Welcome to Part 3 of our Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your site using the WordPress CMS platform.
In Part One 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 to begin attracting more traffic is add new content regularly!)
In Part 2, we looked at the setup phase of this process. We explained the best way to get started if you don’t have a web presence yet, how to set things up if you already have a site, and what to do if your existing site was built with WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you how to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section, we discuss the configuration phase of the traffic automation process. We explain how a WordPress site should be configured to bring new traffic automatically just by consistently adding new content on your web site.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint – Configuration
Being able to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by website owners as their greatest challenge online. With business getting increasingly more competitive, it’s worth exploring every advantage that can help you improve your results and performance online.
The ability to generate traffic on demand can provide you with a tremendous competitive advantage. For business owners, an expertly configured website means having an immediate competitive advantage from the word “go”.
The Configuration Stage Is What Makes The Difference
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a website that has been professionally installed and set up by a web-building expert but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here is a simple way to understand the differences:
With a WordPress website that has been expertly configured you get a web presence plus an automated online business marketing process!
(An expertly configured site gives you a web presence with an automated online business marketing process!)
Not only does a whole lot more labor go into building and integrating an automated online business marketing process into your website, it also takes a special kind of expert knowledge.
To illustrate this point here is an anecdote.
Ludicrous Or Fair? You Decide …
All is going well in the widget plant when things come to a sudden stop.
No one can figure out what went wrong and so the plant manager decides to call in an expert to try and fix the problem.
Shortly after arriving, the expert heads directly towards the control box. After staring at the wires and circuitry for less than 5 minutes, the expert then takes out a teeny-weeny hammer and makes a gentle tap near the left-hand edge of the unit.
Immediately, the machinery returns once more to normal.
The manager is filled with joy as he thanks the expert, who then leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days after resolving the incident, the manager receives a request of payment for services for the amount of $5,000.
Feeling furious, the factory manager picks up the phone and calls the expert. Why were they charged such a ludicrous fee for so little time spent delivering such a minimal amount of work? He then requests an itemized invoice and hangs up.
The next day, an invoice notice arrives and is placed 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 web traffic to their sites.
In the story we’ve just described, how much money did the widget plant stand to lose when production ground to a halt and no one in the business had the expertise required to get things up and running again? Did the expert in our story not have every right to demand fair compensation for investing years building up the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to immediately avert a potentially costly crisis?
Similarly, if you could have your WordPress web site set up and configured so all you ever had to do is publish new content and search engines, social media and dozens of other traffic-generating web properties would be automatically notified, how much time and money would this save you?
(How much better would your business be if you could automate the process of driving traffic to your website?)
While the solution to many challenges is often quite easy in hindsight, it rarely is that simple or easy when you try to work things out.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site involves more than installing a website and configuring settings for clients. It also requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which plugins you need to install for specific things to occur on your site.
- Which services you need to set up and activate to get specific outcomes
- Which options you need to configure to make sure processes will run the way you have envisioned, etc.
(Driving traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
Although this stage of the traffic automation system may not seem technically difficult, it can be quite involved. This is because it’s not as easy as installing a solution, clicking a couple of buttons, or configuring some options and settings in your dashboard area … it’s all this and so much more.
Expertly configuring your website is a complex process that involves your web server, your web site, and various external sites …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If we were to create a simple diagram showing the activities involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplified flowchart showing all the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s take a better look at these areas.
Your Web Server – Configuration
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your web-hosting account for website installation purposes. What we are talking about, is fine-tuning settings and options in your server that affect how you will handle web traffic …
(During the configuration phase, your web server settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is positive traffic. Some of the traffic your business may attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This stage of the configuration process, therefore, is about planning for good and bad traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like configuring spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring your domain and email redirections, setting up error page redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page error redirections, etc?)
Once your web server settings have been fine-tuned and configured (if required), the next step is to set up and configure various third-party sites.
The concept behind adding external sites is that all of your content should be posted to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will get syndicated automatically to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once you incorporate these external platforms into your setup, content linked back to your site is automatically posted to search, social and aggregator accounts. Your business will then receive additional exposure online, helping your business tap into a whole new audience and traffic source.
Some of the external sites and services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your settings to help 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 WordPress site’s settings:
(Google Webmasters – create a Google-friendly website)
Google Search Console lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of useful data, SEO tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
After setting up your account with Google, this information can be used to automate traffic-related settings in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s traffic performance, SEO, marketing activities, sales conversions, and more, by tracking all user behaviour, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrals, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site details have been set up, you can add visitor tracking information to WordPress using any of several Google Analytics plugins and send data automatically to various other online applications and reporting tools.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. Once your Bing Webmaster Tools account and site data have been set up, your information can be used to automate web traffic-related settings in WordPress and other applications.
As explained in Part Two, WordPress offers users a hosted and a self-hosted option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you plan to build a professional business presence online.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great features, 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 this into your web traffic system in the next installment of this article series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media sites and social bookmarking accounts and drive new traffic to your site)
You will need to set up your 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 and social bookmarking accounts and get new visitors to your site.
You should have accounts set up with all of the leading social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are loads of social bookmarking sites you can set up accounts with. You don’t need to go crazy, just pick those that will work with your setup and/or content syndication tools (we will look at some of these tools in greater detail in the Automation phase).
(There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can post your content to. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Sites, Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of 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 to suit different users.
For example, here is a content aggregator that allows you to add your WordPress blog feed …
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your social feed.
There are many different technologies and third-party applications you can incorporate into your own traffic system. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring this area further, or to discuss a configuration strategy to suit your needs.
After you have configured your server settings and set up accounts with third-party services, it’s time to configure WordPress.
WordPress Traffic Configuration
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to ensure that your global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Global Settings – WordPress
Your WordPress administration area contains a Settings menu that allows you to modify your site’s main settings …
(WordPress menu – Settings)
Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains a powerful and often overlooked built-in traffic notification system …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings)
As stated in this section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have intentionally configured your site settings to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically ping the list of services entered into the Update Services text box
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, only one service is listed …
(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 your content gets seen by visitors when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings in this section can influence web traffic. For example, your choice of displaying the full text vs summaries of your post, affects how your content shows up in RSS feeds and RSS email campaigns, and could affect someone’s choice to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your site to read 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 most important setting in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is enabled or not.
Generally, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked enables your site to instantly notify your update services list whenever new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, do not check this box …
(Global 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 Screen)
Permalinks allow you to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalink Settings)
Here are some of the options for configuring your search-friendly URLS …
(Configuring SEO-friendly URLs)
We have written a detailed tutorial about using permalinks in WordPress here: Improve Your WordPress SEO With SEO-Friendly URLs
Configuring WordPress Traffic Generation Plugins
WordPress provides users with plugins that can add just about every type of functionality to your website, including plugins that add traffic generation capabilities.
Here are 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 type of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, securing your web sites is something you simply cannot ignore.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress blog invisible to botnets and hackers.
To learn more, go here:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your web content easier for search engines like Google and Bing to index …
(WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help increase traffic by making your site more search engine friendly)
Use a 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 site 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 Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing visitors to share your content with their friends and networks can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if your site provides content that adds value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social features to their site using WordPress plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing to their website using free or inexpensive plugins.
Many social plugins allow you to select 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 social sharing plugins even allow you to set up protected content sections on your pages which visitors can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help you drive more traffic to your site.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring the layout and design of your website, some themes also give you options for improving search optimization and site navigation structure for better indexing, easily add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes can be configured for improved traffic results)
With a number of themes, adding social sharing features to your website is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes provide users with built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
Additional Configuration Areas For WordPress Sites
Last (but by no means least) in the web traffic configuration process, are the things that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Website Compliance Pages
Once again, when preparing your website 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 hurt your business when more and more people find and begin to visit your website.
If you engage in any form of business online, you need to make sure that your site is found to comply with regulatory agencies.
If you need help understanding how to quickly add all necessary legal pages to your site, see this article:
WordPress post categories and tags help search engines index your web pages, which improves traffic.
(Categories help search engines classify and index your pages, which helps to increase traffic.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that the post categories and tags that have been set up.
HTML 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 find your online content …
(Site Map – great for site visitors and beneficial for traffic too!)
Note: An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are two different things. Although Google will index your site just using an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO can provide – see earlier section), making it easier for visitors to find more pages on your site can result in increased traffic.
404 Page Not Found – Another Source Of Web Traffic!
When visitors searching online for your website enter the wrong URL or click on a hyperlink pointing to a page on your website that no longer exists, they will normally be presented with a 404 error page …
(A 404 Not Found page)
Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 error page can be set up in your server, there are several plugins for WordPress that allow you to easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once your website has been fully set up and expertly configured, all you then need to do to start generating more traffic is post fresh content on a regular basis.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, is quite involved , requiring the configuration and integration of different elements and external web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The knowledge and expertise required to perform this stage of the traffic automation process typically takes some web developers a long time to learn.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is covered in the next section of the WordPress Traffic System series.
This is the end of Section Three
To read the rest of this article, click here:
- Web Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – A Complete Guide To Driving More Website Visitors For Your Business Automatically With WordPress
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive series of articles aimed at helping small business owners learn how to grow their business online using a WordPress website and proven marketing methods that are easy to implement.
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