Welcome to Part Three of our Web Site Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn a website into an automated web traffic generation machine using WordPress.
In Part One of this article series, we described the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to automating traffic to your website …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website, all you have to do to attract new web traffic is post great content on a regular basis!)
In Part Two, we discussed the setup phase. We explained 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 website was built using WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you how to set up a WordPress website on your domain)
In this article, we will discuss the configuration stage of the traffic automation process. We will help you understand what makes an expertly configured WordPress site different, and what type of work is required to ensure that when all is fully configured, you can automatically get new visitors whenever you add fresh content to your web site.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint – Configuration
Being able to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by many website owners as their greatest challenge online. Businesses are becoming so much more competitive and are researching any and every opportunity they can to increase their competitiveness online.
Being able to generate traffic on demand can be a tremendous advantage over other competitors. For WordPress users, an expertly configured website means having a significant advantage from the word “go”.
Configuration Is The Difference
There is a difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a website that has been professionally installed and set up by an expert website developer but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress can offer you.
Here is a simple way to describe the main difference:
An expertly configured WordPress site gives you a professional web presence with an automated online business marketing tool!
(An expertly configured site gives you a web presence and a built-in automated online business marketing process!)
Not only are more steps needed to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, but also a special kind of expert knowledge.
To illustrate this here is an anecdote.
Are Experts Worth The Money They Charge?
Everything is moving along in the gizmo-making factory when all equipment suddenly grinds to a halt.
As no one can figure out what’s gone wrong, the plant manager decides to call in an expert.
Promptly after arriving, the expert goes directly to the control box. After staring at the control unit for what seems like 3 minutes or so, the expert then produces a teensy-weensy hammer and makes a gentle tap about 1 cm from the left-hand corner of the box.
Immediately, everything comes back to life.
The manager is grateful and relieved as he thanks the expert, who then leaves as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days later, the factory manager receives a service bill for $5,000.
Angry and bordering on a sense of outrage, the factory manager calls the expert. Demanding to know why they were expected to pay such an exorbitant fee for less than five minutes work, he promptly requests an itemized invoice and hangs up.
The next day, an invoice notice arrives on the manager’s desk. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he sees:
The main challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive new visitors to their sites.
How much money did the gizmo factory stand to lose when production stopped working and no one in the factory floor had the expertise required to get things up and running again? Did the expert not have the right to ask to be compensated fairly for having invested years developing the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to immediately assess and fix a costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your WordPress web site set up and configured so all you had to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and dozens of other web properties would be immediately 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 site?)
While the solution to many problems is often ridiculously easy in hindsight, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than just installing a website and configuring a few basic settings. It also involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which plugins you need to install to get specific functionalities on your site.
- Which third-party services you need to set up to achieve certain results
- Which settings you need to configure to make sure processes will work how you have planned, etc.
(Driving traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
Although this stage of the WordPress traffic automation system may not seem so technically difficult, it can be quite involved and time-consuming. The reason why is because it’s not just about installing one or two plugins, tweaking some settings in your admin area … it’s all this and so much more.
The configuration phase is a complex process that involves your web server, your WordPress site, and various third-party sites …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we were to create a simplified flowchart showing the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplistic diagram showing the configuration phase)
Let’s examine what’s involved.
Configuring The Server
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your web hosting account for website installation purposes. We’re talking about fine-tuning settings and options in your server that affect how you will handle web traffic …
(In the configuration stage, your web hosting account settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is welcome traffic. Some of the web traffic your website can attract will be unwanted traffic like bot spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, is all about planning for good and unwelcome traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like integrating spam protection and threat prevention, to configuring your domain and email forwarding, setting up 404 error page redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like emails, page errors, etc?)
After fine-tuning your web server settings and configuring these (if required), the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various third-party sites.
The purpose of setting up external sites is that all of your content will get posted to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will get distributed automatically to other parts of your traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once these external sites have been added to your traffic system, content pointing back to your website will be automatically published on these platforms. Your website will then be given added exposure to new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some web properties and online services will need to be 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 lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of useful data, tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
Once your account and site details have been set up, this information can be used with web traffic settings in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s traffic results, SEO, marketing efforts, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrers, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site data have been set up, you can add traffic tracking information to WordPress via a simple plugin and feed data instantly to many other useful applications and web properties.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. Once your Bing Webmaster Tools account is set up, use your account information to automate web traffic settings in WordPress and other applications.
As discussed in Part Two, WordPress offers users the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress version if you plan to build a professional online presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful features, which can be accessed by various WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate this into your automated web traffic generation system in the next installment of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(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 social media 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 sites and bring new visitors to your site.
You should set up accounts and profile pages with all of the big social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are many social sites you can You can syndicate your content to many social bookmarking sites. You don’t need to go crazy, just choose those that will work with your setup and/or content sharing tools (we will cover some of these tools in greater detail further below and in the Automation phase).
(You can syndicate your content to lots of social sites. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Solutions, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are many new online technology platforms and content aggregators that can serve as secondary-level traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free access levels, and some offer a range of pricing plans.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that lets you add your WordPress site feed …
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your RebelMouse account.
There are many different solutions you can incorporate into your own traffic system. Please contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these, or to discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up external service accounts, it’s time to configure your site’s settings.
WordPress Site Configuration
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to ensure that its global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some of the important areas.
Global WordPress Settings
Your WordPress administration area contains a Settings menu that allows you to modify your site’s global settings …
(WordPress settings section)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings Screen)
The Writing Settings section contains one of the most powerful and often overlooked automated traffic notification systems available to WordPress site owners …
(Settings Menu – 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 have intentionally configured your settings to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically notify the services entered into the Update Services text area
By default, only one service is listed …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature Of WordPress)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically …
(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 influence web traffic. For example, choosing to display the full content vs summaries of your post, affects how your content shows up in RSS feeds and RSS email campaigns, and could impact someone’s decision to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your website or blog to read the rest of the content from summaries, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
The main setting here as far as your traffic system is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility check box is enabled or not.
Normally, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked enables your site to instantly ping the list of update services whenever a new post gets published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason to discourage search indexing spiders from visiting your site, leave this box unchecked …
(Settings Menu – Reading Settings)
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 you to display posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalinks)
Here are some of the ways search-friendly URLS can be configured …
(Configuring post permalinks)
To learn more about setting up permalinks in WordPress, see this tutorial: Setting Up WordPress Permalinks
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings
The WordPress developer community makes available thousands of plugins that can add almost every type of functionality imaginable to your site, including plugins with features that help to improve traffic generation.
Here are examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help drive more visitors to your site
Blog Defender Security Plugin
Once again, it’s important to configure your website for dealing with the effects of both good traffic and bad traffic. No website is completely safe from a cyber-attack.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to botnets and hackers.
For more details, go here:
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your web content easily indexable …
(WP SEO Plugin – Yoast SEO)
A plugin like Yoast SEO can significantly improve your SEO. When properly configured, this plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines to find and index, it also lets you configure how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and GooglePlus.
WordPress Social 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.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing features to their website using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing to their site using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
Most social share plugins allow you to select which sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of likes), etc. Some plugins even allow you to set up protected content areas on your site which visitors can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.
Configuring Settings – Themes
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help you drive more traffic to your site.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring design and layout elements of your website, many themes also give you built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site navigation structure for better indexing, add tracking code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes have built-in traffic optimization features)
With many quality themes, adding social sharing buttons to your website is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons and enabling the function …
(Many WordPress themes provide built-in social sharing features)
Other Areas To Configure
Last (but by no means least) in the web traffic configuration process, are the components that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
These include the following:
Website Legal Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in visitor numbers, 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 make money online, it’s important that your site stays compliant with legal requirements of government agencies that regulate business practices online.
For a detailed article on why it’s important to have a legally compliant website, see this article:
WordPress tags & post categories help search engines better organize and index your website, which improves traffic.
(Post categories help to improve your site’s search optimization, which helps to increase traffic.)
When configuring your web site to automate and improve traffic, you will want to review and make sure that the post categories and tags that have been set up.
Add A Site Map
A site map that lists all of your site’s posts and pages to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external sites discover more of your site’s content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are two different things. Only search engine bots can understand XML sitemaps. Although Google can index your site just using an XML sitemap (which a plugin 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 Error Page – Another Source Of Web Traffic!
When online users type in the wrong URL or click on hyperlinks pointing to destinations on your site that no longer exist, they will typically be greeted with a 404 page …
(Default WordPress 404 Page)
A 404 Not Found error page can be turned into a useful source of traffic to your functional web pages …
(Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 error page can be set up on your web server, there are WordPress plugins that let you easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once you have your WordPress site expertly configured and fully set up, all you need to do is add web content consistently to begin bringing more traffic organically.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, is quite involved and requires the configuration and integration of various elements and web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The skills and knowledge required to perform the configuration process can take some web developers a long time to acquire.
Once you have expertly 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 Three
To read the rest of this article, click on the link below:
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive article series designed to help small business owners learn how to grow their business online cost-effectively and drive traffic sustainably using a WordPress-powered website and proven web marketing methods.
Subscribe Using The Form Below And Get Notified When New Tutorials Get Published!
"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