Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn your site into an automated traffic machine 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 automating traffic to your website …
(With an expertly configured WordPress site, all you have to do to bring traffic is add fresh content consistently!)
In Part 2, we focused on the setup phase of the automation process. 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 website, and what to do if your existing website was built with WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you where to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section, we discuss the configuration phase of the traffic system. We will show you why an expertly configured site is different from a professionally configured website. You will also learn just what kind of work is required to make sure that when all is fully set up and configured, web traffic will automatically start flowing when you begin posting content on a regular basis to your website.
WordPress Traffic System – Configuration
The ability to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by business owners as their greatest challenge online. Also, the business landscape is becoming ever more competitive and businesses are researching any opportunity they can to improve their performance online.
Having the ability to automatically generate traffic on demand can provide website owners with a huge advantage over the competition. With an expertly configured WordPress site, you have a significant competitive advantage from the word “go”.
Configuration Is 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 an expert website builder but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress can offer you.
Here is a simple way to describe the main difference:
With a WordPress site 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 a built-in automated online business marketing process!)
Not only does a whole lot more labor go into building and integrating an automated online business marketing system into your website, but also a special kind of expert knowledge.
Let me illustrate this point with an amusing anecdote.
Knowing Where To Tap
All was going just fine in the gizmo assembly line when the equipment suddenly came to a complete stop.
As no one could figure out what went wrong, the manager decided to call in an expert.
Soon afterward, the expert arrived and, without saying a word, immediately went towards the control box. After staring silently at the wires and circuitry for less than 5 minutes or so, the expert then produced a teensy-weensy little hammer and made a single tap near the left edge of the box.
Immediately, everything inside the assembly plant sprang back to life.
The manager was delighted as he thanked the expert, who left as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days later, the manager received a request for payment of $5,000.
The manager called the expert, demanding to know why they were charged so much for less than 5 minutes work. He promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice notice arrived on the manager’s desk. Upon opening it, this is what he saw:
The #1 challenge most businesses face online is driving new visitors to their sites.
In the above story, how much money did the gizmo factory stand to lose when the machines stopped functioning and no one on the business had the expertise to fix it? Did the expert not have the right to be compensated fairly for years spent building up the knowledge, skills and expertise that allowed him to assess and avert a crisis?
Similarly, if you could have a WP site configured so all you ever had to do is publish content to it and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and dozens of other 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 attracting new visitors to your website?)
Although many experts often make complex situations and problems look easy, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site is more than installing a website and configuring a few internal settings. It also requires knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which programs you need to install for certain things to occur on your site.
- Which third-party services you need to set up to get specific results
- Which settings you need to configure to ensure that processes will work as planned, etc.
(Generating new traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
This stage of the WordPress traffic automation system is not so technically difficult, but it’s quite involved. The reason why is because it’s not as easy as installing and configuring a solution, tweaking some settings in your admin area … it’s all this and much more.
The configuration phase is a process that involves your web hosting server, your web site, and various third-party sites and services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If the activities involved in the configuration process were to be flowcharted, it would look like this …
(A simplified diagram showing the configuration process)
Let’s examine these steps in more detail.
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your webhosting account for site installation purposes (this should have been done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about tweaking settings and options in your web-hosting account specifically for handling web traffic …
(In the configuration phase, your web 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 can attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This area of the configuration process, therefore, requires evaluating your needs, planning for both good and bad traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This could include things like server-level spam protection and threat prevention, to configuring your domain and email forwarding, setting up htaccess file redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page errors, etc?)
Once 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.
Integration With External Services
The concept behind adding external sites is that all content should be published from one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, radiate outwards to other parts of your web traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you add these external platforms to your configuration, content linked back to your site gets automatically syndicated to these platforms, indexed by search engines and distributed to social sites, even to users of the platform itself. Your content and website will receive added exposure online, helping you tap into new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some of these sites and services will need to be 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:
Google Search Console lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides you with important data, tools and diagnostic reports about your website.
After setting up your account and entering site details with Google, use this information to integrate and automate web traffic-related settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s performance, SEO, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrals, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account is set up, tracking code can be added to WordPress using any of several Google Analytics plugins used with other applications and reporting tools.
(Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. Once your Bing Webmaster Tools account and site data have been set up, you can use the details with web traffic-related settings in WordPress and other applications.
As discussed in Part 2, WordPress offers users a self-hosted (WordPress.org) and a hosted (WordPress.com) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you are planning to grow a professional online presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful tools, which various WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate these features into your traffic system in Part Four of this series.
Social Media Sites
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and get new visitors to your site)
You will need to set up your social media and social bookmarking 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 sites and social bookmarking accounts and bring new traffic to your site.
You should have accounts and profile pages with all the main social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, 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 pick the ones that will work with your system and/or content sharing tools.
(There are many social bookmarking sites you can syndicate your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Services, Content Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of emerging technology platforms and RSS aggregators that can act as secondary-level sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some offer a range of pricing plans.
For example, here is a content aggregator that allows you to add a feed from your WordPress site …
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your RebelMouse page.
There are various platforms that can be added to your web traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to explore your options and discuss a configuration strategy 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.
WordPress – Configuring Your Web Site
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.
WordPress – Global Settings
By default, all WordPress installations include a Settings menu that allows you to modify your site’s global settings …
(WordPress settings section)
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 important and often overlooked traffic notification systems available to website owners …
(WordPress Settings – Writing Settings)
As described in this section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you or your webmaster have purposely chosen to prevent search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically ping the update services entered into the Update Services text box
By default, when WordPress is installed, this section includes only one entry …
(WordPress Update Services)
WordPress lets you 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 …
(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 in this section can have an influence web traffic. For example, choosing to display the full text vs summaries of your post, affects how your content appears 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 read 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 your traffic system is concerned, however, the most important setting in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is enabled or not.
Normally, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows WordPress to automatically notify various update services whenever a new post gets 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 unticked …
(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings)
Although this section is 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 …
(Settings Menu – Discussion Settings)
Permalinks allow your site to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalink Settings)
Here are some of the options for configuring your permalink URLs …
(Configuring permalink URLs)
To learn more about setting up permalinks, refer to this step-by-step tutorial: Changing Your WordPress Permalinks
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that can add just about every type of functionality imaginable to your website, including many plugins that improve traffic generation.
Let’s look at some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
Once again, it’s important to configure your site for dealing with both good traffic and bad traffic. No matter what kind of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, securing your web site is something you cannot ignore.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to attacks from hackers and bots.
Go here for more information:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by making your web pages more search engine friendly …
(WordPress SEO plugins help increase traffic by improving your website’s SEO)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your SEO. Once properly configured, this plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines like Google and Bing to index, it also lets you configure 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 share your content online can help drive more traffic to your site, especially if you provide content that adds value to readers.
(You can easily add social sharing features to your website using WordPress plugins)
You can add social sharing buttons to your website easily using WordPress plugins.
Most social plugins allow you to select which sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default post messages, 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.
Configuring Settings – Themes
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help grow your traffic.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your website, some themes also include built-in options for improving search optimization and site navigation structure for faster indexing, easily add analytics code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes can be configured for improved traffic results)
With a number of quality 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)
Other Configuration Steps For WordPress Traffic
Last (but by no means least) in the WordPress traffic configuration process, are the elements that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Legal Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for an increase in visitor numbers, it’s important to plan not only for how to deal with good and unwanted traffic but also for all the situations that can hurt your business when more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you do business online (or are planning to), it’s important that your site is compliant with legal requirements of government agencies that regulate business practices online.
We have written a detailed article on how to quickly add all necessary legal pages to your WordPress website or blog here:
Post tags & categories help to improve your site’s SEO, which helps to increase traffic.
(WordPress post categories help to improve your site’s search optimization, which helps you get more traffic.)
When considering ways to automate and improve traffic, you will want to review and make sure that the post tags and post categories that have been set up.
HTML Site Map
A site map that displays all of your site’s pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external applications discover your web content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for traffic too!)
Note: An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are not the same things. Although Google can index your site just using an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
404 Error Page – Don’t Forget This!
When visitors searching online for your site type in the wrong web address or click on links pointing to destinations on your website that no longer exist, they will normally be greeted with a 404 error page …
(A 404 Page)
A 404 Error Page can be configured to funnel traffic to your functional pages …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to redirect traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 Not Found page can be set up in your web server, there are several plugins for WordPress that let you easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic System: Configuration Process – Summary
Once your website has been fully set up and expertly configured, all you have to do then is post content regularly to begin bringing more traffic organically.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, is quite involved and requires the configuration and integration of a number of different components and web properties …
(WordPress Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The knowledge and expertise required to perform this process can take many web developers a long time to learn.
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 addressed in the next article in our series.
This is the end of Part Three
To continue reading this article, click on the link below:
- Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part Four – Learn How To Turn Your WordPress Blog Into An Automated Traffic Machine
This tutorial is part of an article series aimed at helping small business owners learn how to grow their business online cost-effectively and drive traffic organically using a WordPress website or blog and proven marketing methods that are easy to implement.
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