I recently wrote a post about the different types of links you can get to your blog and what they mean to your traffic. One was a more active way through social networks and commenting. The other gave more clout to your site in the search engines. Luckily, a few good blogger In the dofollow movement have decided to give their fellow bloggers a double bang for their buck by removing the nofollow tags from comments.
Yet, there is another way to build traffic to your blog and it doesn't even involve leaving your site. And it is the process I am currently investigating now. I have used it on ecommerce sites and on other sites, but have not yet really applied it to Wordpress.
It involves strategic structuring and keyword usage with your site. In essence, you treat your site like it's own mini internet over which you have total control. And increases in traffic can be dramatic.
Pardon my use of analogy, but it's the way I initially see things. It's only later that I turn the analogy into something concrete I can actually use. Then once the analogy has lost its usefulness in jumpstarting action, I discard it and perfect the methods I have come up with.
Consider you blog to be an iceberg. That part of the iceberg that shows above the ocean is the part of you site that actually gets hits from the search engines. But sculpting your blog, you can change the shape of this iceberg so that more of this surface area is visible.
First, you have to know your place. Every blogger wants to be the next Darren Rowse. But if you come out of the gates trying to rank for keywords that are highly competitive, you are going to be disappointed and likely give up. There is a balance here. The perfect scenario would number for the most trafficed phrase that you can. Let me explain.
The number 1 position for an search phrase with get about 40% of the hits for that phrase. After that it drops off dramatically. I swear to god I can rank #1 for "Green Fuzzy Jackalope Slippers" tomorrow or with the way Google has been spidering my blog lately, about 3 hours from now. That's all fine and dandy, but I have yet to find a product to sell that fits that phrase and I doubt anyone is searching for it. If I move all the way up to "Fuzzy Slippers", I will find affiliate programs but good luck with the ranking aspect. But if I split the difference and go directly to "Green Fuzzy Slippers", I will probably be rewarded with the best of both worlds.
How to you discover your place? By practice, experience, and playing with the search engines. I rank #1 for Filemaker server crashing now. And if I hadn't, a link from another post on this blog or from a menu along the sidebars would have bumped me up a couple of notches. That's why I mentioned in that post that writing what you know is a good place to start, but writing what you search for and can't find after a few searches can be a key to traffic.
And there's the rub. Why? Because anyone can start a blog with this is mind and build this structure in, but what if you, like me, have two years of posts before you start the process. That is what I will investigate off and on for the next month or so. And then on to monetization, which in my mind will include strategic use of Featured Posts, banner ads that link to a review on site rather than off to affiliate links, a backend (on site) product directory, and the amazingly useful alinks plugin.
So stay tuned.