Welcome to Part 3 of our Web Traffic Blueprint article series, where we show you how to turn a site into an automated web traffic machine using the WordPress CMS.
In Part 1 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 website, all you have to do to automatically begin attracting web traffic is post new content on a consistent basis!)
In Part 2, we discussed the setup phase of the traffic automation process. We helped you understand the best way to get started 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 site was built with WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you how to set up a WordPress web site on your domain)
In this section of the series, we will look at the configuration stage of the traffic automation process. We will show you why an expertly configured WordPress site is different than a professionally configured website. You will also understand what kind of work is required to make sure that when everything is set up and configured, you will attract traffic automatically when you start posting fresh content to your web site.
WordPress Traffic System – Configuration Phase
The ability to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by many website owners as one of the greatest challenges they face online. Also, the business landscape is becoming so much more competitive worldwide and businesses are looking for any and every advantage they believe will help them increase their competitiveness online.
The ability to generate traffic on demand is a tremendous advantage over other competitors. For WordPress users, having an expertly configured website allows their business to get off with a flying start as soon as their website is launched.
The Configuration Stage 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 an expert website developer but not necessarily configured to its fullest advantage.
Here’s a simple way to explain the difference:
With a WordPress website that has been expertly configured you get a web presence and an automated online business marketing process!
(An expertly configured website gives you a professional web presence with an automated online business marketing tool!)
Not only does a whole lot more work go into building and integrating an automated online business marketing system into your website, it also takes a special kind of expertise.
To illustrate this point, here is a story …
Ludicrous Or Fair? You Decide …
Everything is humming along in the gizmo-making workshop when things grind to a sudden stop.
As no one can figure out what’s wrong, the plant manager decides to call in an expert to try and fix the problem.
Shortly after arriving, the expert walks immediately to the main control box. After staring at the box for 2 minutes, the expert then takes out a teensy-weensy hammer and makes a single tap about 1 cm from the right-hand edge of the control unit.
Immediately, everything springs back to life.
The floor manager is filled with joy as he thanks the expert, who leaves just as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days later, the factory manager receives a bill for $5,000.
Confused and outraged, the manager calls the expert. Demanding to know why the expert has charged them such a ludicrous fee for so little time spent delivering a minimal amount of work, he then requests an itemized invoice to be sent, and hangs up.
The next day, an invoice statement arrives and is placed in the manager’s in-tray. Upon opening it, this is what he sees:
The #1 challenge most businesses face online is being able to consistently drive new visitors to their sites.
How much money did the plant stand to lose when the equipment stopped working and no one in the business had the expertise required to get things up and running again? Did the expert not have the right to get paid fairly for having invested years acquiring the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to assess and repair a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a WordPress blog set up so all you had to do is publish content to it and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and dozens of other web 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 site?)
Although the solution to many challenges is often ridiculously easy in hindsight, it rarely is that simple or easy when you try to figure things out.
Knowing how to expertly configure a WordPress site requires more than adding some pages with content and configuring a few basic settings. It requires knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which plugins you need to install for specific things to occur on your site.
- Which third-party services you need to set up to achieve desired outcomes
- Which internal and external settings need to be configured to make sure everything works as you have imagined, etc.
(Driving web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
Although this stage of the traffic automation system may not seem technically challenging, it can be quite involved. This is because it’s not as simple as installing a plugin, configuring some options and settings in your admin area or clicking a couple of buttons … it’s all this and much more.
Expertly-configuring your website involves the integration of different components such as your web hosting server, your site and a number of external sites and/or online services …
(Expertly-configuring your website involves more than just configuring some WordPress settings)
If we create a simplified diagram showing the activities involved in the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplified flowchart showing all the steps involved in the configuration phase)
Let’s take a look at what’s involved.
Web Server Configuration
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your webhosting account for site installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about tweaking settings and options in your server that affect how your site will handle web traffic …
(During the configuration stage, your web hosting account settings need to be fine-tuned for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is positive traffic. Some of the traffic your website will attract will be unwanted traffic like spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This part of the configuration process, therefore, requires evaluating your needs, planning for both good and bad traffic, and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This can include things like configuring server-level spam protection and threat prevention, to configuring domain and email forwarding, setting up 404 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 (if required), the next step of the configuration phase is to set up a number of third-party sites or online services.
3rd-Party Web Properties
The purpose of setting up external sites is that all content will be posted to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, it will get distributed automatically to other components of your traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you incorporate these external platforms into your configuration, content linked back to your site will get automatically added to these platforms, indexed by search engines and shared to other social media accounts, even to users of the platform itself. Your content and website will be given exposure to a new audience and source of traffic.
Some sites will need to have accounts set up before configuring your WordPress site, 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 inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides site owners with a range of important information, SEO tools and diagnostic reports about their website.
After setting up your account and entering site data with Google, you can use this information with web traffic-related settings and notifications in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing efforts, and more, by tracking all user engagement, pages visited, keywords searched for, search engine referrers, etc.
After setting up your Google Analytics account, your account information can be added to all of your web in WordPress using a simple Google Analytics plugin used with other applications.
(Drive more traffic with Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. Once your Bing Webmaster Tools account has been set up, you can use this information with web traffic-related settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO and other applications.
As explained in Part 2, WordPress offers a hosted (WordPress.com) and a self-hosted (WordPress.org) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress version if you are planning 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 at WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate this into your web traffic generation system in the next installment of this series.
Social Media Accounts
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media sites and social bookmarking accounts and get 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 and social bookmarking accounts and attract new visitors to your site.
Make sure you have set up accounts with all of the well-known social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are loads of social sites you can set up. You don’t need to create accounts with all of them, just pick those that will work with your system and/or content syndication tools (we cover some of these tools in greater detail further below and during the Automation phase).
(You can syndicate your content to many social bookmarking sites. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Services, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are many online technology 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 users.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that allows you to add a feed from your site …
(RebelMouse – Distribute social content to social networks)
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your social profiles and RSS feeds. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format, and users can follow your account.
There are many different solutions that can be added to your own web traffic blueprint. Please contact us if you need assistance exploring this area further, or to discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
After you have configured your server settings and set up external service accounts, it’s time to configure your WordPress site’s settings.
WordPress Traffic Configuration
The first step in configuring your WordPress site for traffic is to ensure that your global settings have been set up correctly.
Let’s go over some key areas.
Configuring Global WordPress Settings
Your WordPress admin area contains a Settings section that allows you to configure your site’s main settings …
(WordPress settings menu)
Sections like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(Global Settings – General Settings Screen)
The Writing Settings area contains an important and often overlooked traffic notification system …
(Settings Menu – Writing Settings)
As described 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 purposely chosen to prevent search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically notify the list of update services entered into the Update Services section
With an ‘out of the box’ WordPress installation, only one service is listed …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature Of WordPress)
WordPress lets you notify dozens of update services automatically …
(Notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress!)
This section affects how visitors will see your content when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings on this page can have an influence web traffic. For example, choosing to display the full text vs a summary of your post, affects how your content displays in RSS feeds and blog post digests, and could impact 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 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 check box is enabled or not.
Normally, you want to encourage search engines to visit your site. Leaving this box unchecked allows WordPress to ping your list of update serviceswhenever new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless you have a specific reason why search engines should not visit your site, do not check this box …
(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 blogs 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 Section)
Your Permalink settings allows your site to display posts with SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalink Settings)
Here are some of the options for configuring your site’s permalink URLs …
To learn more about setting up permalinks in WordPress, see this tutorial: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
The WordPress developer community makes available thousands of plugins that help to add just about every kind of functionality imaginable to your website, including plugins that add traffic generation capabilities.
Let’s look at some types of plugin categories that affect traffic and plugin examples
Blog Defender Security Plugin
Once again, it’s important to configure your website for dealing with both good traffic and bad traffic. No website or blog is completely immune from a cyber attack.
(Security Plugins help prevent bad traffic from harming your web presence)
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to botnet and hacker attacks.
Go here for more information: Protect Your WP Websites From Bots & Hackers
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your web content easier for search engines like Google to index …
(WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by making your site more search engine friendly)
A plugin like Yoast SEO (previously called WordPress SEO by Yoast) can significantly improve your SEO. Properly configured, this 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 pages, e.g. Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
WordPress Social Plugins
Allowing visitors to easily share your content with others can help drive more traffic to your site, especially if you post content that adds real value to readers.
(You can add social sharing buttons to your site easily with free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing to their site using free or inexpensive plugins.
Many social sharing plugins allow you to choose which social sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default notifications, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of followers), etc. Some social share plugins even allow you to protect content which visitors can unlock by sharing your page.
As well as configuring various plugins, many WordPress themes also include features that can help grow your traffic.
For example, in addition to options and settings for configuring layout and design elements of your site, many themes also include built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site navigation structure for faster indexing, add analytics code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes like Graphene (a highly customizable free theme) have built-in traffic optimization features)
With many themes, adding social sharing buttons to your website is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes come with built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
Other Areas To Configure For Better Traffic
Last (but by no means least) in the traffic configuration process, are the things that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
These include the following:
Compliance Web Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for an increase in visitor numbers, it’s important to plan not only how to handle good and bad traffic, but also for all the things that can go wrong as more and more people begin to visit your website.
If you engage in any form of commercial activity online, you need to make sure that your website is compliant with all laws and regulations.
(Is Your Website Compliant?)
If you need help adding compliance pages to WordPress, see this article: The Importance Of Having A Legally Compliant Website
Post categories and post tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better organize and index your web pages.
(WordPress post categories help search engines better classify and index your pages, which helps to increase traffic.)
In the configuration phase, you will want to review and make sure that your site’s post tags and post categories have been set up correctly to deliver optimal results.
Add A Site Map
A site map that lists all of your pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external tools find your site’s content …
(A site map is not just great for visitors, but for web traffic too!)
It’s important to note that an HTML site map and an XML sitemap are not the same thing. HTML site maps provide visitors with a visual map of how your content is organized, whereas XML sitemaps are code that only search bots can understand. Although search engines like Google will index your site just from an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO can provide – see earlier section), making it easier for visitors to find more pages on your site results in increased traffic.
Your 404 Page Not Found
When visitors searching online for your website enter the wrong URL into their browser or click on hyperlinks pointing to pages on your website that no longer exist, they are greeted with a 404 page …
(A 404 Page)
A 404 page can be configured into a useful source of traffic to your functional pages …
(Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to recover web traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 error page can be set up in your server, there are plugins for WordPress that let you easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Stage – Summary
Once your website has been fully set up and expertly configured, all you then have to do to generate more traffic is post new content on a regular basis.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, is quite involved, requiring the configuration and integration of various elements and external web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Checklist)
The expertise required to perform this phase of the traffic automation process typically takes some web developers a long time to learn.
We can install, set up and expertly configure your website or blog. Please feel free to get in touch so we can discuss your needs.
Once you have configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the aspects of the process that can be automated. This step is explained in the next section of the series.
This is the end of Section Three
To read more, click here:
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the processes involved in configuring and automating the process of driving visitors to your website and how WordPress can help you get better results online. To learn more about using WordPress for a business website please click on links to visit other posts we have published on this site.
This article is part of a comprehensive series of articles designed to help website owners learn how to grow their business online sustainably using proven and inexpensive online marketing methods.
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