Lie Detector For Bloggers or Another Guesstimate: urlmetrix.com

Looney Tunes opening title from mid-1950s.

Courtesy Looney Tunes Wiki

Chicago Sun-Times published this deansguide article September 23, 2008

The challenge: finding a traffic measurement tool that will allow a person to accurately analyze a blogger’s traffic or company website’s traffic.

The reason: Bloggers and companies make outlandish, blatant, and false claims of traffic (page views and uniques) that just do not pass the smell test. When a person is attempting to control their budgetary expenses when attending networking events, one of the best methods is to perform due diligence on a blogger, SEO expert, or someone claiming to have lots of traffic.

Urlmetrix.com is a fun and handy tool, powered by Google App engine, that provides measurement for many statistics for your blog. By simply placing your url into the search box, urlmetrix.com retreives 15 site statistics that provide a blogger with information vital to their efforts.

Warning

Many of the sites in this measurement tool utilize statistics derived from toolbar downloads, extrapilated projections, and statistical sampling. No tool to my knowledge gives precise statistical information on blogs. If anyone has a set of better tools please let us know. One of the most difficult problems is verifying a sites traffic when they make claims of page views and uniques that seem far from realistic.

urlmetrix.com’s Returned Results (for my outside blog) deansguide:

1. Title: deansguide

2. Alexa Rank: 346,275

3. Compete Rank: 38

4. Quantcast Rank: 266,768

5. Technorati Rank: 433,097 Authority 16/ Google 80

6. Google Indexed: 991

7. Yahoo Indexed: 1,720

8. Google Back Links: 132

9. Yahoo Back Links: 4,100

10. delicious book marks: 2

11. Wikipedia External Links: 1

12. DMOZ Links: 0

13. Google Blog Search Links: 80

14. Technorati Blog Reactions: 72

Analysis

urlmetrix is a quick tool that gives a blogger measurement, pinpoints areas that need work, helps bloggers discover their strengths and weaknesses, and it allows bloggers to compile this information in seconds without having to download any one toolbar for access.

Press Releases For Viral Marketing Power And Traffic: Realtors Small Business Marketing Tip #8

One of the most effective marketing professionals happens to be a nationally recognized hyper local blogger by the name of John Harper aka theharperteam.com. One of John’s strategies is to utilize Press Releases to maximize the reach and viral power of his web-blog site. John utilizes a site called I-newswire.com. The following tip provides benefits to any small business, entrepreneur, organization, non profit, charity, public relations officer, or giant corporation.

What is I-Newswire.com?

I-Newswire is press release aggregator. Simply put they allow you to write a press release on almost any subject, submit your release to their network, and then push your message out to a vast network of media websites around the globe

Note: A good press release IS NOT a sales pitch for you, a listing of a property, or something that sounds like a self serving message. Like the blogoshpere, the tone of a press release needs to be valuable, informative, relevant

What Are The Benefits?

1. I-Newswire.com: press releases are seen on hundreds of news websites such as PressRadar.com.

According to I-Newswire.com:

“We are not able to track the exact reach because most of the outlets obtain our releases automatically using our XML feed at http://www.i-newswire.com/xml.php. In addition, your press release is hosted as a webpage on our site, and will be indexed by search engines such as Google and Yahoo, giving you additional exposure.

2. Journalist and Editors: these are the people who visit I-Newswire on a daily basis looking for newsworthy information.

3. Exposure: I-newswire.com has an Alexa.com ranking of 72,434 worldwide. Similarly ranked sites have in excess of 3,000 visitors per day and 20,000 pages views per week–that’s power

4. Press Release Writers: a best of breed listing of press release writers are available if you are not confident in your ability to produce your own. To acces this go to data bank pr-firms on the site

Strategy

This strategy is all about bringing readers to your website or blog. One of the best methods to bring fresh new readership is to make news yourself, report breaking news, or report breaking news (news that happened within a day or two) with your analysis and solution

Example Scenario

You are a realtor specializing in foreclosures. Your area is full of foreclosures and a Nationally syndicated news agencies writes a story on the state of foreclosures and investors waiting in the wings.

1. Take this article and make an aggressive headline announcement. Ex- “Foreclosure Market Saving Realtor Jobs.”

2. Write a short succinct few sentences about the core message of the media article

3. Use your succinct few sentences on the media article as the lead-in to how Realtor jobs are being saved by the added business that investors represent in your market

4. Offer a free pdf or podcast that provides a market report for your city or region’s foreclosure market and describe your free giveaway as a tool for investors or Realtors from other regions

5. Point readers to your website or blog in order to receive their free pdf or podcast “bonus”

Analysis

Small business owners are discovering that they can write multiple press releases about current events that relate to their niche or speciality. They then can leverage their knowledge, free information, or bonus as a method to give readers added value while bringing awareness to their website-blog.

Understand Your Readership Tool #1: Alexa.com A Free Method To Understanding Your Marketing Power

The key to online marketing through blogging is understanding how your efforts are working to bring in new leads, sales, and effective viral awareness. One of the best tools of measurement is Alexa.com and it is free!

Alexa.com

Computes traffic rankings by analyzing the Web usage of millions of Alexa Toolbar users and data obtained from other, diverse traffic data sources. Information is sorted, sifted, anonymized, counted, and computed, in order to come up with an accurate computation of your blog or website’s traffic statistics.

Traffic Stats

1. Traffic Rank: based on 3 months of aggregated “historical” statistics it is a combined measure of page views and users (reach)

2. Reach: Reach measures the number of users. It is typically expressed as the percentage of all Internet users who visit a given site

3. Page Views: measure the number of pages viewed by your visitors. Multiple page views of the same page made by the same user on the same day are counted only once. Hits mean nothing and should not be considered accurate or even worthy of discussion

Alexa Tools

Alexa Toolbar: This tool when loaded on Firefox provides meters that measure Reach, Traffic Rank, Traffic Trend, and Related Links

Search Engine: This tool searches any input and returns numbers for any given blog or website

Traffic Graph: The most useful tool. This graphs all the stats in increments from 7days, 1month, 3months, max. It allows you to compare your site to 4 other sites traffic and then graphs it. In addition you can download a widget to your site showing your Alexa numbers.

Global Information: here if your site has accumulated enough traffic and data, Alexa will return your numbers globally and how you rank within the US.

deansguide.wordpress.com Alexa rankings as of 6/24/2008: 109,416 (up from 105k last week) in the US and 358,548 (up from 350,233 last week) overall. I receive 75.8% of my traffic from the US and the rest outside. For

Is Your SEO “Expert” Really An SEO Expert: 3 Keys To Verify Their Substance Factor

I am no SEO expert, no marketing expert, and no blogging expert but I do have expertise in all of these categories. In my travels around the SF Bay Area I attend upwards of 10 networking meetings or keynote events per month.

The hot topic is Web 2.0 SEO aka How to drive traffic to your site.

Unfortunately time and time again when I do my due diligence on the speaker’s background, their substance factor, and how their blog or websites rank I have recently been surprised by the results. Many speakers are knowingly misrepresenting themselves in regard to their credentials. Often times these speakers are leveraging their business accomplishments in other categories, unrelated to SEO or Web 2.0, as a means to securing these speaking “gigs.”

Cost

Simply put the average networking event keynote speech here in the Bay Area runs anywhere from $30-$65 per event. That adds up quickly and is of great concern when I am choosing events to attend

3 Key Factors To Check

When an “expert” claims they are going to speak about methods to increase your site’s traffic, Google rankings, and add links to your site you MUST perform some background checking if you want to understand if the speaker can deliver on his/her claims

#1 Alexa.com: Alexa.com (free service) remains one of the easiest, most telling sites in measuring traffic (page views and unique visitors) to a site either website or blog. Go to Alexa and input the url of your “expert’s site” for instant rankings. Alexa will return Global traffic, US rankings, and a mix of page view and unique visitor numbers.

Note: If an expert claims to be able to make your traffic “explode” then they better have an Alexa ranking of UNDER 1,000,000 at the very least.

Note 2: Alexa.com like any other measurement tool can not capture all web traffic. It is best to combine other traffic measurement tools with Alexa for a solid idea of a site’s traffic. Try Quantcast too

In my last two due diligence investigations on SEO “expert” speakers the first one came back with an Alexa ranking of over 19million which equates to about 10-20 visitors per day to their site. The second guy had a ranking in the 6million range which might provide 30 visitors per day

#2 Technorati: Links are considered the measurement of a site’s Google authority and a big part of the SEO formula. If you go to technorati.com (free tool) you can input the url and check on the number of hyper links which are coming into your “experts” site. If your expert has fewer than 10 links and they are old–he probably isn’t writing a worthwhile blog or he is not writing with consistency

#3 Evaluate their site: Do they write a blog? How often do they write per week? What is the date of the last blog post? Do they have a blogroll? Do they have widgets like mybloglog directory on their sidebar? Does the platform look dated? Do you like the way their sites looks?

Hits Myth

If your “expert” begins to speak about “hits” you might just want to bail. The term hits, although that is the only traffic measurement widget offered on wordpress blogs, is out dated and misleading. Hits can refer to any visitor who arrives at your site, clicks on any pictures, articles, or other documents. Each item is tallied as a hit.

You want to understand how many page views your expert’s blog-website receives; how many UNIQUE visitors, and their over all traffic ranking

Remember

If the “expert’s” site does not measure up in these 3 critical ways then how can the expert teach others how to increase their traffic and SEO power?

Guy Kawasaki’s Hard Line: What Is Your Unfair Advantage?

One of the many nuggets of invaluable wisdom offered at last night’s Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs event was provided via a story about irrepresible powerhouse Guy Kawasaki. The story was told by Entrepreneur, Google and Co-Founder of Jaiku charismatic Jyri Engestrom.

As Jyri first explained he was invited to a Guy Kawasaki presentation to a group of entrepreneurs from Finland. Jyri is of Finnish heritage and acted as one of the liaisons. During one of Kawasaki’s talking points, Guy made the following statement:

“What is your unfair advantage?”

First Impressions

Jyri’s first impression of this statement was that it sounded very arrogant and confrontational until he had a moment to process. Then the statement made perfect sense and was one of the most important tips a entrepreneur could adopt.

Your Unfair Advantage

Your unfair advantage is the one powerful piece that makes your business unique, powerful, successful, and the envy of your competitors. Guy Kawasaki’s unfair advantage is the fact that he can instantly reach a huge audience due to his popularity online. When Guy says something thousands of people listen and often follow his lead

I Don’t Have an Unfair Advantage

According to Jyri, Kawasaki’s posit is simple. In the beginning, very few entrepreneurs or new businesses have an unfair advantage. They don’t have name recognition, fame, monster online audiences, or technology that is unique and ahead of the competition.

Instead most entrepreneurs and businesses begin with no unfair advantage according to Guy

The Solution

If your business does not have a unfair advantage or you the entrepreneur do not have an unfair advantage then you might consider the following:

1. Identify the unfair advantage that would make the greatest impact on your business

2. Hire the human capital, technology, or other entity that will provide you with your unfair advantage

Jyri’s Story was a simple case of recognizing a new industry trend, microblogging aka blogging platform for mobile devices (phones etc.) and chance. At a conference, Jyri met a developer he described as the #1 microblogging developer in the world. Jyri immediately accessed the opportunity and hired this man and the rest is Jaiku history.

May 27, 1937 A Day In San Francisco History: The Golden Gate Bridge Is Open

The south (San Francisco) tower and the south tower pier, with the north (Marin) tower in the background; circa February 15, 1935

Courtesy of http://www.co.marin.ca.us

One of the most recognizable, visited, and beautiful landmarks the world over, the Golden Gate Bridge was officially open for business this day May 27, 1937. Although the Bridge is not Golden in color, the official color is International Orange, it is golden in the hearts and minds of native San Franciscans. It is both a landmark of fame and infamy.

The Facts

1. Longest Span: 4,200 ft
2. Total Length: 8,981 ft
3. Width: 90 ft
4. Height: 746 ft
5. Annual Average Daily Traffic: 100,000 vehicles
6. Toll $5.00
7 Engineer of Record and Fame: Joseph Strauss

For more information on the Golden Gate Bridge go to goldengatebridge.org.

Realtor’s Sales Nightmare #1: Top 10 Cities With The Worst Traffic

FoxBusiness.com published my article April 17, 2008

Commute? What commute? A recent list of the “Top 10 Cities With The Worst Traffic” conditions were presented over at Tom’s therealestatebloggers.com with some surprising results:

1. Washington D.C.
2. Atlanta
3. Los Angeles
4. San Francisco
5. Houston
6. New York
7. Riverside-San Bernardino, CA
8. Chicago
9. Dallas
10. Boston

My vote for the worst traffic, and I have driven LA morning rush hour dodging gunfire and limos, is found on the Japanese Subway system. Such an ironic twist on a formal, custom filled culture.

Blogging Realtor’s Traffic Tip #1: Stumble Upon Tutorial To Monster Readership

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This man’s name is Jason and if you adhere to his instructions you can bring instant readership and internet fame to you and your business. Jason is one of the writers of Gorilla Sushi a mashup of “humor, politics, technology, and culture”; a valuable source of business information when the mood strikes, Jason’s “Getting Stumble Upon Traffic” is by far the richest most information packed how to guide on Stumble Upon tactics available–as always it’s free. This is a overview so please reference Jason’s article for the indepth guide for your efforts.

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The following caveat is what drew my initial attention to Jason’s work:

“While I am not an expert on the subject, I have been using StumbleUpon to market myself for over a year and half, having made my fair share of mistakes and have had a few strong successes. Most recently I received over 76,000 hits on one post over the course of a week, including over 21,000 unique visitors in one day.”

What is StumbleUpon? SU is like a moving text and video dictionary of blog and web pages you can click through at your desired pace. When you land upon a page you particularly like or dislike you may vote a “thumbs up or thumbs down” for that page. You can also set your preferences so that the pages delivered with each click match what you are interested in viewing.

In addition StumbleUpon is a community of people. Within this community you have the ability to create your own page telling the world about you and your preferences–a social networking place in the vein of a less detailed Facebook or Linkedin. SU also rates their “Top Stumblers” which in turn helps develop you and your blog within the community.

Jason’s list of “tips and tricks” are broken down into three categories:

1. Become a StumbleUpon Member: SU has nearly 4.5 million members. SU matches high quality site pages, as you click the SU icon, to your preferences as you set them on the site.

Increase Your Standing In the Community:

*Stumble often, daily if possible
*Add a Review in addition to “thumbs up” when appropriate
*Discover new, quality sites
*StumbleUpon Photo Blog It
*Stumble Quality content-finding new quality sites and giving them “thumbs up” can add to your SU community reputation

2. Write Content That Is Going To Get Stumbled: As Jason advises ” There’s no sense in devoting every word that you write to the cause of Stumble fame but keeping SU’s potential in mind when composing a post can increase the likelyhood of getting multiple Stumbles.”

Types of Posts That Do Not Fare Well:

*Link dumps
*Personal posts require interest in the writer something the reader will not have developed
*Series Writing if it is not a one off or self contained then it will not work in this format
*News if it is not relevant in a month then it will not have legs

Types of Posts That Do Fare Well:

*How to Guides or Instructional type posts
*Detailed Posts with links, lists, pictures, something that appears to have taken time to build
*Poignant Posts that make a powerful point in a succinct, short manner
*Visually Interesting posts that bring pictures or artwork to life

3. Submitting Your Content: Writing a quality post is the best formula for Stumble success but here are a few tips Jason adds to help move the process forward.

*Use a Stumble Button on every post
*Place a Stumble Button in your sidebar to support the community
*Link to your StumbleUpon profile-placing it in your about page is a good spot
*Write a Post about StumbleUpon
*If you use Feedburner use the Stumble It FeedFlare

The following are crucial Tactics and Tips, regarding submitting content, which require more detail that can be found in Jason’s article:

*What and When
*Asking For a Discovery
*Your Vote
*The Bandwagon
*The Dark Side

Jason’s advise is simple  “Write something worth while and it will get Stumbled. Let the traffic come to you in a natural way otherwise your efforts will look spammy and garner you a negative reputation.” As always content quality is king-write well and they will come.

Web Directories, Powerful Habit Forming Statistical Madness: Web Directory Ranking Stats Like “Fantasy Blogging League”

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www.wikipedia.org

Have you ever participated in a football, basketball, or baseball “Fantasy” league? You become the coach or manager of your team. You build the team by drafting players, monitor their performance by pouring over stats, and you make critical decisions about who to keep and who to cut. All the while you become gradually addicted to this onslaught of player’s statistics, analysis, rankings, and the results your efforts bring to you. DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?

Web directories are a powerful and quick method to garner recognition, drive traffic to your blog, and create buzz. Statistics on unique visitors, headline impressions, page views, and a mind numbing plethora of statistics about performance can be followed on any number of web directories.

In addition to this statistical chain-smoking like habit of stat watching web directories offer, you have the opportunity to display your score with a neat widget! Yes part of the addiction is the fact that you can watch your ranking score go up or down on a minute by minute basis. Like the fantasy sports analogy, you have the option of cutting web directories that don’t seem to be effective or powerful enough tools.

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The following are a few of the directories that I use or have used in the past:

1. Blogflux.com aka Blogtopsite is my favorite web directory. The statistical fun is in the fact that they provide a number of categories in which to chose. Each category is then ranked by unique visitors to your blog. In addition they show page views and hits out aka traffic they have sent to your blog as a result of your placement in the directory. The fun is that you can watch the running totals all day long and follow your surge up or plunge down the rankings.

For added clarity, under your stats is a link “view deansguide details.” This provides numbers for unique visitors, page views, and hits out on a daily, weekly, and monthly running total. In addition this page has a nice screen shot of your blog site, the tags you use, and a very cool graph of “unique visitors and page views” for the past 31 days. This allows you to quickly chart your progress. For the statistical junkie in us all this is the best web directory available in my experience.

2. Blogtoplist.com: This is another fun statistical habit forming site. It is based on unique visitor traffic and “unique votes” to make up the formula for their ranking system. Although not quite as rich in statistical habit forming content, Blogtoplist does a very nice job in formatting your unique visits, total uniques, incoming, outgoing, and total out. It is compiled on a weekly basis. The other wild card difference here vs Blogflux is that Blogtoplist allows people to vote for their favorite blog. Each vote counts as 100 unique visits. In my opinion that is a joke because it tends to appear that a number of bloggers vote for themselves or have friends stuff the ballot box. Consequently the rankings are often skewed but most bloggers know who the culprits are in this case. It is still fun to watch your traffic grow.

There are so many other sites that it is mind numbing. One noteworthy site, blogburst.com, has a completely different business model which I will highlight in a upcoming feature. For now, have fun, be safe, be sane, and stat watching is habit forming!

The “F Shape”: The Most Important Concept in Creating and Maintaining Blog Traffic!

Blogs, aka Web logs, are revolutionizing internet marketing especially in the real estate market. A very effective concept in creating a successful blog is the “F Shape” a common reading pattern people employ to read a blog article. Real Estate Tomato’s Chris Hotz wrote a fantastic article on the “F Shape.”

“A recent study using eye-tracking equipment demonstrates how internet users navigate their way through search engines, websites and online data. After tracking how 232 users read thousands of web pages, one common attribute became apparent, an F-shaped reading pattern. This pattern is characterized by three common attributes:”

3 Common Attributes

Attribute #1: People reading your articles will begin by reading in a horizontal left to right movement across the top of the site. This becomes the top line of the “F” pattern. Consequently this is usually the “Headline” area.

Attribute #2: People read-browse down a bit and then move left to right across the page. This pattern fills in the lower section of the “F”shape and is usually where a writer wishes to make their “Killer Opening” statements.

Attribute #3: People will browse the left side of your article in a vertical up and down pattern looking for “Keywords.”

What Does The F Shape Theory Mean?

According to Hotz, this pattern teaches bloggers that readers do not read “everything” written in an article, the first two paragraphs of an article should contain the article’s most important points, and keywords need to be employed at natural breaks ie. bullet points-new paragraphs-sub headers-bold sentences.

The goal of most bloggers is to write articles which inform, provoke thought, and create return readers to the blog. By studying the “F Shape”, bloggers will have a better understanding how to make this concept a reality.