Welcome to Part Three of our Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to drive new visitors automatically 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 web traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website, all you have to do to automatically drive traffic is add fresh content regularly!)
In Part 2, we discussed the setup phase of this process. We helped you understand the best way to get started 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 was built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you where to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section, we look at the configuration phase of the WordPress traffic automation system. We will explain why an expertly configured site is different from a professionally configured site. You will also understand how much work is required to make sure that when all is set up and configured, visitors will automatically start flowing whenever you post new content on your site.
WordPress Traffic System – Configuration
Being able to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by website owners as the greatest challenge they face online. With competition making business survival progressively tougher businesses are researching any advantage they can that can help you get better results online.
Having the ability to generate traffic on demand can provide you with a huge advantage over the competition. An expertly configured WordPress site gives your business a flying start and an immediate advantage online.
The Configuration Stage Is The Difference
There is a difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site 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’s one way to describe the main difference:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a web presence plus an automated online business marketing tool!
(An expertly configured website gives you a web presence with a built-in automated online business marketing system!)
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’s illustrate this with an amusing story.
A True Story (Kind Of) …
Things were humming along in the widget-making plant when everything ground to a sudden stop.
No one could figure out what went wrong and so the plant manager decided to call in an expert to fix the problem.
Soon afterwards, the expert arrived and, without saying a word, headed immediately towards the control box. After staring at the wiring diagrams for what seemed like 5 minutes, the expert then produced a little hammer and made a gentle tap about two cm from the right edge of the box.
Immediately, the assembly line came back to life.
The floor manager was grateful and relieved as he thanked the expert, who left just as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days after resolving the incident, the manager received a request for payment of $5,000.
The manager dialed the expert, demanding to know why he had charged them so much for less than 5 minutes work and promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, a bill of payment arrived and was placed in the manager’s in-tray. Upon opening it, this is what he saw:
The #1 challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive traffic to their sites.
In the above story, how much money did the plant stand to lose when the equipment stopped working and no one in the factory floor had the expertise to fix it? Did the expert in our story not have every right to demand fair compensation for years spent acquiring the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to immediately assess and repair a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your WordPress web site configured so all you had to do is publish content to it and search engines, social media and dozens of other traffic-generating web properties would be immediately 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 often seems quite easy once implemented, it rarely is that simple or easy when you are trying to figure things out.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site involves more than installing a website and configuring a few basic settings. It also involves knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which plugins need to be installed for specific things to occur on your site.
- Which services need to be set up and activated to get desired results
- Which internal and external settings need to be configured in order to make sure things function as expected, etc.
(Generating traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
Although this stage of the WordPress traffic automation system may not seem technically challenging, it can be quite involved. This is because it’s not as simple as installing and configuring a plugin, clicking a couple of buttons … it’s all this and so much more.
The configuration stage involves the integration of many components including your web server, your website, and a number of external sites and/or online services …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If the activities involved in the configuration process were to be flowcharted, it would look like this …
(A simplistic flowchart showing all the steps involved in the configuration process)
Let’s take a look at these steps in more detail.
Configuring Your Server
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your webhosting account for installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about tweaking settings and options in your web server specifically for handling web traffic …
(During the configuration stage, your server settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is positive traffic. Some of the web traffic your business may attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This part of the configuration process, therefore, is all about planning for good and bad traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This could include things like integrating spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring domain and email forwarding, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like emails, page error redirects, etc?)
After checking your web server settings and configuring these (if required), the next step is to configure various third-party sites and/or online services.
Configuring External Sites
The basic idea of choosing external sites is that all content is posted to a central location (your site) and from there, it gets distributed automatically to other parts of your web traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once these external platforms have been added to your configuration, content with links pointing back to your website gets automatically fed to search, social and aggregator sites. Your business will be exposed to new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some external sites will need to be set up before configuring your site to speed up the process and some will need to be done later, during the automation phase.
For example, you will want to set up the following accounts:
(Google Webmasters – create a Google-friendly site)
Google Webmasters lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of useful information, SEO tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
Once your account and site details with Google have been set up, use the details to automate web 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 website’s traffic results, SEO, user engagement, marketing efforts, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrers, etc.
After setting up your Once you have set up Google Analytics, you can add tracking code to WordPress using a plugin and feed data instantly to various other useful applications.
(Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. Once your account with Bing Webmaster Tools are set up, this information can be used with traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO) 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 plan to grow a professional online presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great features, which a number of WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account at 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 Accounts
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media sites and social bookmarking accounts and attract new traffic to your site)
You will need to have already set up your various social media and social bookmarking accounts in order to 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 accounts and drive new traffic to your site.
You should have profiles with all of the big social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
There are loads of social bookmarking sites you can set up. You don’t need to go crazy, just pick the ones that will work well with your setup and/or content sharing tools.
(There are loads of social bookmarking sites you can post your content to. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Services, Content Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of emerging platforms and RSS aggregators that can act as secondary traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free levels, and some offer a range of pricing plans to suit different user types.
For example, here is a content aggregator that allows you to add an RSS feed from your site …
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your social feed.
There are various sites and platforms you can add to your own traffic blueprint. Please 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 external service accounts, it’s time to configure your WordPress settings.
WordPress – Configuring Your Web Site For Traffic
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to make sure that its global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some of the important areas.
By default, your WordPress administration area includes a Settings section that allows you to modify your site’s main settings …
(WordPress admin menu – Settings)
Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search listings, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings Section)
The Writing Settings area contains an important and often overlooked automated traffic notification system …
(WordPress Settings – Writing Settings Area)
As stated in the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you or your webmaster have purposely configured your settings to prevent search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically notify the services entered into the Update Services box
By default, when WordPress is installed, only one service is available …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature)
You can notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress …
(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 visitors will see your content when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings in this section can influence web traffic. For example, choosing to display the full text vs a summary of your post, affects how your content displays 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 site to read the rest of the content from excerpts, 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 in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility checkbox is enabled or not.
Normally, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows your site to instantly ping your list of update services whenever new posts are published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, do not check this box …
(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings Screen)
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 you to create search engine-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalinks)
The examples below show some of the ways SEO-friendly URLs can be configured …
(Configuring post permalinks)
We have created a detailed tutorial on using permalinks here: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
WordPress Plugins – Configuration
The WordPress developer community makes available thousands of plugins that help to add just about every type of functionality to your website, including many plugins that improve traffic generation.
Here are examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help to bring more visitors to your site
Once again, it’s important to configure your WordPress site for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. No web site is completely safe from being attacked by hackers.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to malicious attacks from hackers and botnets.
Go here for more info:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your web content easily indexable …
(Yoast SEO – WP Plugin)
A plugin like Yoast SEO can significantly improve your SEO. When properly configured, this plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines like Google and Bing to find and index, it also gives you control over how your content is displayed in Google’s search results and social media sites Twitter, Facebook, and GooglePlus.
Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing your visitors to share your content with their friends and networks can help drive significant traffic to your site, especially if you post content that adds value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social features to their site with free or inexpensive plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing features to their site using WordPress plugins.
Most social sharing plugins allow you to specify which social sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some social plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content or downloads which visitors can unlock by liking your page.
WP Traffic Generation Theme Features
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 layout and design aspects of your site, some themes also give you built-in options for improving search optimization and site linking structure for faster indexing, easily add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes like Graphene (a free theme) include built-in traffic optimization features)
With many quality themes, adding social sharing buttons to your content is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons and enabling the function …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in social sharing features)
WordPress Traffic System Configuration – Additional Steps
Last (but by no means least) in the web traffic configuration process, are the elements that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
This includes the following:
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 things that can go wrong when more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you engage in any form of business online, you need to make sure that your website complies with regulatory agencies.
For a detailed article on why it’s important to have a legally compliant website, see this article:
Post categories and tags help to improve your site’s search engine optimization, which helps you get more traffic.
(Post categories help search engines index your pages, which helps to increase traffic.)
When looking at ways to automate and improve web traffic, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post categories and tags have been set up correctly to deliver optimal benefits.
A Site Map Of Your Posts And Pages
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 applications find more of your website 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 not the same thing. HTML site maps are web pages that provide readers with a an understandable map of how your content is organized, while XML sitemaps contain code that only search bots can read. 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.
404 Page – A Source Of Lost Traffic Opportunities!
When visitors searching for your site enter the wrong URL or click on an invalid hyperlink, they will normally be presented with a 404 error page …
(A WordPress 404 Not Found error page)
Configuring your 404 page allows you to redirect traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to recover web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 error page can be set up in your web server, there are several WordPress plugins that let you easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Process – Summary
Once your site has been fully set up and expertly configured, all you need to do then is post web content on a consistent basis to automatically start generating web traffic.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and requires the configuration and integration of different components and external web properties …
(WordPress Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site can take some website professionals a long time to acquire.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is addressed in the next article in our WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint series.
This is the end of Section 3
To continue reading this article, click on the link below:
- Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – Discover How To Automatically Generate More Website Traffic For Your Business With WordPress
This tutorial is part of an tutorial series aimed at helping you learn how to grow your business online cost-effectively using a WordPress website and proven marketing methods that are easy and quick to implement.
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"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum