There are lots of different platforms for running TopLists. Some of them are free, such as the one BLOG VILLAGE runs on (which explains the ads across the top), and others the administrator pays for. Some require considerable programming knowledge, and others do not (the BV one requires no programming skills, thank goodness :)).
With that in mind, an explanation of how I have things set up on BLOG VILLAGE is probably needed.
For right now, at least, while we're still growing so fast, I have the voting set to return to ZERO every Wednesday evening about 4:00PM Central Daylight Time.
Your RANK on BV is determined by the number of INCOMING HITS you have during the voting time period. Incoming hits are how many visitors your blog has sent to our TopList, using your link code.
You will also see statistics for OUTGOING HITS on the TopList. Outgoing hits are how many visitors looked at your site, after they came to the list from clicking someone else's voting link. This is traffic directly generated for you by our TopList. Some of those hits will be from me, checking to see if you have the BLOG VILLAGE voting link displayed on your blog. And from time to time, I go through and vote for everybody on the list, too! Gotta help out my buddies!!
I have the list set to show 20 sites on each page, so only the top 20 sites have their banners showing. This is the page that will get most of the Outgoing Hits, so it makes sense to position your BV voting link on your blog in a prominent position, and ASK for VOTES!
There's bound to be something I didn't think to write about, so by all means, ask away, and I'll do my best to answer you.