Welcome to Part 3 of our Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to drive new traffic automatically to your website using the WordPress CMS.
In Part One of this series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website or blog is the key to automating traffic to your site …
(With an expertly configured WordPress web site, all you have to do is add new content on a consistent basis to automatically bring 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 everything up if you already have a website, and what to do if your existing site has been built with WordPress.
(In Part two we show you where to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this article, we look at the configuration phase of the traffic blueprint. We explain how a WordPress site should be configured in order to ensure that web traffic will automatically start flowing as you start posting new content to your web site.
WordPress Traffic Blueprint – Configuration
Being able 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 ever more competitive on a global scale, it’s worth learning about every advantage available to get better results online.
The ability to automatically generate traffic on demand can provide you with a tremendous advantage. An expertly configured WordPress site gives your business an immediate advantage from the very start.
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 understand the differences:
An expertly configured WordPress site gives you a web presence plus an automated online business marketing process!
(An expertly configured website gives you a professional web presence with a built-in automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only is additional labor required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, it also takes a special type of expertise.
Let’s illustrate this with a story.
Knowing Where To Tap
Everything is humming along in the gizmo-making factory when things suddenly stops.
As no one can figure out what went wrong, the floor manager decides to call in an expert to fix the problem.
The expert arrives shortly afterwards and, without saying a word, walks immediately towards the control box. After staring silently at the box for less than 3 minutes, the expert then produces a tiny little hammer from his pocket and makes a single tap near the left side of the control unit.
Immediately, the whole workshop lights up and starts working once more.
The floor manager is greatly relieved as he thanks the expert, who then leaves as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days after resolving the incident, the manager receives a service bill for $5,000.
Feeling angry, the manager calls the expert. Why did he charge them so much for so little time spent delivering a minimal amount of work? He promptly requests an itemized invoice and hangs up.
The next day, an invoice arrives and is placed in the manager’s in-tray. Upon opening it, this is what he sees:
The main challenge most businesses face online is driving traffic to their sites.
In the above story, how much money did the plant stand to lose when the machines stopped working and no one on the business had the expertise required to fix it? Did the expert in our story not have every right to get paid fairly for having spent years acquiring the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to immediately assess and avert a potentially costly crisis?
Similarly, if you could have a blog configured so all you ever had to do is publish content to it and search engines, social networks and dozens of other online properties would be instantly notified, how much time and money would you save?
(How much better would your business be if you could automate the process of attracting new visitors to your website?)
While many experts often make difficult situations and problems look simple, it rarely turns out to be that way.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site requires more than installing a website and configuring a few internal settings. It also requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which plugins need to be installed to get various functionalities on your site.
- Which third-party services need to be set up to get desired results
- Which internal and external settings you need to configure to ensure that everything will work exactly as you expect, etc.
(Driving new traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires knowledge and expertise)
This stage of the traffic automation system is not so technically challenging, but it’s quite complicated. This is because it’s not as easy as installing one or two plugins, clicking on a button or two … it’s all this and so much more.
Expertly configuring your website is a process that involves your server, your site, and various external sites and online services …
(The configuration phase involves more than just configuring a few settings in WordPress)
If we were to create a simplified flowchart of the activities involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplified flowchart of all the steps involved in the configuration process)
Let’s examine these areas in more detail.
We’re not talking here about the process of configuring your webhosting account for website installation purposes (this should have been done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about configuring settings in your server specifically for handling web traffic …
(During the configuration stage, your webhosting account settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is positive traffic. Some of the traffic you will attract will be unwanted traffic like bot spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This part of the configuration process, therefore, is about evaluating your needs, planning for good and bad traffic and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like configuring server-level spam protection and preventing security threats, to configuring your domain and email redirections, setting up htaccess redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your webhosting settings for handling things like emails, page errors, etc?)
After checking your web server settings and configuring these, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up a number of external sites and services.
The purpose of choosing external sites is that all content will be posted to a central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will be distributed automatically to other components of your traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once these external services have been added to your system, content pointing back to your website gets automatically added to search, social and aggregator sites. Your content and site will receive added exposure online, helping you tap into new sources of traffic.
Some of these sites and services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress 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:
(Google Webmaster Tools)
Google Search Console lets you notify Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with important information, SEO tools, and diagnostic reports about their website.
After setting up your account and entering site details with Google, your details can be used with traffic settings in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s results, SEO, user engagement, marketing campaigns, sales conversions, and more, by tracking all user behaviour, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine referrals, etc.
After setting up your Google Analytics account, you can add tracking code to all of your pages in WordPress using a plugin and send data instantly to other useful applications.
(Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. After setting up your account with Bing Webmaster Tools, this information can be used with web traffic settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
As discussed in Part 2, WordPress provides users with the option of a hosted vs self-hosted website. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress platform if you plan to build a professional online presence for your business.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides a number of useful tools, which can be accessed by various WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate this into your automated traffic generation system in Part Four of this series.
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and get new traffic to your site)
You will need your social accounts set up before you can configure these as part of 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.
Make sure you have accounts and pages set up with all of the leading social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.
There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can set up. You don’t need to go crazy, just pick those that will work with your system and/or content syndication tools (we cover some of these tools in more detail in the Automation phase).
(There are loads of social sites you can post your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Solutions, Aggregators, Etc.
There are many online platforms and content aggregators that can act as secondary sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free levels, and some are paid services.
For example, here is a content aggregator that lets you 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 website.
There are many different platforms you can add to your own web traffic blueprint. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these, or to discuss a configuration plan to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your web server and set up accounts with external sites, it’s time to configure your site’s settings.
Configuring Your WordPress Site
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to make sure that your global settings have been correctly set up.
Let’s go over some key areas.
By default, all WordPress installations include a Settings menu that allows you to set up your site’s main settings …
(WordPress settings section)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search listings, etc …
(Settings Menu – General Settings)
The Writing Settings section contains an important and often overlooked traffic notification system …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings)
As stated below the Update Services section title,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you or your webmaster have specifically configured your settings to discourage search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically notify the list of update services entered into the Update Services field
By default, when WordPress is installed, only one service is listed …
(Writing Settings – Update Services)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically – 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 will do 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 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, choosing to display the full content vs a summary of your post, affects how your content displays in RSS readers and blog post digests, and could impact someone’s decision to explore your content further, and whether or not they will visit your site to read 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 your traffic system is concerned, however, the most important setting here is whether the Search Engine Visibility checkbox is ticked or not.
Generally, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows your site to notify your list of update services when a new post gets published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason to discourage search indexing spiders from visiting your site, leave this box unchecked …
(WordPress Settings – 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 blogs 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 …
(Global Settings – Discussion Settings Screen)
Permalinks allow your site to display posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalink Settings)
Here are some of the options for configuring your permalink URLs …
(Configuring SEO-friendly URLs)
We have created a detailed tutorial on using WordPress permalinks here: Configuring WordPress Permalinks
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
The WordPress developer community makes available thousands of plugins that help to add just about every kind of functionality to your website, including traffic generation.
Here are some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
Security Plugins – Blog Defender
Once again, it’s important to configure your 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, securing your websites is something you cannot ignore.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your website invisible to bot and hacker attacks.
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
SEO plugins help drive 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, this plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines like Google and Bing to find, classify and index, it also lets you configure how your content will show up in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
WordPress Social Plugins
Allowing your visitors to easily share your content with members of their social networks can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if you provide great content that adds real value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social features to their website using WordPress plugins)
There are many social sharing plugins available for WordPress.
Most social plugins allow you to specify which social sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of likes), etc. Some social share plugins even allow you to protect content which visitors can unlock by sharing your page.
Configuring Settings – WordPress Themes
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help improve your site’s traffic generation capabilities.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring the design and layout of your site, many themes also include built-in features that let you improve SEO and site linking structure for better indexing, easily add tracking, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes like Graphene (a free theme) can be configured for improved traffic results)
With many WordPress themes, adding social sharing buttons to your pages is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons and enabling the feature …
(Many WordPress themes include built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
Additional Sections To Configure For Improved Traffic Flow
Last (but by no means least) in the web traffic system configuration process, are the elements that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
This includes the following:
Legal Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for an increase in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for both good and bad traffic but also for all the things that can go wrong when more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you do business online (or are planning to), it’s important that your website stays compliant with regulatory agencies.
If you need help adding compliance pages to WordPress, go here:
WordPress tags & categories help search engines better organize and index your website, which helps you get more traffic.
(Post categories help improve traffic by improving your site’s search optimization.)
When considering ways to automate and improve web traffic, you will want to review and make sure that the post tags and categories that have been set up.
Add A Site Map
A site map that lists all of your posts and pages to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool for users, it can also help external tools find your website content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for web traffic too!)
Note: An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are different things. Although Google will index your pages just using an XML sitemap (which a plugin like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
404 Error Page – Don’t Lose Traffic!
When visitors searching for your site enter the wrong web address or click on a hyperlink pointing to an incorrect destination on your site, they will normally be greeted with a 404 page …
(A 404 Not Found error page)
Configuring your 404 Not Found error page allows you to redirect 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 on your web server, there are several WordPress plugins that let you easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once you have your site fully set up and expertly configured, all you then have to do is post web content on a consistent basis to begin bringing traffic organically.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, is quite involved and elaborate and requires the configuration and integration of different elements and web properties …
(WP Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The knowledge and expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes many website developers a long time to acquire.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is explained in the next section of the WordPress Traffic Blueprint series.
This is the end of Section Three
To read more, click on the link below:
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive series of tutorials designed to help website owners learn how to grow their business online and drive traffic automatically with a WordPress-powered website or blog and proven marketing methods that are easy to implement.
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