Produce Quality Web Content
If the content on the website isn't of great value to a large audience then no further strategy is necessary because the traffic will rarely come and never stick. The cliche in the industry has always been “Content is King” precisely because it is the foundation to all other strategies. One must consider a content niche with a strong emphasis on understanding the target audience and their needs. Producing Content is the first P of the three Ps of Web Traffic in the same way that Content is the first C in the three Cs of online marketing. It is first and it is critical.
Proper Technology and Formatting
I have seen many organizations suffer from poor technology that stops traffic like putting a closed sign on the door of the business. If the search engines cannot read or index the content correctly they will not serve up your pages when people search for relevant content. This means a lot of things including the right meta tags, sitemaps, permalink structure, 404 handling, sub-domain management, and more. Some technologies have gone a long way to ensure this is made as easy as possible. WordPress, Joomla, and others are popular for that very reason.
If you want to get traffic you have to let people know your content is there. Promotion can be done in a lot of different ways and this is integral to a search engine optimization strategy but also has everything to do with direct promotion in the more traditional sense. To be more specific, promotion includes much of what you may do with building communities on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, via Email etc. It also has to do with becoming a category expert on popular forums and discussion boards relevant to your topic. Where you may have an advertising budget, promotion also includes buying advertising online or offline.
This may all sound all to simple and obvious but I have found that if I can take seemingly big topics and break them down into three simple concepts it becomes much easier to teach and to keep all the strategies in line.