Welcome to Part Three of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to create an automated web traffic machine using the WordPress CMS platform.
In Part One of this article series, we provided an overview of the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to automating traffic to your site …
(With an expertly configured WordPress site, all you have to do is add great content regularly to automatically begin bringing more web traffic!)
In Part 2, 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 things up if you already have a website, and what to do if your existing website was built using WordPress.
(In Part two we show you how to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section of the series, we discuss the configuration phase of the traffic blueprint. We explain how to configure a WordPress site to automatically drive new traffic just by publishing content to your site.
WordPress Web Traffic Automation Blueprint – Configuration
The ability to attract more visitors to one’s website is often cited by website owners as one of their greatest challenges online. With business becoming ever more competitive, it’s worth looking into every opportunity you can to improve your own results online.
Having the ability to automatically generate traffic on demand is a huge advantage. For business owners, having an expertly configured website means having an immediate competitive advantage from the word “go”.
Configuration Is 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’s a simple way to describe the difference:
An expertly configured WordPress website gives you a professional web presence and online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured website gives you a web presence and a built-in automated online business marketing system!)
Not only is more labor required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing system into your website, it also takes a special type of expertise.
Allow me to illustrate this point with an amusing story.
Knowing Where To Tap
All is moving along in the gizmo-making factory when production suddenly comes to a halt.
No one can figure out what’s wrong and so the plant manager decides to call in an expert.
Shortly after arriving, the expert walks straight towards the main control box. After staring silently at the circuit board for about 2 minutes or so, the expert then produces a teensy-weensy hammer and makes a single tap near the right side of the control unit.
Immediately, all the machinery comes back to life.
The plant manager is greatly overjoyed as he thanks the expert, who leaves as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days after resolving the incident, the factory manager receives a request for payment of services rendered totalling $5,000.
Feeling angry, the factory manager rings the expert. Why were they charged such an exorbitant fee for less than 5 minutes work? He promptly 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 #1 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 factory stand to lose when the machines ground to a halt and no one in the factory floor had the expertise required to get things up and running again? Did the expert in our story not have the right to demand fair compensation for spending years acquiring the knowledge and expertise that allowed him to fix a potentially costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have your website configured so all you had to do is publish new content and search engines, social media and dozens of other traffic-generating web properties would be instantly 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 attracting new visitors to your site?)
Although the solution to many challenges is often quite easy once it’s been implemented, it rarely is that simple or easy when you are trying to figure things out.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than installing a website and configuring a few basic settings. It also involves knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which programs need to be installed for certain things to occur on your site.
- Which 3rd-party services you need to set up to get desired outcomes
- Which settings need to be configured to make sure things will function as envisioned, etc.
(Driving traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
This stage of the WordPress traffic automation system is not technically challenging, but it’s quite complicated. The reason why is because it’s not just about installing and configuring a plugin, tweaking some settings in your dashboard area or clicking a couple of buttons … it’s all this and much more.
Expertly configuring your website involves the integration of many parts such as your server, your web site, and various external sites or online services …
(Expertly configuring your website involves more than just configuring some WordPress settings)
If we try to flowchart the activities involved in the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplified flowchart of all the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s take a better look at what’s involved.
Your Web Server
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your web-hosting account for site installation purposes. What we are talking about, is fine-tuning settings and options in your server that affect how you will handle web traffic …
(In the configuration stage, your server settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is positive traffic. Some of the web traffic your business will attract will be unwelcome traffic like bot spam, malicious threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This stage of the configuration process, therefore, requires evaluating your needs, planning for both good and unwanted traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This can include things like configuring server-level spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring your domain and email forwarding, setting up htaccess and error page redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like emails, page errors, etc?)
After your web server settings have been fine-tuned and configured, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up a number of third-party sites.
The purpose of setting up external sites is that all of your content is published to a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it then gets distributed automatically to other components of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once these external platforms have been added to your setup, content pointing back to your website gets automatically syndicated to these platforms, indexed by search engines and distributed to social networks, even to visitors attracted to the platform itself. Your content and site benefits from exposure online, helping you tap into a whole new audience and source of traffic.
Some external web properties and online solutions will need to be set up before configuring your WordPress site’s settings to help speed up the 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 – create a Google-friendly site)
Google Webmaster Tools lets you tell Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for automatic page indexing, and provides you with a range of essential data, SEO tools and reports about your website.
After setting up your account and entering site data, this information can be used with traffic settings and notifications in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO – see further below) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s results, SEO, user engagement, marketing efforts, and more, by tracking all user behaviour, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrals, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account has been set up, you can add traffic tracking code to all of your pages in WordPress using plugins and feed data automatically to many other useful applications and web properties.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. After setting up your account with Bing Webmaster Tools, this information can be used with web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
As explained in Part Two, WordPress offers both the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress version if you plan to grow a professional online presence.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great tools, which various WordPress plugins can access. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate this into your traffic system in the next installment of this article series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media accounts and drive new traffic to your site)
You will need to have already set up your 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 sites and get new traffic to your site.
You should set up accounts with all of the leading 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 sites. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just choose those that will work with your setup and/or content syndication tools (we will look at some of these tools in more detail during the Automation phase).
(There are many social bookmarking sites you can post your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are many online platforms and content aggregators that can serve as secondary-level sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free access levels, and some offer a range of pricing plans.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that lets you add a feed from your site …
RebelMouse is a news aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format and users can follow your page.
There are many different solutions you can incorporate into your web traffic system. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to explore some of these further and discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
After you have configured your web server and set up third-party site accounts, it’s time to configure WordPress.
WordPress Traffic Configuration
The first step in configuring your site for traffic is to make sure that your global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some key areas.
WordPress – Global Settings
The WordPress dashboard area contains a Settings section that allows you to set up your site’s main settings …
(WordPress settings menu)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings Screen)
The Writing Settings section contains one of the most important and frequently overlooked built-in traffic notification systems available to WordPress site owners …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings Section)
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 intentionally configured your settings to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically ping the update services entered into the Update Services section
By default, when WordPress is installed, only one service is available …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature Of WordPress)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically – just add a list containing all of the update services you want notified to this section …
(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 visitors will see your content when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings in this section can have an influence web traffic. For example, your choice 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 play a part in someone’s decision 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.
The most important setting here as far as traffic is concerned is whether the Search Engine Visibility check box is enabled or not.
Generally, you would want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows your site to ping 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, make sure this box is left unchecked …
(Settings Menu – 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 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 enable your site to publish posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalinks)
The examples below show some of the ways permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring post permalinks)
For a detailed tutorial about setting up WP permalinks, go here: Setting Up WordPress Permalinks
Configuring WordPress Traffic Generation Plugins
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that help to add almost every kind of functionality to your site, 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 handling 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, web security is something you simply cannot afford to ignore.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your website invisible to botnets and hackers.
Go here for more details:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive traffic by improving the search engine friendliness of your web pages …
(Yoast SEO – WordPress Plugin)
A plugin like Yoast SEO can improve your site’s search engine optimization. When properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines like Google and Bing to find and index, it allows you to configure how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing visitors to share your content with their own networks can help boost traffic to your site, especially if you publish great content that adds value to readers.
(You can add social sharing features to your website easily using WordPress plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing features to their site with WordPress plugins.
Most social plugins let you specify which sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default update notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of followers), etc. Some plugins even allow you to set up protected content sections on your pages which visitors can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.
WordPress Theme Features – Configuration
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 layout and design of your site, many themes also give you built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site navigation structure for better indexing, add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes include built-in traffic optimization features)
With a number of quality themes, adding social sharing buttons to your pages is as easy as selecting the option to enable this functions …
(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 – Other Important Aspects To Consider
Last (but by no means least) in the WordPress traffic configuration process, are the elements that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Once again, when preparing your website for an increase 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 damage your business as more and more people find and begin to visit your website.
If you engage in any form of business online (or plan to), you need to make sure that your site is compliant with all legal requirements.
If you need help adding compliance pages to WordPress, see this article:
WordPress post categories and tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better index your web pages.
(Post categories help to improve your site’s SEO, which helps you get more traffic.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post tags and post categories have been correctly set up to deliver optimal benefits.
A visitor site map that lists all of your pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external sites discover more of your online content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for traffic too!)
It’s important to note that an HTML site map and an XML sitemap are different things. Although Google will index your pages just using an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), making it easier for visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
Configure Your 404 Page Not Found
When visitors searching for your site enter the wrong web address or click on a dead hyperlink, they will normally be greeted with a 404 error page …
(A 404 Not Found error page)
Configuring your 404 page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found page allows you to redirect web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 page can be set up on your server, there are several plugins for WordPress that let you easily configure your 404 page from your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Process – Summary
Once your WordPress site has been fully set up and expertly configured, all you then have to do to drive traffic is post great content consistently.
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 elements and web properties …
(WordPress Traffic System – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The knowledge and expertise required to perform this stage of the traffic automation process can take many web professionals months 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 series.
This is the end of Section 3
To read more, click here:
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive article series designed to help you learn how to grow your business online inexpensively and drive traffic organically using a WordPress-powered website and proven marketing strategies that are easy and quick to implement.
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