Welcome to Part Three of our WordPress Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your site using the WordPress CMS.
In Part 1 of this article series, we described the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to generating automated web traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress site, all you have to do to automatically begin bringing more web traffic is add new content consistently!)
In Part 2, we discussed critical setup decisions. We explained the best way to get started if you don’t have a web presence yet, how to set everything up if you already have a site, and what to do if your website was built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section of the series, we look at the configuration stage of the traffic system. We will show you what makes an expertly configured WordPress site different than a professionally configured website, and how much work is required to make sure that when all is fully set up and configured, you can automatically drive traffic whenever you add fresh content on your website.
WordPress Traffic System – Configuration Phase
The ability to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by most business owners as the greatest challenge they face online. With business getting increasingly more competitive worldwide, it’s worth looking into every opportunity you can to increase your own competitiveness online.
The ability to automatically generate traffic on demand can be a huge competitive advantage. With an expertly configured website, you have a significant advantage from the very beginning.
Configuration Is The Difference
There is a difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally set up by an expert website developer but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s one way to understand the difference:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a web presence and online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured site gives you a professional web presence with a built-in automated online business marketing tool!)
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.
Let’s illustrate this with an anecdote.
A Semi-True Story …
Things are going well in the widget-making factory when everything grinds to a sudden halt.
As no one can figure out what’s gone wrong, the plant manager decides to call in an expert.
The expert arrives shortly after being summoned and heads out directly to the main control box. After staring silently at the schematics for no more than 5 minutes or so, the expert then takes out a tiny hammer and makes a very gentle tap about 3 cm from the right corner of the box.
Immediately, everything returns to normal.
The manager is greatly overjoyed as he thanks the expert, who then leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days after resolving the incident, the factory manager receives a bill for $5,000.
Feeling angry, the manager calls the expert. Demanding to know why they have been charged such an exorbitant fee for so little time spent delivering such minimal amount of work, he promptly requests an itemized invoice to be sent and hangs up.
The next day, an invoice arrives and is placed in the manager’s intray. Upon opening it, this is what he sees:
The #1 challenge most businesses face online is driving web traffic to their sites.
How much money did the widget plant stand to lose when the machines ground to a halt and no one on the factory floor had the expertise to fix it? Did the expert not have the right to be compensated fairly for years spent developing the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to immediately assess and avert a crisis?
Similarly, if you could have your website or blog configured so all you have to do is publish new content and search engines, social followers from Facebook and Twitter and dozens of other web properties would be automatically notified, how much time and money would you save?
(How much time and money would you save if you could automate the process of driving traffic to your website?)
Although the solution to many problems may seem quite easy once implemented, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site is more than adding some pages with content and configuring settings for clients. It also involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which plugins need to be installed for certain things to occur on your site.
- Which third-party accounts you need to set up and activate to get desired results
- Which options you need to configure to make sure everything works how you have planned, etc.
(Generating web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
Although this part of the traffic automation system may not seem so technically difficult, it can be quite involved. This is because it’s not as easy as installing and configuring a piece of software, clicking a button … it’s all of this and much more.
The configuration stage is a complex process that involves your server, your website, and a number of external sites and/or online services …
(Expertly configuring your website 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 simplified flowchart showing the activities involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s examine what’s involved in more detail.
Configuring Your Server
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your web hosting account for installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about tweaking settings in your web-hosting account specifically for handling all web traffic …
(During the configuration phase, your web server settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is positive traffic. Some of the web traffic you may attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, security threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, is about planning for good and bad traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This can include 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 emails, page errors, etc?)
Once your web server settings have been fine-tuned and configured (if required), the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various third-party sites and services.
Configuring External Sites
The basic concept of adding external sites is that all of your content should be published to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, syndicate automatically to other parts of your web traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
After incorporating these external platforms into your traffic system, content linking back to your site will get automatically published on these platforms. Your content will benefit from added exposure online, helping you tap into new sources of traffic.
Some sites will need to have accounts set up before configuring your site 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:
(Google Webmasters – create a Google-friendly website)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with important data, tools, and reports about their website.
After setting up your Google Webmasters account, this information can be used to integrate and automate web traffic settings in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing efforts, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrers, etc.
After setting up your Once you have set up Google Analytics, you can add traffic tracking code to all of your web pages in WordPress using a simple plugin and send data automatically to other online applications.
(Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. After setting up your account with Bing Webmaster Tools, your information can be used with web traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
As discussed in Part 2, WordPress offers website owners a self-hosted and a hosted option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you plan to build a professional business presence online.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful tools, which a number of WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate this into your traffic system in the next installment of this article series.
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media sites and social bookmarking accounts and drive new visitors to your site)
You will need your various social media and social bookmarking accounts set up before you can integrate these with 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 attract new visitors to your site.
You should have accounts and profile pages with all of the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.
There are many social sites you can post your content to. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just select those that will work well with your system and/or content syndication tools.
(There are many social bookmarking sites you can post your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Sites, Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of new online technology platforms and content aggregators that can act as secondary-level sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some are more suitable for enterprise-level applications.
For example, here is a content aggregator that allows you to add an RSS feed from your WordPress blog …
(RebelMouse – Publishing platform for distributed content)
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your social feed.
There are various technologies and third-party applications that can be added to your own web traffic system. Please contact us if you would like to explore this area further and discuss a configuration strategy to suit your needs.
After you have configured your web server and set up third-party service accounts, it’s time to configure your WordPress settings.
WordPress Site Configuration
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 of the important areas.
Configuring WordPress Settings
By default, your WordPress admin area includes a Settings menu that allows you to configure your site’s global settings …
(WordPress menu – Settings)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings section contains one of the most powerful and frequently overlooked automated traffic notification systems available to WordPress site owners …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings Screen)
As stated in the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have specifically configured your site settings to prevent search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically notify the services entered into the Update Services box
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, this section contains only one entry …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature Of WordPress)
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 your content gets seen by readers when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings in this section can have an influence web traffic. For example, your choice to display the full text vs a summary of your post, affects how your content displays in RSS readers and blog post digests, and could impact someone’s decision to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your website to view the rest of the content from summaries, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
The most important setting here as far as traffic is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility check box is enabled or not.
Typically, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked enables WordPress to automatically notify all the update services you have specified in the Update Services area when a new post gets published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason to discourage search indexing spiders from visiting your site, do not check this box …
(Global Settings – Reading Settings Section)
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 …
(Settings Menu – Discussion Settings Section)
Permalinks allow your site to display posts with search engine-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalinks)
Here are some of the options for configuring your search-friendly URLS …
(Configuring post permalinks)
If you need help setting up permalinks, see this step-by-step tutorial: How To Improve Your WordPress SEO Using SEO-Friendly URLs
Configuring Settings – WordPress Plugins
WordPress provides users with thousands of plugins that help to add almost every type of functionality to your site, 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
WordPress Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your WordPress site for dealing with both good traffic and bad traffic. No site is immune from a cyberattack.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your website invisible to attacks from hackers and bots.
For more information, go here:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your site more search engine friendly …
(SEO plugins help drive traffic by improving the search engine friendliness of your website)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your SEO. When properly configured, this plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines to find, crawl and index, it also lets you specify how to display your content to Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and GooglePlus.
WordPress Social Plugins
Allowing visitors to share your content with others can help boost traffic to your site, especially if you post great content that adds value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing features to their site with free or inexpensive plugins)
There are many free or inexpensive social sharing plugins to choose from.
Many social share plugins allow you to specify which social sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content which users can unlock by sharing your page.
WordPress – Traffic Features In Themes
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help grow your site’s traffic.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring design and layout elements of your website, many themes also provide built-in features that let you improve SEO and site linking structure for better indexing, add tracking code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WP themes like Graphene (a highly customizable free theme) include built-in traffic optimization features)
With many quality themes, adding social sharing buttons to your website is as easy as clicking a few buttons to enable the feature …
(Many WordPress themes come with built-in social sharing features)
Configuring Other WordPress Settings For More Traffic Results
Last (but by no means least) in the traffic configuration process, are the elements 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 an increase 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 find and begin to visit your website.
If you do business online (or are planning to), it’s important that your site is compliant with all laws and regulations.
If you need help adding compliance pages to WordPress, see this article:
Post categories & post tags help search engines better classify and index your web pages, which helps you get more traffic.
(Categories help search engines better classify and index your website, 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 categories and tags have been set up correctly to deliver optimal benefits.
Add A 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 discover your web content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are different things. HTML site maps are web pages that provide readers with a visual map of how your content is organized, while XML sitemaps are code that only search engine bots can understand. Although Google will index your pages just using 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.
404 Page Not Found – A Source Of Lost Traffic Opportunities!
When visitors searching for your website type in the wrong URL or click on an invalid hyperlink, they will normally be presented with a 404 Not Found page …
(A 404 Error Page)
Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to redirect traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 Not Found page can be set up in your server, there are several plugins for WordPress that let you easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic System: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once you have your website or blog expertly configured and fully set up, all you have to do is add content consistently to automatically drive traffic organically.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, is quite involved and elaborate and requires the configuration and integration of different elements and web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes many website professionals a long time to acquire.
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 covered in the next article in our WordPress Traffic Blueprint series.
This is the end of Section 3
To read more, click here:
- WordPress Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part Four – Learn How To Automatically Grow Your Web Traffic For Your Business Using WordPress
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive series of articles designed to help site owners learn how to grow their business online and drive traffic automatically with a WordPress website or blog and proven marketing strategies that are easy and quick to implement.
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