Welcome to Part Three of my WordPress Website Traffic Blueprint article series, where I share how to create an automated web traffic machine using WordPress.
In Part One of this article series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to generating automated traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress blog, all you have to do to automatically start attracting web traffic is add fresh content on a consistent basis!)
In Part 2, we focused on the setup phase. We helped you understand 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 site was built with WordPress.
(In Part 2 we show you how to set up a WordPress website or blog on your domain)
In this article, we look at the configuration stage of the traffic automation process. We explain why an expertly configured site is different, and what type of work needs to be done to make sure that when all is fully set up and configured, you can begin driving traffic automatically just by adding fresh content on your site.
WordPress Traffic Automation System – Configuration Phase
Being able to drive more traffic to one’s website is often cited by many website owners as their greatest challenge online. Also, the business landscape is becoming so much more competitive and businesses are looking for any advantage available to improve their performance and results online.
Being able to generate traffic on demand can be a tremendous advantage over the competition. An expertly configured WordPress site gives your business a flying start from the moment your site is launched.
Configuration Is The Difference
There is a 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 take advantage of everything WordPress can offer.
Here is a simple way to explain the main difference:
An expertly configured WordPress website gives you a web presence with an automated online business marketing system!
(An expertly configured site gives you a web presence and an automated online business marketing process!)
Not only are more steps required to build and integrate an automated online business marketing process into your website, it also takes a special type of expertise.
Allow me to illustrate this point with an anecdote …
A True Story (Kind Of) …
All was going well in the gizmo assembly workshop when production suddenly stopped.
No one could figure out what has happened and so the manager decided to call in an expert.
Soon afterwards, the expert arrived and, without saying a word, headed immediately towards the control box. After staring silently at the electronic components for what seemed like 5 minutes or less, the expert then produced a tiny hammer from his shirt pocket and made a very gentle tap about 3 cm from the left-hand side of the control unit.
Immediately, the whole workshop lit up and began to work again.
The floor manager was delighted as he thanked the expert, who left just as quickly as he had arrived.
A few days later, the factory manager received a request of payment for services for the amount of $5,000.
The manager picked up the phone and dialed 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 arrived in the manager’s in-tray. Upon opening the envelope, this is what he saw:
The #1 challenge most businesses face online is driving web traffic to their sites.
In the story we’ve just described, how much money did the plant stand to lose when the machines stopped functioning and no one in the business was able to fix it? Did the expert in our story not have the right to ask to be compensated fairly for having invested years building up the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to quickly avert a very serious crisis?
Similarly, if you could have a WordPress web site set up so all you had to do is publish new content and search engines, social networking sites and dozens of other online properties would be instantly notified, how much time and money would this save you?
(How much better would your business be if you could automate the process of attracting new visitors to your site?)
While the solution to many challenges can seem ridiculously easy once implemented, it rarely is that simple or easy.
Expertly-configuring a WordPress site is more than just installing a adding some pages with content and configuring site settings for clients. It also requires knowing where to tap … what programs to install, which accounts to set up, which options and settings to configure, which buttons to click, etc.
(Generating new traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
This stage of the traffic automation system is not so technically difficult, but it’s quite involved and time-consuming. The reason why, is because it’s not as simple as installing and configuring one or two plugins, clicking a couple of buttons, or configuring some options and settings in your admin area … it’s all of this and so much more.
Expertly-configuring your website involves the integration of different components such as your server, your site and various third-party sites …
(The configuration phase involves more than just configuring some WordPress settings)
If we try to flowchart the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look something like this …
(A simplistic diagram of the activities involved in the configuration process)
Let’s examine what’s involved in more detail.
Your Web Server
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your web-hosting account for site installation purposes (this is normally done during the Setup phase). We’re talking about fine-tuning settings in your web hosting account specifically for handling web traffic …
(During the Configuration stage, your hosting account settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all traffic is beneficial traffic. Some of the web traffic you will attract will be unwelcome traffic like bot spam, malicious threats, brute-force bot attacks, etc.
This stage of the configuration process, therefore, requires evaluating your needs, planning for both good and bad traffic, and adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes things like integrating server-level spam protection and securing server files, to configuring domain and email forwarding, etc …
(Have you configured your control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page page error redirections, etc?)
After checking your web server settings and configuring these, the next step is to configure various third-party sites.
Configuring External Web Properties
The purpose of adding external sites is that all of your content should be published to one central location (your WordPress site) and from there, radiate outwards to other components of your traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and applications.
Once you incorporate these external services into your configuration, content linking back to your site will be automatically fed to your search, social and aggregator accounts. Your content and website will be given exposure to new sources of traffic and new audiences.
Some of these sites and services will need to have accounts set up before configuring your site’s 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 before configuring your WordPress site:
Google Webmasters 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 reports about their website.
Once your Google Search Console account is set up, use this information with traffic settings and notifications in WordPress and other applications.
Google Analytics lets you improve your site’s performance, SEO, marketing activities, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, organic referrals, etc.
After setting up your Once you have set up Google Analytics, account code can be added to WordPress via a Google Analytics plugin and and sent to many other useful applications and reporting tools.
(Bing Data And Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmasters. Once your account has been set up, use this information with web traffic-related settings in WordPress using plugins like Yoast SEO (see further below) and other applications.
As discussed in Part 2, WordPress offers website owners 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.
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 with WordPress.com, therefore, and we’ll show you how to integrate this into your web traffic system in the next installment of this series.
Social Media And Social Bookmarking Accounts
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media accounts and drive new traffic to your site)
You will need your social accounts set up 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 get new traffic to your site.
Make sure you have profiles set up with all of the main social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
There are lots of social bookmarking sites you can set up and syndicate your content to. You don’t need to go crazy, just choose the ones that will work with your setup and/or content sharing tools.
(There are lots of social sites you can post your content to. Image: ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, Content Aggregators, Etc.
There are many new online web platforms and content aggregators that can serve as second-tier 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 website …
(RebelMouse – Publishing plaftform for distributed content)
RebelMouse is an aggregator for your RSS feeds and social profiles. Your content displays in a Pinterest-like format, and users can follow your account.
There are various sites and platforms you can incorporate into your traffic system. Please contact us if you need assistance exploring some of these, or to discuss a strategy to suit your needs.
Once you have configured your server settings and set up accounts with external sites, it’s time to configure your WordPress settings.
WordPress Site 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 of the important areas.
Configuring WordPress Settings
By default, all WordPress installations include a Settings menu that allows you to set up your site’s global settings …
(WordPress menu – Settings)
Fields like Site Title and Tagline affect traffic by influencing your site’s SEO, search indexing, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings)
The Writing Settings section contains an important and frequently overlooked traffic notification system …
(WordPress Settings – Writing Settings Area)
As stated below the Update Services 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
By default, this section displays only one entry …
(Update Services – A Powerful Traffic Feature)
You can notify dozens of update services automatically with WordPress – just add a list containing all of the update services you want notified to this section …
(Notify dozens of update services automatically!)
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 content vs a summary of your post, affects how your content displays to users in RSS feeds and blog post digests, and could impact someone’s decision to explore your site further, and whether or not they will visit your website to read 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 your traffic system 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 WordPress to instantly ping various update serviceswhen new posts get published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason to discourage search indexing spiders from visiting your site, make sure this box is left unticked …
(Global 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 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)
Your Permalink settings allow you to create SEO-friendly URLs …
(Settings Menu – Permalink Settings)
Here are some of the options for configuring your site’s post permalinks …
(Configuring post permalinks)
We have written a detailed tutorial about using WP permalinks here: Using Permalinks To Improve Your WordPress SEO
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
The WordPress developer community makes available plugins that help to add almost every kind of functionality imaginable to your website, including plugins with features that help to improve traffic generation.
Here are examples of plugin categories and plugins that can help drive more traffic to your site
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive traffic by improving improving how search engines like Google find and index your web pages …
(WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help increase traffic by making your website more search engine friendly)
Use a plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your SEO. Once properly configured, this plugin not only makes your website easier for search engines like Google to find and index, it also gives you control over how your content is presented in Google’s search results and social media pages, e.g. Facebook, Twitter and GooglePlus.
Allowing your visitors to share your content with others can help drive significant traffic to your site, especially if you provide content that adds real value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social features to their site using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
There are many free or inexpensive social sharing plugins to choose from.
Many social sharing plugins let you choose which social sites your content can be shared to, embed social buttons into your content, set up default 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 users can unlock by linking or tweeting your page.
Configuring 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 elements of your site, some themes also provide built-in options for improving SEO and site linking structure for faster indexing, add tracking code, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many themes include built-in traffic optimization features)
With a number of WordPress themes, adding social sharing buttons to your pages is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes provide users with built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
WordPress Traffic System Configuration – Other Areas
Last but not least in the web traffic configuration process, are the elements that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Website Compliance Pages
Once again, when preparing your site for an increase in traffic numbers, it’s important to plan not only for both good and bad traffic, but also for all the situations that can hurt your business when more and more people begin to visit your website.
If you are making money online (or plan to), it’s important that your site is found to comply with legal requirements of government agencies that regulate business practices online.
(Is Your Website Legally Compliant?)
Post categories and tags help to improve your site’s SEO, which helps you get more traffic.
(Categories help to improve your site’s search engine optimization, which helps you get more traffic.)
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.
Add A Site Map
A visitor site map that displays all of your site’s pages and posts is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external applications discover your online content …
(Site Map – great for site visitors and beneficial for traffic too!)
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, while an XML sitemap is mostly filled with code that only search bots can read. Although search engines like Google can 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 can result in increased traffic.
Your Sites’s 404 Page Not Found
When online users type in the wrong web address into their web browser or click on a dead link, they will normally be presented with a 404 error page …
(A 404 Not Found error page)
Configuring your 404 Error Page allows you to redirect traffic that may otherwise be lost. …
(Configuring your 404 Not Found error page allows you to redirect traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 Not Found error page can be set up in your server, there are several WordPress plugins that let you easily configure your 404 page inside your WordPress admin area.
WordPress Traffic System: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once you have your website expertly configured and fully set up, all you have to do is publish new content regularly to automatically attract new web traffic organically.
The process of expertly configuring a WordPress site, however, is quite involved and elaborate, requiring the configuration and integration of different elements and web properties …
(Traffic System – Configuration Phase Checklist)
Once you have 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 WordPress Traffic Automation System series.
Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of ways to configure your site to automate the process of driving more traffic to your web site and how WordPress can help you get better results online. To learn more about the benefits of using WordPress please see our related posts section.