Welcome to Part Three of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your website using WordPress.
In Part One of this article series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to generating automated traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress web site, all you have to do is post great content on a regular basis to attract new traffic!)
In Part Two, we discussed the setup phase. We helped you understand the best way to start if you don’t have a website yet, how to set everything up if you already have a website, and what to do if your site has been built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you where to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this article, we look at the configuration phase of the traffic system. You will learn how to configure a WordPress site to automatically start bringing new traffic when you begin to add fresh content on your web site.
WordPress Web Traffic Blueprint – Configuration
Finding ways to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by many business owners as the greatest challenge they face online. Businesses are becoming increasingly more competitive and are researching any and every opportunity they can to get better results online.
Having the ability to generate traffic on demand can be a huge competitive advantage. For WordPress users, having an expertly configured website allows their business to get off to a flying start from the moment their website is launched.
The Configuration Process Is What Makes All 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 builder but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress has to offer.
Here’s one way to describe the key difference:
With a WordPress website that has been expertly configured you get a web presence plus an automated online business marketing system!
(An expertly configured website gives you a professional web presence with an automated online business marketing system!)
Not only does a whole lot more labor go into building and integrating an automated online business marketing process into your website, but also a special kind of expert knowledge.
Let’s illustrate this with a joke.
Are Experts Worth The Money They Charge?
All was running smoothly in the widget workshop when all of a sudden, the machines stopped.
No one could figure out what has happened and so the manager decided to call in an expert.
The expert arrived shortly afterwards and, without saying a word, headed immediately towards the main control box. After staring at the control unit for what seemed like 3 minutes or so, the expert then took out a tiny hammer and made a single tap near the right edge of the control unit.
Immediately, every machine in the assembly plant started working again.
The plant manager was greatly overjoyed as he thanked the expert, who left as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days later, the manager received a request for payment of services rendered totalling $5,000.
The factory manager picked up the phone and called the expert, demanding to know why they had been charged so much for less than five minutes work and then requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice statement arrived in the manager’s intray. Upon opening it, this is what he saw:
The main challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive traffic to their sites.
In the story we’ve just described, how much money did the gizmo factory stand to lose when production ground to a halt and no one in the factory floor had the expertise to fix it? Did the expert in our story not have the right to be compensated fairly for spending years developing the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to quickly repair a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your WP website or blog set up so all you had to do is publish content to it and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and dozens of other traffic-generating web properties would be immediately notified, how much time and money would this save you?
(How much better would your business be if you could automate the process of attracting new visitors to your website?)
While many experts often make difficult solutions look easy, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site involves more than installing a website and configuring settings for a client. It requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things such as:
- Which programs you need to install to get desired functionalities on your site.
- Which third-party services you need to set up to achieve certain results
- Which settings you need to configure in order to ensure that everything will function as expected, etc.
(Driving new traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
Although this stage of the traffic automation system may not seem so technically difficult, it can be quite involved and time-consuming. It’s not as easy as installing a plugin, configuring some settings in your admin area … it’s all of this and much more.
The configuration stage is a process that involves your web server, your WordPress site, and various external sites …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we create a simplified flowchart of the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplified diagram of the configuration process)
Let’s examine these steps.
Your Web Server
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your webhosting account for installation purposes. We’re talking about configuring settings and options in your web server specifically for handling all web traffic …
(During the configuration phase, your hosting account settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is positive traffic. Some of the traffic you will attract will be unwanted traffic like bot spam, security threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, is about evaluating your needs, planning for both bad and good traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This can include looking at things like server-level spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring domain and email forwarding, etc …
(Have you configured your webhosting settings for handling things like email forwarding, page error redirections, etc?)
After fine-tuning your web server settings and configuring these (if required), the next step is to configure a number of third-party sites and/or online solutions.
The purpose of choosing external sites is that all of your content should be published to a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will automatically get syndicated to other parts of your web traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you incorporate these external platforms into your traffic system, content linked back to your site is automatically posted to search, social and aggregator sites. Your content and site will be exposed to new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some sites and services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress site’s 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 before configuring your WordPress site:
(Google Webmaster Tools – create a Google-friendly site)
Google Search Console lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of essential data, SEO tools, and reports about their website.
Once your account has been with Google have been set up, use the details with 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 performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing activities, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine referrals, etc.
After setting up your Once you have set up Google Analytics, visitor tracking code can be added to WordPress using any of several Google Analytics plugins and and fed to various other useful applications.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. After setting up your account with Bing, the information can be used with web traffic settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress offers both a hosted (WordPress.com) and a self-hosted (WordPress.org) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you plan to grow a professional web presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great features, which can be accessed by a number of WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate this into your web traffic system in Part 4 of this article series.
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and attract new traffic to your site)
You will need to have already set up your various social 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 and social bookmarking accounts and get new traffic to your site.
Make sure you have pages set up with all the big social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
There are loads of social bookmarking sites you can set up accounts with. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just select those that will work with your system and/or content syndication tools (we discuss some of these tools in greater detail in the Automation phase).
(There are loads of social sites you can post your content to. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Solutions, Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of online platforms and content aggregators that can serve as second-tier traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some offer a range of pricing plans.
For example, here is a content aggregator that lets you add your WordPress blog feed …
(RebelMouse – Distribute social content to social networks)
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 page.
There are various platforms you can incorporate into your own web traffic blueprint. 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 accounts with third-party sites, it’s time to configure your WordPress site.
WordPress – Configuring Your Site
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to ensure that your global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some of the important areas.
The WordPress dashboard area contains a Settings menu that allows you to configure your site’s global settings …
(WordPress dashboard menu – Settings)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings)
The Writing Settings section contains a powerful and often overlooked traffic notification system …
(WordPress Settings – Writing Settings Screen)
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 site settings to prevent search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically ping the list of update services entered into the Update Services text area
By default, when WordPress is installed, this section displays only one entry …
You can notify dozens of update services automatically …
(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 have an influence traffic. For example, your choice to display the full content vs a summary of your post, affects how your content appears in RSS feeds and RSS email campaigns, and could impact someone’s choice to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your site to view the rest of the content from excerpts, 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 in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility checkbox is ticked or not.
Normally, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked enables WordPress to instantly notify the update services list when new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason to discourage search engines from visiting your site, make sure this box is left unchecked …
(Global Settings – Reading Settings Screen)
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 content, 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)
Permalinks enable your site to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalink Settings)
Here are some of the ways SEO-friendly URLs can be configured …
If you need help setting up WP permalinks, go here: Setting Up WordPress Permalinks
WordPress Traffic Plugin Settings – Configuration
WordPress provides users with plugins that can add just about every kind of functionality imaginable to your site, including many plugins that improve traffic generation.
Here are examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help drive more traffic to your site
Blog Defender Security Plugin
Once again, it’s important to configure your WordPress site for dealing with both good traffic and bad traffic. No site is safe from being attacked.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress blog invisible to bot and hacker attacks.
- Prevent Malicious Cyberattacks On Your WordPress Websites From Bots And Hackers With Blog Defender Security Plugin
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your site more search engine friendly …
(Yoast SEO – WP SEO Plugin)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your SEO. Once properly configured, this plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines like Google and Bing to find, classify and index, it allows you to specify how your content will show up in 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 drive more 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 WordPress plugins)
You can easily add social sharing buttons to your site with free or inexpensive plugins.
Many social sharing plugins allow you to select 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 shares), etc. Some social plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content or downloads which visitors can unlock by liking your page.
WordPress – 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 layout and design aspects of your website, some themes also provide built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site navigation structure for better indexing, easily add analytics, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes like Graphene (a highly customizable free theme) include built-in traffic optimization features)
With many WordPress themes, adding social sharing buttons and features to your content is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes provide built-in social sharing features that can be easily enabled on with the click of a button)
Additional Features To Configure
Last but not least in the traffic configuration process, are the elements that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
This includes the following:
Website Legal Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for an increase in traffic, it’s important to plan not only for both 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 engage in any form of business online (or are planning to), you need to ensure that your website complies with regulatory agencies.
If you need help understanding how to quickly and easily add all necessary legal pages to your WordPress site, refer to this article:
Post categories and tags help search engines index your pages, which helps you get more traffic.
(WordPress post categories help to improve your site’s search optimization, which helps you get more traffic.)
When configuring your site to automate and improve traffic, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s categories and tags have been correctly set up to deliver optimal benefits.
Add A Site Map
A site map that displays all of your site’s posts and pages to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external sites discover your site’s content …
(Site Map – great for visitors and beneficial for traffic too!)
It’s important to note that an HTML site map and an XML sitemap are different things. HTML site maps provide visitors with a an understandable map of how your content is structured, while XML sitemaps contain code that only search bots can understand. 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 results in increased traffic.
404 Page – Don’t Lose Traffic!
When visitors type in the wrong web address or click on a hyperlink pointing to an incorrect destination on your site, they will typically be greeted with an error – page not found message …
(Default WordPress 404 Page)
A 404 page can be configured to funnel traffic to your functional web pages …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found error page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 error page can be set up on your server, there are WordPress plugins that let you easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once you have your site fully set up and expertly configured, all you need to do then to automatically drive more web traffic is publish fresh content on a consistent basis.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, is quite involved and requires the configuration and integration of different components and external web properties …
(Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The skills and expertise required to perform the configuration process can take many web professionals a long time to acquire.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is addressed in the next article in our WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint series.
This is the end of Section Three
To read more, click on the link below:
This article is part of an article series aimed at helping you learn how to grow your business online cost-effectively and drive traffic sustainably with a WordPress website and proven online marketing strategies.
Subscribe To WPCompendium.org And Get Notified Of New WordPress Tutorials!
"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now