- posting frequency (assuming compelling, well-written posts): higher frequency posting leads to higher quantity traffic. Multiple times a day is better than once a day is better than once a week is better than once a month, etc.
- do blogrolls matter? not in sending folks your way, no. They're great to show your friends you like them, but they're no good for linky love.
- comments: don't bank on comments as a traffic indicator... you can be popular and not have many comments on your blog
- pinging: if you ping, they will come. This is how you let the search engines know you're new. Keep training them you update often, but proactively ping to get indexed on your time, not theirs.
- HITS: How Idiots Track Success... it means nothing as far as success. "I had 50,000 hits" says nothing about your traffic success. It measures how hard the server has to work to display your page.
- Server Tools are tailored to those hosting sites and can show you your bandwidth used, your files most frequently requested, etc. They're daunting and scary at first because there's so much info, but if you can brave your way into them, they're a goldmine. Good news: if you buy your hosting from a big web hosting company, you have these available to you. Sample tools: AWStats, Urchin, Analog, ClickTracks, HitTail.com
- Java tools are typically tailored to bloggers and are visually appealing and show the trends, even across multiple blogs without changing web sites. Google Analytics, MeasureMap, BlogBeat, MyBlogLog.
- Blog Traffic Tools like Technorati, Feedster, PubSub, Alexa (unreliable), BlogJuice all miss pieces of correct measurment, but suing all of them you can fill the holes. Armed with these, you can say "I had X number of mentions in the blogosphere last week."
- RSS Metrics Tools: FeedBurner is a start (Pay for ProStats, it's worth it), but not the whole picture. Use Bloglines subscriptions info: is about 20% of traffic and is easy to get your subscriptions numbers, Google Reader may or may not have accurate RSS info in it.
One caution for those who use Sitemeter, if you use SiteMeter in the clear, anyone can see your metrics. Many folks think it's "none of your business" to know the stats because potential competitors might find out their blog sucks and swoop in.
And, don't forget to look into the community gathering around your blog. If someone links to you, send an email thank you!
If you're running Google AdSense, you can run the report, and it shows your impressions (you know Google has scrubbed them of duplicates, etc) and that name recognition is gold eith your advertisers (potential or real).