Welcome to Part Three of our Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn a website into an automated traffic machine using the WordPress CMS platform.
In Part One of this series, we provided an overview of the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website or blog is the key to automating traffic to your website …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website, all you have to do to drive web traffic is post web 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 existing site was built using WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you where to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section, we will discuss the configuration phase of the traffic automation process. We will show you how a WordPress site should be configured to automatically start attracting web traffic simply by posting new content on your web site.
WordPress Traffic System – Configuration Phase
Finding ways to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by many business owners as one of their greatest challenges online. With business becoming increasingly more competitive on a global scale, it’s worth exploring every advantage available to get better results online.
Being able to automatically generate traffic on demand can provide you with a tremendous advantage over other competitors. For business owners, an expertly configured website gives WordPress users a flying start from the moment their website is launched.
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 an expert website builder but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s a simple way to explain the differences:
An expertly configured WordPress website gives you a professional web presence plus an automated online business marketing system!
(An expertly configured site gives you a web presence and an automated online business marketing process!)
Not only does it take extra labor to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, but also a special kind of expert knowledge.
To illustrate this point here is a little story.
Ludicrous Or Fair? You Decide …
Everything is going fine in the gizmo plant when things grind to a sudden stop.
No one can figure out what’s gone wrong and so the floor manager decides to call in an expert.
Promptly after arriving, the expert heads out directly to the main control box. After staring at the wiring board for no more than 5 minutes, the expert then takes out a teeny-weeny hammer from his shirt pocket and makes a very gentle tap near the left side of the control unit.
Immediately, the assembly line begins working again.
The plant manager is greatly relieved as he thanks the expert, who leaves as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days after resolving the incident, the factory manager receives an invoice for $5,000.
Feeling furious, the factory manager picks up the phone and calls the expert. Why were they expected to pay so much for less than five minutes work? He then requests an itemized invoice and hangs up.
The next day, a bill of payment arrives in the manager’s in-tray. Upon opening it, this is what he sees:
The main challenge most businesses face online is being able to drive new visitors to their sites.
How much money did the widget plant stand to lose when production stopped working and no one on the business had the expertise to fix it? Did the expert in our story not have the right to be compensated fairly for spending years building up the knowledge and expertise that enabled him to repair a potentially costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a site set up and configured so all you have to do is publish new content and search engines, social media 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 driving traffic to your site?)
Although the solution to many challenges often seems quite simple once implemented, it rarely is that simple or easy when you try to work things out.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than adding some pages with content and configuring a few internal settings. It also involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which programs need to be installed for specific things to occur on your site.
- Which third-party services need to be set up to achieve desired results
- Which options you need to configure to ensure that everything will work as planned, etc.
(Driving traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
Although this stage of the WordPress traffic automation system may not seem so technically difficult, it can be quite complicated. This is because it’s not as easy as installing a piece of software, configuring some settings in your admin area … it’s all this and much more.
Expertly configuring your website involves the integration of many components such as your web server, your website or blog, and various third-party sites and/or online services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If the configuration process were to be flowcharted, it would look something like this …
(A simplified diagram showing the configuration process)
Let’s examine what’s involved.
Your Web Server
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your hosting account for website installation purposes (this should have been done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about fine-tuning settings and options in your server that affect how your site will handle all web traffic …
(During the configuration phase, your web-hosting account settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is beneficial traffic. Some of the traffic your site will attract will be unwanted traffic like bot spam, malicious threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This aspect of the configuration process, therefore, is all about planning for both good and bad traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This could include things like spam protection and securing server files, to configuring domain and email redirections, setting up htaccess and error page redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your webhosting settings for handling things like emails, page error redirects, etc?)
Once your web server settings have been checked and configured, the next step is to set up and configure various external sites and services.
The basic idea of choosing external sites is that all content will be published from a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will get automatically distributed to other components of your web traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
After incorporating these external services into your network, content with links pointing back to your site gets automatically posted to these platforms. Your content and website will be exposed to a new audience and source of traffic.
Some external sites and solutions will need to be set up before configuring your site’s 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:
(Google Webmaster Tools)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides you with important data, SEO tools and diagnostic reports about your website.
After setting up your account and entering site data with Google, you can use this information with traffic settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO) 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, organic referrers, etc.
After setting up your account, your account information can be added to all pages in WordPress via plugins used with other applications and reporting tools.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. Once your account is set up, you can use this information to automate web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO – see further below) and other applications.
As discussed in Part 2, WordPress offers users the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress option if you plan to grow a professional online presence for your business.
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 at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate these features into your automated web traffic generation system in Part Four of this article series.
Social Media Accounts
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media sites and social bookmarking accounts and attract new traffic to your site)
You will need to have already set up your various social media and social bookmarking accounts before you can 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 and social bookmarking accounts and attract new visitors to your site.
Make sure you have accounts and pages set up with all the main social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
There are loads of social bookmarking sites you can set up accounts with. You don’t need to go crazy, just pick the ones that will work well with your setup and/or content sharing tools (we will review some of these tools in more detail further below and during the Automation phase).
(You can post your content to many social sites. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are many online platforms and RSS aggregators that can serve as second-tier sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free accounts, and some offer a range of pricing plans to suit different user types.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that lets you add a feed from your site …
(RebelMouse – Publishing platform for distributed content)
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content is displayed in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your own RebelMouse page.
There are various solutions you can incorporate into your own traffic blueprint. 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 third-party service accounts, it’s time to configure your WordPress settings.
WordPress Traffic Configuration
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to make sure that its global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some of the important points.
Global Settings – WordPress
By default, your WordPress admin area includes a Settings section that allows you to modify your site’s main settings …
(WordPress dashboard menu – Settings)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can affect your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most important and often overlooked built-in traffic notification systems available to WordPress users …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings)
As described in this section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have intentionally chosen to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically ping the list of services entered into the Update Services box
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, this section lists only one entry …
(Writing Settings – WordPress Update Services)
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 readers 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 a summary 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 site 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 most important setting in this section is whether the Search Engine Visibility check box is ticked or not.
Typically, you would want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked enables your site to notify various update services whenever a new post is published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, leave this box unchecked …
(WordPress 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 sites linked to from your articles, 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 …
(Settings Menu – Discussion Settings)
Your Permalink settings allow you to create search engine-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalinks)
Here are some of the ways your SEO-friendly URLs can be configured …
(Configuring SEO-friendly URLs)
We have created a detailed tutorial about using permalinks here: Changing WordPress Permalinks
WordPress – Plugins
WordPress provides users with plugins that help to add just about every type of functionality to your site, including traffic generation.
Here are examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help to increase traffic
Blog Defender Security Plugin
Once again, it’s important to configure your website for dealing with the effects of both good traffic and bad traffic. No blog is completely immune from a cyber-attack.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to botnet and hacker attacks.
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by improving your site’s SEO …
(WordPress SEO Plugin – Yoast SEO)
Use a plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your SEO. Properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines like Google and Bing to find, crawl and index, it allows you to configure how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media sites Twitter, Facebook, and GooglePlus.
Allowing visitors to easily share your content with their own networks can help drive significant traffic to your site, especially if you provide content that adds value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing to their website with free or inexpensive plugins)
You can easily add social features to your website using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins.
Most social plugins let you specify which social sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom update notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of likes), etc. Some social plugins even allow you to protect content or downloads which visitors can unlock by liking 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, in addition to options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your website, many themes also provide options for improving search optimization and site navigation structure for better indexing, add tracking snippets, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes allow you to configure settings and options for better traffic results)
With many quality themes, adding social sharing buttons to your content is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons to configure your options and enable the function …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in social sharing features)
Configuring Other WordPress Settings
Last (but by no means least) in the WordPress traffic blueprint configuration process, are the components that need to be set up outside of the global settings.
Once again, when preparing your website for a growth in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for how to deal with good and bad traffic but also for all the situations that can cause serious damage to your business as more and more people begin to visit your website.
If you do business online (or plan to), you need to make sure that your site remains compliant with legal requirements of government agencies that regulate business practices online.
If you need help understanding why it’s important to have a compliant website, go here:
Tags & categories help search engines index your web pages, which helps to increase traffic.
(Categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to classify and index your web pages.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s categories and tags have been set up correctly to deliver optimal benefits.
HTML Site Map
A site map that displays all of your site’s posts and pages to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external sites find your web 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. An HTML site map is a web page that links to all other content on your site, whereas an XML sitemap is code that only search engines can understand. Although Google will index your site just from an XML sitemap (which a plugin like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), making it easier for visitors to find more pages on your site can result in increased traffic.
Configure Your 404 Error Page
When visitors searching for your website enter the wrong URL or click on a link pointing to a page on your website that no longer exists, they are greeted with a 404 Not Found error page …
(A 404 Not Found error page)
A 404 Not Found error page can be configured to funnel visitors to your functional pages …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 Not Found 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 admin area.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint: Configuration Process – Summary
Once your site has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you then have to do to automatically start attracting traffic is publish content on a consistent basis.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, can be quite involved and elaborate , requiring the configuration and integration of various elements and external web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of skills and knowledge involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site can take some website developers months to acquire.
Once you have expertly configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the aspects of the process that can be automated. This step is addressed in the next article in our series.
This is the end of Part Three
To read more, click on the link below:
- Website Traffic Blueprint Part 4 – Learn How To Turn Your WordPress Web Site Into An Automated Web Traffic Machine
This article is part of a comprehensive series of tutorials designed to help you learn how to grow your business online inexpensively using a WordPress website and proven online marketing strategies.
Want To Get Automatically Notified When New Tutorials Are Published? Then Subscribe Using The Form Below!
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group