Welcome to Part Three of our Web Site Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to drive visitors automatically to your website using WordPress.
In Part 1 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 site, all you have to do is publish content on a consistent basis to begin bringing more web traffic!)
In Part 2, we looked at the setup phase. We explained the best way to get started if you don’t have a website yet, how to set everything up if you already have a site, and what to do if your site has been built using WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you where to set up a WordPress website or blog on your domain)
In this article, we will look at the configuration phase of the traffic automation process. We explain how to configure a WordPress site to attract new visitors automatically when you begin to post fresh content to your web site.
WordPress Traffic Automation System – Configuration
Finding ways to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by business owners as their greatest challenge online. With business becoming so much more competitive on a global scale, it’s worth exploring any and every opportunity you can to improve your own results and performance online.
Being able to generate traffic on demand can be a huge advantage. With an expertly configured website, your business has a significant competitive advantage from the word “go”.
The Difference Is In The Configuration Process
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally installed and set up by a web-building expert but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s one way to understand the differences:
An expertly configured WordPress website gives you a professional web presence with an automated online business marketing system!
(An expertly configured website gives you a web presence with an automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only does it take extra labor to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, it also takes a special kind of expertise.
Let me illustrate this with a story.
A Semi-True Story …
All was going just fine in the widget-making workshop when everything came to a sudden stop.
No one could figure out what was wrong and so the manager decided to call in an expert.
Soon afterward, the expert arrived and, without uttering a word, headed immediately towards the control box. After staring at the circuit board for no more than 2 minutes or so, the expert then took out a little hammer and made a single tap near the left corner of the box.
Immediately, the machinery came back to life.
The plant manager was delighted as he thanked the expert, who left just as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days later, the manager received an invoice for the sum of $5,000.
The manager dialled the expert, demanding to know why they were being charged so much for so little time spent delivering such a minimal amount of work and then requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, a bill of payment arrived 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 drive web traffic to their sites.
How much money did the gizmo factory stand to lose when the machines stopped functioning and no one in the factory floor had the expertise to fix it? Did the expert not have the right to ask to be compensated fairly for having spent years developing the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to fix a costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your WP web site fully set up and configured so all you have to do is publish new content and search engines, social sites and dozens of other web properties would be automatically 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?)
Although the solution to many problems often seems quite simple in hindsight, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site involves more than adding some pages with content and configuring basic settings. It involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which plugins you need to install to add certain functionalities to your site.
- Which third-party services you need to set up to get certain results
- Which settings need to be configured to make sure things will function as planned, etc.
(Generating traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
Although this stage of the WordPress traffic automation system may not seem so technically challenging, it can be quite complicated. It’s not as easy as installing and configuring a plugin, tweaking some settings in your dashboard area … it’s all of this and so much more.
Expertly configuring your website involves the integration of many different components including your server, your WP site, and various external sites and online services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we were to create a simplified flowchart of the activities involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplistic flowchart of the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s examine these steps.
Configuring The Server
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your web-hosting account for website installation purposes (this should have been done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about tweaking settings in your web hosting account that affect how your website will handle all web traffic …
(During the configuration stage, your web server 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 website will attract will be unwanted traffic like bot spam, malicious threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This stage of the configuration process, therefore, requires planning for both good and bad traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This could include looking at things like implementing server-level spam protection and securing server files, to configuring your domain and email redirections, setting up htaccess and 404 redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like emails, page errors, etc?)
After checking your web server settings and configuring these, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various external sites and/or online services.
3rd-Party Accounts Integration
The basic idea of adding external sites is that all of your content is posted to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it then gets distributed automatically to other components of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
After incorporating these external services into your configuration, content with links pointing back to your website gets automatically fed to search, social and aggregator accounts. Your website will receive increased exposure online, helping you tap into new sources of traffic.
Some third-party sites will need to have accounts set up before configuring your site’s settings to speed up the configuration process 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 – 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 you with a range of useful information, tools and reports about your website.
Once your account is set up, you can use the details to integrate and automate web traffic settings in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s performance, SEO, marketing campaigns, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrals, etc.
After setting up your account, you can add tracking code to all of your pages in WordPress via 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 Webmasters. Once your Bing Webmaster Tools account and site details are set up, you can use this information to automate web traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress 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 build a professional business presence online.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful tools, 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 automated traffic system in Part 4 of this article series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media accounts and bring new visitors to your site)
You will need to 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 pages and drive new visitors to your site.
Set up accounts with all of the popular social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are loads of social bookmarking sites you can You can post your content to many social bookmarking sites. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just select those that will work with your setup and/or content sharing tools.
(There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can post your content to. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, Content Aggregators, Etc.
There are many new online technology platforms and RSS aggregators that can act as secondary traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free access levels, and some are more suitable for enterprise-level applications.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that allows you to add your WordPress site feed …
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your own RebelMouse website.
There are many different platforms that can be added to your traffic blueprint. Please contact us if you would like to explore some of these further and discuss a configuration 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.
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to make sure that its global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some key areas.
By default, all WordPress installations include a Settings section that allows you to configure your site’s global settings …
(WordPress dashboard menu – Settings)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most important and often overlooked traffic notification systems available to website owners …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings)
As described in this section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have intentionally chosen to prevent search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically notify the list of update services entered into the Update Services text box
By default, when WordPress is installed, this section contains only one entry …
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 visitors when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings on this page can influence traffic. For example, choosing to display the full content vs summaries of your post, affects how your content displays in RSS feeds and blog post digests, and could impact someone’s choice to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your website or blog to get 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 feature is enabled or not.
Normally, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked enables your site to automatically notify your list of update services when a new post gets published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason to discourage search engines from visiting your site, leave this box unchecked …
(Global Settings – Reading Settings Screen)
Although this section is 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 display posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalinks Screen)
The examples below show some of the ways permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring search-friendly URLS)
For a detailed step-by-step tutorial about setting up permalinks, go here: Improve Your WordPress SEO With SEO-Friendly URLs
The WordPress developer community makes available thousands of plugins that can add just about every kind of functionality to your site, including traffic generation.
Here are examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help your site generate more traffic
WordPress Security Plugins – Blog Defender
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 afford to ignore the importance of website security.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your website invisible to hackers and bots.
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your web pages more search engine friendly …
(WordPress SEO plugins help increase traffic by improving the search engine friendliness of your website)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your site’s search engine optimization. Once properly configured, this plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines like Google to index, it also gives you control over how your content is displayed in Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and GooglePlus.
WordPress Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing visitors to share your content online can help drive more traffic to your site, especially if you publish great content that adds value to readers.
(You can add social sharing features to your website easily using free or inexpensive plugins)
You can easily add social features to your website using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
Most social sharing plugins let you choose which social sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some plugins even allow you to set up protected content sections on your site 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, as well as options and settings for configuring the layout and design of your site, some themes also include built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site navigation structure for better indexing, add tracking code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WP themes like Graphene (a free theme) include built-in traffic optimization features)
With a number of WordPress themes, adding social sharing buttons and features to your site is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes have 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 web traffic system configuration process, are the elements that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in traffic, it’s important to plan not only for both bad and good 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 commercial activity online, it’s important that your website is found to comply with regulatory agencies.
We have created a detailed article on the importance of having a legally compliant website here:
Tags & categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better organize and index your pages.
(Post categories help to improve your site’s SEO, which helps you get more traffic.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that the post tags and post categories that have been set up.
Add A Site Map
A site map that lists all of your posts and pages is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external applications find your web content …
(Site Map – great for visitors and beneficial for web traffic too!)
It’s important to note that an HTML site map and an XML sitemap are two different things. Although Google can index your site just from an XML sitemap (which a plugin like Yoast SEO can provide – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site can result in increased traffic.
404 Page Not Found – Another Source Of Traffic!
When visitors searching online for your site type in the wrong URL into their browser or click on hyperlinks pointing to an incorrect destination on your website, they are presented with a 404 error page …
(A WordPress 404 Not Found 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 error 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.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Process – Summary
Once your site has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you then have to do is add great content consistently to automatically begin bringing more web traffic.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, is quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of different components and external web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The kind of knowledge and expertise required to perform the configuration process typically takes some web professionals months to acquire.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is explained in the next article in our WordPress Traffic System series.
This is the end of Part 3
To read the rest of this article, click here:
- Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – Learn How To Automatically Get More Website Traffic For Your Business
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive tutorial series designed to help site owners learn how to grow their business online cost-effectively using a WordPress-powered website or blog and proven marketing strategies that are easy and quick to implement.
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