If you're like me, and you've got a mainspec you want to focus on but also have off-specs you'd like to work on as well, or hell, if you've gotten most of the traits in your main artifact but to get the next one you're going to need approximately three billion artifact points to get the next trait, we should talk about artifact knowledge.
Perhaps the first thing you should do when you hit 110, before going to Suramar or doing that quest in the trade district of Dalaran, is to go to your order hall and find the archivist or whatever they're called for you and start up your artifact knowledge work orders.
Over the course of several days, you'll eventually get a tome or some such thing of artifact knowledge. You can have two work orders queued up, and I recommend doing so as a top priority.
These work orders are scheduled a little funny - I believe that if you're behind the curve, as it were, they take less time. I'm hoping that this applies months from now, so that a newly-110 characters some time in the spring will be able to get several work orders done pretty quickly.
So what do these tomes do? Using the product produced by these work orders will increase your artifact knowledge. I believe there are twenty levels, so the first order you complete will put you at 1.
Each level of artifact knowledge increases the amount of artifact power each new artifact power item you get will bestow. There's no reason to stockpile the ones that you have already - they'll always be the value they have on the tooltip. But any new ones you get (with some rare exceptions) will be boosted.
The progression bonus here is not exactly exponential, but it is certainly not a linear curve either. According to WoWhead, there are 25 levels of artifact knowledge, and the bonus you receive is this:
Meaning that after getting to artifact knowledge level 25 (which will probably take about six months, perhaps a little less, as I don't think each round of research is quite a week) you will be getting 250 times as much artifact knowledge as you would normally.
So, for example, the coins you get for quests in Suramar would go from giving you 100 to 25,000 artifact power a pop. Meaning that if I wait until then (and I just might) to invest anything whatsoever into the Silver Hand, a single artifact power item could probably let me fill in almost half the traits.
Additionally, artifact knowledge comes with lore. You'll find a book in your class hall that contains pages of lore about the artifacts you've discovered. At levels 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, and 23, you'll get another page about each of your artifacts.
Given that artifact knowledge applies to the AP items you get (and even if it didn't) your artifact knowledge applies to all three (or four, or both, if you're a Druid or Demon Hunter, respectively) artifacts. One of the main reasons for this is that they want it to be a strong catch-up mechanism for off-specs. You might really need that 250x bonus to get the last trait on your main artifact, but it also means that getting through the first two-thirds of them on another weapon should be very easy to do.
I'm hoping that this becomes quicker to research as the expansion goes on, but we shall see.