Revisiting Website Grader

Back in June of 2008 I introduced a site on this blog called Website Grader. Basically what the site will do is review your site, which can be a blog, give you a ranking of some sort, then tell you some things about it that you probably didn’t know to give you the opportunity to improve, if you’re so inclined.

When I did this back then, my rank came out at 84; as you can see, it’s ranked much higher now, and that’s out of 100 so I’m not complaining one bit. It adds that I’m ranked #32,194 out of 3,127,474 websites it’s reviewed; I’ll take that, as it puts me around the top 1%.

The weird part is that it ranks this site as a blog differently, since it is a blog. My ranking there is only 74, which is weird. That must be a new statistic, since I didn’t catalog anything like that in the past. It says I have 1,870 Google indexed pages, which is weird since I only have a bit more than 900 posts, and not tons of pages either. It’s telling me I’m missing out on some SEO because I haven’t put anything in my ALT tags, which is probably true. It says I have 14,206 inbound links, which is pretty neat because back then I only had 837.

And it shows me as having a MOZ rank of 5. I had no idea what that was, so I clicked on the link it provided and it took me to a page called seamoz, where I found a page of all their ranking factors that gives you a rank of something out of 10, like Google page rank. It seems that have all sorts of tools you can play with as well; if you’re interested, take a look around.

It tells you a lot of other stuff as well, but I’m not getting into all of that. I will say that Website Grader will tell you some things that you might want to address if you want your blog being seen in a better light. Or not, since it told me I have too many images on this site, and I’m keeping them! lol For kicks and giggles, go ahead and pop your website’s link in and see what it has to say. And trust me, it has some funny things to say to you while you’re waiting for your results.


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Top 50 Blogger List Aspirations

Yesterday I came across an interesting blog post titled 50 Most Influential People In Blogging 2010. This is a list, or at least the type of list, that I’m shooting for to get more recognition for what I do on this blog.

Whenever I come across lists like this, I tend to do a few things. The first thing I do is see who’s on the list that I know and have talked to in some fashion. There’s a few people on this list like that, so at least I know a few prominent people. Then I look to see other names I recognize, and that number here is just slightly higher than the first one.

The next thing I do is take a look at those people who are on the list that I’ve never heard of, most specifically to see what their rankings are compared to mine. After all, one wants to see what the competition has over you (I use “competition” here only as a comparison word, because I think the belief that we as bloggers actually compete against each other is ridiculous). And based on my perceptions, I believe I’ve come up with some differences.

The first difference is that about 70% of the people whose blogs I visited have a pop-up as soon as you get to the page. Most of them seem to be promoting either a product or newsletter subscription. Y’all know my belief on that one; if I have to add an annoying pop-up to my blog then I’m just not doing it. As a matter of fact, I tend to not visit all that many blogs more than a couple of times if they do have pop-ups. I don’t like toolbars either, but at least those things aren’t blocking the content before you get to check it out. Anyway, who do I know, or at least have exchanged a word or two with at some point on the list: See below:

Darren Rowse

David Risley

Erica Douglass

Denise Wakeman

Kristi Hines (buddy #1)

Zac Johnson

Lynn Terry

Hesham Zebida (buddy #2)

Congrats to the buddies of mine who made the list.

The second difference is cross promotion. Many of the folks who are considered big time bloggers all know each other in some capacity. So, they’re good at promoting each other, something that the rest of us aren’t always all that good at. Obviously I’m pretty good at linking outside of my blog to other people, and even better at internal linking, but not everyone does this. Thing is, if we do it to the big time bloggers, it’s already too late because they’ve pretty much stopped reading all their comments; okay, most of them. So, it’s left up to the rest of us to, when it’s legitimate, link to something someone else says that can help them build up their influence.

The third difference is that most of them talk about making money, and that seems to be a major driving force when it comes to people visiting one’s blog. Not everyone, of course, but the overwhelming majority of folks are doing it. Actually, I keep wondering if it’s all that much different than mine. I certainly talk about it often enough, and I test things and tell what my experience is. However, I don’t make money blogging right now, so I talk about other things that have to do with blogging and other interests of mine, and thus those only interested in making money aren’t coming by anymore. That’s okay because I love the rest of you that do stop by on a regular basis. I’d just like there to be more of you out there; I really want to make some of these top 50 lists! lol

I discounted rankings as a difference because of three reasons. One, I actually rank higher than 3 or 4 blogs on the list per Alexa. Two, since I don’t have Google PR on this blog (taken from me), I can’t use that as a comparison at all. Three, the writer didn’t mention rankings as a criteria, and thus it would be presumptuous to think he based everything off that.

So let’s see… what did I learn that’s going to help me spread my influence enough so that I can make one of these lists? I have absolutely no idea. I still can’t talk about only making money by blogging, so that’s not going to get there. If anyone thinks that most of my posts aren’t personally engaging, whether you care for the topic or not, let me know. Actually, personality is a major trait for most of the blogs I saw, though a couple only give information without any extras. It’s certainly not frequency because I believe, writing by myself, I write as frequently, or moreso, as anyone else.

Then what it has to be is the cross promotion part. In other words, I, and by extension the rest of you, have to try to get people to talk more about you on their blogs. We all have to get better at linking to other people, and using what someone else has written as inspiration for us to have something new to write about from time to time, while giving those people a link and a mention when you can. In case you’re wondering, I didn’t give any name recognition to the writer of this blog because all I could find was Michael. He’s violating one of those rules I picked up from Darren Rowse about having an About page and/or Contact page on your site so people know who you are and can contact you. It seems he’s marketing a book or training course he’s created, yet you can’t learn his last name until you buy it; that’s an odd way of branding if you ask me.

Do you have aspirations to be a top 50 blogger on someone’s list? I do! Let’s help each other get there. Or, if you don’t want to get there, then help me! 🙂

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Blog Ranking Systems; Do They Mean Anything?

Suffice it to say, I’ve been writing a lot lately about influence, especially influence online. In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that there are ways of tracking how one’s blog is working online. Now that I think about it, I’m not so sure that most of these are all that effective.

I’m not sure if y’all remember my post talking about Technorati’s new ranking system some time ago. Before they made the change, you knew that if you could get your blog into the top 100,000 that you were doing pretty well. Then they changed it and, at least for me, it became impossible to know what was good. However, at the time they made the change, this blog was ranked at 491, and since the high was 993, I figured I was at least in the top half. It’s been awhile since I took a look at Technorati, and where am I now? I’m at 128; what the hey?

I don’t know how Technorati works, but I can’t believe this blog has fallen in influence that far. A look at my Analytics stats says my traffic has drastically increased over the last six months, and my ranking fell? My Alexa rank has improved and my ranking fell? Now, comments have stayed the same, but do comments actually drive Technorati that much?

It’s reminded me of other blog ranking systems that at one time or another I’ve belonged to, including Sire’s Cool Blog Links, where out of not so many sites I’m ranked down in 6th place. What’s even weirder is that his blog is ranked 10th on that site, and his Alexa ranking is 30,000 points better than mine. Strange, right?

There have been other blog ranking sites that I’ve joined and unjoined over the years, mainly because the rankings seemed, well, arbitrary. On one I was in the top 50 out of 250 while in another I was sitting around 315 out of 400, and one other I was around 275 out of 500. What did any of them mean? I didn’t have a clue.

There’s also always the question as to whether the measure of a blog is the amount of comments it gets. I even debated another blogger through my blog when he stated he believed that people’s content stank if they weren’t getting a lot of comments. I love comments, as I feel it means I’ve connected with someone on a particular post, but Seth Godin gets people quoting him all the time and he doesn’t even allow comments; I’m thinking that’s proof that comments aren’t a measure of influence at all.

I believe blog ranking systems are fairly arbitrary in what they mean to bloggers in general. If there was one standard that all the systems agreed with, then it might mean something. I get locked into Alexa because it’s not a blog ranking, but a website ranking, and at least it gives you a real tool of comparison to use. Don’t get caught up in blog ranking systems as a true measure; use them for entertainment purposes only, and you won’t get caught up trying to rank for things you can’t control.

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Is Alexa Relevant Again?

Earlier this evening, while doing some research, I discovered that my primary business is listed at number one on Alexa for business training site against racism. I was feeling pretty good until one of my friends wrote and burst the bubble, saying I’m the only person she ever hears talking about Alexa anymore.

After kind of a snarky response on my part, I decided it was time to investigate Alexa again. Sure, in the world of SEO, Alexa ratings took a major hit years ago, and has been pretty much maligned ever since because they placed so much emphasis on people downloading the Alexa toolbar, which many people really didn’t want to do. Even Firefox came up with a plugin that supposedly could help your sites with it, but I know I wasn’t interested. I’ve talked about Alexa before, once when I was pretty much trashing Compete Rank, but at other times saying that even if people beat up on Alexa, it’s better to have some kind of ranking than nothing at all, and of course the better the ranking, especially without the toolbar, the better your site is performing.

First, a quick “what is Alexa” moment. Alexa is a system that ranks traffic, plain and simple. Traffic equates mainly to visits from others to your site, but it’s really about hits to anything that your site offers elsewhere. This means that if someone is searching for something and your site comes up, it might be counted as a hit, even if they didn’t make it to your page. Also, search engine bots are considered hits, even though a person didn’t actually come to your site. However, since bots only keep going to sites that have new content, it means if your site is ranked low on Alexa that you probably haven’t done anything new to get more traffic coming.

Anyway, it seems that even Alexa realized finally that waiting for people to download their toolbar to try to get accurate stats wasn’t getting it done, and they were falling way out of favor with people who they hoped they could do other business with at some point. So, they changed up how they were going to come up with their ratings by adding multiple other sources for tracking the traffic of all websites. They didn’t tell us who they’re tracking, but it seems that, for the most part, they’ve regained at least a little bit more respect than they had in the past. What resulted was interesting, in that many people with the Alexa toolbar suddenly noticed their rankings dropped, and along with those people were many people who were using the Entrecard program, which supposedly gave false ratings of traffic that Alexa somehow learned how to filter out. Some folks jumped nicely, while others dropped even further.

Two other things also happened. One, Alexa started ranking way more websites than they had been ranking before, so many websites whose sites used to show nothing were suddenly showing up with 8-digit rankings, which was unheard of in the past. Two, many overseas sites suddenly dropped dramatically because now they had to compete with the rest of the world on a more equal footing, and unfortunately there are still more sites in the United States than anywhere else in the world.

I decided to take a quick look at this site on Alexa, and I have to say that the traffic numbers pretty closely mirror what Google Analytics and my own ISP stats are telling me. I’m not sure how it’s done, but I’m believing it’s close to how Cool Blog Links and Winning The Web and other sites like them are tracking numbers of websites, only on a much larger scale.

Finally, I went looking for any new posts or articles on Alexa, to see if anyone was saying that Alexa wasn’t relevant anymore. Seems the last time anyone said something like what was last July, at least from what I could find, and anyone else who’s written on the topic has gone in a totally different direction than the constant derision Alexa has been getting for awhile.

Still, let’s have a little bit of common sense to all of this. As with all the other rating services, don’t go crazy in trying to make more out of the numbers than what they are. Right now this blog is sitting at 127,242, and that’s a fairly nice number. Unless you’re sitting in the top 50,000, it really means little, except you’re probably doing pretty well in optimizing your site. For me, I’m hoping that this new experiment with the robots.txt file works wonders over the next month or so; when does Google do their next little number anyway? No matter; it’s all fun and games overall, except for one thing,… I’m number one! 😀

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