I was working with one of my clients recently who runs an active and growing forum. We were discussing why Alexa code might be important for website owners who would like to monetize their website(s).
What is Alexa?
Alexa is one of the few tools that is available as an external measure of a site’s traffic. The traffic statistics are collected, analysed, and presented on the main website for each website. The statistics are broken down in three ways: ranking, reach, and pages per view. Rankings are subdivided into regional and overall rankings. Reach defines a percentage of users who visit that website, and Pages Per View is quite obvious: a metric that shows how many pages (or how long?) a visitor stays on your site.
You can see the code about this blog on the right sidebar. When you click on the graphic, you’ll be taken to the Alexa page where you can see the metrics rated over the last 24 hours (usually none), the past week, and the past 3 months. You can only have 24 hours ratings if your blog is averaging 100K or less in the rank.
Actually, Alexa didn’t use to be that important, but with few metrics available to measure site ‘value’, Alexa has found something of a rebirth in interest, esp. among bloggers. Other metrics generally include Google’s PageRank, and Feedburner Subscriptions. But neither of these actually track traffic to your website. Here is Alexa’s own description:
The traffic rank is based on three months of aggregated historical traffic data from millions of Alexa Toolbar users and is a combined measure of page views and users (reach). As a first step, Alexa computes the reach and number of page views for all sites on the Web on a daily basis.
The main Alexa traffic rank is based on the geometric mean of these two quantities averaged over time (so that the rank of a site reflects both the number of users who visit that site as well as the number of pages on the site viewed by those users)
Thanks, DoshDosh, for the quotation. He has some tips (some useful, some not) on how to improve your Alexa ranking. So, as a measure of traffic, this website can be very helpful in estimating a website’s audience.
Why install Alexa’s code?
In fact, he was a little unsure of the value of having Alexa traffic code on your websites, so here’s what I wrote to him. I thought that my other readers who don’t have an Alexa installed might be interested to read about it:
I noted that you removed the Alexa code again. I’d strongly advise that you replace the code. Why? Because for several important ad-related systems that you may want to use all rely (at least partly) on the value that your Alexa rank has:
Text Link Ads use this metric, and
LinkWorth (you’re now using them) may use this information to value the website, too.
Payperpost, etc.. all use Alexa rankings either directly or indirectly.
In fact, although the rankings aren’t particularly accurate, many possible link purchasers will refer to the Alexa rankings as an external way to rate the amount and quality of your traffic (as they can’t access your Analytics information).
I just found the Alexa rankings sited in the stats for each blog/website IN Linkworth. I’ve attached an image for you to look at see what I mean. Even if you don’t wish to use the rankings to make money now, you may find that having a poor ranking (ie below 100K) may hinder you later on.
In fact, I noted that your Alexa ranking had increased to over 444K in just the few days that I installed it. It would continue to increase as people visit the website, load the pages and so on.
Installation: It’s a SNAP
Many people install Alexa’s toolbar on their system as a means to record their hits, but in fact, for most bloggers, adding the following code to their blog will allow Alexa to accurately track all the traffic to your blog.
The box is a little ugly and inappropriate for some sites, but you can find a simple text link at the website. For all the codes, just visit Alexa. Then you’ll find that installing the code is relatively straightforward.
Just enter the URL of your website in the Widget. Then copy and paste the code into a spot in your sidebar. I’d suggest putting it at the bottom of your sidebar, so it’s less visible.
What are your experiences using Alexa? Do you think that Alexa can be successfully gamed? I’m not sure, but since installing the code, and trying to attract visitors, my Alexa ranking shot up from over 2,500,000 to approximately 150,000. I’d like to get the ranking under 100K again. So here’s hoping.