Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Site Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your site using the WordPress CMS platform.
In Part 1 of this article series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website or blog is the key to generating automated web traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress site, all you have to do is add new content regularly to automatically attract web traffic!)
In Part 2, we discussed the setup phase of this process. 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 website, and what to do if your site was built using WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you where to set up a WordPress website on your domain)
In this article, we will look at the configuration phase of this process. We will help you understand what makes an expertly configured WordPress site different from a professionally configured site, and what kind of work is required to ensure that when everything is set up and fully configured, you can get new visitors automatically just by consistently posting fresh content on your web site.
WordPress Traffic Automation System – Configuration
The ability to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by many website owners as their greatest challenge online. Also, the business landscape is becoming ever more competitive worldwide and businesses are looking for any and every advantage available to improve their performance online.
The ability to generate traffic on demand can provide you with a tremendous competitive advantage. For WordPress users, having an expertly configured website allows their business to get off with a flying start from the moment their website is launched.
Configuration Is The Difference
There is a difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a website that has been professionally installed and set up by a web-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 and an automated online business marketing system!
(An expertly configured site gives you a professional web presence and an automated online business marketing process!)
Not only is extra labor required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, it also takes a special kind of expert knowledge.
To illustrate this here is an anecdote.
Are Experts Worth The Money They Charge?
All was going just fine in the widget-making factory when suddenly, things stopped working.
As no one could figure out what went wrong, the manager decided to call in an expert.
The expert arrived shortly afterwards and headed immediately towards the main control box. After staring silently at the board for 5 minutes or less, the expert then took out a teeny-weeny hammer from his tool belt and made a gentle tap about one cm from the right corner of the box.
Immediately, the assembly line sprang to life once again.
The plant manager was greatly relieved as he thanked the expert, who left as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days after resolving the incident, the manager received a request of payment for services rendered totalling $5,000.
The manager dialled the expert, demanding to know why they were charged such a ludicrous fee for less than five minutes work. He then requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice statement 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 widget factory stand to lose when the equipment stopped functioning and no one in the factory floor had the expertise required to get things up and running again? Did the expert not have the right to ask to be compensated fairly for having spent years building up the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to avert a serious crisis?
Similarly, if you could have a site set up and configured so all you had to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and dozens of other traffic-generating web properties would be immediately notified, how much time and money would you save?
(How much better would your business be if you could automate the process of driving traffic to your site?)
While many experts often make complex solutions look simple, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site involves more than simply installing a website and configuring basic settings. It also requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which plugins you need to install to add desired functionalities to your site.
- Which 3rd-party services you need to set up and activate to achieve specific outcomes
- Which internal and external settings need to be configured to make sure things will function the way you have planned, etc.
(Generating web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
This stage of the WordPress traffic automation system is not technically challenging, but it’s quite involved. This is because it’s not just about installing one or two plugins, tweaking some settings in your admin area … it’s all this and so much more.
Expertly configuring your website involves the integration of many parts such as your web server, your website or blog, and various third-party sites …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we try to flowchart all the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplified diagram showing all the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s examine what’s involved.
Configuring Your Web 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 configuring settings in your web server specifically for handling web traffic …
(In the configuration stage, your webhosting 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 you may attract will be unwelcome traffic like bot spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This part of the configuration process, therefore, is about planning for both bad and good traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like integrating spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring your domain and email redirections, setting up error page redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your webhosting settings for handling things like email forwarding, page error redirects, etc?)
Once your server settings have been checked and configured (if required), the next step is to configure a number of external sites.
Configuring External Services
The basic idea of setting up external sites is that all content will be published to one central location (your site) and from there, it will radiate outwards automatically to other components of your traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once you add these external platforms to your traffic network, content pointing back to your website will get automatically posted to search, social and aggregator sites. Your content and website will be exposed to new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some external sites and online solutions will need to have accounts 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, here are just some of the accounts you will need to have set up:
(Google Search Console – create a Google-friendly website or blog)
Google Webmasters lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides you with useful data, tools and diagnostic reports about your website.
Once your account with Google Webmasters are set up, this information can be used to integrate and automate web traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s traffic results, SEO, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine and organic referrers, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account has been set up, you can add traffic monitoring information to all of your web pages in WordPress using a simple plugin and send data instantly to various other applications.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. Once your Bing Webmaster Tools account has been set up, the account information can be used with traffic settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress provides users with a hosted (WordPress.com) and a self-hosted (WordPress.org) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you plan to build a professional online presence for your business.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful features, which can be accessed by a number of WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate these features into your web traffic generation system in Part 4 of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking Sites
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and get new traffic to your site)
You will need to have already set up your various social media and social bookmarking accounts before you can configure these as part of 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.
You should have accounts set up with all the leading social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, 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 syndication tools (we will cover some of these tools in more detail further below and in the Automation phase).
(You can syndicate your content to lots of social bookmarking sites. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Solutions, Aggregators, Etc.
There are many emerging web platforms and content aggregators that can act as secondary-level traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some are more suitable for enterprise-level applications.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that allows you to 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 users can follow your own RebelMouse social feed.
There are many different technologies and third-party applications that can be added to your own traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to explore your options and discuss a configuration plan to suit your needs.
After you have configured your web server and set up third-party site accounts, it’s time to configure WordPress.
WordPress – Configuring Your Web Site For Traffic
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to make sure that your global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Global WordPress Settings
Your WordPress admin area contains a Settings section that allows you to set up your site’s global settings …
(WordPress admin menu – Settings)
Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings Section)
The Writing Settings section contains one of the most important and frequently overlooked built-in traffic notification systems available to WordPress users …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings)
As stated below the Update Services section title,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have intentionally configured your settings to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically ping the services entered into the Update Services text area
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 …
(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 visitors will see your content 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 content vs summaries 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 content further, and whether or not they will visit your website to get the rest of the content from summaries, 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 here is whether the Search Engine Visibility checkbox is ticked or not.
Generally, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows your site to instantly notify your update services list whenever a new post is published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason to discourage search indexing spiders from visiting your site, leave this box unchecked …
(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 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 Screen)
Permalinks allow you to display posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalinks Screen)
The examples below show some of the ways site’s permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring search-friendly URLS)
We have created a detailed tutorial about using WP permalinks here: Improve Your WordPress SEO Using SEO-Friendly URLs
WordPress – Plugins
WordPress provides users with plugins that help to add almost every kind of functionality to your website, including 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 site for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. Regardless of the type of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, website security is something you cannot ignore.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress blog invisible to attacks from hackers and botnets.
For more details, go here:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your web content easier for search engines like Google to index …
(WP Plugins For SEO – Yoast SEO)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your SEO. Once properly configured, this plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines like Google to find, crawl 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 easily share your content online can help boost traffic to your site, especially if you post great content that adds value to readers.
(You can add social sharing to your website easily using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing buttons to their site with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
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 shares), etc. Some social share plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content or downloads which users can unlock by liking your page.
WordPress – Traffic Generation Theme Features
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help grow your site’s traffic.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your website, many themes also give you built-in options for improving search optimization and site navigation structure for faster indexing, easily add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes allow you to configure options and settings for better traffic results)
With a number of quality themes, adding social sharing features to your pages is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes have built-in social sharing features)
Configuring Other WordPress Sections For More 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.
Legal Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for an increase in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for how to deal with bad and good traffic but also for all the situations that can damage your business as more and more people begin to visit your website.
If you do business online (or plan to), you need to ensure that your site is found to comply with regulatory agencies.
We have created a detailed article about why it’s important to have a legally compliant website here:
WordPress post categories & tags help search engines index your website, which helps you get more traffic.
(Post categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better understand and index your pages.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that the tags and categories that have been set up.
Add A WordPress Site Map
A site map that displays all of your posts and pages to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external tools find more of 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 not the same thing. Only search engine bots can understand an XML sitemap. Although Google will index your site 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.
Configure Your Site’s 404 Page
When visitors enter the wrong URL or click on a dead link, they will typically be presented with a 404 Not Found error page …
(A WordPress 404 Error Page)
A 404 Not Found page can redirect confused visitors to your functional web pages …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to redirect traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 page can be set up in your web server, there are several plugins for WordPress that allow you to easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once your WordPress site has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you have to do then to begin attracting web traffic is post web content consistently.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of different elements and external web properties …
(WP Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes many web developers months to acquire.
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 our WordPress Traffic Blueprint series.
This is the end of Part 3
To read the rest of this article, click here:
- Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part Four – Discover How To Automatically Grow Your Website Traffic For Your Business Using WordPress
This article is part of a comprehensive series of articles aimed at helping small business owners learn how to grow their business online inexpensively and drive traffic sustainably using a WordPress-powered website and proven marketing strategies that are easy to implement.
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