Welcome to Part 3 of our WordPress Web Site Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to drive visitors automatically to your website using the WordPress CMS platform.
In Part One of this article series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to generating automated traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website or blog, all you have to do to begin bringing more traffic is post great content on a consistent basis!)
In Part 2, we focused on 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 things up if you already have a website, and what to do if your existing site has been built with WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you how to set up a WordPress web site on your domain)
In this article, we will discuss the configuration phase of the WordPress traffic automation system. You will understand why an expertly configured site is different. You will also learn what type of work is required to make sure that when everything is fully set up and configured, you can attract new visitors automatically when you begin to publish web content to your web site.
WordPress Web Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase
The ability to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by many website owners as one of the greatest challenges they face online. Also, the business landscape is becoming increasingly more competitive worldwide and businesses are exploring any advantage they can that can help you get better results online.
Having the ability to generate traffic on demand can provide website owners with a huge advantage over other competitors. For WordPress users, having an expertly configured website means having an immediate advantage from the very start.
Configuration Is The Difference
There is a difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally set up by a web-building expert but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress can offer.
Here’s a simple way to understand the differences:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a web presence with an automated online business marketing system!
(An expertly configured website gives you a web presence and a built-in automated online business marketing process!)
Not only does it take additional labor to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, it also takes a special type of expert knowledge.
To illustrate this point here is an anecdote.
Are Experts Worth The Money They Charge?
All was going just fine in the widget-making assembly line when things came to a sudden stop.
No one could figure out what has gone wrong and so the manager decided to call in an expert to try and fix the problem.
Soon afterward, the expert arrived and, without saying a word, went immediately to the main control box. After staring at the schematics for 3 minutes, the expert then took out a teeny-weeny hammer and made a very gentle tap near the left corner of the unit.
Immediately, the whole workshop lit up and returned once again to normal.
The floor manager was greatly relieved as he thanked the expert, who left just as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days after resolving the incident, the factory manager received a request of payment for services for the amount of $5,000.
The manager rang back the expert, demanding to know why the expert had charged them such a ludicrous fee for so little time spent delivering such minimal amount of work. He promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice arrived in the manager’s intray. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he saw:
The main challenge most businesses face online is driving new visitors 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 on the factory floor was able to get things up and running again? Did the expert in our story not have every right to demand fair compensation for investing years developing the knowledge and expertise that allowed him to immediately assess and avert a serious crisis?
Similarly, if you could have your website fully set up and configured so all you had to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and dozens of other web properties would be instantly notified, how much time and money would this save you?
(How much time and money would you save if you could automate the process of attracting new visitors to your website?)
While experts often make difficult solutions look easy, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site requires more than adding some pages with content and configuring a few internal settings. It requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things such as:
- Which plugins need to be installed to get specific functionalities on your site.
- Which third-party accounts need to be set up and activated to get desired outcomes
- Which settings need to be configured in order to make sure things work as you have imagined, etc.
(Generating traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
Although this stage of the WordPress traffic automation system may not seem technically difficult, it can be quite involved and time-consuming. This is because it’s not as simple as installing and configuring a piece of software, clicking on a button or two … it’s all this and much more.
The configuration phase involves the integration of many components including your web hosting server, your website or blog, and various third-party sites and online services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we were to create a simple flowchart showing all the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplified diagram showing the steps involved in the configuration process)
Let’s take a look at these areas in more detail.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your hosting account for site installation purposes. What we are talking about, is tweaking settings in your web server that affect how you will handle all web traffic …
(During the configuration phase, your web server settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is beneficial traffic. Some of the web traffic your business will attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This part of the configuration process, therefore, is all about evaluating your needs, planning for good and bad traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like configuring server-level spam protection and security threat prevention, to configuring your domain and email forwarding, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page errors, etc?)
Once your web server settings have been checked and configured (if required), the next step is to set up and configure various external sites and services.
The idea behind setting up external sites is that all content will be posted to one central location (your site) and from there, it will radiate outwards automatically to other components of your web traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once you add these external sites to your traffic network, content linking back to your site gets automatically syndicated to these platforms, indexed by search engines and shared to other social media sites, even to visitors attracted to the platform itself. Your content and website will be exposed to new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some of these web properties and online services will need to be set up before configuring your WordPress site’s settings to speed up the configuration 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 Search Console)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of essential data, tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
After setting up your Google Search Console account and entering site data, you can use your account information with web traffic settings in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user behaviour, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine and organic referrers, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site data have been set up, traffic monitoring information can be added to WordPress using a plugin and automatically fed to other useful applications and reporting tools.
(Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. After setting up your account and entering site details with Bing Webmaster Tools, you can use your details to integrate and automate web traffic settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
As discussed in Part Two, WordPress provides users with a self-hosted and a hosted option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you plan to build a professional web presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great tools, which various WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate these features into your web traffic system in the next installment of this series.
Social Media Accounts
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media pages and get new visitors to your site)
You will need to have already set up your various social 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 sites and attract new traffic to your site.
Make sure you have accounts and profiles set up with all the big social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are lots of social sites you can syndicate your content to. You don’t need to go crazy, just choose those that will work well with your setup and/or content syndication tools.
(There are loads of social bookmarking sites you can syndicate your content to. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, Content Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of new online web platforms and RSS aggregators that can act as second-tier sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free levels, and some are paid services.
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 displays in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your account.
There are many different platforms that can be incorporated into your web traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these further, or to discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up accounts with external services, it’s time to configure your site.
WordPress – Configuring Your Website Or Blog For Traffic
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to ensure that its global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some of the important areas.
WordPress – Global Settings
By default, WordPress includes a Settings menu that allows you to modify your site’s main settings …
(WordPress admin menu – Settings)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most powerful and often overlooked traffic notification systems available to WordPress users …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings Screen)
As described in this section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you or your webmaster have specifically chosen to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically ping the services entered into the Update Services text box
By default, this section contains only one entry …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically …
(You can 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 influence traffic. For example, your choice of displaying the full text vs summaries of your post, affects how your content appears in RSS feeds and blog post digests, and could impact someone’s choice to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your site to read 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 most important setting here is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is enabled or not.
Normally, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked enables your site to automatically ping various update services when new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, do not check this box …
(Global 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 articles, 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 Section)
Permalinks allow you to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalink Settings)
Here are some of the ways site’s permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring post permalinks)
We have created a detailed tutorial on using permalinks here: How To Set Up WordPress Permalinks
Configuring WordPress Traffic Generation Plugins
The WordPress developer community makes available thousands of plugins that can add just about every kind of functionality imaginable to your website, including plugins that add traffic generation capabilities.
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. Regardless of the 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 website security.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress blog invisible to attacks from hackers and botnets.
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by improving the search engine friendliness of your website …
(WordPress Plugin – Yoast SEO)
A plugin like Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) can improve your website’s SEO. Properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines like Google and Bing to find, crawl and index, it also gives you control over how your content is presented to 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 to increase traffic to your site, especially if you provide great content that adds real value to readers.
(You can add social sharing buttons to your site easily with free or inexpensive plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing to their site with free or inexpensive plugins.
Most social plugins allow you to specify which social sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some social plugins even allow you to set up protected content areas on your pages which users can unlock by liking your page.
Configuring Settings – WP Themes
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help you drive more traffic to your site.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your website, some themes also give you built-in options for improving SEO and site navigation structure for faster indexing, easily add analytics, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes allow you to configure settings for better traffic results)
With a number of themes, adding social sharing buttons and features to your website is as easy as selecting the option to enable this functions …
(Many WordPress themes provide users with built-in social sharing features)
Other Areas To Configure For Better Traffic Results
Last but not least in the web traffic configuration process, are the things that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
This includes the following:
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for both bad and good 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, it’s important that your site remains compliant with regulatory agencies.
If you need help adding compliance pages to WordPress, see this article:
WordPress categories and tags help improve traffic by improving your site’s search engine optimization.
(Categories help search engines index your pages, which helps you get more traffic.)
When considering ways to automate and improve web traffic, you will want to review and make sure that the tags and categories that have been set up.
Add A Site Map
A site map that lists all of your site’s posts and pages to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external tools find your online content …
(Site Map – great for site visitors and beneficial for web traffic too!)
It’s important to note that an HTML site map and an XML sitemap are not the same thing. An HTML site map is a web page that links to all other content on your site, while an XML sitemap contains code that only search engine bots 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 can result in increased traffic.
Your 404 Page
When visitors searching online for your site enter the wrong web address into their browser or click on an invalid link, they are presented with an error page (known as a 404 page) …
(Default WordPress 404 Page)
A 404 Not Found error page can redirect confused visitors to your functional web pages …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found 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 web server, there are WordPress plugins that allow you to easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Process – Summary
Once you have your website fully set up and expertly configured, all you have to do to automatically begin bringing more web traffic is publish new content consistently.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, is quite involved and elaborate and requires the configuration and integration of different elements and external web properties …
(WordPress Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of expertise required to perform the configuration process can take many website developers 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 the WordPress Traffic Blueprint series.
This is the end of Section 3
To read the rest of this article, click here:
- Website Traffic Blueprint Part Four – A Complete Guide To Increasing Your Web Visitors Automatically
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive series of tutorials designed to help you learn how to grow your business online inexpensively with a WordPress-powered website or blog and proven web marketing methods.
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"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)