Welcome to Part 3 of our Traffic Guide article series, where we show you how to drive new visitors automatically to your site using WordPress.
In Part 1 of this series, we explained why using an expertly configured WordPress website is the key to generating automated traffic …
(With an expertly configured WordPress website, all you have to do is add web content regularly to automatically begin attracting new traffic!)
In Part Two, we discussed the setup phase. We helped you understand the best way to get started if you don’t have a website yet, how to set everything 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 how to set up WordPress on your domain)
In this section of the series, we will discuss the configuration stage of the traffic automation process. We explain how to configure a WordPress site so you can ensure that new traffic will automatically start flowing simply by regularly adding new content to your web site.
WordPress Traffic System – Configuration
Being able to drive more traffic to your website is often cited by website owners as one of the greatest challenges they face online. Businesses are becoming so much more competitive worldwide and are exploring any and every advantage they can to improve their performance online.
Being able to generate traffic on demand can be a huge competitive advantage. For businesses, an expertly configured website means having a significant advantage from the word “go”.
The Difference Is In The Configuration
There is a significant difference between an expertly configured WordPress site and a site that has been professionally set up by a web-building expert but not necessarily configured to take advantage of everything WordPress can offer.
Here is a simple way to understand the key difference:
An expertly configured WordPress website gives you a web presence with an automated online business marketing system!
(An expertly configured website gives you a professional web presence with a built-in 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 kind of expert knowledge.
Let’s illustrate this with an amusing story …
Are Experts Worth The Money They Charge?
Everything was going just fine in the widget workshop when the machinery suddenly stopped.
As no one could figure out what happened, the floor manager decided to call in an expert to fix the problem.
Shortly after arriving, the expert headed out directly to the control box. After staring silently at the wiring diagrams for what seemed like 5 minutes, the expert then took out a teensy-weensy little hammer and made a single tap about three inches from the bottom-left corner of the unit.
Immediately, everything came back to life.
The manager was overjoyed as he thanked the expert, who left as quickly as he had arrived.
A couple of days after resolving the incident, the factory manager received a request for payment of $5,000.
The factory manager rang back the expert, demanding to know why they were being charged so much for so little time spent delivering such a minimal amount of work and promptly requested an itemized invoice before hanging up.
The next day, an invoice arrived in the manager’s in-tray. Upon opening it, this is what he saw:
The #1 challenge most businesses face online is driving new traffic to their sites.
In the story we’ve just described, how much money did the widget factory stand to lose when production ground to a halt and no one in the business was able to fix it? Did the expert in our story not have the right to demand fair compensation for having invested years building up the knowledge, skills and expertise that enabled him to immediately assess and repair a very costly problem?
Similarly, if you could have a website set up so all you had to do was publish new content and Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and dozens of other web 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 many experts often make difficult solutions look easy, it rarely is that simple or easy when you are trying to figure things out.
Expertly-configuring a WordPress site involves more than installing a website and configuring a few internal settings. It also requires knowing where to tap! This includes knowing things like:
- Which programs need to be installed to add desired functionalities to your site.
- Which third-party accounts you need to set up and activate to achieve desired results
- Which options you need to configure to make sure everything will function the way you want, etc.
(Generating web traffic automatically with WordPress is a process that requires expertise)
This part of the WordPress traffic automation system is not technically challenging, but it’s quite complicated. This is because it’s not as simple as installing and configuring a solution, configuring some options and settings in your dashboard area … it’s all this and much more.
The configuration stage involves the integration of many different components such as your web server, your web site and a number of external sites …
(Expertly-configuring your website involves more than just configuring some settings in WordPress)
If we create a simple diagram showing the steps involved in the configuration process, it would look like this …
(A simplistic diagram of the configuration process)
Let’s examine these areas in more detail.
We’re not talking about the process of configuring your web hosting account for site installation purposes (this should have been done during the Setup phase). What we are talking about, is fine-tuning settings and options in your server specifically for handling web traffic …
(In the configuration stage, your web server settings need to be checked for handling both good and bad traffic)
Not all web traffic is beneficial traffic. Some of the traffic your site may attract will be unwelcome traffic like spam, malicious threats, bot-hacking attempts, etc.
This part of the configuration process, therefore, is all about evaluating your needs, planning for both good and bad traffic, and then adjusting settings in your server accordingly. This includes looking at things like integrating spam protection and security threat prevention, to configuring domain and email redirections, etc …
(Have you configured your hosting control panel settings for handling things like email forwarding, page errors, etc?)
Once your web server settings have been fine-tuned and configured, the next step is to set up and configure a number of external sites or online services.
Third-Party Accounts Configuration
The basic idea of setting up external sites is that all of your content should be posted to one central location (your site) and from there, it will get syndicated automatically to other parts of your web traffic generation system, or notify traffic-related web properties and services.
Once you add these external services to your network, content linking back to your site will get automatically published on your search, social and aggregator accounts. Your content receives increased exposure online, helping you tap into a whole new audience and traffic source.
Some of the sites and services 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 before configuring your WordPress site’s settings:
(Google Webmaster Tools)
Google Webmasters lets you inform Google about your site’s pages, submit XML sitemaps for faster page indexing, and provides you with a range of essential data, tools and diagnostic reports about your website.
After setting up your account and entering site details, your account details can be used 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 website’s traffic performance, SEO, user engagement, marketing efforts, sales conversions, and more, by tracking all user behavior, pages visited, keywords searched for, social media referrers, etc.
Once your Google Analytics account and site data are set up, account information can be integrated with WordPress using a plugin and instantly fed to other useful applications and reporting tools.
(Bing Webmaster Tools)
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Webmaster Tools. After setting up your account with Bing, you can use the details to automate traffic settings in WordPress and other applications.
As discussed in Part 2, WordPress offers both a self-hosted (WordPress.org) and a hosted (WordPress.com) option. We recommended choosing the self-hosted WordPress version if you plan to grow a professional business presence online.
WordPress.com (the hosted option), however, provides some great tools, 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 Pages
(Syndicate your content automatically to your social media and social bookmarking accounts and get new visitors to your site)
You will need to set up your various social media and social bookmarking accounts 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 accounts and attract new traffic to your site.
You should have profiles with all of the main social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
There are lots of social sites you can set up. You don’t need to go crazy, just pick the ones that will work with your setup and/or content sharing tools (we will look at some of these tools in more detail in the Automation phase).
(There are lots of social sites you can syndicate your content to. Image source ShareThis.com)
Additional Platforms, RSS Aggregators, Etc.
There are many online platforms and RSS aggregators that can serve as secondary-level sources of traffic. Some are free or provide free plans, and some are more suitable for enterprise-level applications.
For example, here is a content aggregator site that lets you add your WordPress blog feed …
(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 social feed.
There are various sites and platforms that can be incorporated into your web traffic system. Please feel free to 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 third-party service accounts, it’s time to configure WordPress.
WordPress – Configuring Your Web Site For Traffic
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 areas.
By default, WordPress includes a Settings menu that allows you to modify your site’s global settings …
(WordPress dashboard menu – Settings)
Content entered into fields like Site Title and Tagline can influence your site’s SEO, search results, etc …
(WordPress Settings – General Settings Section)
The Writing Settings area contains one of the most powerful and often overlooked automated traffic notification systems available to WordPress users …
(Global Settings – Writing Settings Screen)
As described below the Update Services section,
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the following site update services …
Unless you have purposely configured your settings to discourage search engines from indexing your site, then your site will automatically notify the list of services entered into the Update Services box
By default, when WordPress is installed, 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 your content gets seen by readers when they visit your home page and blog pages.
The syndication settings in this section can have an influence traffic. For example, your choice 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 play a part in 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 traffic is concerned, however, the main setting here is whether the Search Engine Visibility check box is enabled or not.
Generally, you want search engines to visit your site. Leaving the box unchecked allows your site to instantly notify the update services list whenever a new post gets published (see Writing Settings above). Unless there is a specific reason to discourage search indexing spiders from visiting your site, do not check this box …
(Global Settings – Reading Settings Section)
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 sites (pingbacks and trackbacks). This can work for you, but it can also drive bad traffic in the form of SPAM comments …
(Settings Menu – Discussion Settings)
Your Permalink settings allow you to create search engine-friendly URLs …
(Global Settings – Permalink Settings)
Here are some of the ways your site’s permalinks can be configured …
(Configuring post permalinks)
We have created a detailed tutorial on using WordPress permalinks here: How To Change WordPress Permalinks
Configuring WordPress Plugin Settings For Traffic Generation
WordPress provides users with plugins that help to add just about every type of functionality to your site, including traffic generation.
Let’s take a brief look at 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 dealing with both good traffic and bad traffic. No site is safe from cyber attacks.
(Security Plugins stop bad traffic from causing your website harm)
Security plugins like Blog Defender help to make your blog invisible to bots and hackers.
WordPress SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO
WordPress SEO plugins help drive more traffic by making your web pages easier for search engines like Google and Bing to index …
(WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast SEO help increase traffic by improving your website’s ability to rank better in search engines)
Use a plugin like Yoast SEO (previously known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) to improve your website’s search engine optimization. Once properly configured, the Yoast SEO plugin not only makes your web pages easier for search engines like Google to index, it also gives you control over how your content is presented to Google’s search results and social media sites Facebook, Twitter and GooglePlus.
Social Sharing Plugins
Allowing your visitors to easily share your content with friends and members of their social networks can help drive significant traffic to your site, especially if you publish content that adds real value to readers.
(WordPress users can easily add social sharing to their website using free or inexpensive WordPress plugins)
WordPress users can easily add social sharing buttons to their site with WordPress plugins.
Many social plugins let you choose which sites visitors can share your content to, embed social buttons into your content, set up custom post messages, display/hide share counters (e.g. number of followers), etc. Some plugins even allow you to ‘lock’ content which visitors can unlock by sharing your page.
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 design and layout aspects of your site, some themes also provide built-in features that let you improve search optimization and site linking structure for better indexing, add analytics, social sharing buttons, etc …
(Many WordPress themes can be configured for improved traffic results)
With a number of quality themes, adding social sharing features to your website is as easy as clicking a button …
(Many WordPress themes provide built-in social sharing features that can be easily turned on with the click of a button)
Other Areas To Configure For Increased Traffic Flow
Last (but by no means least) in the WordPress traffic configuration process, are the areas that need to be configured outside of the global settings.
Website Compliance Pages
Once again, when preparing your website for a growth 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 as more and more people find and begin to visit your website.
If you are making money online, it’s important that your site remains compliant with regulatory agencies.
(Does Your Website Comply With The Law?)
We have created a detailed article on how to quickly add legal pages to your website here: The Importance Of Adding Legal Pages To Your WordPress Site
Post categories and post tags help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better understand and index your pages.
(WordPress categories help improve traffic by allowing search engines to better understand and index your web pages.)
When considering ways to automate and improve 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 site’s pages and posts to visitors is not only a useful navigation tool, it can also help external tools discover more of your site’s content …
(Site Map – great for visitors and beneficial for web traffic too!)
An HTML site map and an XML sitemap are not the same thing. 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 engines can read. Although Google will index your site just using an XML sitemap (which plugins like Yoast SEO will create for you – see earlier section), allowing visitors to find more pages on your site can result in increased traffic.
404 Page – Don’t Lose Traffic!
When visitors searching online for your site enter the wrong web address into their browser or click on a hyperlink pointing to a page on your site that no longer exists, they will typically be greeted with an error page …
(A WordPress 404 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 traffic that may otherwise be lost.)
Although a 404 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.
WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint: Configuration Phase – Summary
Once your WordPress site has been expertly configured and fully set up, all you need to do then is post content consistently to drive web traffic organically.
The process of expertly configuring your WordPress site, however, can be quite involved, requiring the configuration and integration of different components and external web properties …
(WordPress Traffic System – Configuration Phase Checklist)
The skills and expertise involved in expertly configuring a WordPress site typically takes many website professionals months to acquire.
Once you have expertly configured your WordPress site, the next step is to automate the process. This step is explained in the next article in the series.
This is the end of Part 3
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