Welcome to Part 3 of our Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn your website into an automated web traffic machine using the WordPress CMS.
In Part One of this article series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to automating traffic to your site …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website or blog, all you have to do is add web content regularly to automatically start generating more traffic!)
In Part Two, we focused on the setup phase of the traffic automation process. We explained the best way to get started if you don’t have a web presence yet, how to set everything up if you already have a website, and what to do if your website has been built with WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you where to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this article, we will look at the configuration stage of the traffic blueprint. We will show you how a WordPress site should be configured in order to automatically start getting visitors simply by regularly adding web content to your web site.
WordPress Web Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase
Finding ways to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by most website owners as the greatest challenge they face online. Businesses are becoming ever more competitive worldwide and are researching any opportunity they can to get better results online.
Having the ability to generate traffic on demand can provide website owners with a huge advantage over the competition. For WordPress users, having an expertly configured website allows their business to get off with a flying start from the moment their site is launched.
The Difference Is In The Configuration
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally set up by an expert website builder 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 website that has been expertly configured you get a professional web presence plus an automated online business marketing process!
(An expertly configured site gives you a web presence with an automated online business marketing process!)
Not only are more steps required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, but also a special kind of expertise.
Let’s illustrate this with an amusing anecdote.
A True Story (Kind Of) …
All is running smoothly in the widget-making factory when things grind to a sudden halt.
No one can figure out what is wrong and so the plant manager decides to call in an expert to try and fix the problem.
The expert arrives soon afterwards and walks immediately to the main control box. After staring silently at the electronic components for less than 3 minutes or so, the expert then takes out a tiny little hammer from his pocket and makes a single tap near the right side of the box.
Immediately, every machine inside the factory floor comes back to life.
The floor manager is filled with joy as he thanks the expert, who then leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days later, the factory manager receives a service bill for $5,000.
Angrily, the manager calls the expert. Demanding to know why they were expected to pay so much for less than five minutes work, he then requests an itemized invoice to be sent and hangs up.
The next day, a bill of payment arrives and is placed on the manager’s desk. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he sees:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is driving traffic to their sites.
In the above story, how much money did the plant stand to lose when production stopped functioning and no one in the business was able to fix it? Did the expert not have the right to ask to be compensated fairly for having spent years acquiring the knowledge and expertise that allowed him to immediately fix a costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a WordPress blog set up so all you ever had to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and dozens of other traffic-generating web properties would be automatically notified, how much time and money would this save you?
(How much better would your business be if you could automate the process of attracting new visitors to your site?)
Although experts often make difficult solutions look easy, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site involves more than adding some pages with content and configuring a few settings. It also involves knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things such as:
- Which programs need to be installed to add desired functionalities to your site.
- Which third-party accounts you need to set up and activate to get certain outcomes
- Which options you need to configure to ensure that everything works as expected, etc.
(Generating new traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
This part of the traffic automation system is not so technically difficult, but it’s quite complicated. This is because it’s not as easy as installing a solution, clicking a button … it’s all this and much more.
The configuration stage involves the integration of many different components such as your web server, your website, and a number of external sites …
(The configuration phase involves more than just configuring some WordPress settings)
If we create a simple diagram of the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplistic diagram of the activities involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s examine what’s involved in more detail.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your hosting account for site installation purposes. We’re talking about tweaking settings in your web server specifically for handling web traffic …
(In the configuration stage, your webhosting account settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is positive traffic. Some of the traffic you may attract will be unwelcome traffic like bot spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This part of the configuration process, therefore, is all about evaluating your needs, planning for good and bad traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like integrating server-level spam protection and threat prevention, to configuring domain and email redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your webhosting settings for handling things like email forwarding, page error redirections, etc?)
Once your server settings have been checked and configured (if required), the next step is to set up and configure various external sites.
The concept behind setting up external sites is that all content gets published from a central location (your site) and from there, it gets automatically distributed to other components of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
After incorporating these external services into your setup, content with links pointing back to your website is automatically posted to these platforms, indexed by search engines and shared to other social media accounts, even to users of the platform itself. Your business receives exposure online, helping your business tap into a whole new audience and source of traffic.
Some of these external sites will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress site’s settings to 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:
(Google Webmasters – create a Google-friendly website)
Google Search Console lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with important information, tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
After setting up your account and entering site data, you can use your account information with web traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress 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 referrals, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site data are set up, you can add traffic monitoring information to all of your web pages in WordPress using plugins and send data automatically to various other useful applications and reporting tools.
Bing Data And Tools
(Drive more traffic with Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. Once your account and site data with Bing are set up, use your details with web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
As discussed in Part Two, WordPress provides users with a self-hosted (WordPress.org) and a hosted (WordPress.com) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you plan to grow a professional business presence online.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great tools, which can be accessed by a number of 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 system in the next installment of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and bring new visitors to your site)
You will need to set up your various social accounts 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 get new traffic to your site.
You should set up accounts and profile pages with all of the main social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can set up. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just choose those that will work with your setup and/or content syndication tools (we will cover some of these tools in greater detail when we discuss the Automation phase).
(There are many social sites you can syndicate your content to. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, Aggregators, Etc.
There are many emerging technology platforms and content aggregators that can act as secondary-level sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free access levels, and some offer a range of pricing plans to suit different user types.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that lets you add a feed from your WordPress site …
(RebelMouse – Publishing platform for distributed content)
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your page.
There are many different platforms that can be added to your web traffic blueprint. Please contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these, or to discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
After you have configured your web server and set up external site accounts, it’s time to configure WordPress.
WordPress Site Configuration
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to ensure that your global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Global WordPress Settings
By default, your WordPress administration area includes a Settings menu that allows you to set up your site’s main settings …
(WordPress settings menu)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings Section)
The Writing Settings area contains a powerful and often overlooked automated traffic notification system …
(WordPress Settings – Writing Settings Screen)
As described 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 discourage search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically notify the services entered into the Update Services section
By default, this section contains only one entry …
(Writing Settings – Update Services)
You can 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:
Download A List Of Ping Services For Your WordPress Site
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 influence web traffic. For example, choosing to display the full content vs a summary of your post, affects how your content displays in RSS readers and RSS email campaigns, and could play a part in someone’s choice to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your website or blog to view the rest of the content from a partial feed, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
As far as traffic is concerned, however, the most important setting in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is ticked or not.
Normally, you would want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked enables your site to instantly notify all the update services you have listed whenever new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, make sure this box is left unchecked …
(WordPress 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 sites linked to from your content, 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 …
(Settings Menu – Discussion Settings Screen)
Permalinks allow you to create SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalinks)
Here are some of the ways your search-friendly URLS can be configured …
(Configuring permalink URLs)
We have created a detailed tutorial about using permalinks in WordPress here: Improve Your WordPress SEO Using SEO-Friendly URLs
Configuring Settings – WP Plugins
WordPress provides users with thousands of plugins that help to add just about every type of functionality to your website, including traffic generation.
Let’s take a brief look at some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
WordPress Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your WordPress site for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. Regardless of the type of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, securing your website is something you cannot ignore.
(WordPress Security Plugins help prevent bad traffic from harming your web presence)
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your website invisible to botnets and hackers.
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by making your web pages more indexable …
(WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by making your website more search engine friendly)
Use a plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your SEO. Once properly configured, this plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines like Google to index, it allows you to configure how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Allowing visitors to share your content with members of their own social communities can help boost traffic to your site, especially if you publish great content that adds real value to readers.
(You can easily add social sharing to your website using WordPress plugins)
There are many free or inexpensive social sharing plugins available for WordPress users.
Many social share plugins allow you to select which sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default update notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of likes), etc. Some plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content which users can unlock by sharing your page.
Configuring WordPress Traffic Generation Theme Features
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 layout and design of your website, many themes also give you built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site linking structure for faster indexing, easily add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in traffic optimization features)
With many themes, adding social sharing buttons to your site is as easy as clicking a few buttons to configure your settings and enable the function …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
WordPress Traffic Configuration – Additional Sections
Last but not 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 Compliance Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in traffic, it’s important to plan not only how to handle good and unwanted 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 any type of business online (or plan to), you need to ensure that your website stays compliant with regulatory agencies.
(Does Your Website Or Blog Comply With The Law?)
If you need help adding compliance pages to WordPress, go here:
Post Categories & Tags
Categories and tags help search engines index your web pages, which helps you get more traffic.
(Post categories help search engines index your web pages, which improves traffic.)
As we strongly recommend in this article, it’s best to review and set up your site’s post tags and categories during the Website Planning Phases.
When configuring your website to automate and improve web traffic, you will want to review and make sure that the post tags and categories that have been set up.
A site map that displays all of your pages and posts to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external applications discover more of your online 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. Although search engines like Google can 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 can result in increased traffic.
404 Page – A Source Of Lost Traffic Opportunities!
When visitors searching online for your site enter the wrong web address or click on a link pointing to an incorrect destination on your website, they will typically be greeted with a 404 error page …
(A 404 Page)
A 404 page can be configured into a useful source of traffic to your functional pages …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to recover web 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 admin.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once you have your site fully set up and expertly configured, all you need to do then to automatically start attracting web traffic is post content regularly.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and requires the configuration and integration of different elements and external web properties …
(Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of skills and expertise required to perform this phase of the traffic automation process can take some web professionals a long time to acquire.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is addressed in the next article in the series.
This is the end of Part Three
To read more, click here:
This article is part of an tutorial series designed to help site owners learn how to grow their business online and drive traffic sustainably with a WordPress-powered website and proven online marketing methods.
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