Welcome to Part Three of our WordPress Web Site 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 series, we described the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to generating automated traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website or blog, all you have to do to automatically generate more web traffic is publish fresh content consistently!)
In Part Two, we focused on the setup phase. We explained the best way to start if you don’t have a web presence yet, how to set everything up if you already have a website, and what to do if your existing website was built using WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you where to set up a WordPress website on your domain)
In this section, we will discuss the configuration stage of the WordPress traffic automation system. We will help you understand why an expertly configured site is different from a professionally configured website, and how much work needs to be done to ensure that when everything is fully configured, you can attract traffic automatically when you publish new content to your website.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint – Configuration Phase
The ability to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by business owners as their greatest challenge online. With business becoming increasingly more competitive on a global scale, it’s worth learning about every opportunity you can to improve your own performance online.
Being able to generate traffic on demand can provide you with a tremendous competitive advantage. For WordPress users, having an expertly configured website means having an immediate advantage from the very beginning.
Configuration Is The Difference
There is a 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 take advantage of everything WordPress has to offer.
Here’s a simple way to describe the difference:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a web presence and an automated online business marketing system!
(An expertly configured site gives you a professional web presence with an automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only does it take additional labor to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, but also a special kind of expert knowledge.
Let’s illustrate this with a little story.
Knowing Where To Tap
Everything was going fine in the gizmo manufacturing plant when all of a sudden, all equipment stopped.
As no one could figure out what was wrong, the manager decided to call in an expert to try and fix the problem.
The expert arrived soon afterwards and, without saying a word, walked immediately to the main control box. After staring silently at the schematics for less than 3 minutes, the expert then produced a teensy-weensy hammer from his tool box and made a single tap near the right edge of the box.
Immediately, every machine inside the workshop came back to life.
The plant manager was relieved as he thanked the expert, who left as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days after resolving the incident, the factory manager received a request for payment of $5,000.
The manager dialled the expert, demanding to know why they were expected to pay such a ridiculously high fee for so little time spent delivering such minimal amount of work and promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice notice arrived in the manager’s intray. Upon opening it, this is what he saw:
The main challenge most businesses face online is being able to consistently drive new traffic to their sites.
In the story we’ve just described, how much money did the widget factory stand to lose when the equipment ground to a halt and no one in the factory floor was able to fix it? Did the expert in our story not have the right to be compensated fairly for spending years developing the knowledge, skills and expertise that allowed him to immediately assess and fix a potentially costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your WordPress website configured so all you had to do is publish new content and search engines, social followers from Facebook and LinkedIn and dozens of other traffic-generating online 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 driving traffic to your site?)
While many experts often make complex solutions look simple, it rarely is that simple or easy when you try to figure things out.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site is more than installing a website and configuring basic settings. It also requires knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which plugins you need to install for certain things to occur on your site.
- Which 3rd-party accounts you need to set up to achieve specific results
- Which options need to be configured to ensure that everything functions as you have imagined, etc.
(Driving traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
This part of the traffic automation system is not technically challenging, but it’s quite involved and complicated. This is because it’s not just about installing a solution, clicking a button, or configuring some options and settings in your dashboard area … it’s all of this and so much more.
Expertly configuring your website involves the integration of a number of different components such as your server, your web site, and a number of third-party sites or online services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If we were to create a simplified diagram of the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplistic diagram of the activities involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s examine these areas.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your hosting account for site installation purposes (this should have been done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about tweaking settings in your server that affect how your website will handle all web traffic …
(In the configuration phase, your web server settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is beneficial traffic. Some of the traffic you may attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, malicious threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This stage of the configuration process, therefore, is all about planning for both good and unwelcome traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This could include looking at things like implementing spam protection and security threat prevention, to configuring domain and email forwarding, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page errors, etc?)
After checking your server settings and configuring these, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up various external sites and services.
The purpose of adding external sites is that all content gets published to a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it gets syndicated automatically to other parts of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once these external services have been added to your setup, content with links pointing back to your website is automatically published on your search, social and aggregator accounts. Your content and business will be exposed to new sources of traffic and new audiences.
Some web properties and online services will need to be set up before configuring your WordPress site’s settings 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 WordPress settings:
Google Webmaster Tools lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of important information, tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
Once your account is set up, the information can be used to automate traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s traffic results, SEO, marketing efforts, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrals, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site details have been set up, you can add traffic tracking information to all of your web pages in WordPress using a Google Analytics plugin and send data automatically to many other applications and web properties.
Bing Data And Tools
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. After setting up your account with Bing, you can use this information to automate traffic-related settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
As discussed in Part Two, WordPress offers a self-hosted (WordPress.org) and a hosted (WordPress.com) option. 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 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 automated web traffic system in the next installment of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking Sites
(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 social media accounts in order to integrate these with your traffic generation system.
After setting up and configuring everything, you will be able to syndicate your content automatically to your social media accounts and get new visitors to your site.
You should have accounts and pages set up with all of the popular social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.
There are lots of social sites you can set up accounts with. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just choose those that will work well with your setup and/or content sharing tools (we will cover some of these tools in greater detail in the Automation phase).
(You can post your content to lots of social sites. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Solutions, Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of emerging web platforms and RSS aggregators that can act as second-tier traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some are paid services.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that allows you to add your WordPress site feed …
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and visitors can follow your website.
There are many different solutions you can add to your traffic system. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to explore some of these and discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up accounts with third-party services, it’s time to configure WordPress.
WordPress – Configuring Your Web Site For Traffic
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 of the important areas.
By default, all WordPress installations include a Settings menu that allows you to configure your site’s global settings …
(WordPress settings menu)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most powerful and frequently overlooked built-in traffic notification systems available to website owners …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings)
As described below 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 prevent search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically ping the update services entered into the Update Services field
By default, only one service is available …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically …
(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:
Download A List Of Ping Services For Your WordPress Site
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 text vs a summary of your post, affects how your content displays to users in RSS feeds and blog post digests, and could play a part in someone’s choice to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your website or blog to get the rest of the content from a partial feed, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
The main setting in this section as far as traffic is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility feature is enabled or not.
Typically, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked enables WordPress to notify all the update services you have specified in the Update Services area whenever new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason to discourage search indexing spiders from visiting your site, make sure this box is left unticked …
(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings)
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 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 enable WordPress to publish posts with search engine-friendly URLs …
(WordPress Settings – Permalinks)
Here are some of the ways site’s permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring permalink URLs)
We have written a detailed tutorial about using WordPress permalinks here: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
WordPress – Plugin Settings
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that help to add just about every kind of functionality imaginable to your website, 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 WordPress site for dealing with 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, you simply cannot afford to ignore the importance of web security.
(Security Plugins stop bad traffic from harming your web presence)
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your website invisible to attacks from hackers and bots.
To learn more, go here:
SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by improving your website’s SEO …
(SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help increase traffic by improving your site’s ability to rank better in search engines)
A plugin like Yoast SEO (previously called WordPress SEO by Yoast) can significantly improve your site’s search engine optimization. Once properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines like Google and Bing to index, it also lets you configure how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and GooglePlus.
WordPress Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing visitors to easily share your content with friends and members of their social networks can help boost traffic to your site, especially if you post content that adds real value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing buttons to their site with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
You can easily add social sharing buttons to your site with free or inexpensive plugins.
Most social plugins allow you to specify which sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of followers), etc. Some social plugins even allow you to set up protected content areas on your pages which users can unlock by liking your page.
Configuring Settings – WordPress Themes
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help you drive more traffic to your site.
For example, as well as options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your website, some themes also provide built-in features that let you improve SEO and site navigation structure for better indexing, easily add tracking code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes like Graphene (a free theme) include built-in traffic optimization features)
With a number of quality themes, adding social sharing features to your content is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
Configuring Other WordPress Areas For Improved Traffic
Last but not least in the WordPress traffic configuration process, are the components that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Compliance Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for both good and unwanted traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong as more and more people find and begin to visit your website.
If you do business online (or plan to), it’s important that your site is found to comply with regulatory agencies.
(Does Your Site Comply With All Legal Requirements?)
We have created a detailed article about adding compliance pages to WordPress here:
Tags And Post Categories
Categories and tags help search engines index your pages, which helps to increase traffic.
(WordPress categories help to improve your site’s search optimization, which helps to increase traffic.)
As we recommend in this article, your site’s categories and tags should be set up during the Website Planning Process.
When configuring your website to automate and improve traffic, you will want to review and make sure that the tags and categories you have set up.
Visitor Site Map
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 applications discover more of your website content …
(Site Map – great for visitors and beneficial for web traffic too!)
It’s important to note that an HTML site map and an XML sitemap are not the same thing. Although Google can index your site just from an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO can provide – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
404 Page – Another Source Of Web Traffic!
When visitors searching online for your site enter the wrong URL or click on a dead hyperlink, they are presented with a 404 Not Found error page …
(Default WordPress 404 Page)
Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to recover web 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 WordPress plugins that allow you to easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic System: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once your site has been fully set up and expertly configured, all you then need to do is post fresh content on a consistent basis to start attracting web traffic.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of a number of different components and external web properties …
(WP Traffic System – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The expertise required to perform the configuration stage of the traffic automation process can take many web developers a long time to learn.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate as much of the process as you can. This step is covered in the next article in our series.
This is the end of Section 3
To read more, click here:
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive series of articles aimed at helping business owners learn how to grow their business online cost-effectively and drive traffic sustainably with a WordPress-powered website or blog and proven web marketing strategies.
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