Welcome to Part 3 of our Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your site using WordPress.
In Part 1 of this article series, we provided an overview of the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to generating automated web traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website, all you have to do to start generating new web traffic is post fresh content consistently!)
In Part 2, we focused on the setup phase of the blueprint. We explained the best way to start if you don’t have a website yet, how to set things up if you already have a website, and what to do if your existing site has been built using WordPress.
(In Part two we show you where to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this article, we will discuss the configuration stage of the traffic blueprint. We explain how a WordPress site should be configured in order to automatically drive traffic just by adding web content on your site.
WordPress Web Traffic Automation Blueprint – Configuration
Being able to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by many website owners as the greatest challenge they face online. With business becoming so much more competitive on a global scale, it’s worth exploring every advantage that can help you get better results online.
The ability to generate traffic on demand can provide website owners with a tremendous advantage over other competitors. 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 set up by a website-building expert but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress has to offer.
Here’s a simple way to understand the key difference:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a professional web presence plus an automated online business marketing process!
(An expertly configured website gives you a web presence with an automated online business marketing process!)
Not only does it take additional work to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, it also takes a special kind of expertise.
To illustrate this point here’s a story.
Knowing Where To Tap
All is working according to schedule in the widget factory when all of a sudden, everything stops.
No one can figure out what’s happened and so the manager decides to call in an expert to fix the problem.
Promptly after arriving, the expert walks immediately to the main control box. After staring at the wires and circuitry for less than 5 minutes, the expert then takes out a tiny hammer and makes a single tap about three cm from the right corner of the control unit.
Immediately, the whole workshop lights up and springs to life again.
The plant manager is greatly relieved as he thanks the expert, who then leaves as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days after resolving the incident, the manager receives an invoice for $5,000.
Bewildered and angry, the factory manager picks up the phone and rings 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 and is placed in the manager’s intray. Upon opening it, this is what he sees:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive web traffic consistently to their sites.
How much money did the gizmo factory stand to lose when the equipment 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 every right to ask to be compensated fairly for having invested years acquiring the knowledge, skills and expertise that allowed him to quickly fix a costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a WP website set up so all you had to do is publish content to it and search engines, social sites and dozens of other online 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 site?)
Although the solution to many problems is often quite easy in hindsight, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site is more than adding some pages with content and configuring settings for clients. It involves knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which programs need to be installed to add various functionalities to your site.
- Which services you need to set up to get certain results
- Which internal and external settings need to be configured in order to ensure that things function to plan, etc.
(Driving web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
Although this stage of the traffic automation system may not seem so technically difficult, it can be quite involved and complicated. This is because it’s not as simple as installing and configuring a plugin, clicking a couple of buttons … it’s all this and much more.
The configuration stage is a process that involves your web hosting server, your WP site, and various third-party sites and/or online services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If we try to flowchart the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplistic flowchart of the steps involved in the configuration process)
Let’s examine what’s involved in more detail.
Your Server – Configuration
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your hosting account for installation purposes (this should have been done during the Setup phase). What we are talking about, is fine-tuning settings in your web server that affect how your website will handle all 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 business may attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, security threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This area of the configuration process, therefore, is all about planning for good and bad traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes things like configuring spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring domain and email forwarding, setting up 404 redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page error redirects, etc?)
Once your web server settings have been fine-tuned and configured, the next step is to set up and configure a number of third-party sites.
External Sites And Accounts – Configuration
The concept behind setting up external sites is that all content will be posted to a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will get distributed automatically to other components of your web traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
After adding these external sites to your traffic network, content pointing back to your site gets automatically syndicated to search, social and aggregator sites. Your content will benefit from exposure online, helping you tap into new sources of traffic.
Some third-party sites and online services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress 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 site’s settings:
(Google Webmasters – create a Google-friendly site)
Google Webmasters lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of useful information, SEO tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
Once your Google Webmaster Tools account and site data have been set up, you can use your information with traffic settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO – see further below) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s traffic performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing efforts, and more, by tracking all user behaviour, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine and social media referrals, etc.
After setting up your Once you have set up your Google Analytics account, traffic tracking information can be integrated with WordPress using a simple plugin used with other applications.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. Once your account with Bing Webmaster Tools have been set up, you can use this information to integrate and automate traffic settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress offers 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 some great features, which various WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll explain how to integrate this into your automated traffic system in the next installment of this article series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking Accounts
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media accounts and drive new visitors to your site)
You will need to set up your social media and social bookmarking 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 and social bookmarking accounts and attract new traffic to your site.
You should set up profiles with all the popular social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
There are loads of social bookmarking sites you can post your content to. You don’t need to go crazy, just select those that will work well with your setup and/or content syndication tools.
(You can post your content to many social sites. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Services, Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of online technology platforms and content aggregators that can act as secondary-level sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free levels, and some are paid services.
For example, here is a content aggregator that allows you to add a feed from your website …
(RebelMouse – Distribute your content to social networks)
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your RebelMouse account.
There are various sites and platforms that can be incorporated into your traffic blueprint. Please contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these further, or to discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your server settings and set up accounts with external services, it’s time to configure your site’s settings.
WordPress Traffic Configuration
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to make sure that your global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some of the important areas.
Configuring WordPress Settings
The WordPress dashboard area contains a Settings menu that allows you to modify your site’s global settings …
(WordPress menu – Settings)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains a powerful and often overlooked automated traffic notification system …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings Section)
As described below the Update Services section title,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have specifically configured your settings to prevent search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically ping the list of services entered into the Update Services text box
By default, when WordPress is installed, this section contains only one entry …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature)
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 visitors 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 summaries of your post, affects how your content displays to users in RSS readers and blog post digests, and could affect someone’s decision to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your blog to view the rest of the content from a partial feed, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
As far as traffic is concerned, however, the main setting in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is enabled or not.
Typically, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows WordPress to instantly notify your update services list whenever new posts are published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, make sure this box is left unticked …
(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 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 …
(Global Settings – Discussion Settings)
Your Permalink settings allow you to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalinks)
The examples below show some of the ways post permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring permalink URLs)
For a detailed step-by-step tutorial about setting up permalinks, go here: Improve Your WordPress SEO With SEO-Friendly URLs
Configuring Settings – WP Plugins
WordPress provides users with thousands of plugins that can add almost every kind of functionality to your website, including plugins with features that help to improve traffic generation.
Let’s take a brief look at examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help to attract more visitors to your site
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 cannot ignore the importance of securing your website.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress site invisible to bots and hackers.
For more information, go here:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by improving your website’s SEO …
(WP SEO Plugin – Yoast SEO)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO (previously called WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your website’s search engine optimization. Properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines to index, it also lets you specify how to present your content in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing visitors to share your content with members of their social communities can help drive more traffic to your site, especially if your site provides great content that adds value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing features to their website using free or inexpensive plugins)
You can easily add social sharing features to your site using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
Many social plugins allow you to specify which sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some social share plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content or downloads which visitors can unlock by liking your page.
WordPress Theme Features
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help you drive more traffic to your site.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring design and layout elements of your site, some themes also give you options for improving search optimization and site navigation structure for faster indexing, easily add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes come with built-in traffic optimization features)
With many quality themes, adding social sharing buttons and features to your content is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes provide users with built-in social sharing features)
Other Areas To Configure
Last (but by no means least) in the web traffic system configuration process, are the elements that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
These include the following:
Website Compliance Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for an increase in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for both good and bad traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong when more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you do business online, it’s important that your website remains compliant with regulatory agencies.
For a detailed article about how to quickly add legal pages to your website, go here:
WordPress tags & post categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better understand and index your pages.
(WordPress post categories help search engines better organize and index your pages, which improves traffic.)
When considering ways to automate and improve web traffic, you will want to review and make sure that the tags and categories you have set up.
A Site Map Of Your Posts And Pages
A visitor site map that displays all of your site’s pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external sites find your site’s content …
(Site Map – great for site visitors and beneficial for web traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are not the same things. HTML site maps are web pages that provide readers with a visual map of how your content is structured, while XML sitemaps are mostly filled with code that only search bots can read. Although Google will index your site 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 Not Found – Don’t Forget To Configure This Too!
When online visitors enter the wrong web address into their browser or click on an invalid hyperlink, they will typically be greeted with a 404 error page …
(A WordPress 404 Page)
Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to redirect traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 Not Found error page can be set up in your server, there are several WordPress plugins that allow you to easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once you have your website expertly configured and fully set up, all you then have to do to begin attracting traffic is publish fresh content consistently.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of a number of different elements and web properties …
(WP Traffic System – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The skills and knowledge required to perform the configuration phase of the traffic automation process typically takes many web professionals months to learn.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is addressed in the next section of our series.
This is the end of Part Three
To read the rest of this article, click here:
- Web Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – Discover How To Create An Automated Traffic Generation Machine With WordPress
This article is part of a comprehensive series of articles aimed at helping you learn how to grow your business using a WordPress website and proven online marketing strategies.
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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