Server

We’re not talking about the process of configuring your webhosting account for website installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). What we are talking about, is tweaking settings and options in your web server that affect how you will handle all web traffic …

During the configuration phase, your web-hosting account settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic

(In the configuration phase, your server settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)

Not all web traffic is positive traffic. Some of the traffic your site may attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.

This part 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 includes looking at things like implementing spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring your domain and email redirections, etc …

Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page  error redirects, etc?

(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like emails, page error redirections, 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.

External Accounts

The concept behind choosing external sites is that all of your content should be posted to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, syndicate automatically to other components of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.

External Sites

Once these external services have been added to your network, content with links pointing back to your site is automatically syndicated to these platforms, indexed by search engines and shared to other social media accounts, even to users of the platform itself. Your business will then be given added exposure to new audiences and new sources of traffic.

Integration With External Accounts

Some of the external web properties and online services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress site’s settings to speed up the configuration process and some will need to be done later, during the automation phase.

For example, you will want to set up the following accounts:

Google Webmasters

Google Search Console

(Google Webmasters – create a Google-friendly website or blog)

Google Search Console lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides you with a range of useful data, SEO tools and reports about your website.

Once your account and site details are set up, use this information to automate web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics

(Google Analytics)

Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s traffic results, SEO, marketing efforts, sales conversions, and more, by tracking all user behaviour, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine referrals, etc.

After setting up your Google Analytics account, you can add traffic tracking information to WordPress via any of several Google Analytics plugins and feed data automatically to other applications.

Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing Webmaster Tools

(Drive more traffic with Bing Data And Tools)

Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. Once your account and site details with Bing Webmaster Tools have been set up, your account information can be used with web traffic-related settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.

WordPress.com

WordPress.com

(WordPress.com)

As discussed in Part 2, WordPress offers a self-hosted (WordPress.org) and a hosted (WordPress.com) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you plan to build a professional business presence online.

WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful features, which can be accessed by a number of WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate these features into your automated traffic system in Part Four of this series.

Social Media Sites

Syndicate your content automatically to your social media accounts and attract new traffic to your site

(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and drive new visitors to your site)

You will need your various social media and social bookmarking accounts set up 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 and social bookmarking accounts and drive new traffic to your site.

Make sure you have set up accounts with all the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.

Social Media And Social Bookmarking Sites

There are loads of social bookmarking sites you can set up accounts with. You don’t need to go crazy, just select those that will work well with your setup and/or content sharing tools (we will cover some of these tools in more detail further below and in the Automation phase).

There are loads of social bookmarking sites you can post your content to.

(You can post your content to many social sites. Image source ShareThis.com)

Additional Solutions, Content Aggregators, Etc.

There are many emerging platforms and content aggregators that can act as second-tier sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free levels, and some offer a range of pricing plans.

For example, here is a content aggregator site that lets you add your WordPress site feed …

RebelMouse

RebelMouse - Distribute your content to social networks

(RebelMouse)

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 website.

Tip

There are many different technologies and third-party applications that can be added to your traffic blueprint. Please contact us if you need assistance exploring this area further, or to discuss a configuration strategy to suit your needs.

Once you have configured your server settings and set up third-party site accounts, it’s time to configure your site.

WordPress – Configuring Your Website For Traffic

The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to make sure that your global settings have been set up correctly.

Let’s go over some key areas.

Configuring Global WordPress Settings

By default, your WordPress administration area includes a Settings section that allows you to configure your site’s global settings …

WordPress dashboard menu - Settings

(WordPress settings section)

General Settings

Fields like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search listings, etc …

Settings Menu - General Settings Section

(Global Settings – General Settings)

Writing Settings

The Writing Settings area contains an important and frequently overlooked built-in traffic notification system …

Global Settings - Writing Settings Section

(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 specifically configured your site settings to discourage search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically ping the list of update services entered into the Update Services section

By default, when WordPress is installed, only one service is available …

Update Services - A Powerful Traffic Feature

(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!

(You can 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.

Reading Settings

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 summaries of your post, affects how your content displays in RSS feeds and blog post digests, and could affect someone’s choice to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your site to get the rest of the content from excerpts, 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 check box is enabled or not.

Generally, you would want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked enables your site to instantly ping all the update services you have listed when a new post is published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, do not check this box …

WordPress Settings - Reading Settings

(Settings Menu – Reading Settings Section)

Discussion Settings

Although this section is 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 …

Global Settings - Discussion Settings Section

(Settings Menu – Discussion Settings)

Permalink Settings

Your Permalink settings allow you to display posts with search engine-friendly URLs …

Settings Menu - Permalink Settings

(Global Settings – Permalinks Screen)

The examples below show some of the options for configuring your search-friendly URLS …

Configuring search-friendly URLS

(Configuring search-friendly URLS)

If you need help setting up WP permalinks, see this tutorial: How To Improve Your WordPress SEO With SEO-Friendly URLs

Plugins

WordPress provides users with plugins that can add just about every kind of functionality imaginable to your website, including plugins that add traffic generation capabilities.

Let’s look at examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help to improve traffic generation

WordPress Security Plugins – Blog Defender

Once again, it’s important to configure your WordPress site for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. No website or blog is safe from being hacked.

Security Plugins help prevent bad traffic from causing your website harm(Security Plugins help prevent bad traffic from harming your web presence)

Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to malicious attacks from hackers and bots.

To learn more, go here:

SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO

WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by improving your site’s SEO …

Yoast SEO - WordPress Plugin

(WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your website more search engine friendly)

Use a plugin like Yoast SEO (previously called WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your site’s search engine optimization. Once properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines like Google to index, it also gives you control over how your content is presented in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and GooglePlus.

Social Sharing Plugins

Allowing your visitors to easily share your content online can help drive significant traffic to your site, especially if your site provides great content that adds real value to readers.

WordPress users can easily add social features to their website with WordPress plugins

(You can easily add social sharing buttons to your site with WordPress plugins)

You can add social sharing features to your website easily with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.

Many social sharing plugins allow you to select which social sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of likes), etc. Some social plugins even allow you to set up protected content areas on your site which visitors can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.

Configuring Settings – WP Themes

As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help grow your site’s traffic.

For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring the layout and design of your site, some themes also provide options for improving search optimization and site linking structure for better indexing, easily add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …

Many WordPress themes come with built-in traffic optimization features

(Many WordPress themes like Graphene (a highly customizable free theme) come with built-in traffic optimization features)

With many WordPress themes, adding social sharing features to your pages is as easy as clicking a button …

Many WordPress themes provide users with built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button

(Many WordPress themes have built-in social sharing features)

WordPress Traffic Automation System – Other Areas To Configure

Last (but by no means least) in the web traffic configuration process, are the components that need to be set up outside of the global settings.

These include the following:

Website Legal Pages

Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in traffic, 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 when more and more people start finding and visiting your website.

If you do any type of business online, it’s important that your website complies with regulatory agencies.

Is Your Website Or Blog Compliant?(Is Your Site Legally Compliant?)

To learn more about the importance of having a compliant website, refer to this article:

WordPress Post Categories & Tags

Post categories & post tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better index your website.

WordPress post categories help improve traffic by improving your site's SEO.

(Post categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better organize and index your web pages.)

As we recommend in this article, your site’s post tags and post categories should be set up during the Website Planning Phase.

In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that the post tags and categories that have been set up.

Add A Site Map

A site map that displays all of your pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external tools discover your site’s content …

(Site Map - great for visitors and beneficial for traffic too!)

(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for traffic too!)

Info

Note: 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 engine bots can interpret. Although search engines like Google will index your pages just from an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), making it easier for visitors to find more pages on your site can result in increased traffic.

Configure Your WordPress 404 Page

When visitors searching online for your site enter the wrong URL or click on an invalid link, they will normally be presented with an error page …

A 404 Not Found Page

(Default WordPress 404 Page)

Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost. …

Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.

(Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)

Tip

Although a 404 page can be set up in your web 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 your website or blog has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you have to do is post fresh content consistently to generate traffic.

The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, is quite involved and requires the configuration and integration of different elements and external web properties …

WordPress Traffic System - Configuration Checklist

(WP Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)

Important

The skills and knowledge involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes many website professionals months to learn.

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 the WordPress Traffic Automation System series.

This is the end of Part 3

To read the rest of this article, click on the link below:

WordPress Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part Three - Discover How To Turn Your WordPress Web Site Into A Traffic Generation Machine

Useful Information

This tutorial is part of a comprehensive series of tutorials aimed at helping small business owners learn how to grow their business online using a WordPress-driven website and proven online marketing strategies.

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

Originally published as WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint – Part 3 (Configuration).