Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Site Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to create an automated traffic machine using WordPress.
In Part 1 of this article series, we described the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to automating traffic to your website …
(With an expertly configured WordPress site, all you have to do is add new content on a regular basis to automatically begin bringing more traffic!)
In Part Two, we focused on the setup phase. We explained 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 existing website has been built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you where to set up a WordPress site on your domain)
In this section of the series, we will look at the configuration phase of the traffic blueprint. We explain how a WordPress site should be configured to attract web traffic automatically simply by consistently adding fresh content on your site.
WordPress Traffic System – Configuration
Finding ways to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by many business owners as their greatest challenge online. With business becoming ever more competitive on a global scale, it’s worth exploring any and every advantage that can help you get better results online.
Having the ability to automatically generate traffic on demand is a tremendous advantage over other competitors. An expertly configured website gives your business a flying start and an immediate advantage online.
The Difference Is In The Configuration Stage
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally installed and set up by a website-building expert but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s one way to describe the key difference:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a web presence and online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured site gives you a web presence and a built-in automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only are more steps required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, it also takes a special type of expert knowledge.
To illustrate this here’s an anecdote.
Are Experts Worth The Money They Charge?
Things are humming along in the gizmo manufacturing plant when all of a sudden, the machinery comes to a halt.
As no one can figure out what went wrong, the manager decides to call in an expert.
The expert arrives shortly afterward and walks immediately to the control box. After staring at the box for less than 3 minutes, the expert then produces a little hammer from his utility belt and makes a single tap near the right corner of the unit.
Immediately, the whole workshop lights up and starts working as before.
The floor manager is overjoyed as he thanks the expert, who then leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days later, the factory manager receives an invoice for the sum of $5,000.
With great anger, the manager calls the expert. Demanding to know why they were expected to pay such an exorbitant fee for so little time spent 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 in the manager’s intray. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he sees:
The main challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive new traffic consistently to their sites.
How much money did the widget factory stand to lose when the machines stopped working and no one in the factory floor had the expertise required to fix it? Did the expert in our story not have every right to demand fair compensation for years spent building up the knowledge, skills and expertise that allowed him to assess and fix a potentially costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your WP web site configured so all you ever had to do is publish content to it and search engines, social sites and dozens of other traffic-generating web properties would be immediately 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 website?)
Although the solution to many problems often seems quite easy once it’s been implemented, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site is more than adding some pages with content and configuring a few settings. It requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which plugins you need to install for certain things to occur on your site.
- Which third-party services you need to set up and activate to get desired results
- Which options need to be configured in order to make sure everything will work as planned, etc.
(Generating new traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
Although this stage of the traffic automation system may not seem so technically challenging, it can be quite involved and complicated. The reason why is because it’s not as simple as installing and configuring a piece of software, tweaking some options and settings in your dashboard area or clicking a couple of buttons … it’s all of this and so much more.
Expertly configuring your website is a process that involves your server, your website or blog, and various third-party sites and 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 something like this …
(A simplified flowchart of the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s take a look at these steps.
Your Server – Configuration
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your webhosting account for installation purposes (this should have been done during the Setup phase). What we are talking about, is fine-tuning settings in your webhosting account specifically for handling all web traffic …
(In the configuration phase, your web-hosting account settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is welcome traffic. Some of the traffic your business may attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, security threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This stage of the configuration process, therefore, is all about evaluating your needs, planning for both bad and good traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes things like configuring server-level spam protection and security threat prevention, to configuring your domain and email redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page errors, etc?)
After fine-tuning your web server settings and configuring these (if required), the next step is to configure a number of third-party sites and services.
The basic concept of choosing external sites is that all content is published from one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it then gets automatically distributed to other parts of your web traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once you incorporate these external platforms into your network, content with links pointing back to your site gets automatically fed to search, social and aggregator sites. Your content will be given exposure to new sources of traffic and new audiences.
Some third-party sites and services will need to be set up before configuring your site to help speed up the process 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 Webmasters – create a Google-friendly website or blog)
Google Webmasters lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides you with a range of essential information, tools and diagnostic reports about your website.
Once your account with Google Webmasters have been set up, use this information with traffic settings in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO – see further below) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing activities, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrers, etc.
After setting up your up your Google Analytics account and site details has been entered, you can add tracking code to all of your web pages in WordPress using a simple plugin and send data instantly to other useful applications.
(Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. Once your account is with Bing are set up, use your information with traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO – see further below) and other applications.
As explained in Part Two, WordPress offers website owners a self-hosted (WordPress.org) and a hosted (WordPress.com) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you are planning to grow a professional web presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great tools, which a number of WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate this into your traffic generation system in the next installment of this article series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and get new traffic to your site)
You will need your various social media accounts set up 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 social bookmarking accounts and drive new visitors to your site.
You should set up accounts and profile pages with all the big social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.
There are loads of social sites you can set up and syndicate your content to. You don’t need to go crazy, just pick those that will work well with your setup and/or content sharing tools (we will cover some of these tools in more detail in the Automation phase).
(You can syndicate your content to many social sites. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Solutions, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of emerging web platforms and content aggregators that can act as secondary-level sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some are more suitable for enterprise-level applications.
For example, here is a content aggregator that allows you to add your WordPress site feed …
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 technologies and third-party applications that can be incorporated into your traffic system. Please contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these, or to discuss a configuration strategy to suit your needs.
After you have configured your server settings and set up external service accounts, it’s time to configure your site’s settings.
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.
Global Settings – WordPress
Your WordPress administration area contains a Settings menu that allows you to set up your site’s main settings …
(WordPress dashboard menu – Settings)
Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings Screen)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most powerful and frequently overlooked automated traffic notification systems available to WordPress site owners …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings Area)
As described below the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have specifically chosen to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically ping the services entered into the Update Services text area
By default, this section displays only one entry …
(Writing Settings – WordPress Update Services)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically – just add a list of update services to this section and WordPress takes care of the rest …
(Notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress!)
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 have an influence traffic. For example, choosing to display the full text vs summaries of your post, affects how your content appears in RSS feeds and RSS email campaigns, and could affect someone’s decision to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your site to view the rest of the content from summaries, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
The most important setting in this section as far as traffic is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is enabled or not.
Typically, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows your site to instantly notify your update services list when new posts are published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, make sure this box is left unticked …
(Settings Menu – Reading Settings Section)
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 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 …
(WordPress Settings – Discussion Settings Screen)
Permalinks allow you to display posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalinks)
The examples below show some of the options for configuring your permalinks …
If you need help setting up WP permalinks, see this tutorial: How To Improve Your WordPress SEO Using Permalinks
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
WordPress provides users with thousands of plugins that help to add just about every kind of functionality imaginable to your website, including traffic generation.
Let’s take a brief look at examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help to attract more visitors to your site
Blog Defender Security Plugin
Once again, it’s important to configure your website for dealing with the effects of both good traffic and bad traffic. No web site is completely immune from a cyberattack.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress site invisible to botnets and hackers.
To learn more, go here:
- Prevent Malicious Cyber Attacks On Your WP Site From Hackers & Bots With Blog Defender WordPress Security Plugin
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your web pages more indexable …
(WordPress SEO Plugin – Yoast SEO)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your website’s search engine optimization. Once properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines like Google to find and index, it also lets you configure how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and GooglePlus.
WordPress Social Plugins
Allowing your visitors to share your content online can help drive significant traffic to your site, especially if you provide content that adds real value to readers.
(You can easily add social features to your website with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
There are many free or inexpensive social sharing plugins to choose from.
Most social share plugins let you specify 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 followers), etc. Some plugins even allow you to set up protected content areas on your pages which users can unlock by liking your page.
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help improve your site’s traffic generation capabilities.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring layout and design elements of your site, many themes also include options for improving SEO and site linking structure for better indexing, add analytics, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes like Graphene (a highly customizable free theme) include built-in traffic optimization features)
With many WordPress themes, adding social sharing buttons to your pages is as easy as selecting the option to enable this functions …
(Many WordPress themes have built-in social sharing features)
WordPress Traffic – Other Features To Configure
Last (but by no means least) in the traffic configuration process, are the things that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
This includes the following:
Website Legal Pages
Once again, when preparing your website 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 when more and more people begin to visit your website.
If you engage in any form of commercial activity online (or plan to), it’s important that your website remains compliant with legal requirements of government agencies that regulate business practices online.
If you need help adding compliance pages to WordPress, go here:
Post tags and post categories help improve traffic by improving your site’s search engine optimization.
(Categories help improve traffic by improving your site’s SEO.)
When considering ways to automate and improve traffic, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post tags and categories have been correctly set up to deliver optimal benefits.
Add A WordPress Site Map
A site map that displays all of your site’s pages and posts to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external tools find more of your web content …
(Site Map – great for visitors and beneficial for web 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 provide visitors with a an understandable representation of how your content is organized, whereas XML sitemaps are 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), making it easier for visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
404 Page Not Found – Don’t Forget This!
When online visitors enter the wrong URL into their web browser or click on links pointing to destinations on your site that no longer exist, they are presented with a 404 error page …
(Default WordPress 404 Not Found error page)
Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to recover web traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 Not Found error page can be set up on your web server, there are plugins for WordPress that allow you to easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic System: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once your site has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you then need to do to begin bringing new traffic is publish content on a consistent basis.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of a number of different components and external web properties …
(WordPress Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The kind of knowledge and expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes some 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 explained in the next article in the WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint series.
This is the end of Section Three
To read the rest of this article, click on the link below:
- Web Traffic Blueprint Part Four – A Complete Guide To Driving More Website Traffic Automatically Using WordPress
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive series of articles aimed at helping website owners learn how to grow their business with a WordPress-powered website or blog and proven web marketing methods.
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"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)