Welcome to Part Three of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn your site into an automated traffic machine using the WordPress CMS platform.
In Part 1 of this article series, we provided an overview of the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to generating automated web traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website, all you have to do is publish content on a consistent basis to automatically begin attracting web traffic!)
In Part Two, we focused on critical setup decisions. We helped you understand 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 site was built using WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section, we will look at the configuration stage of the WordPress traffic automation system. We will show you what makes an expertly configured site different than a professionally configured site, and just what type of work needs to be done to ensure that when everything is fully set up and configured, you will drive visitors automatically when you begin to add web content on your website.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase
Being able to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by website owners as the greatest challenge they face online. Also, the business landscape is becoming so much more competitive on a global scale and businesses are looking for every advantage available to increase their competitiveness online.
The ability to generate traffic on demand can provide you with a huge advantage over the competition. With an expertly configured WordPress site, your business has an immediate competitive advantage from the word “go”.
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 an expert website developer but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s one way to explain the main difference:
An expertly configured WordPress site gives you a web presence with online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured site gives you a web presence and an automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only does it take more labor to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, it also takes a special kind of expertise.
Let’s illustrate this with a joke.
A True Story (Kind Of) …
All was going well in the gizmo-making plant when things came to a sudden stop.
No one could figure out what has happened and so the manager decided to call in an expert.
Promptly after arriving, the expert headed immediately towards the control box. After staring at the box for no more than 5 minutes or so, the expert then produced a teeny-weeny hammer and made a very gentle tap about 1 cm from the right-hand edge of the control unit.
Immediately, the whole workshop lit up and began to work as before.
The plant manager was 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 $5,000.
The manager dialled the expert, demanding to know why they had been charged such an exorbitant fee for less than five minutes work. He promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice arrived on the manager’s desk. Upon opening it, this is what he saw:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive traffic to their sites.
How much money did the gizmo factory stand to lose when production stopped functioning and no one on the factory floor had the expertise required to fix it? Did the expert in our story not have the right to demand fair compensation for years spent building up the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to quickly fix a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your website set up and configured so all you had to do is publish content to it and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and dozens of other online properties would be instantly notified, how much time and money would this save you?
(How much time and money would you save if you could automate the process of driving traffic to your website?)
While experts often make complex things look easy, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than simply installing a website and configuring a few basic settings. It involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things such as:
- Which programs you need to install for certain things to occur on your site.
- Which 3rd-party accounts need to be set up and activated to get desired results
- Which settings need to be configured to make sure processes will run as planned, etc.
(Generating traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
Although this part of the traffic automation system may not seem technically difficult, it can be quite complicated. This is because it’s not just about installing and configuring a plugin, configuring some settings in your dashboard area or clicking on a button or two … it’s all this and so much more.
Expertly configuring your website involves the integration of different parts including your web server, your site, and various external sites or online services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring some settings in WordPress)
If we create a simple diagram showing all the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplistic diagram showing the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s examine these areas.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your web hosting account for site installation purposes. We’re talking about tweaking settings and options in your web server specifically for handling all 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 beneficial traffic. Some of the web traffic your site may attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, malicious threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, is about evaluating your needs, planning for bad and good traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like integrating server-level spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring domain and email forwarding, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page error redirections, etc?)
After your server settings have been checked and configured (if required), the next step of the configuration phase is to set up a number of third-party sites and/or online services.
External Sites & Solutions – Configuration
The basic idea of adding external sites is that all of your content will get posted to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will be automatically distributed to other components of your web traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you add these external sites to your system, content with links pointing back to your website is automatically published on search, social and aggregator sites. Your content and website will be exposed to new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some third-party sites and services will need to be set up before configuring your WordPress settings to speed up the process 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 settings:
(Google Search Console – create a Google-friendly website)
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 useful information, tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
After setting up your account with Google Search Console, your details can be used to integrate and automate web traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s traffic performance, SEO, marketing campaigns, sales conversions, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrals, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account has been set up, you can add traffic tracking code to WordPress using a Google Analytics plugin and feed data automatically to other useful applications.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. After setting up your account, you can use the details to automate web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO – see further below) and other applications.
As explained in Part Two, WordPress offers both the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you are planning to grow a professional online presence for your business.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful tools, which can be accessed by various WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate this into your web traffic system in the next installment of this series.
Social Media Sites
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and drive new visitors to your site)
You will need your various social media and social bookmarking accounts set up in order to 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 accounts and attract new traffic to your site.
You should have profiles with all of the main social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, 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 pick the ones that will work well with your system and/or content syndication tools.
(You can post your content to lots of social bookmarking sites. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, Aggregators, Etc.
There are many online platforms and RSS aggregators that can act as secondary sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some are paid services.
For example, here is a content aggregator that lets you add a feed from your website …
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your page.
There are many different sites and platforms you can add to your own web traffic system. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these, or to discuss a configuration plan to suit your needs.
After you have configured your web server and set up accounts with third-party sites, it’s time to configure your WordPress site.
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to ensure that its global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Global WordPress Settings
The WordPress administration area contains a Settings menu that allows you to configure your site’s main settings …
(WordPress menu – Settings)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search listings, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings Section)
The Writing Settings area contains a powerful and frequently overlooked built-in traffic notification system …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings)
As described in the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you or your webmaster have specifically configured your settings to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically ping the list of services entered into the Update Services text box
By default, this section displays only one entry …
(Writing Settings – WordPress Update Services)
You can notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress – just add a list containing all of the update services you want notified 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 visitors will see your content when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings in this section can influence traffic. For example, choosing to display the full content vs a summary of your post, affects how your content displays to users in RSS readers and RSS email campaigns, and could affect 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.
The most important setting here as far as your traffic system is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility checkbox is ticked or not.
Generally, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows WordPress to instantly ping all the update services you have listed when new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, do not check this box …
(Settings Menu – 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 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)
Your Permalink settings allow you to create SEO-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalinks Screen)
Here are some of the options for configuring your post permalinks …
(Configuring search-friendly URLS)
We have created a detailed tutorial about using permalinks here: Improve Your WordPress SEO Using Permalinks
Configuring WordPress Traffic Plugins
The WordPress developer community makes available thousands of plugins that can add almost every type of functionality imaginable to your site, including many plugins that improve 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 website for handling both good traffic and bad traffic. No site is completely safe from being attacked.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress blog invisible to attacks from hackers and bots.
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your website more search engine friendly …
(WordPress Plugin – Yoast SEO)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your site’s search engine optimization. When properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines like Google to find, classify and index, it also lets you specify how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
WordPress Social Plugins
Allowing visitors to share your content with others online can help drive more traffic to your site, especially if you provide content that adds real value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing to their site using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
You can add social features to your site easily using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
Most social plugins allow you to specify which social sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of followers), etc. Some social share plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content or downloads which visitors can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.
Configuring WordPress Theme Settings For Traffic Generation
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that 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, some themes also provide built-in options for improving SEO and site linking structure for better indexing, easily add analytics, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes include built-in traffic optimization features)
With a number of quality themes, adding social sharing features to your content is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes come with built-in social sharing features that can be easily enabled on with the click of a button)
Other Areas To Configure For Better Traffic Flow
Last (but by no means least) in the web traffic system configuration process, are the things that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
These include the following:
Website Compliance Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in visitor numbers, it’s important to plan not only how to handle bad and good traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong when more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you engage in any form of commercial activity online (or are planning to), it’s important that your website is compliant with all regulations.
For a detailed article on why it’s important to have a compliant website, go here:
WordPress tags and categories help to improve your site’s search optimization, which helps you get more traffic.
(Categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better understand and index your web pages.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that the post tags and post categories you have set up.
A visitor site map that displays all of your pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external applications discover 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 different things. Although search engines like Google can index your site just using an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO can provide – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
404 Error Page – A Source Of Lost Traffic Opportunities!
When visitors searching for your website type in the wrong URL into their browser or click on a link pointing to a destination on your site that no longer exists, they are presented with a 404 page …
(A 404 Page)
A 404 page can be turned into a useful source of traffic to your functional web pages …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to recover web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 page can be set up in your web server, there are WordPress plugins that allow you to easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once your website has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you have to do then to begin attracting more traffic is publish fresh content regularly.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, is quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of different components and external web properties …
(WP Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The kind of knowledge and expertise required to perform the configuration phase of the traffic automation process typically takes some website professionals months to acquire.
Once you have expertly configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate as much of the process as can be automated. This step is covered in the next article in our WordPress Traffic System series.
This is the end of Section 3
To read more, click on the link below:
- WordPress Web Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – Discover How To Turn Your WordPress Web Site Into An Automated Traffic Generation Machine
This article is part of a comprehensive series of tutorials designed to help business owners learn how to grow their business online with a WordPress website or blog and proven online marketing methods.
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