Welcome to Part 3 of our Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your site using WordPress.
In Part 1 of this series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to generating automated traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress site, all you have to do is publish great content consistently to automatically start generating new traffic!)
In Part Two, we focused on critical setup decisions. 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 site has been built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section of the series, we will look at the configuration phase of this process. You will understand what makes an expertly configured site different, and how much work is required to make sure that when all is set up and fully configured, you can automatically get web traffic just by regularly posting content to your site.
WordPress Traffic Automation System – Configuration Phase
Finding ways to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by business owners as the greatest challenge they face online. With business becoming so much more competitive on a global scale, it’s worth learning about any advantage available to get better results online.
The ability to automatically generate traffic on demand can provide website owners with a tremendous advantage over the competition. With an expertly configured WordPress site, you have an immediate advantage from the very beginning.
The Configuration Process Is What Makes All 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 developer but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress has to offer.
Here is a simple way to describe the differences:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a professional web presence and online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured website gives you a professional web presence and an automated online business marketing system!)
Not only does it take extra work to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, but also a special kind of expertise.
To illustrate this here is a joke.
A True Story (Kind Of) …
Things are going just fine in the widget workshop when suddenly, everything stops working.
As no one can figure out what’s happened, the floor manager decides to call in an expert to try and fix the problem.
Shortly after arriving, the expert heads straight towards the main control box. After staring silently at the schematics for no more than 3 minutes or so, the expert then takes out a little hammer and makes a single tap about two inches from the top-left side of the box.
Immediately, everything springs back to life.
The floor manager is filled with joy as he thanks the expert, who leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days later, the manager receives an invoice for the amount of $5,000.
Bewildered and confused, the manager rings the expert. Why were they charged such a ludicrous fee for so little time delivering such a minimal amount of work? He then requests an itemized invoice and hangs up.
The next day, a bill of payment arrives and is placed on the manager’s desk. Upon opening it, this is what he sees:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive new traffic to their sites.
In the above story, how much money did the widget factory stand to lose when production ground to a halt and no one in the business had the expertise to get things up and running again? Did the expert not have every right to be compensated fairly for years spent building up the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to immediately assess and fix a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your website configured so all you have to do is publish new content and search engines, social networks 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 driving traffic to your website?)
While experts often make difficult things look simple, it rarely is that simple or easy when you are trying to work things out.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site involves more than adding some pages with content and configuring a few internal settings. It requires knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which programs need to be installed for certain things to occur on your site.
- Which 3rd-party services you need to set up to get desired results
- Which settings need to be configured to ensure that processes will work as planned, etc.
(Generating web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
Although this stage of the WordPress traffic automation system may not seem so technically difficult, it can be quite involved. The reason why is because it’s not just about installing and configuring one or two plugins, tweaking some options and settings in your admin area … it’s all this and so much more.
The configuration phase involves the integration of various different components including your web hosting 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 activities involved in the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplified diagram showing the configuration phase)
Let’s take a better look at these steps.
Web Server Configuration
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your web hosting account for website installation purposes. What we are talking about, is configuring settings and options in your hosting account specifically for handling all web traffic …
(In the configuration stage, your hosting account settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is welcome traffic. Some of the web traffic your website can attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, is all about evaluating your needs, planning for good and unwanted traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This could include things like configuring spam protection and securing server files, to configuring domain and email forwarding, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page errors, etc?)
Once your server settings have been fine-tuned and configured, the next step is to configure various external sites or online services.
The basic idea of choosing external sites is that all content will get posted to a central location (your site) and from there, it will be distributed automatically to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
After incorporating these external services into your network, content pointing back to your site gets automatically fed to these platforms. Your content and site will be given additional exposure to new sources of traffic and new audiences.
Some of these external 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 Webmaster Tools – create a Google-friendly website or blog)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides you with useful information, tools and diagnostic reports about your website.
Once your account has been set up, your information can be used to automate traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO – see further below) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing activities, sales conversions, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine and social media referrers, etc.
After setting up your account, you can add your account information to WordPress using a plugin and send data automatically to many other online applications.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. After setting up your account and entering site details, the information can be used with traffic settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO) and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress offers a self-hosted (WordPress.org) and a hosted (WordPress.com) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you are planning to build a professional business presence online.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great tools, 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 these features into your automated web traffic system in Part 4 of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking Accounts
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media accounts and get new visitors to your site)
You will need your various social media accounts set up 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 pages and attract new traffic to your site.
Make sure you have accounts set up with all the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are loads of social bookmarking sites you can set up accounts with. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just select those that will work well with your system and/or content syndication tools.
(You can syndicate your content to loads of social sites. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Solutions, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of new online technology platforms and content aggregators that can serve 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 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 visitors can follow your website.
There are various platforms that can be incorporated into your own traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these, or to discuss a configuration strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up accounts with external sites, it’s time to configure WordPress.
WordPress Site Configuration
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to make sure that your global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some of the important areas.
Global Settings – WordPress
The WordPress administration area contains a Settings menu that allows you to set up your site’s main settings …
(WordPress menu – Settings)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings Screen)
The Writing Settings section contains one of the most important and often overlooked built-in traffic notification systems available to WordPress users …
(WordPress Settings – Writing Settings Screen)
As described below the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have intentionally chosen to prevent search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically notify the services entered into the Update Services section
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, this section contains only one entry …
(Writing Settings – WordPress Update Services)
You can notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress …
(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 visitors 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 content vs a summary of your post, affects how your content shows up in RSS readers and RSS email campaigns, and could play a part in someone’s decision to explore your site 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 your traffic system is concerned, however, the main setting in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility check box is ticked or not.
Normally, you would want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows your site to instantly notify all the update services you have specified in the Update Services field when new posts get 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 …
(WordPress Settings – 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 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)
Permalinks allow you to create SEO-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalinks)
Here are some of the ways your permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring SEO-friendly URLs)
We have written a detailed tutorial about using permalinks here: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
WordPress – Plugins
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that help to add almost every kind of functionality to your website, including plugins with features that help to improve traffic generation.
Let’s look at some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
Blog Defender WordPress Security Plugin
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, you cannot afford to ignore the importance of web security.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your website invisible to hackers and bots.
Go here for more info:
- How To Make Your WP Site Invisible To Botnets And Hackers With Blog Defender Security Plugin For WordPress
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your web pages easily indexable …
(SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help increase traffic by making your site more search engine friendly)
Use a plugin like Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your SEO. Once properly configured, this plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines to find, classify and index, it also gives you control over how your content is presented to Google’s search results and social media sites Twitter, Facebook, and GooglePlus.
Allowing visitors to easily share your content with others can help drive significant traffic to your site, especially if you provide great content that adds real value to readers.
(You can add social sharing features to your site easily with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
There are many free or inexpensive social sharing plugins to choose from.
Many social sharing plugins let you specify 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 followers), etc. Some social plugins even allow you to set up protected content areas on your site which users can unlock by sharing your page.
Configuring WordPress Theme Settings
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help you drive more traffic to your site.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your site, many themes also give you built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site navigation structure for better indexing, add tracking code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes allow you to configure settings and options for improved traffic results)
With a number of quality themes, adding social sharing buttons and features to your pages 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)
WordPress Traffic Configuration – Other Features
Last but not least in the configuration process, are the elements that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
Compliance Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in traffic, it’s important to plan not only for both good and unwanted traffic but also for all the situations that can seriously affect your business when more and more people begin to visit your website.
If you do business online, you need to ensure that your website stays compliant with government regulations.
If you need help adding compliance pages to WordPress, go here:
Tags & categories help to improve your site’s search optimization, which helps you get more traffic.
(Post categories help improve traffic by improving your site’s search engine optimization.)
When considering ways to automate and improve web traffic, you will want to review and make sure that the post tags and post categories that have been set up.
Add A WordPress 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 find your online content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for traffic too!)
Note: An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are two different things. Although Google can index your site just using an XML sitemap (which a plugin like Yoast SEO can provide – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
Your Site’s 404 Error Page
When visitors searching for your website type in the wrong URL into their web browser or click on a link pointing to an incorrect destination on your website, they are presented with a 404 Not Found page …
(Default WordPress 404 Page)
A 404 page can be configured to funnel traffic to your functional pages …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 Not Found error page can be set up on your server, there are WordPress plugins that allow you to easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic System: Configuration Process – Summary
Once your site has been fully set up and expertly configured, all you have to do then to automatically drive more web traffic is publish web content regularly.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, can be quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of different elements and web properties …
(WP Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of knowledge and expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site can take many website developers a long time to acquire.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate as much of the process as can be automated. This step is explained in the next section of our series.
This is the end of Section 3
To keep reading this article, click here:
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive series of articles designed to help business owners learn how to grow their business online with a WordPress website and proven web marketing strategies.
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