Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to automate traffic to your site using the WordPress CMS platform.
In Part 1 of this series, we provided an overview of the process, and explained why using an expertly configured WordPress site is the key to automating traffic to your website …
(With an expertly configured WordPress blog, all you have to do is add new content regularly to generate traffic!)
In Part 2, we discussed the setup phase. We explained the best way to start 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 website has been built using WordPress.
(In Part two we show you where to set up a WordPress website or blog on your domain)
In this section, we discuss the configuration stage of the traffic blueprint. You will understand what makes an expertly configured site different than a professionally configured site. You will also discover how much work is required to make sure that when everything is fully set up and configured, you can automatically start getting new traffic as you start to post web content on your website.
WordPress Traffic System – Configuration
The ability to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by website owners as the greatest challenge they face online. With business getting so much more competitive worldwide, it’s worth exploring any and every advantage that can help you get better results online.
The ability to generate traffic on demand is a huge advantage over other competitors. For WordPress users, an expertly configured website means having a significant advantage from the very start.
The Configuration Stage Is 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 an expert website developer but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s one way to understand the key difference:
With a WordPress site that has been expertly configured you get a web presence plus online business marketing automation!
(An expertly configured website gives you a professional web presence with a built-in automated online business marketing system!)
Not only are more steps required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, but also a special kind of expertise.
Allow me to illustrate this with a story.
A True Story (Kind Of) …
All was humming along in the gizmo factory when things suddenly ceased working.
As no one could figure out what happened, the floor manager decided to call in an expert to fix the problem.
The expert arrived shortly after being summoned and, without uttering a word, immediately headed to the main control box. After staring at the schematics for less than 5 minutes or so, the expert then produced a teensy-weensy hammer from his utility belt and made a gentle tap about two cm from the left-hand corner of the control unit.
Immediately, everything began to work once more.
The floor manager was relieved as he thanked the expert, who left just as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days after resolving the incident, the manager received an invoice for the amount of $5,000.
The factory manager called the expert, demanding to know why they were expected to pay so much for less than five minutes work and then requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice notice arrived in the manager’s in-tray. 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.
How much money did the factory stand to lose when the machines stopped working and no one in the factory floor had the expertise to fix it? Did the expert not have every right to demand fair compensation for having spent years acquiring the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to immediately assess and fix a potentially costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a website or blog set up so all you ever had to do is publish new content and search engines, social sites and dozens of other traffic-generating 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 problems is often quite easy once it’s been implemented, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Expertly configuring a WordPress site requires more than simply installing a website and configuring settings for clients. It also requires knowing where to tap! In other words, knowing things like:
- Which plugins you need to install for certain things to occur on your site.
- Which accounts you need to set up and activate to get certain outcomes
- Which internal and external settings need to be configured in order to make sure everything works as envisioned, etc.
(Generating web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
Although this part of the WordPress traffic automation system may not seem technically difficult, it can be quite complicated. This is because it’s not as simple as installing and configuring one or two plugins, clicking a button, or configuring some options and settings in your admin area … it’s all this and much more.
The configuration phase is a process that involves your web server, your site, and various third-party sites or online services …
(The configuration phase involves more than just configuring some settings in WordPress)
If we were to create a simple diagram showing the activities involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplified diagram of the activities involved in the configuration process)
Let’s examine these steps.
Your Web Server
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your hosting account for installation purposes. What we are talking about, is fine-tuning settings and options in your server that affect how your site will handle web traffic …
(During the configuration phase, your web hosting account settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is welcome traffic. Some of the traffic your business may attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, security threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This area of the configuration process, therefore, requires evaluating your needs, planning for good and unwelcome traffic and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This can include looking at things like integrating spam protection and security threat prevention, to configuring your domain and email forwarding, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like emails, page errors, etc?)
After fine-tuning your server settings and configuring these, the next step of the configuration phase is to set up a number of third-party sites or online services.
Configuring External Services
The concept behind adding external sites is that all content will get posted to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will get automatically distributed to other parts of your web traffic system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you incorporate these external sites into your system, content with links pointing back to your site will get automatically posted to these platforms, indexed by search engines and shared to other social media sites, even to users of the platform itself. Your content and business will be given additional exposure to new sources of traffic and new audiences.
Some of these external sites and online solutions will need to be set up before configuring your settings to help speed up the configuration 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 Search Console lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides you with useful information, SEO tools and diagnostic reports about your website.
Once your account has been with Google are set up, your information can be used with web traffic-related settings in WordPress (e.g. using plugins like Yoast SEO) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your website’s performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing activities, and more, by tracking all user behaviour, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrers, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site details are set up, you can add your account code to WordPress using plugins and send data automatically to many other useful applications.
(Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. After setting up your account and entering site details with Bing, use this information with traffic settings in WordPress 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 option if you plan to build a professional online presence for your business.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great tools, which can be accessed by various WordPress plugins. We recommend setting up an account with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate these features into your web traffic system in the next installment of this article series.
Social Media Pages
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and bring new visitors to your site)
You will need your social media accounts set up 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 drive new traffic to your site.
Make sure you have set up accounts and profile pages with all the main social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
There are lots of social sites you can You can syndicate your content to many social sites. You don’t need to go crazy, just select the ones that will work well with your system and/or content sharing tools (we will look at some of these tools in more detail during the Automation phase).
(There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can post your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, Aggregators, Etc.
There are a number of emerging platforms and RSS aggregators that can act as secondary-level traffic generation sources. Some are free or provide free plans, and some offer a range of pricing plans.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that allows you to add your WordPress site feed …
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 RebelMouse website.
There are various sites and platforms that can be incorporated into your own web traffic blueprint. Please contact us if you would like to explore this area 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 your WordPress site.
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.
Your WordPress admin area contains a Settings menu that allows you to set up your site’s global settings …
(WordPress settings menu)
Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search listings, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings section contains one of the most powerful and frequently overlooked built-in traffic notification systems available to website owners …
(WordPress Settings – Writing Settings)
As stated in this section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you or your webmaster have purposely configured your settings to discourage search engines from indexing your site – see next section, then your site will automatically ping the list of services entered into the Update Services text area
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, only one service is available …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature)
You can notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress …
(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 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 blog post digests, and could affect someone’s decision to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your website to get the rest of the content from excerpts, or read the content in full without the need to click through to your site.
As far as traffic is concerned, however, the main setting here is whether the Search Engine Visibility check box is enabled or not.
Normally, you would want search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked enables your site to automatically ping your list of update services when new posts are published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason to discourage search indexing spiders from visiting your site, leave this box unchecked …
(Global 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 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 …
(Global Settings – Discussion Settings)
Permalinks allow you to create search engine-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalink Settings Screen)
The examples below show some of the ways your post permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring SEO-friendly URLs)
To learn more about setting up permalinks, refer to this tutorial: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that can add almost every kind of functionality 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
Once again, it’s important to configure your website for dealing with both good traffic and bad traffic. Regardless of the kind of business you run or plan to run online and how small you think your web presence is, you cannot ignore the importance of website security.
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your WordPress site invisible to malicious attacks from hackers and botnets.
For more details, go here:
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your site more search engine friendly …
(WP Plugin – Yoast SEO)
Use a powerful plugin like Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your site’s SEO. Properly configured, this plugin not only makes your site easier for search engines like Google to index, it also lets you specify how to display your content in Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Allowing your visitors to easily share your content with others online can help to increase traffic to your site, especially if you publish great content that adds value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social features to their website with free or inexpensive plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing buttons to their website with free or inexpensive plugins.
Many social plugins allow you to specify which social sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom update notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of shares), etc. Some plugins even allow you to set up protected content sections on your site which visitors can unlock by sharing your page.
WordPress – Theme Settings
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that help grow your traffic.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring design and layout aspects of your site, many themes also provide built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site navigation structure for faster indexing, easily add analytics snippets, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes allow you to configure settings and options for better traffic results)
With many WordPress themes, adding social sharing buttons to your site is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes provide users with built-in social sharing features)
Other Areas To Configure For Improved Traffic
Last (but by no means least) in the traffic configuration process, are the areas that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
These include the following:
Legal Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for an increase in visitor 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 when more and more people start finding and visiting your website.
If you do business online, it’s important that your site complies with regulatory agencies.
We have written a detailed article about how to quickly add all necessary legal pages to your WordPress website here:
Tags & post categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better index your web pages.
(Post categories help search engines index your website, which improves traffic.)
When looking at ways to automate and improve web traffic, you will want to review and make sure that the post tags and categories you have set up.
Add A Site Map To Your WordPress Site
A site map that displays all of your pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external tools find your website content …
(Site Map – great for visitors and beneficial for traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are not the same things. Only search engine bots can read XML sitemaps. 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 Page – An Additional Source Of Web Traffic!
When visitors type in the wrong URL into their browser or click on a dead hyperlink, they will typically be greeted with an error – page not found message (known as a 404 page) …
(A 404 Error Page)
A 404 Error Page can be configured to redirect confused visitors to your functional pages …
(Configuring your 404 page allows you to recover traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 page can be set up on your server, there are several WordPress plugins that allow you to easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin.
WordPress Traffic Automation System: Configuration Process – Summary
Once your site has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you need to do to automatically begin bringing more web traffic is publish content consistently.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, is quite involved and elaborate and requires the configuration and integration of various elements and web properties …
(Traffic Blueprint – Configuration Checklist)
The kind of knowledge and expertise required to perform this process can take many web professionals a long time to learn.
Once you have expertly 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 section of the series.
This is the end of Section Three
To continue reading about this topic, click on the link below:
This tutorial is part of a comprehensive tutorial series designed to help website owners learn how to grow their business online inexpensively with a WordPress website or blog and proven web marketing methods.
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"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now