About a month ago I posted some theories on getting more traffic to your weblog. I give out this advice so much to people that I figured I should prove it by moving my (totally unverifiable, and random) Alexa ranking below 800,000. I didn't have any traffic goals, as I assumed they would increase by some percentage I couldn't predict.
First, I started opening my stats every day. Before this month I rarely looked at my stats. I write my weblog for myself first, and for friends second. My audience is intentionally small (plus I can look foolish in front of friends, I don't care). So the idea of watching stats was completely foreign, it's for the big blogs that have ads and depend on the traffic to live.
I attempted to exploit the positive feedback loop of staring at stats to make the stats go up and I think it worked. I would notice traffic falling off on the weekend and make a point to bookmark some items I might like to link to throughout the week.
Second, I had to set aside time in my day to really hit my feed reader. A quote from Google Reader's trends: "From your 193 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 10,432 items, starred 3 items, shared 0 items, and emailed 0 items." It's a lot of work staying on top of your feeds, and I had to force myself some afternoons to quickly flip through the big sites to see what people were talking about. It's hard work to stay ahead of the curve.
My new Alexa stat ranking: 619,546. Looking at the 1 week averages (since the 3 mo. averages include the months I was not driving the rating down) my Alexa ranking is 464,345. If I kept up my pace over the next year I think I could easily land somewhere in the 400's for good, high 300's would be swell.
The missing element here is quality. Quality is pretty much the only thing that will keep you in the big leagues once you get there. I can't speak to having a good voice or consistent delivery of quality content so I left it off my original list of things to do.
As some people have a face for radio, I tend to think I have a writing voice that makes a case to start a site with user generated content.