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The Importance of Traffic Metrics, Not

October 16th, 2007 by harknell

I’m sure many of you are aware of the website Alexa.org. It was created as an attempt to make a way of tracking traffic to websites independently of the sites, so that advertisers or webmasters had an idea of the amount of visitors they were getting to their sites in an unbiased fashion. In many ways the idea was good, but the implementation isn’t perfect. Essentially what Alexa tracks mostly is how popular your site is with Windows Internet Explorer users who would bother to install an Alexa plugin.

The reason I mention the above is that it is very easy for a new or even established web site owner to become upset and disheartened when they compare what they think other people’s traffic numbers are to their own. Don’t fall prey to this trap. While Microsoft.com gets a billion visitors a day, they are mostly there to figure out why their computer isn’t working :) . Not all traffic is equal. And not all traffic you see listed is real. You ever wonder how many bots or automated spam networks are hitting the big sites? Probably a huge part of their traffic numbers.

The most important metric of your success is how you feel about doing your site. If you love doing it, keep going. If you have a small but dedicated crowd of visitors, that’s a success that a large site with visitors that are fickle and leave quickly doesn’t have. Think back to just a few years ago and the sites that were huge, are they still popular? Apple computers are the example to shoot for with your mindset–way smaller than Microsoft, but with a strong audience that would do anything to keep them going. Focus on your audience and you’ll get there eventually, and probably stay there.

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