In his book Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website, SEO and online marketing expert Jon Rognerud shows you how to build a high-performance website and get top ranking on all search engines. In this edited excerpt, the author explains why starting a blog can help you bring in the traffie you're seeking.

One of the fastest ways to build traffic to your site with minimal effort is to create a blog. You should also learn to optimize your blog using custom plugins. They're easy to use and very powerful.

You can start a blog for free by visiting WordPress.com, or if you're self-hosting, which is recommended, install the free version from WordPress.org. You can then build content yourself or outsource the writing to a ghostwriter. The content doesn't have to be long. A short post of 100 to 200 words is acceptable to start. Try to make it useful, link to other resources, and show attribution with a link where obvious. Testing and monitoring is key.

Blogs are a great way to naturally attract search engine traffic. Most of the time, blogs already have optimized site architecture, clear navigation and the innate potential for good linking. Intelligently linking your site to a well-created blog can increase your traffic. In fact, blogs can get so well indexed that you have the potential to show up for any number of four-word phrases relevant to your industry, if done correctly.

Try to use a keyword for each of your posts that gets a moderate level of targeted traffic. If you're already inside your blog post, you can use the SEO Blogger tool from the makers of Wordtracker. It installs quickly into your Firefox browser, and you launch from an icon directly on the browser. The tool will show you how many times a word is used, percentages, and more. It's easy to use.

It might not bring the most traffic, but it often brings the most profit through more subscribers and sales. If possible, narrow the scope of your blog discussion to a two- or three-word phrase that has a high yield of traffic yet little competition. Set up your blog to repeat keywords that you want to target just enough times to establish a theme. You can take full advantage of this in your post titles, category names and the pages' URL names. All those link-backs will contain the keyword term you want the most attention for. This can work like magic, and with the updated speed of indexing, you'll likely see your post show up in search results quickly. 

Be sure to post in a timely fashion. You can get better results by updating or sharing socially just once during one of the three best times of the day: early in the morning, at least before noon or late at night. Monitoring when the search engine's crawlers visit your site can help as well. You can increase the number of crawler visits by blogging on the time or period they come to your site. The more you post, the more the crawlers have to go through your content. This could cause the crawler to split its job into several visits, whereupon you have even more content.

Using Plugins
Listed below is the ultimate plugin list for maximum traffic and search-friendly blogs. Just search for these in Google, and add the "wordpress plugins" to the query. Log in to your WordPress admin area, expand the "Plugins" section, and add them via the "Add New" button. 

  • All-In-One SEO: must have for search-friendly SEO sites
  • All-In-One Webmaster: central place to manage the top three
  • Akismet: get API key from WordPress.com
  • Broken Link Checker: manage/track broken links
  • CBnet Ping Optimizer: manage ping systems naturally
  • Google XML Sitemaps: automatically generate XML sitemaps
  • Fast and Secure Contact Form: easy form for contact forms, etc.
  • Simple Captcha: challenge/response test tool for varied uses
  • WordPress Database Backup: say no more!
  • WP Super Cache: generate static HTML pages for fast loading
  • FBShare: Facebook share button
  • Socialize: actionable social bookmarks to your posts
  • WP Security Scan: make sure you're compliant
  • RSS Footer: add small text to the bottom of each RSS
  • Disqus Comment System: powerful commenting system and management
  • Cookies for Comments: spam checker for comments Google Analyticator or Ultimate Google Analytics: enabling javascript tracking for Google Analytics

You should engage in the blog communities that you are promoting within, but do not push too hard. You can find blogs that very likely have links that follow back (no rel=nofollow) at:

Find more information about who to connect with on Twollow.com, Twibs.com and Twellow.com (the Twitter Yellow Pages). Reach out and comment; make intelligent posts. Eventually, ask to guest post, and continue the conversation. That's what blogging and social media is about: listening, engaging, and sharing.