Make a detailed plan of any improvements and work you’ll perform. Perform split testing for everything you can, from page design to SEO components to the type of content on the site. This will help you find the real best solution for everything, which is much better than the usual process of guessing and approximating what will work best and implementing it without real world tests. Often times, developers are wrong about what the users want, and split testing in the first stages of work is a more efficient way to find out what will really work best.
Image by Squeegee Scott
For traffic sources, you can use existing traffic from Search Engines, email invitations for the current members to check the site out and provide feedback (for free or in exchange for something), or even buying banners and PPC traffic. Find the best way to improve the content layout. For example, one page articles work best for some sites, but others benefit more from articles spread over two or more separate pages (this often leads to more views, clicks and time spent on site, things which are important for any site owner).
Also, review and replace or improve (or leave unchanged if its good) all the smaller details, like greeting messages, contact form messages, automated email replies, sidebar quotes and anything else. Remember that screen space is limited and anything important should stay above the fold, i.e. the user doesn’t need to scroll or click to see it (that applies to important messages, banners, ads, links, etc.).
There are many other useful tips, but as I said, every developer has their own way of working, and there is no universal one that would fit every person. But the above guidelines are perfect for novice web developers and designers that want to know every possible way of doing things and haven’t yet found their own unique work process.