As bloggers, we all carry different motivation for starting and maintaining our sites. For some it is a creative outlet, for others it is a way to capture memories and track progess on a journey, yet for others it is a full fledged profession.
No matter what your motivation is, we all have at least one thing in common. We want people to read what you took the time to write. As people read, interact, and share your traffic grows and before you know it, you have a community of followers/supporters.
The concept of blogging has evolved over the years. It is no longer viewed as something introverted geeks (I say that with love) do from the corner of their basement. Instead, it has grown to a hobby/profession that attracts people from all walks of life.
Advertisers realize this - they go where the people are. If your blog generates enough traffic, advertisers will start to seek you out to rent space on your site. One of the ways they determine how much they are willing to pay to rent space on your site is by your Alexa Ranking.
Alexa is a subsidary of Amazon.com. It provides commercial web traffic data. The name is reference to the Library of Alexandria, which is the largest repository of knowledge in the ancient world. Alexa's vision is to become a similar Internet-based knowledge repository. In the past several years, it has abandoned its extensive search and directory services and concentrates on web analytic services.
Every site has an Alexa rank, rather you know it or not. Your rank is an indicator of how you fare against other websites globally and in your country in regards to traffic. The lower the number, the better. Google has an Alexa rank of 1, and Facebook has an Alexa rank of 2 (no surprise there). Alexa isn't perfect, but it is a good indicator and advertisers trust it to evaluate the amount of traffic coming to your site and their potential return on investment.
Your audience may consciously or sub-consciously judge your site by your rank as well. Sites with a low rank and plenty of traffic are often viewed as more authoritative. In some ways, an Alexa rank is like a credit score. A credit score is used to determine your credit worthiness, and predict the amount of risk you pose....and Alexa rank is used to determine your sites' worthiness (in relation to traffic), and people will use this to judge rather it is a place they want to spend their time and/or money.
As already mentioned, the Alexa ranking system is not perfect. One short-coming is the rank is calculated by using the Alexa Toolbar. This is a plug-in that can be installed on most web browsers. It does not come installed on any browser by default, therefore only people that have installed the toolbar are sending metrics to Alexa for tracking. This is a very small and very skewed sampling. In this sense, Alexa is like television Nielsen ratings because only a subset of data is actually being reported from people that have the necessary tracking equipment installed.
Who is most likely to install the Alexa browser?
- Other bloggers who care about their ranking
- Techie bloggers!
My completely non-scientific Venn diagram of Alexa Toolbar Users
Websites in these niches tend to fare better in the Alexa rankings. Advertisers understand this and will generally compare site rankings amoung that of their peers. But, unlike the Nielsen ratings, you don't have to be selected, you can install the free toolbar and become aware of your rating and increase your rating. With the toolbar installed, everytime you visit your own site now counts as traffic reported to Alexa. You also help fellow bloggers when you visit their site with the toolbar installed.
Many niches understand this and fare better overall in the rankings. Generally, females are less likely to install the Alexa toolbar. This is why I decided to publish this on this massive network of female bloggers instead of my own site. There is enough traffic to go around, and rather you plan on monetizing your blog or not, Alexa is one way to make sure you are counted.
My challenge to everyone is:
1. Install the Alexa toolbar
2. Post your site URL & Alexa rank (global) as a comment
3. Conduct business as normal for the next 7 days
4. Come back and report your old & new rank in 1 week after having the toolbar installed
A Word of Caution
Once you start tracking your Alexa ranking, it can easily become an obsession. Avoid the urge to check it every hour. When your numbers are high the statistics are less accurate and 2-3 page views can cause the number to jump by the millions.
Also, there are acceptable ways to boost your Alexa ranking. Be sure to employ those tactics, but avoid the nefarious black hat SEO techniques (traffic exchange, automatic browsing, etc) as these will hurt your sites reputation in the long run.
MomCents is a 30-something Christian, wife, and mother of a 2-year old son who is jumping back into the wonderful world of blogging with her attempt to create a Personal Finance & Parenting Blog.
If you’re looking for expert advice, she advises you to stay away! But, if you want to follow the up, downs, twists, and turns of a real person who will make mistakes along the way…stop on by. Hopefully you’ll find a laugh, encouragement, or both!
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