Start at goal. Walk backwards, feet on ground. Then forward. That is how you guarantee positive results for any quest, including a guaranteed increase in your site traffic and revenues. Let us take a brief look at this philosophy, then see how we can use it to increase our site traffic, guaranteed. What you will discover is that most simple and affordable of traffic building strategies are surprisingly obvious to only a minority of webmasters around world.
Walking backwards from goal means starting at end result. Find something that has already reached end result that you are after. Observe it and analyze what causes this end result, backtracking step by step from end result to where you are now. As you do so keep your feet on ground, that is, look at pure facts of matter. No hype, no "I hope" or "I think", no theories. Just pure facts from observation. Finally walk forward. Re-apply facts you discovered, step-by-step, without inventing or re-inventing anything. Follow blindly, no matter how silly or simple path you have uncovered may appear to be. And you will be guaranteed success as long as you are acting in same environment as one in which you observed your end result.
I have had opportunity to look at sites that have reasonably high traffic levels (our desired end result). Having a look at their server log files tells you exactly where traffic is coming from, stripped down to bare facts. Log files don't lie. The following truths emerge:
Fact (1): Most sites get a large proportion of their daily traffic from popular search engines. This is by far biggest traffic driver to most sites. Another large traffic driver is incoming links from other busy sites or from hundreds or thousands of small sites. It is usually hard to directly replicate a busy site's incoming links network so we won't dwell on this. Instead we will focus on what is easy, replicating a busy site's performance on search engine ranking across board. You will find that once your site is busy because of search engine traffic, your incoming links network will grow automatically as more people find your site and link to it. Higher numbers of incoming links (called link popularity) boost search engine rankings. It is a good vicious cycle that keeps itself growing - and you want that!
This high search engine traffic depends on following things:
Fact (2): The total number of pages site has. The more pages, higher traffic. Why? Think about it. Say your site has 10 pages only and each page draws in an average of about 7 visitors a day that find it on search engines. That's 70 visitors a day (10 pages x 7 visitors per page). If you now had 100 pages instead of similar nature, you would now have about 7 x 100 = 700 visitors a day instead of 70. Its that simple!
Fact (3): Basically, most sites get a trickle of traffic per page on their site. Each page manages to get found by only a relatively small number of people a day from search engines, depending on search subject, usually only about 10 - 30 or so people a day per page even on well visited sites. Why? Because most pages on average on a particular site do not rank highly on search results. But occasionally you will find a site with dozens or hundreds of pages with good search engine rankings. By pure chance or careful planning, these pages are optimized for search engines. Now say you had 100 pages each pulling in an average of 10 visitors a day from search engines. Your competitor also has 100 pages but they pull in an average of 70 (or even much more) visitors a day due to better optimization. Guess who will be writing success story.
Fact (4): Looking at log files for keywords or phrases typed into search engines to find these sites (yes, log files can tell you that, too), you discover that these busy sites are be found by a much larger range of keywords than their less busy competitors. For example, a low traffic site selling wedding gowns may have, in all text on all its pages, only about 10 keywords and phrases related to wedding gowns (e.g. wedding gowns, weddings, marriage, bride, bride, etc). But a busy one may have over 50 related words and phrases, including less obvious but related ones such as registry service, bachelor party, bucks night, wedding planner, etc. Even though site only sells wedding gowns, someone looking for a wedding planner or bachelor party information would most likely also be interested in wedding gowns. And on their search for these other words, if they bump into a wedding gown site, they will be interested in exploring it. Simple math: if one keyword gets you 10 unique visitors a day, 60 different keywords of a related nature will get you 600 more unique visitors.