Traffic, yageddit? Sorry, that's lame, but I've had classic rock on the brain since the Bron-Yr-Aur post.
TOP seems to have reached a certain stately maturity if our traffic is any indication. Take a look at the bar chart of our daily visitors over the past seven weeks or so:
Pretty consistent, eh? The flat patch on the left is when I was on vacation in August; the low point of each week is generally a Saturday, although a couple of them are Sundays; and the healthier bumps at the right represent the beginning of the school year, when summer's over, and Europe (20–30% of our readership) is back from holiday, and the world gets back to work again. We're slow in the summer and always ramp up again in the fall, although the last two weeks haven't yet reached the norm of last Spring. The lowest bar on this chart represents 10,008 visitors and the highest one 35,746.
By the way, these numbers are basically only relative. They tell me how I'm doing from day to day and week to week, but they really shouldn't be compared to anything else. I use two counting services, and the other one, which I pay for, is a good deal more subtle, although when all is said and done it agrees with this one to within a few hundreds. I have the metrics set to ignore visits of less than 30 seconds' duration (to avoid counting visits by avid readers who are just checking in to see if anything new has been posted), and it counts as a "new" visit anyone who hasn't visited in the past two hours. If that seems unfair, remember that some people check in only once every few days, or every week, or month, and scan down through lots of posts; they're under-counted, in the same way that a guy who visits three times a day is over-counted. Internet head counts are just very approximate, is all. The numbers are much less "reality-based" than magazine circulation numbers any way you cut it.
Also, I don't count views of separate pages on the site, only visits to the main page. Nor does the above chart include the ~15,000 or so people who have signed up to get full RSS feeds. Seems unfair to count them as readers—all of them, anyway—because some of them, I'm sure, click through to the site (where they'll be counted anew), and just because some others get the site via feed doesn't mean they actually read it.
I keep meaning to establish a habit of taking Saturdays off, given that Saturday is consistently our slowest day. But the darn thing is, I enjoy this.