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WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint – Part 3 (Configuration)

Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your site using the WordPress CMS platform.

In Part One of this series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to generating automated traffic …

(With an expertly configured WordPress site, all you have to do is publish new content consistently to automatically generate web traffic!)

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 things up if you already have a site, and what to do if your existing website was built with WordPress.

(In Part 2 we show you how to set up a WordPress site on your domain)

In this section, we will discuss the configuration phase of the traffic blueprint. We will show you how a WordPress site should be configured to ensure that new web traffic will automatically start flowing when you publish web content on your website.

WordPress Web Traffic Automation Blueprint – Configuration

Finding ways to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by most business owners as their greatest challenge online. Also, the business landscape is becoming so much more competitive on a global scale and businesses are researching any opportunity they can to get better results online.

Being able to automatically generate traffic on demand is a tremendous advantage over the competition. For businesses, an expertly configured website gives WordPress users a flying start from the moment their website is launched.

Configuration Is The Difference

There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally set up by a website-building expert but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.

Here is a simple way to describe the difference:

An expertly configured WordPress website gives you a professional web presence with an automated online business marketing tool!

(An expertly configured site gives you a professional web presence with a built-in automated online business marketing tool!)

Not only are more steps required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, but also a special type of expert knowledge.

Let’s illustrate this with an amusing anecdote.

Knowing Where To Tap

Things were moving along in the widget plant when everything came to a sudden stop.

No one could figure out what has happened and so the manager decided to call in an expert.

Shortly after arriving, the expert headed immediately towards the main control box. After staring at the box for no more than 5 minutes, the expert then took out a little hammer from his tool belt and made a gentle tap near the right edge of the box.

Immediately, everything came back to life.

The manager was delighted as he thanked the expert, who left as quickly as he had arrived.

A few days after resolving the incident, the manager received an invoice for the amount of $5,000.

The factory manager dialled the expert, demanding to know why they had been charged such an exorbitant fee for so little time spent delivering a minimal amount of work and then requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.

The next day, an invoice arrived in the manager’s in-tray. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he saw:

The #1 challenge most businesses face online is being able to consistently drive web traffic to their sites.

How much money did the gizmo plant stand to lose when production ground to a halt and no one in the factory floor had the expertise to get things up and running again? Did the expert in our story not have every right to get paid fairly for having spent years developing the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to immediately fix a costly problem?

Similarly, if you could have a WP website or blog set up and configured so all you had to do is publish content to it and search engines, social followers from Facebook and LinkedIn and dozens of other online properties would be instantly 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 experts often make difficult solutions look simple, it rarely is that simple or easy.

Expertly configuring a WordPress site is more than adding some pages with content and configuring a few settings. It involves knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things such as:

(Driving new traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)

Although this stage of the traffic automation system may not seem so technically difficult, it can be quite involved. It’s not just about installing and configuring a solution, clicking a button, or configuring some settings in your admin area … it’s all this and so much more.

Expertly configuring your website involves the integration of many different parts such as your web hosting server, your WordPress site, and various third-party sites and services …

(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring some settings in WordPress)

If all the steps involved in the configuration process were to be flowcharted, it would look like this …

(A simplistic diagram of all the steps involved in the configuration process)

Let’s take a look at what’s involved in more detail.

Your Web Server

We’re not talking about the process of configuring your hosting account for website installation purposes. We’re talking about configuring settings in your web server specifically for handling all web traffic …

(In the configuration stage, your web server settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)

Not all traffic is beneficial traffic. Some of the traffic your site will attract will be unwanted traffic like bot spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.

This part of the configuration process, therefore, requires planning for bad and good traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This could include things like configuring server-level spam protection and threat prevention, to configuring your domain and email redirections, setting up htaccess and 404 redirections, etc …

(Have you configured your webhosting settings for handling things like emails, page error redirections, etc?)

After your web server settings have been checked and configured (if required), the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various external sites or online services.

External Services

The idea behind setting up external sites is that all of your content should be published from a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will radiate outwards to other components of your web traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.

Once these external services have been added to your traffic network, content with links pointing back to your site gets automatically added to these platforms. Your content and business will be exposed to a new audience and source of traffic.

Some of these sites and services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your site 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 Webmaster Tools

(Google Webmaster Tools)

Google Webmasters lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of essential data, SEO tools, and reports about their website.

After setting up your Google Search Console account and entering site data, you can use your details with web traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.

Google Analytics

(Google Analytics)

Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing activities, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrals, etc.

Once your Google Analytics account has been set up, traffic tracking information can be integrated with WordPress using any of several Google Analytics plugins used with other applications.

Bing Webmaster Tools

(Drive more traffic with Bing Data And Tools)

Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. Once your account with Bing Webmaster Tools are set up, this information can be used to integrate and automate traffic-related settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.

WordPress.com

(WordPress.com)

As discussed in Part Two, WordPress offers both the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you plan to build a professional business presence online.

WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great features, which a number of WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate this into your automated traffic generation system in the next installment of this article series.

Social Media

(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and get new visitors to your site)

You will need your social accounts set up in order to integrate these with your traffic generation system.

After setting up and configuring everything, you will be able to syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and drive new traffic to your site.

Make sure you have pages set up with all the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.

There are lots 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 setup and/or content syndication tools.

(There are loads of social sites you can syndicate your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)

Additional Sites, RSS Aggregators, Etc.

There are many online platforms and RSS aggregators that can act as secondary-level sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free levels, and some are paid services.

For example, here is a content aggregator site that allows you to add your WordPress blog feed …

RebelMouse

(RebelMouse – Publishing platform for distributed content)

RebelMouse is an aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your social feed.

There are many different platforms you can incorporate into your own web traffic system. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these, or to discuss a configuration strategy to suit your needs.

After you have configured your server settings and set up accounts with external services, it’s time to configure your WordPress site.

WordPress Traffic Configuration

The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to ensure 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 modify your site’s global settings …

(WordPress admin menu – Settings)

General Settings

Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search results, etc …

(Global Settings – General Settings Section)

Writing

The Writing Settings area contains an important and often overlooked traffic notification system …

(Settings Menu – Writing Settings Screen)

As described below the Update Services section title,

When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …

Unless you or your webmaster have intentionally configured your settings to discourage 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

With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, this section displays only one entry …

(Writing Settings – Update Services)

WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically …

(Notify dozens of update services automatically!)

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.

Reading Settings

This section affects how your content gets seen by visitors when they visit your home page and blog pages.

The syndication settings in this section can influence traffic. For example, choosing to display the full content vs summaries 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 excerpts, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.

The main setting here as far as traffic is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility checkbox is enabled or not.

Typically, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows your site to automatically ping all the update services you have listed when a new post is 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 unticked …

(Global Settings – Reading Settings Screen)

Discussion Settings

Although this section is 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 …

(Global Settings – Discussion Settings Screen)

Permalinks

Permalinks allow you to display posts with SEO-friendly URLs …

(Settings Menu – Permalink Settings Section)

Here are some of the options for configuring your site’s post permalinks …

(Configuring permalinks)

We have created a detailed tutorial on using WordPress permalinks here: How To Change Your WordPress Permalinks

Plugins

The WordPress developer community makes available thousands of plugins that can add almost every type of functionality imaginable to your website, including plugins with features that help to improve 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 WordPress site for dealing with the effects of both good traffic and bad traffic. No blog is completely safe from cyber attacks.

(Security Plugins help prevent bad traffic from causing your website harm)

Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to bots and hackers.

More information:

SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO

SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your website more search engine friendly …

(WP Plugins For SEO – Yoast SEO)

Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO (previously called WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your SEO. Properly configured, this plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines like Google and Bing to find and index, it also lets you specify how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Social Sharing Plugins

Allowing your visitors to share your content online can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if you provide content that adds value to readers.

(You can add social sharing buttons to your site easily using WordPress plugins)

There are loads of social sharing plugins available for WordPress.

Most social plugins allow you to choose which social sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of likes), etc. Some social sharing plugins even allow you to protect content or downloads which visitors can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.

Theme Settings

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 layout and design of your website, many themes also include options for improving search optimization and site navigation structure for better indexing, easily add analytics snippets, social sharing buttons, etc …

(Many themes come with built-in traffic optimization features)

With a number of themes, adding social sharing buttons and features to your pages is as easy as selecting the option to enable this functions …

(Many WordPress themes come with built-in social sharing features)

Configuring Other Features Of WordPress For Increased Traffic Flow

Last but not least in the traffic configuration process, are the areas that need to be set up outside of the global settings.

This includes:

Website Legal Pages

Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in visitor numbers, it’s important to plan not only for how to handle bad and good traffic but also for all the situations that can seriously affect your business as more and more people start finding and visiting your website.

If you engage in any form of business online (or are planning to), you need to make sure that your website is found to comply with legal requirements of government agencies that regulate business practices online.

(Does Your Site Comply With All Legal Requirements?)

To learn more about the importance of having a legally compliant website, refer to this article:

Post Categories & Post Tags

WordPress categories and tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to classify and index your website.

(Post categories help improve traffic by improving your site’s SEO.)

As we strongly recommend in this article, it’s best to discuss and set up your website’s categories and tags during the Website Planning Stages.

In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post tags and post categories have been correctly set up to deliver optimal results.

A Site Map Of Your Pages and Posts

A site map that displays all of your site’s pages and posts to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool, 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!)

Note: 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, whereas an XML sitemap contains code that only search engines can understand. Although Google will index your pages just from 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 results in increased traffic.

Your Site’s 404 Page

When visitors type in the wrong URL or click on links pointing to pages on your site that no longer exist, they are greeted with a 404 page …

(A 404 Not Found error page)

Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to recover web traffic that may otherwise be lost. …

(Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.)

Although a 404 Not Found page can be set up in your web server, there are plugins for WordPress that allow you to easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin.

WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Stage – Summary

Once your site has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you then need to do to automatically start driving traffic is publish new content consistently.

The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of a number of different elements and web properties …

(Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)

The knowledge and expertise required to perform the configuration process can take many website developers months to learn.

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 article in the WordPress Traffic Automation System series.

This is the end of Section Three

To read more, click here:

This tutorial is part of an article series designed to help site owners learn how to grow their business online cost-effectively with a WordPress-powered website and proven web marketing strategies.

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