|This post is a mini-challenge hosted as part of the Biannual Blogathon Bash, June 2012. Anyone is welcome to join in, but if you want a chance to win prizes for participating, you'll need to register over at the main Blogathon Bash site and complete the challenge during the Blogathon.|
Alexa Traffic Rank is supposed to be indicative of the amount of traffic your site receives - but because Alexa can only measure the traffic they see, you'll probably start out with a number in the millions which might not reflect your true ranking. As potential advertisers and PR contacts may be browsing your site before they ever contact you to ask about your stats, you'd probably prefer that these numbers not be too far out.
The steps in this challenge are intended to help you improve your Alexa rank and ensure that your actual traffic is reflected in your rank. If you'd like to learn more about how Alexa works before we start, I wrote a short introduction to Alexa and PageRank that you may like to read.
Here are the steps to complete the challenge:
- Install the Alexa toolbar
- Claim your site
- Add an Alexa widget to your site
- Encourage your readers to use the Alexa bar
Having the toolbar installed will mean that Alexa is tracking your visits. Each day that you write a post, if you then go to your blog to check the display, this will count as a visit.
You can download an Alexa toolbar directly from the Alexa site at http://www.alexa.com/toolbar. There are versions available for Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
Please be aware: because the Alexa toolbar records your web activity, some antivirus/spyware programs will flag it up as a potential risk. Personally, since Alexa is owned by Amazon, I don't worry too much about this and I'll happily do blogging and general web browsing with the toolbar installed. However, I do use a different browser for my internet banking.
2. Claim your site
If you don't have an account on Alexa, you'll need to sign up before completing this step. Once you're logged in to Alexa, go to http://www.alexa.com/siteowners/claim and enter your URL. You'll then be passed through to the verification stage. Choose the 'Free' option which allows you to claim and edit your site.
You can verify your site by uploading a file to your webserver or by adding a code to the HTML of your home page. Choose whichever seems easier to you. If you're on Blogger, you'll need to do the HTML option, and add the code by editing the HTML of your template.
Note that Alexa only understands websites at the domain level. If you don't own your own domain name, you won't be able to complete this stage - e.g. if your blog address is myblog.blogspot.com, Alexa only treats this as a part of blogspot.com
Once you've claimed your site, you can update basic information like your site description. (Just ignore the several places where you'll be prompted to upgrade to the paid service.)
3. Add an Alexa widget
By adding an Alexa widget to your sidebar or page footer, you can give Alexa more information about pageloads on your blog.
Go to http://www.alexa.com/siteowners/widgets, and enter your URL in the relevant box to generate the widget code. You can then add the resulting badge to your blog, just as you would add any other HTML snippet (it's basically a picture).
4. Encourage your readers to use the Alexa bar
Getting your regular readers to install the Alexa toolbar is one of the best ways you can improve your traffic rank. If all bloggers used the toolbar when doing all our regular visits, then Alexa would have a great snapshot of the blogging community, which would help us all in the long run.
For now, why not suggest that your readers complete this challenge with you?
Verify Your Participation
Add a comment to this post with your starting Alexa rank (the Alexa toolbar, which you installed in step 1, will show your rank when you visit your site). At the end of the Blogathon, come back and compare numbers. You won't see much of a change over just three days, but over the next few weeks you should see your rank start to improve day by day.
Don't forget you can reach me on Twitter or Facebook, as well as by email, if you're having any problems.