Welcome to Part 3 of our WordPress Web Site 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 explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to automating traffic to your website …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website or blog, all you have to do to automatically drive more traffic is post content consistently!)
In Part 2, we discussed the setup phase of the automation process. We helped you understand the best way to start 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 existing website was built using WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you where to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section of the series, we will discuss the configuration phase of the WordPress traffic automation system. We will show you how a WordPress site should be configured in order to automatically drive traffic when you start adding new content to your site.
WordPress Traffic System – Configuration Phase
The ability 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 exploring every advantage they believe will improve their results and performance online.
Being able to generate traffic on demand is a huge competitive advantage. An expertly configured website gives your business a significant competitive advantage from the very start.
The Difference Is In The Way Your Site Is Configured
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 builder but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here is a simple way to understand the key difference:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a professional web presence with an automated online business marketing process!
(An expertly configured site gives you a web presence with a built-in automated online business marketing process!)
Not only does it take additional labor to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, it also takes a special kind of expert knowledge.
Allow me to illustrate this with a joke.
Knowing Where To Tap
Things were going well in the gizmo-making factory when everything ground to a sudden stop.
No one could figure out what has happened and so the plant manager decided to call in an expert to fix the problem.
Soon afterward, the expert arrived and, without saying a word, walked immediately to the main control box. After staring silently at the wiring diagrams for no more than 3 minutes or so, the expert then took out a teensy-weensy little hammer from his tool belt and made a single tap near the right corner of the box.
Immediately, all machines inside the factory floor sprang to life again.
The floor manager was greatly relieved as he thanked the expert, who left as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days later, the factory manager received a request for payment of $5,000.
The factory manager dialed the expert, demanding to know why the expert had charged them so much for less than 5 minutes work. He promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice notice arrived and was placed in the manager’s intray. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he saw:
The main challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive new traffic to their sites.
How much money did the widget factory stand to lose when production stopped functioning and no one on the business had the expertise required to get things up and running again? Did the expert in our story not have the right to ask to be compensated fairly for years spent developing the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to quickly assess and fix a potentially costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a WP website 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 time and money would you save if you could automate the process of attracting new visitors to your website?)
While the solution to many problems is often ridiculously simple in hindsight, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site involves more than adding some pages with content and configuring a few internal settings. It also requires knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which plugins need to be installed to add specific functionalities to your site.
- Which services you need to set up to get desired outcomes
- Which settings you need to configure to make sure things will work the way you have envisioned, etc.
(Generating traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
This part of the WordPress traffic automation system is not so technically challenging, but it’s quite involved. It’s not just about installing one or two plugins, configuring some settings in your dashboard area … it’s all this and so much more.
The configuration phase involves the integration of many parts such as your web server, your web site, and a number of third-party sites …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring some settings in WordPress)
If we create a simple diagram of the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplified diagram of the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s take a better look at these areas.
Configuring Your Web Server
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your webhosting account for installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). What we are talking about, is fine-tuning settings in your web hosting account that affect how your site will handle web traffic …
(In the configuration stage, 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 your site can attract will be unwelcome traffic like bot spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, is all about planning for both good and bad traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like implementing spam protection and security threat prevention, to configuring your domain and email redirections, setting up error page redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your webhosting settings for handling things like emails, page error redirections, etc?)
After checking your server settings and configuring these, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various external sites and services.
The basic idea of adding external sites is that all of your content is published from a central location (your site) and from there, it then gets automatically distributed to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once these external services have been added to your network, content linking back to your site will be automatically fed to these platforms, indexed by search engines and distributed to social media accounts, even to users of the platform itself. Your content and site will be given added exposure to a new audience and source of traffic.
Some web properties and online solutions will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress site’s settings to help 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 before configuring your settings:
(Google Search Console)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with useful information, tools, and reports about their website.
After setting up your account, you can use this information with traffic-related settings in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s results, SEO, marketing efforts, and more, by tracking all user behaviour, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrers, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site details are set up, traffic monitoring information can be integrated with WordPress via a simple plugin used with other applications and reporting tools.
(Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. Once your Bing Webmaster Tools account and site details have been set up, you can use this information with traffic settings in WordPress and other applications.
As discussed in Part Two, WordPress offers website owners the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress version if you are planning to grow a professional web presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great tools, 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 automated traffic generation system in Part Four of this article series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and get new visitors to your site)
You will need your various social media and social bookmarking accounts set up in order to 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 drive new traffic to your site.
You should set up profiles with all the leading social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.
There are loads of social bookmarking sites you can post your content to. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just choose the ones that will work well with your system and/or content sharing tools (we discuss some of these tools in more detail during the Automation phase).
(There are lots of social sites you can post your content to. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, Content Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of online technology platforms and RSS aggregators that can act as secondary traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some are more suitable for enterprise-level applications.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that lets you add your WordPress site feed …
(RebelMouse – Publishing platform for distributed content)
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your RebelMouse account.
There are many different platforms you can add to your own web traffic blueprint. Please contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these, or to discuss a configuration strategy to suit your needs.
After you have configured your server settings and set up external site accounts, it’s time to configure WordPress.
WordPress – Configuring Your Site
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to ensure that your global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some of the important points.
Configuring WordPress Settings
By default, WordPress includes a Settings menu that allows you to modify your site’s global settings …
(WordPress dashboard menu – Settings)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings Section)
The Writing Settings section contains an important and often overlooked built-in traffic notification system …
(WordPress 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 chosen to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically ping the services entered into the Update Services text area
By default, only one service is available …
(Writing Settings – Update Services)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically …
(You can 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 on this page can influence traffic. For example, choosing to display the full text vs summaries of your post, affects how your content appears in RSS readers and RSS email campaigns, and could affect someone’s decision to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your blog to get 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 your traffic system is concerned, however, the most important setting in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is enabled or not.
Generally, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked enables WordPress to automatically ping all the update services you have listed whenever a new post is published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, do not check this box …
(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings Screen)
Although the settings in this section 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 …
(WordPress Settings – Discussion Settings Section)
Your Permalink settings allow your site to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalinks)
The examples below show some of the ways your search-friendly URLS can be configured …
(Configuring permalink URLs)
We have created a detailed tutorial on using permalinks in WordPress here: How To Change Your WordPress Permalinks
WordPress provides users with plugins that help to add almost every kind of functionality to your site, including many plugins that improve traffic generation.
Here are some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
Blog Defender WordPress Security Plugin
Once again, it’s important to configure your WordPress site for dealing with both good traffic and bad traffic. No web site is immune from a cyber-attack.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your website invisible to bot and hacker attacks.
For more details, go here:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive traffic by improving improving how search engines like Google find, classify and index your web pages …
(Yoast SEO – WordPress Plugin)
Use a plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your website’s SEO. Once properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines to index, it also lets you specify how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media sites Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
WordPress Social Plugins
Allowing your visitors to easily 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.
(You can add social sharing features to your website easily with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
You can easily add social sharing to your site with free or inexpensive plugins.
Many social sharing plugins allow you to 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 users can unlock by liking your page.
Configuring WordPress Theme Settings For Traffic Generation
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help grow your traffic.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring the layout and design of your website, many themes also provide built-in options for improving search optimization and site navigation structure for better indexing, easily add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes like Graphene (a free theme) can be configured for improved traffic results)
With a number of quality themes, adding social sharing features to your site is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons to enable the function …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in social sharing features)
WordPress Traffic Automation – Other Important Aspects To Consider
Last but not least in the configuration process, are the areas that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
Website Legal Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for an increase in traffic, it’s important to plan not only how to handle bad and good traffic but also for all the situations that can seriously affect your business as more and more people begin to visit your website.
If you do business online (or are planning to), you need to make sure that your website is found to comply with regulatory agencies.
To learn more about the importance of having a legally compliant website, refer to this article:
WordPress post categories & tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to classify and index your website.
(Post categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better understand and index your pages.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that the tags and categories you have set up.
HTML Site Map
A site map that lists all of your site’s pages and posts to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external applications discover more of your online 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. HTML site maps are web pages that link to all other content on your site and provide readers with a logical map of how your content is structured, while XML sitemaps contain code that only search engine bots can read. Although Google will index your pages just using 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 Web Traffic!
When visitors enter the wrong URL into their browser or click on a dead hyperlink, they will normally be greeted with a 404 Not Found error page …
(Default WordPress 404 Not Found page)
A 404 page can be configured into a useful source of traffic to your functional pages …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found error page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 page can be set up on your server, there are several plugins for WordPress that allow you to easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once your website has been fully set up and expertly configured, all you need to do then to automatically generate traffic is post content regularly.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of various components and external web properties …
(WP Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site can take some website professionals a long time to learn.
Once you have expertly configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is covered in the next section of our series.
This is the end of Part 3
To continue reading, click here:
- Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part Four – Learn How To Create An Automated Traffic Generation Machine With WordPress
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive series of tutorials aimed at helping you learn how to grow your business online cost-effectively using a WordPress-driven website and proven online marketing methods.
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