Welcome to Part 3 of our Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to drive visitors automatically to your site using the WordPress CMS platform.
In Part 1 of this series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to automating traffic to your site …
(With an expertly configured WordPress site, all you have to do to start driving traffic is post content consistently!)
In Part 2, we looked at the setup phase of the automation process. We explained 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 has been built using WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up a WordPress web site on your domain)
In this section of the series, we will look at the configuration phase of this process. You will learn how to configure a WordPress site so you can ensure that traffic will automatically start flowing simply by posting content to your web site.
WordPress Web Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase
Finding ways to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by many business owners as one of their greatest challenges online. With business getting ever more competitive, it’s worth looking into any opportunity you can to get better results online.
Being able to automatically generate traffic on demand can be a huge advantage over other competitors. Having an expertly configured website gives you an immediate advantage from the word “go”.
The Configuration Process Is What Makes 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 its fullest advantage.
Here’s a simple way to explain the difference:
With a WordPress website that has been expertly configured you get a web presence with online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured site gives you a web presence and an automated online business marketing system!)
Not only does it take additional work to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, it also takes a special type of expert knowledge.
Let me illustrate this with a little story.
A Semi-True Story …
All was going fine in the widget workshop when everything suddenly ground to a halt.
As no one could figure out what was wrong, the floor manager decided to call in an expert.
Soon afterward, the expert arrived and headed immediately towards the main control box. After staring silently at the electronic components for less than 5 minutes or so, the expert then produced a teeny-weeny hammer and made a very gentle tap near the left side of the control unit.
Immediately, the plant returned to normal.
The plant manager was grateful and relieved as he thanked the expert, who left as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days after resolving the incident, the manager received a service bill for $5,000.
The factory manager dialled the expert, demanding to know why the expert had charged them such an exorbitant fee for less than five minutes work. He promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, a bill of payment arrived in the manager’s intray. Upon opening it, this is what he saw:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is being able to consistently drive new visitors to their sites.
How much money did the widget factory stand to lose when production ground to a halt and no one in the factory floor had the expertise required to get things up and running again? Did the expert in our story not have the right to demand fair compensation for years spent building up the knowledge and expertise that allowed him to assess and fix a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your WordPress blog configured so all you had to do is publish content to it and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and dozens of other online properties would be automatically notified, how much time and money would you save?
(How much time and money would you save if you could automate the process of driving traffic to your site?)
While the solution to many problems may seem quite easy once implemented, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site is more than simply installing a website and configuring a few settings. It requires knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things such as:
- Which programs need to be installed to add desired functionalities to your site.
- Which 3rd-party accounts need to be set up and activated to get certain outcomes
- Which internal and external settings you need to configure in order to make sure everything will work as you have imagined, etc.
(Driving traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
This stage of the WordPress traffic automation system is not so technically challenging, but it’s quite involved. The reason why is because it’s not as easy as installing and configuring a plugin, configuring some settings in your admin area or clicking on a button or two … it’s all this and so much more.
The configuration phase involves the integration of many different components including your web hosting server, your site, and various third-party sites or online services …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If all the steps involved in the configuration process were to be flowcharted, it would look like this …
(A simplified diagram showing the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s take a look at these steps in more detail.
Configuring Your Server
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your web-hosting account for website installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about tweaking settings and options in your hosting account that affect how you will handle all web traffic …
(During the configuration stage, your server settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is positive traffic. Some of the traffic you will attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, malicious threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This stage of the configuration process, therefore, is about planning for good and bad traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This could include looking at things like configuring server-level spam protection and security threat prevention, to configuring domain and email forwarding, setting up 404 redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like emails, page error redirects, etc?)
Once your server settings have been fine-tuned and configured, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various external sites and/or online services.
External Web Properties & Accounts – Configuration
The concept behind choosing external sites is that all content should be published to a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will radiate outwards to other components of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once you add these external services to your setup, content linked back to your site gets automatically fed to your search, social and aggregator accounts. Your content will then receive increased exposure online, helping you tap into new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some third-party sites and services will need to be set up before configuring your site to save time 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 – create a Google-friendly website or blog)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of essential data, tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
Once your account and site data with Google Webmaster Tools are set up, use this information with web traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s traffic performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing campaigns, sales conversions, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrers, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site details are set up, traffic monitoring information can be integrated with WordPress via plugins and automatically fed to other useful applications.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. Once your Bing Webmaster Tools account and site data have been set up, this information can be used to integrate and automate traffic-related settings in WordPress and other applications.
As discussed in Part Two, WordPress offers a hosted and a self-hosted option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress version 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 show you how to integrate this into your traffic system in the next installment of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking Sites
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and bring new traffic to your site)
You will need to set up your social accounts in order to configure these as part of your traffic generation system.
After setting up and configuring everything, you will be able to syndicate your content automatically to your social media pages and bring new traffic to your site.
Set up accounts and profiles with all of the big social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.
There are many social bookmarking sites you can set up accounts with. You don’t need to go crazy, just pick those that will work well with your system and/or content syndication tools (we will review some of these tools in greater detail in the Automation phase).
(There are many social sites you can syndicate your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Sites, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of new online platforms and content aggregators that can act as secondary-level sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free plans, and some offer a range of pricing plans to suit different user types.
For example, here is a content aggregator that allows you to add an RSS feed from your site …
(RebelMouse – Distribute your content to social networks)
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your RebelMouse account.
There are various platforms you can add to your traffic system. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these, or to discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up accounts with third-party sites, it’s time to configure your WordPress site’s settings.
WordPress – Configuring Your Website
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to make sure that its global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Configuring WordPress Settings
By default, WordPress includes a Settings section that allows you to modify your site’s main settings …
(WordPress admin menu – Settings)
Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search listings, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings Section)
The Writing Settings section contains an important and often overlooked traffic notification system …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings)
As stated in the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have intentionally chosen to prevent search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically ping the list of services entered into the Update Services field
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, this section displays only one entry …
(Writing Settings – WordPress Update Services)
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 your content gets seen by visitors 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 text vs a summary of your post, affects how your content shows up in RSS feeds and RSS email campaigns, and could play a part in someone’s choice to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your site to read the rest of the content from summaries, 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 check box is enabled or not.
Normally, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows your site to instantly notify various update services 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 …
(Settings Menu – 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 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 Screen)
Permalinks allow your site to display posts with search engine-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalink Settings)
Here are some of the options for configuring your site’s SEO-friendly URLs …
(Configuring post permalinks)
To learn more about setting up permalinks, see this step-by-step tutorial: Changing WordPress Permalinks
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
The WordPress developer community makes available thousands of plugins that can add just about every type of functionality imaginable to your site, including plugins with features that help to improve traffic generation.
Let’s take a brief look at examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help drive more visitors to your site
WordPress Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your site for dealing with the effects of 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 cannot afford to ignore the importance of securing your website or blog.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress site invisible to hackers and bots.
For more details, go here:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive more traffic by improving your site’s SEO …
(WordPress Plugins For SEO – Yoast SEO)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your site’s SEO. Properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines 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 share your content with their own friends and networks can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if you post content that adds value to readers.
(You can easily add social sharing buttons to your website with free or inexpensive plugins)
There are many social sharing plugins available for WordPress.
Many social sharing plugins allow you to choose which 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 likes), etc. Some social share plugins even allow you to set up protected content areas on your pages which users 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 grow your traffic.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring design and layout aspects of your website, some themes also include options for improving search optimization and site linking structure for faster indexing, add tracking code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes allow you to configure settings and options for improved traffic results)
With many quality themes, adding social sharing buttons to your website is as easy as clicking a few buttons and enabling the function …
(Many WordPress themes provide users with built-in social sharing features)
WordPress Traffic Configuration – Additional Don’t Forget These
Last (but by no means least) in the traffic configuration process, are the things that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
These include the following:
Website Compliance Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for an increase 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 as more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you engage in any form of business online (or are planning to), it’s important that your site is found to comply with regulatory agencies.
To learn more about how to quickly add legal pages to your WordPress site, go here:
WordPress tags and categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to classify and index your website.
(Categories help improve traffic by improving your site’s SEO.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that the post tags and categories you have set up.
Add A Site Map
A site map that displays all of your site’s posts and pages to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external tools discover more of your web content …
(Site Map – great for site visitors and beneficial for traffic too!)
It’s important to note that an HTML site map and an XML sitemap are different things. HTML site maps are web pages that link to all other content on your site and provide visitors with a visual map of how your content is organized, whereas XML sitemaps contain code that only search engine bots can interpret. Although Google will 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 Error Page – An Additional Source Of Traffic!
When visitors searching online for your site enter the wrong URL or click on a link pointing to an incorrect destination on your website, they are presented with an error – page not found message …
(A WordPress 404 Not Found page)
A 404 page can be turned into a useful source of traffic to your functional pages …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found error page allows you to redirect traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 page can be set up in your web server, there are several WordPress plugins that let you easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once you have your site fully set up and expertly configured, all you have to do then to generate traffic is post web content consistently.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and requires the configuration and integration of various components and external web properties …
(WordPress Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of skills and expertise required to perform the configuration process can take many web professionals months to acquire.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is covered in the next article in the series.
This is the end of Part Three
To keep reading, click here:
- Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – A Complete Guide To Attracting More Website Traffic For Your Business Automatically Using WordPress
This tutorial is part of an tutorial series designed to help you learn how to grow your business online inexpensively with a WordPress-powered website or blog and proven web marketing strategies.
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"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now