Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn a site into an automated web traffic machine using the WordPress CMS.
In Part One of this article series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to automating traffic to your website …
(With an expertly configured WordPress blog, all you have to do to automatically begin bringing web traffic is add great content on a regular basis!)
In Part Two, we looked at critical setup decisions. We explained the best way to start if you don’t have a web presence yet, how to set things up if you already have a website, and what to do if your existing site was built with WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you where to set up a WordPress site on your domain)
In this article, we will look at the configuration stage of this process. You will learn how a WordPress site should be configured in order to automatically start getting new visitors as you begin to publish fresh content consistently on your site.
WordPress Traffic Automation System – Configuration
The ability to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by many business owners as one of the greatest challenges they face online. With business becoming ever more competitive on a global scale, it’s worth exploring any and every opportunity you can to get better results online.
The ability to automatically generate traffic on demand can be a tremendous advantage. For businesses, having an expertly configured website gives WordPress users a flying start from the moment their site is launched.
Configuration 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 a web-building expert but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s a simple way to understand the difference:
With a WordPress website that has been expertly configured you get a professional web presence with online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured website gives you a professional web presence with an automated online business marketing process!)
Not only does a whole lot more labor go into building and integrating an automated online business marketing process into your website, it also takes a special type of expert knowledge.
Let’s illustrate this with a joke.
Knowing Where To Tap
All was going fine in the widget-making plant when suddenly, things just stopped.
No one could figure out what has happened and so the manager decided to call in an expert.
Soon afterward, the expert arrived and, without saying a word, walked immediately to the control box. After staring silently at the box for no more than 2 minutes, the expert then took out a little hammer and made a gentle tap near the right-hand edge of the box.
Immediately, everything came back to life.
The plant manager was relieved as he thanked the expert, who left just as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days later, the factory manager received a request for payment of $5,000.
The factory manager called the expert, demanding to know why they were expected to pay so much for so little time spent delivering such minimal amount of work and promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice notice arrived in the manager’s in-tray. Upon opening it, this is what he saw:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is driving traffic to their sites.
How much money did the widget plant stand to lose when production ground to a halt and no one in the business had the expertise required to fix it? Did the expert not have the right to demand fair compensation for having invested years acquiring the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to immediately avert a very serious crisis?
Similarly, if you could have a web site set up and configured so all you had 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 better would your business be if you could automate the process of attracting new visitors to your site?)
While the solution to many problems can seem ridiculously easy once it’s been implemented, it rarely is that simple or easy when you try to figure things out.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site requires more than installing a website and configuring some basic settings. It requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which plugins need to be installed for certain things to occur on your site.
- Which 3rd-party services you need to set up and activate to achieve specific outcomes
- Which options need to be configured to ensure that things will work as expected, etc.
(Generating traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
This stage of the WordPress traffic automation system is not so technically difficult, but it’s quite complicated. The reason why is because it’s not as simple as installing and configuring one or two plugins, configuring some options and settings in your admin area … it’s all this and much more.
The configuration stage is a complex process that involves your web hosting server, your web site, and various external sites and services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring some settings in WordPress)
If the steps involved in the configuration process were to be flowcharted, it would look something like this …
(A simplistic flowchart showing the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s examine these steps in more detail.
Web Server Configuration
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your webhosting account for installation purposes. We’re talking about fine-tuning settings and options in your server specifically for handling web traffic …
(During the configuration phase, your web-hosting account settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is positive traffic. Some of the web traffic your website can attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, security threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This stage of the configuration process, therefore, requires evaluating your needs, planning for both good and unwanted traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like integrating server-level spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring your domain and email redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your webhosting settings for handling things like emails, page error redirects, etc?)
Once your web server settings have been fine-tuned and configured, the next step is to configure a number of third-party sites.
The idea behind setting up external sites is that all of your content is posted to one central location (your site) and from there, it radiates outwards automatically to other components of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
After incorporating these external services into your traffic system, content linking back to your site will be automatically published on search, social and aggregator accounts. Your website will then be exposed to a new audience and new sources of traffic.
Some third-party sites and services will need to be set up before configuring your site’s settings 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’s settings:
(Google Search Console)
Google Search Console lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of essential information, SEO tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
After setting up your account, use the details with web traffic settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing efforts, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine and social media referrals, etc.
After setting up your Once you have set up Google Analytics, you can add visitor tracking code to all of your web pages in WordPress using a plugin and send data automatically to various other applications and reporting tools.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. Once your account and site details are set up, you can use this information with web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO – see further below) and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress provides users with a hosted and a self-hosted option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress version if you plan to build a professional online presence for your business.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful tools, which various WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate these features into your web traffic generation system in the next installment of this article series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking Sites
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media sites and social bookmarking accounts and bring new visitors to your site)
You will need to set up your social media accounts before you can 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 accounts and bring new visitors to your site.
Make sure you have accounts and pages set up with all the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are many social bookmarking sites you can set up. You don’t need to go crazy, just select those that will work well with your system and/or content sharing tools.
(There are many social bookmarking sites you can post your content to. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of new online platforms and RSS aggregators that can act as secondary traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some are paid services.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that lets you add your WordPress blog feed …
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your account.
There are various platforms that can be added to your own web traffic system. Please contact us if you would like to explore your options and discuss a configuration plan to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up third-party service accounts, 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 of the important points.
Your WordPress admin area contains 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 affect your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings Section)
The Writing Settings section contains one of the most important and often overlooked traffic notification systems available to WordPress site owners …
(WordPress 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 specifically configured your site settings to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically ping the list of services entered into the Update Services section
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, this section displays only one entry …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature)
You can notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress – just add a list of update services 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 visitors when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings on this page can influence web traffic. For example, choosing 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 or blog to get the rest of the content from summaries, 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.
Normally, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked enables WordPress to instantly ping various update services whenever a new post gets published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason to discourage search engines from visiting your site, do not check this box …
(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)
Permalinks allow you to create SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalink Settings)
Here are some of the ways your search-friendly URLS can be configured …
(Configuring post permalinks)
If you need help setting up permalinks, see this tutorial: How To Improve Your WordPress SEO With Permalinks
WordPress Traffic Plugins – Configuration
WordPress provides users with thousands of plugins that help to add almost every type of functionality imaginable to your website, including traffic generation.
Here are examples of plugin categories and plugins that affect traffic generation
Blog Defender Security Plugin
Once again, it’s important to configure your WordPress site for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. No website or blog is completely safe from cyber attacks.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to malicious attacks from hackers and botnets.
For more details, go here:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by improving the search engine friendliness of your web pages …
(Yoast SEO – WP SEO Plugin)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your website’s search engine optimization. When properly configured, this plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines like Google and Bing to find 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+.
Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing your visitors to easily share your content with members of their own social communities can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if you publish content that adds real value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing buttons to their site using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
You can easily add social features to your website with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
Many social sharing plugins let you choose which 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 plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content which users can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.
Configuring WordPress Theme Settings
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help grow your site’s traffic.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your site, some themes also give you built-in features that let you improve SEO and site navigation structure for faster indexing, add analytics, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes allow you to configure settings and options for better traffic results)
With a number of themes, adding social sharing features to your site is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes have built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
Configuring Other WordPress Sections
Last but not least in the WordPress traffic configuration process, are the components that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
These include the following:
Website Legal Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in traffic, it’s important to plan not only for both good and unwelcome traffic but also for all the situations that can cause serious damage to your business when more and more people find and begin to visit your website.
If you make money online (or are planning to), it’s important that your website complies with government laws and regulations.
If you need help understanding why it’s important to have a compliant website, see this article:
Post categories and tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better index your website.
(Categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to classify and index your website.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post tags and post categories have been set up correctly to deliver optimal benefits and results.
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 applications discover more of your web content …
(Site Map – great for visitors and beneficial for web traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are two different things. HTML site maps are web pages that provide visitors with a visual map of how your content is organized, while XML sitemaps are mostly just a bunch of code that only search engine bots can read. Although search engines like Google can index your pages just from an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), making it easier for visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
Configure Your WordPress 404 Page
When visitors searching online for your site type in the wrong URL or click on a hyperlink pointing to an incorrect destination on your website, they are greeted with a 404 error page …
(A 404 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 Not Found page can be set up on your web server, there are several plugins for WordPress that let you easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once your website or blog has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you then have to do is add great content regularly to automatically drive traffic organically.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate and requires the configuration and integration of a number of different elements and external web properties …
(WP Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The kind of skills and expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes some website developers a long time to learn.
Once you have expertly configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the aspects of the process that can be automated. This step is explained in the next section of our series.
This is the end of Section Three
To read more, click on the link below:
- Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part Four – How To Increase Your Web Traffic For Your Business Using WordPress
This article is part of a comprehensive series of tutorials aimed at helping site owners learn how to grow their business online and drive traffic automatically using a WordPress-driven website and proven online marketing strategies.
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