I’ve been looking over my referrals data, trying to work out what causes people to discover this blog, and there seems to be two things that drive traffic to your site: Being topical, and being authoritative.
Neither of these things are really all that surprising when you think about it. Being topical is why newspapers are constantly updated. It’s called news for a reason. People will go looking for stuff that everyone else is talking about at the moment, which is why I got some traffic from my rant about my Nokia N95 mobile phone and its timezone issues. The timezone thing only affects people in Australia, as far as I’m aware, so it’s not a big potential audience. I could probably get more traffic from commenting on the upcoming US election, the Sarah Palin/Tina Fey doppelganger phenomenon, or whatever is currently top of Digg/Slashdot/Google News.
However, I got quite a bit of traffic to my article on rhythmbox and internet radio. I’m not sure why, but it was pretty much the most popular post from the archives once I moved to WordPress. According to my old Zope logs, it was pretty popular there, too.
So if you want to figure out how to drive traffic to your site, watch the incoming referrers (particularly the search terms people used at Google to find you, that’ll help you buy the right AdWords), as well as what people like most about your site. Then, give people more of what they want.
I’m still trying to figure that out for the moment. But I’m trying!