Welcome to Part Three of our Web Site Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to drive traffic automatically to your website using the WordPress CMS platform.
In Part 1 of this series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website or blog is the key to generating automated web traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress site, all you have to do to automatically bring traffic is add fresh content on a regular basis!)
In Part Two, we looked at the setup phase. We explained the best way to start if you don’t have a website yet, how to set everything up if you already have a website, and what to do if your site has been built using WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you how to set up a WordPress website or blog on your domain)
In this article, we discuss the configuration phase of the traffic system. You will understand what makes an expertly configured site different from a professionally configured website, and how much work is required to ensure that when everything is set up and configured, traffic will automatically start flowing simply by regularly publishing fresh content on your site.
WordPress Traffic Automation System – Configuration Phase
Finding ways to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by most website owners as one of the greatest challenges they face online. Businesses are becoming so much more competitive and are looking for any opportunity they can to improve their performance and results online.
Having the ability to automatically generate traffic on demand is a huge advantage over other competitors. For WordPress users, an expertly configured website means having a significant advantage from the very start.
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 an expert website developer but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress can offer.
Here is a simple way to understand the difference:
An expertly configured WordPress website gives you a professional web presence plus online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured site gives you a professional web presence with a built-in automated online business marketing system!)
Not only is additional work required 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 point with an anecdote.
Are Experts Worth The Money They Charge?
Things are going fine in the gizmo workshop when all of a sudden, the machinery stops.
As no one can figure out what went wrong, the floor manager decides to call in an expert.
Shortly after arriving, the expert walks straight towards the control box. After staring silently at the schematics for about 3 minutes, the expert then produces a tiny little hammer and makes a very gentle tap about one cm from the right-hand edge of the unit.
Immediately, the whole workshop lights up and begins to work once more.
The plant manager is grateful and relieved as he thanks the expert, who leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days later, the factory manager receives an invoice for $5,000.
Outraged and bewildered, the manager picks up the phone and dials the expert. Demanding to know why they were charged so much for less than five minutes work, he promptly requests an itemized invoice and hangs up.
The next day, an invoice notice arrives and is placed on the manager’s desk. Upon opening it, this is what he sees:
The #1 challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive new visitors to their sites.
How much money did the widget factory stand to lose when production stopped working and no one in the business was able to get things up and running again? Did the expert in our story not have the right to demand fair compensation for investing years developing the knowledge and expertise that allowed him to quickly assess and fix a costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your WordPress website or blog fully set up and configured so all you have to do is publish content to it and search engines, social networks 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 driving traffic to your site?)
Although many experts often make difficult things look simple, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site involves more than adding some pages with content and configuring basic settings. It also requires knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things such as:
- Which plugins you need to install to add various functionalities to your site.
- Which 3rd-party accounts need to be set up and activated to achieve specific outcomes
- Which options need to be configured in order to make sure processes will work as expected, etc.
(Generating new 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 involved. It’s not as simple as installing a piece of software, configuring some settings in your dashboard area or clicking a couple of buttons … it’s all this and so much more.
Expertly configuring your website is a process that involves your server, your site, and various external sites …
(The configuration phase involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we try to flowchart the activities involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplified diagram showing the activities involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s take a brief look at these areas.
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 in your web-hosting account that affect how your website will handle web traffic …
(In the configuration phase, your server settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is welcome traffic. Some of the web traffic your site may attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This area of the configuration process, therefore, is all about evaluating your needs, planning for both bad and good traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This could include looking at things like integrating spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring your domain and email redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page errors, etc?)
After your server settings have been checked and configured (if required), the next step of the configuration phase is to set up a number of external sites.
Configuring External Sites
The purpose of adding external sites is that all of your content will get published from one central location (your site) and from there, it will get distributed automatically to other parts of your web traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once these external platforms have been added to your setup, content with links pointing back to your site gets automatically syndicated to search, social and aggregator sites. Your content and business will receive exposure online, helping you tap into a whole new audience and traffic source.
Some third-party web properties and online solutions will need to be set up before configuring your settings to speed up the configuration 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 site)
Google Search Console lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides site owners with important data, tools, and reports about their website.
Once your account is set up, you can use your information to automate web traffic-related settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s traffic 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 have been set up, you can add tracking information to WordPress using a plugin and send data automatically to other applications.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. Once your account and site data with Bing have been set up, this information can be used to automate web traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
As explained in Part Two, WordPress offers a self-hosted and a hosted option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you are planning to grow a professional online presence for your business.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great features, which can be accessed by various WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate this into your automated web traffic system in the next installment of this article series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media pages 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 get new traffic to your site.
Make sure you have profiles set up with all the main social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can You can syndicate your content to many social sites. You don’t need to go crazy, just select those that will work well with your setup and/or content syndication tools (we discuss some of these tools in more detail further below and during the Automation phase).
(There are loads of social sites you can syndicate your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Sites, Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of emerging web platforms and RSS 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.
For example, here is a content aggregator that lets you add your WordPress blog feed …
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your own RebelMouse page.
There are many different sites and platforms you can incorporate into your traffic system. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to explore this area further and 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 settings.
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to make sure that its global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some key areas.
By default, all WordPress installations include a Settings menu that allows you to configure your site’s global settings …
(WordPress settings section)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search listings, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings Screen)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most important and frequently overlooked 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 have intentionally configured your site settings to prevent search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically ping the list of services entered into the Update Services box
By default, this section lists only one entry …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature Of WordPress)
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 …
(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 in this section can influence web traffic. For example, your choice to display the full content vs a summary of your post, affects how your content displays to users in RSS feeds and blog post digests, and could impact someone’s choice to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your website 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 main setting here is whether the Search Engine Visibility checkbox is enabled or not.
Generally, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows WordPress to automatically notify your list of update services whenever new posts are published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason to discourage search engines from visiting 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 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 …
(Global Settings – Discussion Settings Screen)
Your Permalink settings allow you to create SEO-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalinks)
Here are some of the ways your permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring post permalinks)
We have created a detailed tutorial about using WP permalinks here: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that help to add almost every type of functionality to your website, including many plugins that improve 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 dealing with both good traffic and bad traffic. No site is completely safe from cyber attacks.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress site invisible to botnets and hackers.
Go here to learn more:
- Prevent Malicious Cyber Attacks On Your WordPress Web Site From Hackers With Blog Defender Security Plugin
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by improving your site’s SEO …
(SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help drive more traffic by improving the search engine friendliness of your website)
A plugin like Yoast SEO (previously called WordPress SEO by Yoast) can significantly improve your site’s SEO. Properly configured, this plugin not only makes your site 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 pages, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
WordPress Social Plugins
Allowing your visitors to share your content online can help drive significant traffic to your site, especially if your site provides content that adds value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing to their website using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
You can easily add social sharing to your site using WordPress plugins.
Most social share plugins let you select which sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some social sharing plugins even allow you to set up protected content sections on your pages which visitors can unlock by liking your page.
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help improve your site’s traffic generation capabilities.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring the layout and design of your site, many themes also include built-in features that let you improve SEO and site navigation structure for better indexing, add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes can be configured for improved traffic results)
With many quality themes, adding social sharing features to your website is as easy as clicking a few buttons to configure your options and enable the feature …
(Many WordPress themes provide built-in social sharing features that can be easily enabled on with the click of a button)
Additional Configuration Aspects For WordPress Traffic Automation
Last (but by no means least) in the traffic configuration process, are the things that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
Legal Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for an increase in traffic, it’s important to plan not only for how to deal with good and bad 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 business online (or plan to), you need to make sure that your website is compliant with regulatory agencies.
We have created a detailed article on why it’s important to have a legally compliant website here:
Post categories & tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better index your web pages.
(WordPress post categories help to improve your site’s SEO, which helps you get more traffic.)
When configuring your website to automate and improve traffic, 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 lists all of your pages and posts to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external sites find more of your site’s content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are two 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 code that only search bots can understand. Although search engines like Google will index your site just using an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO can provide – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
Configure Your Site’s 404 Page Not Found
When visitors searching for your website enter the wrong URL into their web browser or click on a hyperlink pointing to a destination on your site that no longer exists, they will normally be greeted with a 404 Not Found error page …
(A WordPress 404 Not Found page)
A 404 page can be configured to redirect confused visitors to your functional pages …
(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 in your server, there are plugins for WordPress that allow you to easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once your site has been fully set up and expertly configured, all you need to do then is add content on a consistent basis to start generating more traffic.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, is quite involved and elaborate and requires the configuration and integration of a number of different elements and external web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site can take many website professionals months to learn.
Once you have expertly configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is covered in the next section of our series.
This is the end of Part Three
To continue reading this article, click here:
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive series of articles designed to help you learn how to grow your business online inexpensively and drive traffic organically using a WordPress-driven website and proven web marketing strategies.
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