Alexa.com Is Kinda Cool
One of my favorite little web toys is Alexa.com (random fact, they're a subsidiary of Amazon.com). For the uninitiated, Alexa offers a toolbar (which I don't actually use myself but lots of people must) that you can attach to your browser and then it tracks the sites you visit and creates nice little traffic reports like you see below.
For a webmaster, this is really cool because it gives you an idea where your site ranks against other sites. In addition to daily and weekly info, Alexa gives you a rank over a three month period as well, so you can see if your site is getting more or less popular worldwide (KrisSteele.net is slowing moving up). It's not 100% accurate because the base it pulls from are only users with the Alexa toolbar installed, but in my experience the traffic rankings seem to be fairly accurate. For instance, if I post an article that gets picked on a site like Fark.com, I can see my traffic rank go up along with it. If I have a week where I don't write (or don't write anything good), I can see my traffic rank go down.
My biggest complaint is the sporadic updates of the Alexa information. It's not real-time... sometimes you get daily updated, other times it is several days before any ranking information changes. It seems like if you have a higher ranked site, this information is updated more regularly, but that might just be my perception and not reality (but isn't perception reality?).
Traffic here is fairly low right now, I'd love to get this site into the top 500,000 and I certainly think that's feasible, though probably not in the immediate future. I've ran sites that rank in that range before, but it's hard to keep them there. You need to keep drawing people in, which means quality updates frequently. That's not the easiest thing to do, but if you crave the sweet attention of thousands of anonymous travelers, it is the price you must pay.
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