This is an idea for a topic for an article I have had in my mind for quite a while (over a month in fact) and have just got around to writing it! The initial idea came from a blog post by Kidgas, in which he explained about his aim to get into the top 500,000 websites as listed by the company Alexa.
For those of you who are unaware of Alexa, they are a company which measure the usage of webpages to see what people are looking at and provide metrics for each webpage. Unlike other such services, such as Google Analytics, with Alexa it is possible to get an overview of any webpage worldwide, without the need to be an admin, albeit it in much less detail. As such it is very popular tool to be used when people compare webpages - for example it is possible to find out that visits to Facebook.com exceed visits to Yahoo.com and that Facebook.com is the second most popular webpage worldwide. One key thing is the Alexa ranking - put simply the lower the ranking the more traffic a website receives with Google being at position 1.
Many people with websites, Kidgas included, use this the Alexa ranking as a useful target to see how their webpage compares with other webpages. This can be a good thing, and in fact it is something I have done myself.
The reason I question the use of Alexa ranking when trying to measure achievements in making money online is it gives very little information and so it is important it is used wisely as a target setting tool. Some people check daily and becomes a sort of obsession - this can result in time being wasted. Many people become disheartened when they fail to rise quickly - it can take time to rise in the Alexa rankings!
Perhaps the biggest problem with Alexa rankings though for small sites is the statistical problems. Since it only samples a percentage of web traffic and then extrapolates there are many chances for errors to occur. For websites with large traffic sampling errors are mitigated by the massive number of samples taken, however with smaller webpages such as mine sampling errors can be major. Over the last month Alexa shows the traffic to A Little Extra Money UK as being up 300%, yet using the true figures from Google Analytics the growth has only been about 50%. As such there is a discrepancy of 250% which is a massive amount (a swing of 250% the other way would have shown my traffic falling by 200% month on month!).
Along with inaccuracies, another problem with Alexa is it doesn't give information which is as broken down as that created by Google Analytics, for example. With Google Analytics it is possible to see daily/weekly/monthly/yearly traffic sources, bounce rates etc and it is even possible to find out where abouts on the website earnings occur.
These are some of the reasons why I think it can be foolish to closely examine Alexa rankings and getting too hung up on them. Still, if used, as I do and Kidgas does, to set longer term aims Alexa rankings can be a useful motivational tool for an online income seeker!
Do any of you use Alexa rankings to assist you in making money online? How? As always if you have comments use the box below!