Welcome to Part Three of our Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your site using the WordPress CMS.
In Part 1 of this 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 begin bringing web traffic is publish content on a regular basis!)
In Part Two, we looked at critical setup decisions. 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 website, and what to do if your existing website has been built using WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up a WordPress web site on your domain)
In this section, we discuss the configuration phase of the traffic automation process. You will understand what makes an expertly configured site different than a professionally configured one. You will also discover just what type of work is required to make sure that when all is fully set up and configured, traffic will automatically start flowing just by posting content to your WordPress site.
WordPress Web Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase
Finding ways to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by many business owners as one of the greatest challenges they face online. Also, the business landscape is becoming so much more competitive and businesses are researching any and every advantage they believe will help them improve their performance online.
Having the ability to generate traffic on demand can provide website owners with a tremendous competitive advantage. With an expertly configured WordPress site, you have an immediate competitive advantage from the word “go”.
The Difference Is In The Configuration
There is a significant 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 take advantage of everything WordPress can offer you.
Here’s one way to explain the differences:
An expertly configured WordPress site gives you a web presence plus online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured website gives you a web presence with a built-in automated online business marketing system!)
Not only are more steps required 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 an amusing anecdote.
Knowing Where To Tap
All is moving along in the gizmo-making assembly line when the machines suddenly grinds to a complete stop.
As no one can figure out what is wrong, the plant manager decides to call in an expert to try and fix the problem.
Soon afterward, the expert arrives and walks immediately towards the control box. After staring at the electronic components for 5 minutes, the expert then takes out a little hammer and makes a single tap about two cm from the top-left side of the unit.
Immediately, everything starts working once again.
The floor manager is overjoyed as he thanks the expert, who then leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days after resolving the incident, the factory manager receives a request for payment of $5,000.
Bewildered and bordering on a sense of outrage, the manager calls the expert. Why had he charged them such a ludicrous fee for less than five minutes work? He then requests an itemized invoice and hangs up.
The next day, an invoice notice arrives on the manager’s desk. Upon opening it, this is what he sees:
The #1 challenge most businesses face online is driving traffic to their sites.
How much money did the gizmo plant stand to lose when the machines stopped functioning and no one in the business was able to fix it? Did the expert not have the right to be compensated fairly for years spent developing the knowledge, skills and expertise that allowed him to assess and repair a costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your web site set up so all you have 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 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 may seem ridiculously simple once it’s been implemented, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than adding some pages with content and configuring a few basic settings. It also requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which plugins need to be installed to add various functionalities to your site.
- Which third-party accounts need to be set up and activated to get desired results
- Which internal and external settings you need to configure to make sure things function as you have imagined, etc.
(Driving new 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 and time-consuming. The reason why is because it’s not as easy as installing and configuring a solution, clicking a button … it’s all of this and so much more.
Expertly configuring your website involves the integration of a number of different components including your web server, your website or blog, and various external sites …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If the activities involved in the configuration process were to be flowcharted, it would look like this …
(A simplified flowchart showing all the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s examine what’s involved in more detail.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your hosting account for website installation purposes (this should have been done during the Setup phase). What we are talking about, is configuring settings in your web-hosting account that affect how your site will handle web traffic …
(During the configuration phase, your web hosting account settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is beneficial traffic. Some of the traffic your website may attract will be unwanted traffic like bot spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This area of the configuration process, therefore, is all about evaluating your needs, planning for good and bad traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This can include things like spam protection and threat prevention, to configuring your domain and email forwarding, setting up htaccess redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like emails, page error redirections, etc?)
After your server settings have been fine-tuned and configured, the next step is to configure various third-party sites.
The basic concept of setting up external sites is that all of your content will be posted to a central location (your site) and from there, it will get automatically distributed to other components of your web traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
After incorporating these external sites into your configuration, content with links pointing back to your website gets automatically added to these platforms. Your content and business will be given exposure to new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some of the external sites and online services will need to be 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, here are just some of the accounts you will need to have set up before configuring your settings:
(Google Webmasters – create a Google-friendly website or blog)
Google Search Console lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with essential information, tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
After setting up your account, this information can be used with web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s performance, SEO, marketing efforts, sales conversions, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrers, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site details are set up, you can add traffic monitoring code to all of your web pages in WordPress using a plugin and send data instantly to various other applications and web properties.
(Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. Once your account has been with Bing have been set up, you can use the account information with traffic-related settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress offers users the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you are planning to grow 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 show you how to integrate these features into your web traffic generation system in Part 4 of this article series.
Social Media Pages
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media pages and drive new visitors to your site)
You will need your various social media accounts set up before you can 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 attract new traffic to your site.
You should have accounts and profiles set up with all the main social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
There are many social bookmarking sites you can set up accounts with and syndicate your content to. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just select those that will work well with your system and/or content sharing tools (we discuss some of these tools in more detail when we discuss the Automation phase).
(You can syndicate your content to lots of social sites. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Sites, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are many new online technology platforms and content aggregators that can serve as secondary sources of traffic. 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 blog feed …
(RebelMouse – Publishing platform for distributed content)
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your social feed.
There are various platforms you can add to your web traffic system. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring this area further, or to discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up third-party 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 correctly set up.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Configuring Global WordPress Settings
Your WordPress dashboard area contains a Settings section that allows you to modify your site’s main settings …
(WordPress admin menu – Settings)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings Screen)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most powerful and frequently overlooked automated traffic notification systems available to WordPress site owners …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings Area)
As stated below the Update Services section title,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you or your webmaster have purposely chosen to discourage search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically notify the list of services entered into the Update Services field
By default, when WordPress is installed, this section lists only one entry …
(WordPress Update Services)
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 visitors will see your content when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings in this section can have an influence traffic. For example, choosing to display the full content vs summaries of your post, affects how your content displays in RSS feeds and RSS email campaigns, and could impact someone’s decision to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your site 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 main setting here as far as traffic is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility check box is ticked or not.
Normally, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows your site to instantly ping the update services list whenever a new post is published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, do not check this box …
(WordPress Settings – 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 Section)
Your Permalink settings allow you to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalink Settings Screen)
The examples below show some of the options for configuring your permalink URLs …
(Configuring SEO-friendly URLs)
To learn more about setting up WordPress permalinks, go here: Improve Your WordPress SEO Using Permalinks
WordPress – Plugin Settings
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that help to add almost every kind of functionality imaginable to your site, including 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 dealing with the effects of both good traffic and bad traffic. No matter what type of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, securing your site is something you cannot ignore.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your website invisible to hackers and botnets.
To learn more, go here:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by improving improving how search engines like Google and Bing find and index your website …
(SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help drive more traffic by improving your site’s SEO)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO (previously known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your SEO. Once properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines like Google to find and index, it also lets you specify how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media sites Twitter, Facebook, and GooglePlus.
Allowing visitors to share your content with members of their own social communities can help drive significant traffic to your site, especially if your site provides great content that adds real value to readers.
(You can add social sharing features to your site easily using WordPress plugins)
You can add social sharing to your website easily using free or inexpensive plugins.
Most social share plugins let you select which sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some plugins even allow you to set up protected content areas on your site which visitors can unlock by sharing your page.
Configuring WordPress Theme Settings For Traffic Generation
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help improve your site’s traffic generation capabilities.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring the layout and design of your site, some themes also provide built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site navigation structure for faster indexing, easily add analytics snippets, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WP themes like Graphene (a highly customizable free theme) allow you to configure settings for better traffic results)
With many WordPress themes, adding social sharing features to your website is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons to enable the function …
(Many WordPress themes come with built-in social sharing features that can be easily enabled on with the click of a button)
Additional Configuration Features For WordPress Traffic Automation
Last but not least in the configuration process, are the things that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Website Legal Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for a growth in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for how to handle good and unwelcome 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 plan to), you need to ensure that your site stays compliant with legal requirements of government agencies that regulate business practices online.
If you need help adding legal pages to WordPress, go here:
WordPress post categories and tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better organize and index your pages.
(WordPress post categories help search engines better classify and index your website, which improves traffic.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post categories and tags have been set up correctly to deliver optimal benefits and results.
Add A Site Map
A site map that displays all of your 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 …
(Site Map – great for site visitors and beneficial for web traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are two different things. An HTML site map is a web page that links to all other content on your site, while an XML sitemap contains code that only search engine bots can read. Although Google will index your pages just using an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
404 Page – Don’t Forget To Configure This Too!
When visitors searching for your site type in the wrong web address or click on a dead link, they are greeted with a 404 Not Found page …
(Default WordPress 404 Page)
A 404 page can be configured to redirect confused visitors to your functional web pages …
(Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to recover web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 error page can be set up in your web server, there are several plugins for WordPress that let you easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Process – Summary
Once your WordPress site has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you have to do then is post web content regularly to automatically bring more traffic.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of different elements and web properties …
(WP Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes many web developers 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 article in our WordPress Traffic Automation System series.
This is the end of Section Three
To read more, click here:
- Web Site Traffic Blueprint Part Four – A Complete Guide To Attracting More Website Visitors For Your Business Automatically With WordPress
This article is part of a comprehensive series of articles aimed at helping you learn how to grow your business online cost-effectively and drive traffic sustainably using a WordPress website or blog and proven marketing methods that are easy and quick to implement.
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"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