Welcome to Part Three of our WordPress Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your website using WordPress.
In Part 1 of this series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to generating automated web traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website or blog, all you have to do to generate more web traffic is add great content consistently!)
In Part Two, we discussed the setup phase. We helped you understand the best way to get started 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 site has been built with WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you where to set up a WordPress website or blog on your domain)
In this section, we discuss the configuration phase of the traffic system. We explain how a WordPress site should be configured to automatically begin bringing new visitors whenever you add new content to your website.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint – Configuration
Finding ways to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by many website owners as the greatest challenge they face online. Businesses are becoming ever more competitive on a global scale and are exploring every advantage they can to increase their competitiveness online.
Having the ability to generate traffic on demand can provide you with a huge advantage. For WordPress users, an expertly configured website allows their business to get off to a flying start as soon as their site is launched.
The Difference Is In The Configuration
There is a difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally set up by an expert website developer but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s one way to understand the difference:
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 process!)
Not only are more steps required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, it also takes a special type of expert knowledge.
To illustrate this point here’s an anecdote.
A True Story (Kind Of) …
Things were humming along in the gizmo assembly factory when all of a sudden, everything ground to a stop.
No one could figure out what went wrong and so the plant manager decided to call in an expert.
Promptly after arriving, the expert headed immediately towards the main control box. After staring silently at the control unit for about 3 minutes, the expert then took out a teeny-weeny hammer from his shirt pocket and made a very gentle tap about 1 inch from the right-hand edge of the box.
Immediately, all machines in the plant came back to life.
The 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 of payment for services for $5,000.
The manager called the expert, demanding to know why they were being charged such a ludicrous fee for less than 5 minutes work and promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, a bill of payment arrived and was placed on the manager’s desk. Upon opening it, this is what he saw:
The number one challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive visitors to their sites.
In the above story, how much money did the plant stand to lose when production ground to a halt 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 spending years developing the knowledge, skills and expertise that allowed him to fix a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a WP web site fully configured so all you had to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and dozens of other traffic-generating online 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 website?)
While many experts often make difficult solutions look easy, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site is more than installing a website and configuring some basic settings. It also requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which plugins you need to install to add certain functionalities to your site.
- Which 3rd-party accounts need to be set up and activated to get desired outcomes
- Which options you need to configure to ensure that processes will run to plan, etc.
(Generating traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
Although this part of the traffic automation system may not seem technically difficult, it can be quite complicated. The reason why is because it’s not as simple as installing and configuring one or two plugins, clicking on a button or two … it’s all of this and much more.
Expertly configuring your website involves the integration of different parts including your server, your website or blog, and a number of third-party sites and services …
(The configuration stage involves more than just configuring some WordPress settings)
If we were to create a simple flowchart of the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplistic flowchart showing the configuration phase)
Let’s take a look at what’s involved.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your hosting account for installation purposes. What we are talking about, is tweaking settings in your server specifically for handling all web traffic …
(In the configuration phase, your 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 business will attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, security threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This area of the configuration process, therefore, is all about evaluating your needs, planning for good and unwelcome traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like implementing spam protection and threat prevention, to configuring domain and email redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like emails, page errors, etc?)
After fine-tuning your server settings and configuring these (if required), the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various third-party sites and services.
Configuring External Services
The purpose of adding external sites is that all content will get published to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will be distributed automatically to other components of your web traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you incorporate these external services into your setup, content with links pointing back to your website is automatically syndicated to these platforms. Your content and website benefits from added exposure online, helping your business tap into new audiences and new sources of traffic.
Some of the sites and online solutions will need to be set up before configuring your WordPress 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:
Google Webmasters lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides you with essential data, SEO tools and reports about your website.
Once your account and site details have been set up, use this information to automate traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s results, SEO, user engagement, marketing activities, sales conversions, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrals, etc.
After setting up your Google Analytics account and site details, you can add visitor tracking code to WordPress via a simple plugin and send data automatically to various other useful applications and web properties.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. After setting up your account, you can use your information to automate web traffic settings in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO) and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress offers both a hosted and a self-hosted option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you are planning to build a professional business presence online.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful features, which a number of WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate these features into your traffic generation system in the next installment of this series.
Social Media Sites
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and drive new traffic to your site)
You will need to have already set up your various 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 drive new visitors to your site.
You should set up accounts with all the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can You can post your content to loads of social bookmarking sites. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just select those that will work with your setup and/or content sharing tools (we will review some of these tools in greater detail further below and during the Automation phase).
(There are lots of social sites you can post your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, Content Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of online web platforms and content aggregators that can act as second-tier traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free plans, and some are more suitable for enterprise-level applications.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that allows you to add your WordPress site feed …
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your own RebelMouse account.
There are many different technologies and third-party applications you can incorporate into your traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to explore your options and discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your server settings and set up external service accounts, it’s time to configure your site.
WordPress Traffic Configuration
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to make sure that its global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some of the important areas.
Global WordPress Settings
The WordPress administration area contains a Settings section that allows you to configure your site’s main settings …
(WordPress settings section)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains a powerful and frequently overlooked automated traffic notification system …
(WordPress Settings – Writing Settings Screen)
As stated 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 configured your site settings to discourage search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically ping the update services entered into the Update Services section
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, this section lists only one entry …
You can notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress – just add a list of all the update services you want to notify as soon as you publish a new post to this section and WordPress takes care of the rest …
(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 on this page can have an influence web traffic. For example, choosing to display the full text vs a summary 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.
As far as traffic is concerned, however, the main setting here is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is ticked or not.
Generally, you would want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows your site to instantly notify all the update services you have listed in the Update Services area whenever a new post is published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, leave this box unchecked …
(Settings Menu – Reading Settings Section)
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)
Permalinks allow you to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalinks)
Here are some of the ways SEO-friendly URLs can be configured …
(Configuring post permalinks)
For a detailed tutorial about setting up permalinks in WordPress, go here: Setting Up WordPress Permalinks
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
WordPress provides users with thousands of plugins that help to add almost every type of functionality imaginable to your website, including plugins with features that help to improve traffic generation.
Here are some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
Once again, it’s important to configure your site for dealing with the effects of 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, securing your site is something you simply cannot ignore.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your website invisible to hackers and botnets.
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive more traffic by making your web pages easily indexable …
(WP Plugin – Yoast SEO)
A plugin like Yoast SEO can improve your SEO. Once properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines like Google and Bing to find, classify and index, it also gives you control over how your content is presented in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Allowing visitors to share your content online 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 website using free or inexpensive plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing to their website using WordPress plugins.
Most social plugins allow you to specify which sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom update notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some plugins even allow you to set up protected content areas on your pages 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 help grow your site’s traffic.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring layout and design elements of your website, some themes also include built-in options for improving SEO and site navigation structure for better indexing, easily add analytics snippets, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes like Graphene (a highly customizable free theme) allow you to configure settings and options for improved traffic results)
With many themes, adding social sharing features to your pages is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons to configure your options and enable the feature …
(Many WordPress themes provide built-in social sharing features that can be easily enabled on with the click of a button)
Configuring Additional Features Of WordPress For Increased Traffic Results
Last (but by no means least) in the web traffic configuration process, are the elements that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Once again, when preparing your site for an increase in traffic, it’s important to plan not only for how to handle good and bad traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong as more and more people begin to visit your website.
If you engage in any form of commercial activity online, you need to make sure that your site remains compliant with legal requirements of government agencies that regulate business practices online.
We have written a detailed article about how to quickly add all necessary legal pages to your WordPress website here:
Post tags & post categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better organize and index your pages.
(Post categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better index your website.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that the post categories and tags you have set up.
A Site Map Of Your Posts And Pages
A visitor site map that lists all of your site’s pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external sites find more of your web content …
(Site Map – great for visitors and beneficial for web traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are not the same things. Although Google can index your pages just using an XML sitemap (which a plugin 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.
Don’t Forget Your 404 Page Not Found
When visitors searching for your site type in the wrong web address or click on a hyperlink pointing to a page on your site that no longer exists, they will typically be greeted with a 404 error page …
(A 404 Page)
A 404 page can redirect confused visitors to your functional pages …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 Not Found error page can be set up on your server, there are several plugins for WordPress that allow you to easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Process – Summary
Once your WordPress site has been fully set up and expertly configured, all you have to do then to attract new traffic is publish new content on a consistent basis.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of various components and web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The kind of skills and knowledge required to perform this process can take some web developers months to learn.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the aspects of the process that can be automated. This step is covered in the next article in our WordPress Traffic Blueprint series.
This is the end of Part Three
To read more, click here:
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive series of tutorials aimed at helping business owners learn how to grow their business and drive traffic sustainably with a WordPress-powered website and proven web marketing methods.
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