Welcome to Part Three of our Web Site 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 explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to automating traffic to your site …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website, all you have to do is add content regularly to automatically begin bringing web traffic!)
In Part 2, 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 site, and what to do if your website was built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this article, we will discuss the configuration phase of the traffic blueprint. You will learn how to configure a WordPress site so you can automatically attract new traffic just by publishing new content regularly to your web site.
WordPress Web Traffic Blueprint – Configuration
Being able to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by business owners as one of the greatest challenges they face online. Businesses are becoming so much more competitive worldwide and are exploring any advantage they believe will get better results online.
Having the ability to automatically generate traffic on demand can provide you with a tremendous advantage over other competitors. With an expertly configured WordPress site, you have a flying start from the moment your site is launched.
The Configuration Stage Is What Makes All The Difference
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally installed and set up by a website-building expert but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s a simple way to understand the differences:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a web presence plus an automated online business marketing system!
(An expertly configured website gives you a web presence with an automated online business marketing process!)
Not only are more steps needed to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, but also a special type of expertise.
Let’s illustrate this with a little story.
A True Story (Kind Of) …
Everything was going fine in the widget manufacturing plant when things ground to a sudden halt.
As no one could figure out what happened, the manager decided to call in an expert.
Shortly after arriving, the expert went immediately to the main control box. After staring at the box for what seemed like 2 minutes, the expert then took out a teensy-weensy hammer and made a very gentle tap about three and half cm from the right edge of the box.
Immediately, every machine inside the assembly line returned to normal.
The manager was greatly overjoyed as he thanked the expert, who left as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days after resolving the incident, the manager received a request of payment for services totalling $5,000.
The manager called the expert, demanding to know why the expert had charged them so much for so little time spent delivering such minimal amount of work. He then requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice notice 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 story we’ve just described, how much money did the gizmo factory stand to lose when production ground to a halt and no one in the factory floor was able to fix it? Did the expert not have every right to demand fair compensation for having spent years developing the knowledge, skills and expertise that allowed him to immediately assess and avert a serious crisis?
Similarly, if you could have a WP website configured so all you had to do is publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and dozens of other 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 the solution to many challenges may seem ridiculously easy once implemented, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site involves more than installing a website and configuring basic settings. It also requires knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things such as:
- Which programs you need to install for specific things to occur on your site.
- Which 3rd-party services you need to set up and activate to achieve desired results
- Which internal and external settings need to be configured to ensure that things will work as envisioned, 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 involved and complicated. The reason why is because it’s not as easy as installing and configuring one or two plugins, tweaking some settings in your admin area or clicking a couple of buttons … it’s all of this and so much more.
The configuration stage is a complex process that involves your web hosting server, your web site, and various third-party sites …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few WordPress settings)
If we try to flowchart 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 brief look at what’s involved.
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your web hosting account for site installation purposes (this should have been done during the Setup phase). What we are talking about, is fine-tuning settings in your server that affect how you will handle all web traffic …
(During the configuration stage, your server settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is welcome traffic. Some of the traffic your business can attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This part of the configuration process, therefore, requires planning for good and bad traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like server-level spam protection and securing server files, to configuring your domain and email forwarding, etc …
(Have you configured your webhosting settings for handling things like email forwarding, page error redirects, etc?)
After fine-tuning your server settings and configuring these (if required), the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various external sites and services.
3rd-Party Web Properties
The idea behind choosing external sites is that all content should be posted to a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will get syndicated automatically to other components of your web traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once these external services have been added to your system, content linked back to your website gets automatically added to search, social and aggregator sites. Your business will then be given additional exposure to new sources of traffic and new audiences.
Some external sites and online services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your site to speed up the process and some will need to be done later, during the automation phase.
For example, you will want to set up the following accounts before configuring your site:
(Google Search Console)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides site owners with important data, SEO tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
Once your account has been with Google are set up, you can use your information to integrate and automate web traffic-related settings in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s performance, SEO, marketing efforts, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine and social media referrals, etc.
After setting up your Google Analytics account and site details, your account information can be integrated with WordPress via a simple plugin and and fed to other useful applications and reporting tools.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. Once your account and site data with Bing Webmaster Tools have been set up, use this information to integrate and automate web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO) and other applications.
As explained in Part Two, WordPress offers website owners the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress version if you are planning to build a professional business presence online.
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 these features into your web traffic 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 visitors to your site)
You will need to set up your various social media accounts in order to configure these as part of your traffic generation system.
After setting up and configuring everything, you will be able to syndicate your content automatically to your social media pages and drive new traffic to your site.
You should have accounts and profile pages with all of the popular social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are many social sites you can set up. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just choose the ones that will work with your system and/or content syndication tools (we cover some of these tools in more detail during the Automation phase).
(You can syndicate your content to lots of social sites. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Sites, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are many emerging platforms and RSS aggregators that can serve as secondary-level traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some are more suitable for enterprise-level applications.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that allows you to add a feed from your website …
(RebelMouse – Publishing platform for distributed content)
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your page.
There are many different solutions that can be incorporated into your own web 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.
Once you have configured your server settings and set up accounts with third-party services, it’s time to configure your site’s settings.
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to ensure that its global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some key areas.
By default, your WordPress admin area includes a Settings menu that allows you to configure your site’s global settings …
(WordPress settings menu)
Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most important and often overlooked automated traffic notification systems available to WordPress site owners …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings Area)
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 chosen to prevent search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically ping the list of update services entered into the Update Services section
By default, when WordPress is installed, only one service is available …
(WordPress Update Services)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically …
(Notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress!)
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 influence traffic. For example, choosing to display the full content vs a summary of your post, affects how your content appears in RSS readers and RSS email campaigns, and could impact someone’s choice 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 your traffic system is concerned, however, the main setting in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility checkbox is enabled or not.
Typically, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows your site to automatically notify all the update services you have listed in the Update Services area when 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 …
(Global 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 blogs 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 …
(WordPress Settings – Discussion Settings)
Permalinks allow you to create SEO-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalinks)
Here are some of the ways your post permalinks can be configured …
We have written a detailed tutorial about using WordPress permalinks here: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
WordPress Traffic Generation Plugin Settings – Configuration
WordPress provides users with plugins that can add just about every kind of functionality imaginable to your site, including many plugins that improve traffic generation.
Let’s look at 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 kind of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, web security is something you simply cannot ignore.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to bot and hacker attacks.
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive more traffic by improving your website’s SEO …
(WordPress SEO Plugin – Yoast SEO)
Use a plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your SEO. When properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines like Google and Bing 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 Google+.
Allowing visitors to share your content with members of their own online communities can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if you publish great content that adds value to readers.
(You can easily add social sharing buttons to your site with WordPress plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing to their website with free or inexpensive plugins.
Many social share plugins let you choose 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 likes), etc. Some plugins even allow you to set up protected content areas on your site which users can unlock by liking your page.
Configuring WordPress Traffic Features In Themes
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help grow your traffic.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your website, some themes also include built-in options for improving SEO and site linking structure for faster indexing, add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes include built-in traffic optimization features)
With many WordPress themes, adding social sharing features to your pages is as easy as clicking a few 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)
WordPress Traffic Automation System – Other Important Areas To Consider
Last (but by no means least) in the WordPress traffic blueprint configuration process, are the areas that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Website Legal Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in traffic, it’s important to plan not only for how to handle good and unwanted traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong as more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you engage in any form of commercial activity online (or plan to), it’s important that your website remains compliant with regulatory agencies.
If you need help adding legal pages to WordPress, go here:
Post categories & post tags help to improve your site’s SEO, which helps you get more traffic.
(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 your site’s post tags and categories have been correctly set up to deliver optimal benefits.
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 for users, it can also help external sites find 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. 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 engines can understand. Although search engines like Google can index your pages just from 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.
Your WordPress 404 Error Page
When visitors searching online for your site type in the wrong URL or click on links pointing to destinations on your site that no longer exist, they will typically be greeted with a 404 Not Found error page …
(A 404 Error Page)
Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to recover web 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 inside your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once your website has been fully set up and expertly configured, all you have to do then to automatically begin attracting more traffic is publish content on a regular basis.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate and requires the configuration and integration of different components and web properties …
(WP Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The skills and knowledge involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes some website developers months to acquire.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is covered in the next section of our WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint series.
This is the end of Section Three
To read more, click here:
- WordPress Website Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – A Complete Guide To Driving More Web Visitors Automatically With WordPress
This article is part of a comprehensive series of articles designed to help you learn how to grow your business online using a WordPress website and proven web marketing strategies.
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