Welcome to Part Three of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn a website into an automated traffic machine using WordPress.
In Part 1 of this article series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to automating traffic to your website …
(With an expertly configured WordPress web site, all you have to do to automatically drive traffic is publish web content on a consistent basis!)
In Part Two, we focused on the setup phase of the traffic automation process. We helped you understand the best way to start if you don’t have a web presence yet, how to set things up if you already have a website, and what to do if your existing site was built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up a WordPress site on your domain)
In this section, we discuss the configuration phase of the WordPress traffic automation system. You will learn how a WordPress site should be configured to ensure that web traffic will automatically start flowing when you start to publish fresh content on your WordPress site.
WordPress Web Traffic Automation System – Configuration Phase
Being able to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by website owners as the greatest challenge they face online. With business getting increasingly more competitive on a global scale, it’s worth learning about every opportunity you can to get better results online.
Having the ability to automatically generate traffic on demand can provide website owners with a tremendous competitive advantage. With an expertly configured website, you have a flying start from the moment your site is launched.
Configuration Is The Difference
There is a 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 can offer you.
Here is a simple way to describe the difference:
An expertly configured WordPress site gives you a web presence plus an automated online business marketing process!
(An expertly configured website gives you a web presence and a built-in automated online business marketing system!)
Not only are more steps needed to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, but also a special kind of expert knowledge.
Let me illustrate this with a story.
Knowing Where To Tap
Things are running smoothly in the widget-making plant when all machinery suddenly stops.
No one can figure out what’s happened and so the manager decides to call in an expert.
Promptly after arriving, the expert goes immediately to the main control box. After staring silently at the schematics for less than 5 minutes or so, the expert then takes out a tiny hammer from his tool box and makes a gentle tap near the left-hand edge of the box.
Immediately, every machine in the assembly plant springs back to life.
The plant manager is overjoyed as he thanks the expert, who then leaves as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days later, the factory manager receives a service bill for $5,000.
Outraged and furious, the manager picks up the phone and calls the expert. Demanding to know why the expert has charged them such a large amount of money for less than 5 minutes work, he promptly requests an itemized invoice to be sent 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:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive traffic consistently to their sites.
How much money did the gizmo plant stand to lose when production stopped functioning and no one in the business had the expertise to fix it? Did the expert in our story not have the right to be compensated fairly for investing years building up the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to avert a crisis?
Similarly, if you could have your WP website or blog set up and configured so all you ever had to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest 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 attracting new visitors to your website?)
Although the solution to many challenges is often quite easy once it’s been implemented, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than adding some pages with content and configuring settings for the client. It requires knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which programs you need to install for specific things to occur on your site.
- Which services need to be set up to achieve certain results
- Which settings you need to configure to ensure that processes will work to plan, etc.
(Driving traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
Although this part of the WordPress traffic automation system may not seem technically difficult, it can be quite complicated. The reason why is because it’s not just about installing and configuring a solution, clicking on a button or two, or tweaking some settings in your dashboard area … it’s all this and much more.
The configuration stage involves the integration of many different parts including your server, your website or blog, and a number of external sites and services …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we try to flowchart the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplified flowchart showing the activities involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s take a look at what’s involved in more detail.
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your hosting account for site installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about tweaking settings in your web-hosting account specifically for handling web traffic …
(During the configuration stage, your 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 business will attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, malicious threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, is about evaluating your needs, planning for good and unwelcome traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This can include looking at things like configuring spam protection and security threat prevention, to configuring your domain and email forwarding, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like emails, page errors, etc?)
Once your server settings have been fine-tuned and configured, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up a number of external sites.
The purpose of adding external sites is that all of your content will be posted to a central location (your site) and from there, it will be automatically distributed to other components of your web traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you incorporate these external platforms into your traffic system, content with links pointing back to your site will get automatically added to search, social and aggregator sites. Your content and business will be exposed to a new audience and new sources of traffic.
Some external web properties and online services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your site’s settings 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 Webmaster Tools – create a Google-friendly website or blog)
Google Search Console lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with important information, tools, and reports about their website.
After setting up your account and entering site data, your information can be used with traffic-related settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s results, SEO, user engagement, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrers, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account is set up, your account information can be added to all web pages in WordPress using a plugin and and sent to various other useful applications and reporting tools.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. Once your Bing Webmaster Tools account has been set up, the details can be used to automate web traffic-related settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
As discussed in Part 2, WordPress offers website owners the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress version if you are planning to grow a professional web presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful features, which a number of WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate this into your automated web traffic generation 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 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 and social bookmarking accounts and bring new traffic to your site.
You should have profiles with all of the popular social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.
There are many social bookmarking sites you can post your content to. You don’t need to go crazy, just select the ones that will work well with your setup and/or content sharing tools.
(You can post your content to loads of social bookmarking sites. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Services, Aggregators, Etc.
There are many online platforms and RSS aggregators that can act as secondary sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free access levels, and some are more suitable for enterprise-level applications.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that allows you to add your WordPress site feed …
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your account.
There are many different sites and platforms that can be incorporated into your own traffic system. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these further, or to discuss a configuration plan to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up third-party site accounts, it’s time to configure your site.
WordPress – Configuring Your Website Or Blog For Traffic
The first step in configuring your WordPress 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, WordPress includes a Settings section that allows you to set up your site’s main settings …
(WordPress settings section)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings Screen)
The Writing Settings section contains one of the most important and frequently overlooked automated traffic notification systems available to WordPress site owners …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings)
As stated in this section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you or your webmaster have purposely configured your site settings to discourage search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically notify the services entered into the Update Services field
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, this section displays only one entry …
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically – just add a list of update services to this section …
(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 readers when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings on this page can have an influence web traffic. For example, your choice of displaying the full text vs summaries of your post, affects how your content shows up 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 blog to get 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 here is whether the Search Engine Visibility checkbox is ticked or not.
Typically, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows WordPress to instantly notify various update services when a new post gets published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason to discourage search engines from visiting your site, make sure this box is left unticked …
(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 Section)
Your Permalink settings allow you to create SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalinks)
The examples below show some of the ways your permalink URLs can be configured …
(Configuring SEO-friendly URLs)
To learn more about setting up WordPress permalinks, go here: Configuring Your WordPress Permalinks
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that can add almost every kind of functionality imaginable to your site, including traffic generation.
Here are some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
WordPress Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your website for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. No website is completely immune from being targeted.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to attacks from hackers and bots.
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your web content easier for search engines like Google to index …
(SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help drive more traffic by improving the search engine friendliness of your website)
Use a plugin like Yoast SEO (previously called WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your SEO. When properly configured, this plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines to find, classify and index, it also lets you specify how to present your content in Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and GooglePlus.
WordPress Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing visitors to easily share your content with others online can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if you publish content that adds real value to readers.
(You can add social sharing buttons to your site easily with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
You can easily add social sharing features to your website using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
Many social share plugins allow you to choose which social sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom update notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content which visitors can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.
Configuring WordPress Theme Settings For Traffic Generation
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help grow your site’s traffic.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your site, some themes also give you built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site navigation structure for better indexing, easily add analytics, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in traffic optimization features)
With a number of WordPress themes, adding social sharing buttons to your site is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes have built-in social sharing features that can be easily enabled on with the click of a button)
Other Areas To Configure For Improved Traffic Flow
Last but not least in the traffic configuration process, are the components that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
This includes the following:
Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in visitor numbers, it’s important to plan not only for both good and unwanted traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong when more and more people begin to visit your website.
If you do business online (or plan to), you need to ensure that your site remains compliant with all government regulations.
We have written a detailed article on the importance of having a legally compliant website here:
Tags & categories help to improve your site’s search optimization, which helps you get more traffic.
(Post categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better organize and index your web pages.)
When looking at 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 Site Map
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 tools discover more of your site’s 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. An HTML site map is a web page that links to all other content on your site, while an XML sitemap is mostly just a bunch of code that only search engine bots can understand. Although Google will index your pages just using an XML sitemap (which plugins 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 Not Found – Another Source Of Web Traffic!
When online users enter the wrong web address into their browser or click on hyperlinks pointing to pages on your site that no longer exist, they will typically be greeted with a 404 Not Found error page …
(A WordPress 404 Not Found error page)
Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to redirect traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 error page can be set up on your web server, there are several plugins for WordPress that allow you to easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once your website or blog has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you need to do then is add content consistently to start attracting web traffic organically.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, can be quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of a number of different elements and external web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The knowledge and expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site can take some web professionals a long time to learn.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate as much of the process as you can. This step is covered in the next article in the series.
This is the end of Section 3
To keep reading about this topic, click here:
- Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part Four – Learn How To Automatically Increase Your Web Visitors For Your Business With WordPress
This article is part of a comprehensive series of articles aimed at helping site owners learn how to grow their business online inexpensively and drive traffic organically with a WordPress-powered website and proven marketing methods that are easy to implement.
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