Welcome to Part Three of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn your site into an automated web traffic machine using the WordPress CMS platform.
In Part One of this article series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to automating traffic to your site …
(With an expertly configured WordPress site, all you have to do to automatically start generating more traffic is post web content regularly!)
In Part 2, we looked at the setup phase of the traffic automation process. 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 site, and what to do if your website has been built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up a WordPress site on your domain)
In this section of the series, we discuss the configuration stage of the WordPress traffic automation system. You will understand why an expertly configured WordPress site is different from a professionally configured website, and what kind of work needs to be done to make sure that when everything is set up and fully configured, you can automatically start bringing new traffic as you begin to add content on your web site.
WordPress Web Traffic System – Configuration Phase
The ability to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by most website owners as one of the greatest challenges they face online. Businesses are becoming so much more competitive worldwide and are exploring any advantage they can to get better results online.
Having the ability to automatically generate traffic on demand can be a tremendous advantage over other competitors. Having an expertly configured WordPress site gives you a significant advantage from the very beginning.
The Configuration Process Is The Difference
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a website that has been professionally set up by a website-building expert but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s one way to explain the differences:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a professional web presence plus online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured site gives you a web presence with an automated online business marketing system!)
Not only does a whole lot more work go into building and integrating an automated online business marketing system into your website, but also a special kind of expert knowledge.
Allow me to illustrate this with an amusing little story.
Ludicrous Or Fair? You Decide …
Everything was going fine in the gizmo workshop when things suddenly ground to a halt.
No one could figure out what has happened and so the floor manager decided to call in an expert to fix the problem.
Shortly after arriving, the expert headed immediately towards the main control box. After staring silently at the control unit for about 5 minutes or less, the expert then took out a tiny hammer from his utility belt and made a gentle tap near the right-hand side of the box.
Immediately, everything sprang to life.
The floor 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 factory manager received an invoice for $5,000.
The manager dialled the expert, demanding to know why the expert had charged them such an exorbitant fee for so little time delivering such minimal amount of work. He then requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice statement arrived and was placed on the manager’s desk. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he saw:
The main challenge most businesses face online is being able to consistently drive web traffic to their sites.
How much money did the gizmo factory stand to lose when production ground to a halt and no one in the business had the expertise required to get things up and running again? Did the expert in our story not have the right to get paid fairly for years spent acquiring the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to quickly fix a costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your site set up so all you have to do is publish content to it and search engines, social media and dozens of other web properties would be instantly 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 website?)
Although many experts often make complicated situations and problems look easy, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site is more than installing a website and configuring site settings for clients. It involves knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which plugins you need to install to add various functionalities to your site.
- Which 3rd-party services need to be set up and activated to get certain results
- Which settings you need to configure in order to make sure things work as planned, etc.
(Generating traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
This stage of the traffic automation system is not so technically difficult, but it’s quite involved. This is because it’s not just about installing and configuring a piece of software, clicking on a button or two, or tweaking some options and settings in your admin area … it’s all of this and much more.
The configuration phase is a complex process that involves your web hosting server, your site, and various external sites and services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring some settings in WordPress)
If the activities involved in the configuration process were to be flowcharted, it would look like this …
(A simplified diagram showing all the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s examine these steps in more detail.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your webhosting account for site installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). What we are talking about, is fine-tuning settings and options in your server that affect how you will handle web traffic …
(In the configuration phase, your web server settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is welcome traffic. Some of the web traffic your site can attract will be unwelcome traffic like bot spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This area of the configuration process, therefore, requires evaluating your needs, planning for both good and unwanted traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This can include looking at things like configuring spam protection and securing server files, to configuring domain and email redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page errors, etc?)
After fine-tuning your server settings and configuring these (if required), the next step of the configuration phase is to set up a number of third-party sites and/or online services.
The basic idea of choosing external sites is that all content will get published to a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will get distributed automatically to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you add these external platforms to your traffic system, content with links pointing back to your site is automatically published on these platforms. Your content and site will benefit from exposure online, helping your business tap into a new audience and source of traffic.
Some of these third-party sites and services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your settings to save time and some will need to be done later, during the automation phase.
For example, you will want to set up the following accounts:
(Google Webmaster Tools)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides you with a range of essential data, SEO tools and reports about your website.
After setting up your account, this information can be used with traffic settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s results, SEO, user engagement, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user behaviour, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrals, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account has been set up, you can add visitor tracking code to WordPress using any of several Google Analytics plugins and feed data automatically to various other online applications.
(Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. After setting up your account, your account details can be used to automate web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
As discussed in Part 2, WordPress provides users with the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you plan to grow a professional online presence for your business.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful features, which can be accessed by various WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate these features into your automated web traffic system in the next installment of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media pages and get new traffic to your site)
You will need to set up your social accounts before you can 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 and social bookmarking accounts and attract new traffic to your site.
Set up accounts and profile pages with all the big social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are many social sites you can set up. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just select the ones that will work well with your system and/or content sharing tools.
(There are lots of social sites you can post your content to. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Solutions, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are many emerging platforms and content aggregators that can act as secondary traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free levels, and some offer a range of pricing plans.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that allows you to add your WordPress blog feed …
(RebelMouse – Distribute your content to social networks)
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your own RebelMouse page.
There are many different sites and platforms you can incorporate into your own web traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these, or to discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up external site accounts, it’s time to configure your WordPress settings.
WordPress – Configuring Your Site For Traffic
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to make sure that its global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Global Settings – WordPress
By default, all WordPress installations include a Settings section that allows you to set up your site’s main settings …
(WordPress menu – Settings)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings section contains an important and often overlooked built-in traffic notification system …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings Area)
As stated 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 purposely chosen to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically notify the services entered into the Update Services field
By default, when WordPress is installed, this section includes only one entry …
(Writing Settings – Update Services)
You can notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress …
(You can notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress!)
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 web traffic. For example, choosing to display the full text vs a summary of your post, affects how your content shows up in RSS feeds 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 blog to read 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 traffic is concerned, however, the main setting in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is ticked or not.
Typically, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows WordPress to instantly ping all the update services you have listed 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 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)
Permalinks allow your site to publish posts with search engine-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalinks Section)
Here are some of the options for configuring your post permalinks …
(Configuring SEO-friendly URLs)
If you need help setting up permalinks, refer to this tutorial: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
Configuring WordPress Traffic Generation Plugins
WordPress provides users with plugins that help to add almost every type of functionality to your site, including plugins that add traffic generation capabilities.
Let’s take a brief look at some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
Once again, it’s important to configure your website for handling 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 simply cannot ignore the importance of securing your sites.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to hackers and botnets.
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive more traffic by making your web content easily indexable …
(WordPress SEO plugins help increase traffic by improving your website’s SEO)
Use a plugin like Yoast SEO (previously called WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your site’s search engine optimization. Once properly configured, this plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines like Google and Bing to find and index, it also lets you specify how to display your content to Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and GooglePlus.
Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing your visitors to easily share your content online 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 to their site with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
You can add social features to your website easily using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
Many social plugins allow you to specify which sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some plugins even allow you to protect content which visitors can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.
WordPress – Theme Settings
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help you drive more traffic to your site.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring the layout and design of your website, many themes also give you built-in features that let you improve SEO and site linking structure for faster indexing, add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes allow you to configure settings and options for better traffic results)
With a number of WordPress themes, adding social sharing buttons to your content is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons to enable the feature …
(Many WordPress themes provide built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
Other Areas To Configure
Last but not least in the traffic configuration process, are the components that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
These include the following:
Website Compliance Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in visitor numbers, it’s important to plan not only how to handle good and unwelcome traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong when more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you do any kind of business online (or plan to), it’s important that your website stays compliant with government regulations.
To learn more about how to quickly add all necessary legal pages to your site, refer to this article:
Post tags & categories help improve traffic by improving your site’s search optimization.
(Post categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better index your web pages.)
When considering ways to automate and improve traffic, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post tags and categories have been correctly set up to deliver optimal results.
Add A Site Map To Your WordPress Site
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 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. Only search engines can interpret XML sitemaps. Although Google will index your pages just from an XML sitemap (which a plugin like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
Don’t Forget Your WordPress 404 Page
When visitors type in the wrong web address or click on a link pointing to an incorrect destination on your site, they are presented with an error – page not found message (known as a 404 Not Found page) …
(A 404 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 web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 Not Found page can be set up in your web server, there are WordPress plugins that let you easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Process – Summary
Once you have your WordPress site expertly configured and fully set up, all you then need to do is publish web content on a consistent basis to generate web traffic.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, can be quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of a number of different elements and web properties …
(WordPress Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The skills and knowledge involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes some website developers months to acquire.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is covered in the next article in our WordPress Traffic Automation System series.
This is the end of Section Three
To read the rest of this article, click on the link below:
- Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – A Complete Guide To Driving More Website Visitors Automatically With WordPress
This article is part of a comprehensive tutorial series designed to help website owners learn how to grow their business online with a WordPress website and proven online marketing strategies.
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