7 Reasons Why Companies with Apps Earn More Revenue According to Studies By Martin Chuck

New research states that companies with apps experience higher customer return and revenue—even in their physical stores.

If you’re a business owner, you may have once or twice thought of getting a mobile app for your business. Surely, most companies with apps experience an increase in customer conversion, loyalty, revenue, and marketing. This kind of return is always part of any business goal. But you may wonder “How would mobile apps help my company? Would the benefits outweigh the cost?”. And while mobile app development pricing is a different issue, we will list down major benefits that companies with apps have reportedly experienced. We hope that these major points would help you with your decision regarding mobile apps.

1. Firstly, mobile apps increase your digital presence

The advent of smartphones have increased marketing channels for businesses. Recent statistics show that over 3 billion people own smartphones globally—and is expected to reach 7 billion by 2020. Yes, that’s right! Your business can reach a high number of people using smartphones through mobile apps.

And while your business website may be the biggest (and most important) imprint of your digital presence, mobile apps can encompass more than that by getting more clicks. Mobile apps are used in a lot of ways because of the convenience they bring like linking to your website. And when making mobile apps, convenience towards your target market should be on your priority list.

Whether it’s making a standard category of products, sending updates and newsletters, placing shopping carts, featuring certain items, or creating a social community, mobile apps offer almost everything your website can with the touch of accessibility. And customers love that.

2. Companies with apps reward their customers

The digital age embraced mobile apps

Carpool apps like Uber, Lyft, and Grab reward customers and their drivers with points that can be used as digital currency for future purchases. These apps have a reward system that dictates the amount of convertible points a customer can get. Sure enough, customers gravitate towards companies that reward them with their purchases. Similarly, some companies also reward customers with discounts for their partner products. Sponsored brands and ads also help other businesses market themselves. And discounts, vouchers, and coupons for it make customers feel like purchasing through your business is worth much more compared to other places.

3. Also, companies with apps create games for customers

As you know, mobile apps are used to create games too. And sometimes, companies use this idea to keep their customers engaged. Mobile apps are created in such a way that customers and users would always find themselves going back to use it more; and games are one of the ways to make this work.

Shopee Shake, a popular game is Asia

Shopee, a popular shopping app in SouthEast Asia—especially Taiwan, hosts games for a limited amount of time like Shopee Shake where customers can win Shopee Coins (an in-app currency) that can be used for purchases and discounts on their store. All players had to do was shake their phones as Shopee coins would fall which they can keep.

This lead to a popular trend in Asia where shoppers uploaded funny videos of themselves playing Shopee Shake. Moreso, bloggers and social media users started talking about tricks on how to win more Shopee Coins in-game. As a result, the company then rewarded social media users with the funniest and most creative Shoppe Shake video with more rewards, giving them more market and a loyal fanbase. Now that’s a great way to market using mobile apps.

4. Business apps can be used to provide updates to employees

While the first three points refer to mobile apps for customers, some companies use apps for business purposes. Businesses (like yours) usually use emails for company-wide announcements. But for some that have a large amount of people to manage, a push notification to remind employees of their schedules and appointments is more helpful to reduce inefficiency. Some company business apps even allow their employees to sync it with their mobile calendars for better time management. Mobile apps are a great way to introduce utility features to your employees like having a dedicated inbox for business matters and have these messages go straight to a company cloud service for added security.

5. Mobile apps are also used to increase customer engagement

Research also states that 35% of customers return more frequently to stores due to the huge amount of engagement they experience with mobile apps. This includes not only online stores but also physical stores of businesses. Aside from convenience, customers prefer customer that have higher engagement and mobile apps have been doing that for many years. Engaging features often yield positive results like allowing customers to give feedback easily, experiencing company engagement proactively through comments and customer features and the like.

6. Customers buy more items after they are introduced with apps

The days of product catalogs are long gone and some customers hate having to search through Google’s wastebasket of results. Not surprisingly, business apps help your potential customers with that. Potential customers become purchasing customers if they get answers fast. And one reason why potential customers turn the other way is if they don’t get answers quick. Customers want to know the price, any quantitative measurement, and quality descriptions of your products immediately and mobile apps can provide just that. They give all this convenience to your customers, especially if your app comes along with shopping cart integration and shipping.

33% of customers that use apps buy more frequently, 34% buy more items, and 37% spend more compared to those who don’t. Now that’s a huge increase in sales.

7. Lastly, loyal customers often prefer companies with apps

Customers love apps

And what is the best way to make use of your company app? Mobile apps can create a large pool of loyal customers through loyalty programs. These loyalty programs can feature different things like membership and exclusive deals. Some give incentives for their prime users, while Some provide real-time updates for sales and product announcements through push notifications. Business apps have become a powerful channel for businesses to a point where some companies cannot run without them because loyal customers often come back to it. So that advertisement where an influencer was talking about an app isn’t so farfetched after all.

Companies with Apps Provide More

In conclusion, a mobile app for your business is a reasonable consideration. And in reality, mobile apps would always be part of a business’ future plans. Whether you’re looking to create an app for your business or for your customers, efficiency and revenue would surely skyrocket. Indeed, mobile apps are a great way to leverage the power of the digital. They hold the key to today’s most sought out asset: convenience. So, when you’re planning to create a mobile app, make sure to put convenience and usefulness first. It’s what most companies with apps have done successfully.

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Location Data Is Trending For a Good Reason By Liz Weinsten

Make more of an impact than ever before with the help of physical-world insights

Consumer trends can be quite the paradox. They’re often hard to nail down, amorphous in nature, and can rapidly change at any moment in time. However, trends also provide us with valuable insight into the direction of where something is headed and supply us with a guideline that can be leveraged in order to fuel predictions and strategic business decisions.

In the world of marketing, understanding consumer trends are more important than ever before. These insights influence our approach and power our strategies by providing us with a window into the minds of our consumers. Our ability to understand consumer behavior, especially physical, real-world behavior such as path-to-purchase, visitation patterns, day of week preferences, and daily activities is crucial to our success.

The Data You Likely Know

Most marketers remain pretty well-versed in their consumers’ online behaviors, i.e. activities such as consumer purchases on your site, the pages they click on, the products they view, and other online consumption patterns. These activities are more accessible than ever due to tracking pixels, website cookies, and advanced online analytics platforms.

The Data You Likely Don’t Know

On the flip side, the real world can look very different than the online world when it comes to consumer behaviors. Think about the day in the life of a consumer: They wake up, make a pit stop to grab coffee, head to work, shop for groceries on the way home every Monday, go to the gym three times a week, and so on. These repetitive activities build a very strong picture about people; their daily routines, their interests, and their needs. So, the question begs to be asked: How are you leveraging this information to enhance your marketing efforts? If you’re not currently using location technology to fuel your marketing strategy, then chances are you haven’t been able to effectively capitalize on this valuable treasure trove of data.

Making the Unattainable, Attainable

With Gimbal Trends, you’re able to leverage location-based insights from real-world behaviors opening up bountiful opportunities to better inform not only your marketing strategies, but decisions across your entire business. Trends provides you with actionable insights, effectively arming you with a comprehensive view of consumer offline behavior in order to power data-driven decisions.

The data behind Trends is powered by Gimbal’s always-on Location SDK, embedded in thousands of top consumer-facing apps, and collected passively in the background with user consent. This rich data can inform not only whom to get your brand’s message in front of, but also when and where to target them. The insights can additionally allow you to increase customer retention rates, gain an overall deeper understanding of your customer base, drive higher sales, and make more effective decisions for your business.

Furthermore, with the use of Trends, marketers are able to leverage behaviors that may be out of routine, yet still powerful moments that can signify interest. For instance, let’s say a consumer takes a different route home from work one day, decides to shop at a new grocery chain that just popped up, or makes a new pit stop based on their path home. With Trends, even fluctuations such as these, when in mass, can be leveraged to provide meaningful insights.

All For One, One For All

Location Insights As a Menu Add-On

Companies of every size and every industry can benefit from the wealth of physical-world data provided by Trends. For example, let’s say you’re a QSR and after analyzing location data, you find that there’s been a recent spike in customer dwell times at one of your locations. This could potentially be a problematic situation, especially for a business that runs in an industry where efficiency is paramount. Information as such may indicate that there is a staffing issue that needs to be resolved. Thanks to real-time data, this issue can be addressed immediately rather than later after it’s already impacted numerous customer experiences and ultimately your bottom line. Restaurants can also leverage location technology to aid in efforts to test new store experiences. For example, if you’re considering outfitting your locations with additional seating or patio seating, you could measure dwell times and find that an increase in such times actually correlates with the fact that consumers are positively responding to your decision.

Trying On Location for Site Selection

Retailers can benefit from the use of location insights in numerous ways as well. For instance, let’s say you’re scouting various locations for the placement of a new brick-and-mortar store. Trends can help provide insight into the best site for your business by analyzing foot traffic in areas of interest. You can begin to optimize site selection by choosing areas that show the highest density of foot traffic based on the data that is collected.

Adding Location to the Lineup

Companies in the entertainment industry can also leverage this rich data to optimize decision making. If you’re a music and/or event-based company, you could analyze and compare various concert venues in terms of popularity and even gain insight into the preferences of individuals. This can all be accomplished by measuring foot traffic and visitation trends at each venue. This information can then be harnessed to gain greater insight into concert goers’ preferences and music tastes in the region by tracing data back to specific dates and performances.

Cashing in on Location

Financial institutions, on the other hand, can leverage location intelligence to optimize ATM locations. In such a competitive industry, strategic placement of ATM locations is essential to ensuring a great customer experience. Your institution can leverage mobility data to analyze foot traffic trends and install additional or new ATMs in high-density areas thus increasing accessibility and convenience for customers.

Trends Lines

Make the Most of It

Many marketers use real-time location data for targeting and measurement, however the truth of the matter is that location intelligence can do so much more. Marketers should instead view this data as a strategic asset which can be leveraged for a multitude of business purposes.

Consumer trends can be fleeting and ever-changing, but these moments of routine can also provide us with important information on consumers, their preferences, their behaviors, and their needs.

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10 Lead Generation Tools Every IT Consultant Needs By Veronica Green-Gott

Free-Photos / Pixabay

You can have the best sales team in the world, but without the right marketing strategy and tools, you won’t be bringing in enough leads. Lead generation for IT consultants is crucial to a successful consulting business. Many companies in the IT industry see a churn rate of between 5 and 10 percent. Churn isn’t great, but it’s certainly unavoidable. If you don’t bring in enough leads to replace those customers, your business will start to slowly stagnate and then sink.

But when you’re struggling to bring in leads, it can feel hopeless. How do you increase the rate of lead generation for IT consultants? These ten tools are a great place to start.

1. Google My Business

Have you ever googled a place to eat and have a little box come up with several different businesses in it? This is what’s known as the snack pack. It’s a small section of Google search results that highlights businesses in your area that match your search. The only way to appear in the snack pack is with Google My Business. However, Google My Business is much more important for lead generation for IT consultants than just appearing in the snack pack.

Google My Business is a cost-effective way for IT consultants to see customer insights, gain more visibility on Google Maps and search results, and make posts. Posts are similar to social media posts but through google. It gives you another opportunity to showcase what your business is all about. Google My Business is an essential lead generation tool because it can bring in more leads through heightened visibility and help you better understand your audience with customer insights.

2. Killer SEO Strategy

What’s your current SEO strategy? How many blogs are you producing on a daily basis? You can’t rely on just Google My Business alone when it comes to SEO. You want backlinks on other relevant websites, high rankings on search engine result pages, and online visibility. Without a great SEO strategy, you can kiss lead generation for IT consultants goodbye. The best way to increase your SEO rankings is to produce, produce, and produce. The more content you create, the better your chances at a great SEO ranking.

3. Boots on the Ground

This may seem out of place in a blog about online lead generation for IT consultants, but few things are better than combining your online lead generation efforts with a networking team. When someone on your sales team hands a new contact a business card, you want that contact to be able to google your name and have your business pop right up. The two strategies complement each other quite well and can greatly increase the number of leads for your business.

4. The Right CRM Software

What CRM software do you use? Without a great CRM that works for your business, it’ll be much more difficult to track leads, optimize lists and keep records of the sales process. You can integrate your CRM software with both your marketing and sales team. This will allow you to coordinate lead generation efforts by both parties. You may be surprised at how many leads your marketing efforts are bringing in once you establish better lead tracking protocol.

5. A Website That Works

Not all websites are created equal. Having a website online is not the same as having a website optimized for lead generation for IT consultants. An optimized website has CTA buttons above and below the fold, in the header and the footer. There should be at least one eBook or other incentives to convert a visitor on your website. Contact forms should be readily available to the visitor at the bottom of each services page.

6. Good Brand Awareness

Brand awareness doesn’t start and end with a website. A good PR and social media campaign can really help with lead generation for IT consultants. Public relations efforts can consist of press releases, paid advertising, podcasting, and more. Consider hosting events to generate leads, especially if you’re a local company. While it is possible to generate leads from social media, we encourage our B2B clients to look at social media as a brand awareness campaign. Millennial consumers prefer to interact with brands over social media channels, instead of by email or phone. Having a well-put-together social media presence creates favorable circumstances for this to take place.

7. Paid Ad Campaign

AdWords is the king of Google. A great AdWords campaign can rain leads onto your website and create high-quality conversions. Not all AdWords campaigns have to be expensive. If you choose to go for long-tail keywords, you can often be competitive on a smaller budget. The key to using PPC ads for lead generation for IT consultants is to perform comprehensive keyword research and develop a great strategy.

8. LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a new tool for your sales team that combines social media and lead generation efforts. The Sales Navigator can often integrate with your CRM to offer you more information about prospects via their LinkedIn profiles. With the help of the sales navigator, you can receive lead recommendations, and learn more about your market and personas.

9. Segment Contact Lists

Just compiling contacts into lists on your CRM isn’t good enough. You need to segment your contact lists into different subsets. For example, you could have one list for local contacts, another for national. You could also create separate lists by industry in order to target a group for an issue specific to that industry. There are a billion ways you can segment your contact lists. The best way to segment lists for lead generation for IT consultants is to ensure that you can contact a group based on a problem that your product can solve.

10. Great Relationship with Your Marketing Team

Hiring a marketing team isn’t enough. Building a great relationship with your marketing team is how you start to bring in more lead generation for IT consultants. You can work with your marketing team to build a cohesive overall strategy that integrates into your sales team and offers you options for building up leads and preventing customer churn.

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7 Ways to Use Alexa Ranking to Grow Your Business Today By Ken Evoy (CEO, SiteSell)

The Definitive Guide to Alexa Traffic Rankings

Alexa ranking is an often misunderstood, but incredibly useful tool.

Whether you’re starting a blog or looking for affiliate marketing opportunities, Alexa rank provides essential data — if you know how to use it.

Owned by Amazon, Alexa.com (not to be confused with the Alexa device) was the first free traffic rank service. In 2019 it’s still a relevant and valuable tool that delivers a variety of web analytics.

In this article, you’ll learn seven important ways to use its most important metric, traffic rankings. And why the conclusions from these daily-use strategies are not only safe to act upon, they’re valuable and will help you grow your online business.

A mountain of misinformation exists about Alexa. Why? Partly because it’s the oldest (1996) and the most widely used tool of its kind. Early reviewers correctly mentioned problems but missed the fact that those problems did not invalidate Alexa’s usefulness.

Subsequent reviews spread the misinformation. The result? Alexa is the most widely misunderstood tool on the Web. Using it properly gives you an edge over your competition — a key success factor in business.

This comprehensive review helps set the Alexa record straight. It covers Alexa from the ground up, and includes coverage of the best two complementary tools, SimilarWeb and SEMrush. It’s based on comparing the Alexa traffic rank with actual site traffic stats for thousands of sites over 15+ years.

You’ll learn how to use it, when to combine Alexa scores with results from SimilarWeb and SEMrush — and when not to use it at all.

What Is Alexa Ranking?

sitesell alexa rankAlexa site ranking results are derived from a sampling of tens of millions of Internet users. Every sampling method has its strengths and weaknesses. The biggest example of that:

TV networks spend billions of advertising dollars based upon reports from the Nielsen survey of TV habits of a mere 40,000 households. They do so despite the fact that the survey is riddled with flaws, not least of which is its small sample size. They understand the issues and can still extract a great deal of valuable information.

Serious TV executives recognize the flaws and understand which data becomes invaluable, actionable information. So it is with Alexa.

Complaints that “Alexa is useless” or “too inaccurate to be useful” start with how Alexa first worked. Its data came from tracking users who implemented its browser toolbar. This limitation led to biased results in niches where webmasters were more likely to install the toolbar (e.g., tech-savvy users, Internet marketers, etc.).

The complaints were not fake reviews, but they are no longer accurate. Alexa has corrected that bias. Today, its methodology reflects a wide, representative sampling of online traffic.

To use Alexa, click here and in the box at the top of the page enter any domain name. Click “Run Analysis.”

Alexa returns where that domain name ranks out of the ~20,000,000 sites that it tracks.

For example, as of the date of this article (September 2019), SiteSell.com is the 23,992nd most visited site in the world (and 11,868th in the U.S.).

sitesell traffic rank in USA

Google’s rank is 1 — the most visited site. 20,000,000 is the worst numeric score possible.

Beyond that, you’ll get a “not enough traffic data” message, which means that Alexa has no record of traffic to that site.

Important: Alexa delivers a site’s position relative to other sites. It does not deliver a visitor count. And that’s fine — relative ranking is all that you really need for the common purposes (covered below) that deliver most of its value.

While Alexa is useful on its own, you’ll have a more reliable fix on a site’s popularity when you combine it with other tools.

Where Do SimilarWeb and SEMrush Get Their Data?
SEMrush data is based on the first 100 Google search results found for each keyword in its database. It delivers a good idea of a site’s traffic from searches.

SimilarWeb gathers data from its crawl of the Internet, Internet service providers (ISPs), and click-stream data of tens of millions of users who have installed SimilarWeb’s apps. The ISP data adds diversification, further reducing the risk of bias.

There are no reported issues of significant data bias in these tools.

Because all three tools get their data from different sources (although some overlap between Alexa and SimilarWeb is likely), using them together provides a more accurate result.

The Alexa Overhaul

In 2008, Amazon overhauled Alexa. They began pulling in more data from a wider and diversified base of users — 25,000 different browser extensions, browser toolbars and plugins. These changes corrected much of the earlier bias, as evidenced by immediate changes in the ranking of many sites.

Alexa now “sources data from a large number of third-party providers, representing a significant sample of the Internet browsing population.” It compares the data from a variety of sources to detect, normalize, and correct for bias that exists in any individual source.

Site engagement is now also a contributing factor to ranking.

Is Alexa Ranking Accurate?

Most recent reviews of Alexa quote no hard, original research. Most aggregate information from earlier reviews (which were based on even earlier ones 😃). Naturally, they come to the same conclusions.

Alexa has had a hard time shaking the 1990s and 2000s, despite the fact that the original issues were corrected in 2008. Most reviews don’t mention the diversification of data sources or the use of site engagement.

Why do we keep finding inaccurate reviews?
Google ranks “authoritative” articles highly. It depends on visitor-generated signals to determine “authority” (e.g., inbound links and hundreds of other off-page/off-site signals). But that only works until humans fail to recognize that a report is wrong or out-of-date. So the older, cited articles continue to rank well, together with some well-received new ones.

Anecdote vs. Data

We’ve studied more “actual site traffic vs. Alexa traffic rank” than any company (except for Alexa itself). This article is a result. Our studies show, among other things, that:

  • there’s a definite correlation of traffic with Alexa score
  • the higher the traffic, the more reliable is the ranking
  • there’s increasing “scatter” (unreliability) as traffic decreases

Scatter tightens as Alexa traffic rankings improve from 2,000,000 to 1,000,000 to 500,000 and so forth. Your site could jump from 10,000,000 to 5,000,000 just by adding a few visits per day. But your site would need to increase by tens of thousands of visitors per day to rise from 100,000 to 50,000.

So what can you learn from Alexa traffic rankings, that will help you promote your website?

Think “ballpark.” Anyone who understands Alexa will not say “Wow” about a site with an Alexa ranking of either 5 million or 10 million. In terms of how much traffic they get, both are in the “Poor” ballpark. We’ll cover the six ballparks below.

Indirect methods use a large sampling of Internet users. This is the only way to get reasonable traffic estimates of sites that you do not control.

Alexa, SimilarWeb, and SEMrush are valuable tools that provide “good enough” traffic estimates for any site.

You can’t use Google Analytics to get data about other sites. There are paid tools that provide better data, but they cost more than solopreneurs can afford. And they wouldn’t need those tools at all if they knew how to use Alexa, SimilarWeb and SEMrush.

Remember, these three are all indirect, so are suitable for ballpark estimates when comparing within a niche. And use Google Analytics to get this data for your own site.

7 Ways to Use Alexa Rankings to Grow Your Business

Alexa has always been a simple and valid way to measure the popularity of a site. Here are seven ways you can use it for your online business:

1. Comparing Alexa ranking of sites in the same niche

Alexa’s most useful function is to compare your website with another one in your niche — or to get a fix on where you stand within the market.

Comparing the competition not only gives you ideas on what’s working in your niche but gives you a goal to work towards.

2. Checking to see if a site’s traffic is rising or falling (and how that compares to your site)

When your site is losing traffic, the first reaction is usually panic. After that, you start looking at why. It’s useful to look at the performance of other websites in your market.

If they’re also losing rankings, that’s a clue that something bigger is affecting your niche. It could be a Google algorithm update, a seasonal change in demand, or changing trends.

If you’re losing rank and your competitors are gaining, what are they doing differently?

3. Getting a “quick fix” estimate on any site

There are all kinds of reasons you might want a quick estimate of how well a website is performing. It could be to assess the traffic potential of a new online business idea or simple curiosity.

4. Evaluating a site’s commercial potential

Growing your online business means you will start to receive a lot of requests from potential collaborators. For example, blogs asking you to guest-post, sponsorship requests, or joint ventures in promoting a product.

Alexa ranking gives you a “big picture” test of reasonableness for a single site. A marketer with something to sell (e.g., ad space on his site) might claim that he gets 10,000 visitors per day.

When you find a ranking of 5,000,000 at Alexa for that site, you can be 99.9% sure he’s lying. With a single, free check, Alexa has saved you time, money and the usual ugly ending when dealing with a liar!

5. Seeking potential influencers to build relationships

When you’re looking for other businesses that can help yours, Alexa ranking helps you evaluate which ones have potential.

You’re seeking high-traffic sites, meaning the Alexa ranking is more reliable. As you use Alexa more and more, you’ll develop a strong frame of reference for what’s outstanding traffic in your niche vs. “not worth pursuing.”

6. Finding potential super-affiliates

If you have an affiliate marketing program, finding those high-volume marketers can give your sales a huge boost. But you have to make sure they can deliver before you offer preferential commissions or other perks.

Use Alexa, SimilarWeb, and SEMrush to maximize reliability and to determine how much traffic is organic search (which is generally higher quality).

Once there’s a deal to be made, you’ll want to take considerably more time to insist on seeing Google Analytics proof. But no doubt about it, Alexa definitely has its place in your toolbox when screening sites for potential opportunities.

7. Verifying claims of success

No matter what niche you’re in, Alexa is invaluable when you’re trying to figure out who’s delivering the goods.

For example:

Go to Wix.com and review their success stories. The first two we checked had Alexa rankings of 8,000,000 and 13,000,000. That’s “success”?

Compare those to the 500 SBI! businesses in the Top 1,000,000 at Alexa.

The definition of success should not be “putting up a stunning website,” with the implication that business success follows automatically. It’s about building income and equity.

Since most individual website owners don’t make their income public, the best evidence of success for the majority of online businesses is traffic.

You can’t earn if you don’t have visitors.

The 6 Ballparks — How Best to Use Alexa

traffic ranking ballparksI use Alexa’s tool many times each day, as a first-pass check to see how popular sites are doing (ballpark!) and whether they’re growing or contracting.

I also use it to check claims, assess potential influencers, or satisfy my curiosity. It provides “good enough” ballpark estimates.

Most of the time, all I want to know is which of 6 ballparks a site’s traffic falls into:

  1. Outstanding (100,000 or less)
  2. Excellent (100,001 – 1,000,000)
  3. Pretty good (1,000,001 to 2,500,000)
  4. Medium (2,500,001 to 5,000,000)
  5. Poor (5,000,001 to 20,000,000)
  6. Invisible (“Not enough traffic data”)

Note 1: Few solopreneurs make it into the top ballpark (1-100,000). Almost all “Outstanding” Alexa rankings come from mid-sized to large businesses. At the other end of the spectrum, almost 100% of the “Invisible” ballpark is solopreneurs.

Note 2: “Not enough traffic data” means that Alexa’s massive panel of toolbars, extensions, pixel installs and third-party sources has 0 data points for a site. Basically, it’s “Invisible.”

Note 3: The ballparks are snapshots, not judgments. Consider these ranges in light of your circumstances and especially in light of your site’s actual traffic. For example:

  • If you just finished writing the home page of a brand new site, “Invisible” is normal.
  • If your site is young and growing, an Alexa rank of 10,000,000 may be excellent for you.
  • If you have a mature site with 30 pages and a rank of 5,000,000, that can be excellent if you have a high-dollar monetization model (e.g., selling Hollywood homes).

When you need granularity (including traffic stated in terms of the number of visitors) or certainty (e.g., when it’s especially important or when the Alexa score seems off), consult SEMrush and SimilarWeb.

Alexa Ranking Is Great for Influencer Marketing

It’s easy to check engagement numbers to determine the social power of potential influencers. Even more than social media success, site traffic is an important consideration in assessing both influencers and super-affiliates.

Suppose you have an online business based on mathematics.

And let’s say that you have identified math-only-math.com (an actual SBI! business) as a candidate for a potential joint venture to sell your math courses.

Note that despite having an older design that hasn’t been updated over the years, and other imperfections, this site demonstrates that great content can attract impressive levels of search traffic to power real revenue options. You’ll see why in a moment.

Start at Alexa, where you find a traffic ranking of 30,465 (and 4,379 in India!). That’s Outstanding (the highest of our six ballparks). Few solopreneurs reach that level. You can be confident that it’s a high-traffic site.

Alexa score for Math-Only-Math.com

However, you’ll be investing some time to develop a relationship, so you want to be sure of your numbers. The following two extra measurements will nail down a good estimate of site traffic:

SEMrush reveals both paid and organic (free search) traffic.

For example, SEMrush reveals the traffic of math-only-math.com at 200,000, huge for a solopreneur. It’s high for a mid-sized company! (Note also that the owner does not pay for any traffic.)

Website traffic from SEMrush for Math-Only-Math.com

A high organic count corroborates the Alexa finding — it was not a fluke. If you had found a high Alexa count but a low SEMrush outcome, you would definitely proceed to the final test…

SimilarWeb confirms Alexa’s high traffic estimate (ranking of 52,505, with 1M visitors per month). We don’t really care if it’s 30K or 53K — both are Outstanding (well within 100,000).

Rank checker SimilarWeb result for Math-Only-Math.com

His SimilarWeb ranking for India confirms the Alexa score. So his site is a top site in India.

Checking social media? Even though the Facebook presence is weak (@mathonlymath) and Twitter is private (@ghosh0), this is a solopreneur you would want on your side.

From here, you would reach out and discuss ways to create a mutually beneficial partnership. For example:

  • Advertising on his website.
  • Creating an affiliate relationship.
  • Guest posting on his blog.

Bottom line:

Alexa traffic rankings help you find potential partners to help grow your business — and determine whether an opportunity is worth your time, effort, and money.

When Not to Use Alexa Ranking

There’s really only one time not to use Alexa. That’s for your own site. Here’s why…

when not to use alexaDirect measures such as Google Analytics are exact.

So, do not use Alexa to measure your own traffic.

We have seen countless posts in various online marketing forums worrying about a low (or deteriorating) Alexa score, or rejoicing over an improvement. Why do folks worry about Alexa as it relates to their own sites? Some reasons:

  1. They fail to understand the concept.
  2. They understand the concept, but are embarrassed by the public availability of the Alexa ranking (especially if it falsely shows a result that’s worse than reality).
  3. They use the Alexa ranking to show off how much traffic their site has — rankings can be an ego boost.
  4. They used a falsely high Alexa score to fool someone into buying ad space on the site or buying a product.

The Bottom Line on Using Alexa Ranking

It’s simple, and short:

Alexa is a good way to assess traffic of the sites of others

Not yours!

Speaking of traffic — don’t forget to download our checklist with the 23 best tactics to grow your website traffic for free.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/34QHfWq

7 Ways to Use Alexa Ranking to Grow Your Business Today By Ken Evoy (CEO, SiteSell)

The Definitive Guide to Alexa Traffic Rankings

Alexa ranking is an often misunderstood, but incredibly useful tool.

Whether you’re starting a blog or looking for affiliate marketing opportunities, Alexa rank provides essential data — if you know how to use it.

Owned by Amazon, Alexa.com (not to be confused with the Alexa device) was the first free traffic rank service. In 2019 it’s still a relevant and valuable tool that delivers a variety of web analytics.

In this article, you’ll learn seven important ways to use its most important metric, traffic rankings. And why the conclusions from these daily-use strategies are not only safe to act upon, they’re valuable and will help you grow your online business.

A mountain of misinformation exists about Alexa. Why? Partly because it’s the oldest (1996) and the most widely used tool of its kind. Early reviewers correctly mentioned problems but missed the fact that those problems did not invalidate Alexa’s usefulness.

Subsequent reviews spread the misinformation. The result? Alexa is the most widely misunderstood tool on the Web. Using it properly gives you an edge over your competition — a key success factor in business.

This comprehensive review helps set the Alexa record straight. It covers Alexa from the ground up, and includes coverage of the best two complementary tools, SimilarWeb and SEMrush. It’s based on comparing the Alexa traffic rank with actual site traffic stats for thousands of sites over 15+ years.

You’ll learn how to use it, when to combine Alexa scores with results from SimilarWeb and SEMrush — and when not to use it at all.

What Is Alexa Ranking?

sitesell alexa rankAlexa site ranking results are derived from a sampling of tens of millions of Internet users. Every sampling method has its strengths and weaknesses. The biggest example of that:

TV networks spend billions of advertising dollars based upon reports from the Nielsen survey of TV habits of a mere 40,000 households. They do so despite the fact that the survey is riddled with flaws, not least of which is its small sample size. They understand the issues and can still extract a great deal of valuable information.

Serious TV executives recognize the flaws and understand which data becomes invaluable, actionable information. So it is with Alexa.

Complaints that “Alexa is useless” or “too inaccurate to be useful” start with how Alexa first worked. Its data came from tracking users who implemented its browser toolbar. This limitation led to biased results in niches where webmasters were more likely to install the toolbar (e.g., tech-savvy users, Internet marketers, etc.).

The complaints were not fake reviews, but they are no longer accurate. Alexa has corrected that bias. Today, its methodology reflects a wide, representative sampling of online traffic.

To use Alexa, click here and in the box at the top of the page enter any domain name. Click “Run Analysis.”

Alexa returns where that domain name ranks out of the ~20,000,000 sites that it tracks.

For example, as of the date of this article (September 2019), SiteSell.com is the 23,992nd most visited site in the world (and 11,868th in the U.S.).

sitesell traffic rank in USA

Google’s rank is 1 — the most visited site. 20,000,000 is the worst numeric score possible.

Beyond that, you’ll get a “not enough traffic data” message, which means that Alexa has no record of traffic to that site.

Important: Alexa delivers a site’s position relative to other sites. It does not deliver a visitor count. And that’s fine — relative ranking is all that you really need for the common purposes (covered below) that deliver most of its value.

While Alexa is useful on its own, you’ll have a more reliable fix on a site’s popularity when you combine it with other tools.

Where Do SimilarWeb and SEMrush Get Their Data?
SEMrush data is based on the first 100 Google search results found for each keyword in its database. It delivers a good idea of a site’s traffic from searches.

SimilarWeb gathers data from its crawl of the Internet, Internet service providers (ISPs), and click-stream data of tens of millions of users who have installed SimilarWeb’s apps. The ISP data adds diversification, further reducing the risk of bias.

There are no reported issues of significant data bias in these tools.

Because all three tools get their data from different sources (although some overlap between Alexa and SimilarWeb is likely), using them together provides a more accurate result.

The Alexa Overhaul

In 2008, Amazon overhauled Alexa. They began pulling in more data from a wider and diversified base of users — 25,000 different browser extensions, browser toolbars and plugins. These changes corrected much of the earlier bias, as evidenced by immediate changes in the ranking of many sites.

Alexa now “sources data from a large number of third-party providers, representing a significant sample of the Internet browsing population.” It compares the data from a variety of sources to detect, normalize, and correct for bias that exists in any individual source.

Site engagement is now also a contributing factor to ranking.

Is Alexa Ranking Accurate?

Most recent reviews of Alexa quote no hard, original research. Most aggregate information from earlier reviews (which were based on even earlier ones 😃). Naturally, they come to the same conclusions.

Alexa has had a hard time shaking the 1990s and 2000s, despite the fact that the original issues were corrected in 2008. Most reviews don’t mention the diversification of data sources or the use of site engagement.

Why do we keep finding inaccurate reviews?
Google ranks “authoritative” articles highly. It depends on visitor-generated signals to determine “authority” (e.g., inbound links and hundreds of other off-page/off-site signals). But that only works until humans fail to recognize that a report is wrong or out-of-date. So the older, cited articles continue to rank well, together with some well-received new ones.

Anecdote vs. Data

We’ve studied more “actual site traffic vs. Alexa traffic rank” than any company (except for Alexa itself). This article is a result. Our studies show, among other things, that:

  • there’s a definite correlation of traffic with Alexa score
  • the higher the traffic, the more reliable is the ranking
  • there’s increasing “scatter” (unreliability) as traffic decreases

Scatter tightens as Alexa traffic rankings improve from 2,000,000 to 1,000,000 to 500,000 and so forth. Your site could jump from 10,000,000 to 5,000,000 just by adding a few visits per day. But your site would need to increase by tens of thousands of visitors per day to rise from 100,000 to 50,000.

So what can you learn from Alexa traffic rankings, that will help you promote your website?

Think “ballpark.” Anyone who understands Alexa will not say “Wow” about a site with an Alexa ranking of either 5 million or 10 million. In terms of how much traffic they get, both are in the “Poor” ballpark. We’ll cover the six ballparks below.

Indirect methods use a large sampling of Internet users. This is the only way to get reasonable traffic estimates of sites that you do not control.

Alexa, SimilarWeb, and SEMrush are valuable tools that provide “good enough” traffic estimates for any site.

You can’t use Google Analytics to get data about other sites. There are paid tools that provide better data, but they cost more than solopreneurs can afford. And they wouldn’t need those tools at all if they knew how to use Alexa, SimilarWeb and SEMrush.

Remember, these three are all indirect, so are suitable for ballpark estimates when comparing within a niche. And use Google Analytics to get this data for your own site.

7 Ways to Use Alexa Rankings to Grow Your Business

Alexa has always been a simple and valid way to measure the popularity of a site. Here are seven ways you can use it for your online business:

1. Comparing Alexa ranking of sites in the same niche

Alexa’s most useful function is to compare your website with another one in your niche — or to get a fix on where you stand within the market.

Comparing the competition not only gives you ideas on what’s working in your niche but gives you a goal to work towards.

2. Checking to see if a site’s traffic is rising or falling (and how that compares to your site)

When your site is losing traffic, the first reaction is usually panic. After that, you start looking at why. It’s useful to look at the performance of other websites in your market.

If they’re also losing rankings, that’s a clue that something bigger is affecting your niche. It could be a Google algorithm update, a seasonal change in demand, or changing trends.

If you’re losing rank and your competitors are gaining, what are they doing differently?

3. Getting a “quick fix” estimate on any site

There are all kinds of reasons you might want a quick estimate of how well a website is performing. It could be to assess the traffic potential of a new online business idea or simple curiosity.

4. Evaluating a site’s commercial potential

Growing your online business means you will start to receive a lot of requests from potential collaborators. For example, blogs asking you to guest-post, sponsorship requests, or joint ventures in promoting a product.

Alexa ranking gives you a “big picture” test of reasonableness for a single site. A marketer with something to sell (e.g., ad space on his site) might claim that he gets 10,000 visitors per day.

When you find a ranking of 5,000,000 at Alexa for that site, you can be 99.9% sure he’s lying. With a single, free check, Alexa has saved you time, money and the usual ugly ending when dealing with a liar!

5. Seeking potential influencers to build relationships

When you’re looking for other businesses that can help yours, Alexa ranking helps you evaluate which ones have potential.

You’re seeking high-traffic sites, meaning the Alexa ranking is more reliable. As you use Alexa more and more, you’ll develop a strong frame of reference for what’s outstanding traffic in your niche vs. “not worth pursuing.”

6. Finding potential super-affiliates

If you have an affiliate marketing program, finding those high-volume marketers can give your sales a huge boost. But you have to make sure they can deliver before you offer preferential commissions or other perks.

Use Alexa, SimilarWeb, and SEMrush to maximize reliability and to determine how much traffic is organic search (which is generally higher quality).

Once there’s a deal to be made, you’ll want to take considerably more time to insist on seeing Google Analytics proof. But no doubt about it, Alexa definitely has its place in your toolbox when screening sites for potential opportunities.

7. Verifying claims of success

No matter what niche you’re in, Alexa is invaluable when you’re trying to figure out who’s delivering the goods.

For example:

Go to Wix.com and review their success stories. The first two we checked had Alexa rankings of 8,000,000 and 13,000,000. That’s “success”?

Compare those to the 500 SBI! businesses in the Top 1,000,000 at Alexa.

The definition of success should not be “putting up a stunning website,” with the implication that business success follows automatically. It’s about building income and equity.

Since most individual website owners don’t make their income public, the best evidence of success for the majority of online businesses is traffic.

You can’t earn if you don’t have visitors.

The 6 Ballparks — How Best to Use Alexa

traffic ranking ballparksI use Alexa’s tool many times each day, as a first-pass check to see how popular sites are doing (ballpark!) and whether they’re growing or contracting.

I also use it to check claims, assess potential influencers, or satisfy my curiosity. It provides “good enough” ballpark estimates.

Most of the time, all I want to know is which of 6 ballparks a site’s traffic falls into:

  1. Outstanding (100,000 or less)
  2. Excellent (100,001 – 1,000,000)
  3. Pretty good (1,000,001 to 2,500,000)
  4. Medium (2,500,001 to 5,000,000)
  5. Poor (5,000,001 to 20,000,000)
  6. Invisible (“Not enough traffic data”)

Note 1: Few solopreneurs make it into the top ballpark (1-100,000). Almost all “Outstanding” Alexa rankings come from mid-sized to large businesses. At the other end of the spectrum, almost 100% of the “Invisible” ballpark is solopreneurs.

Note 2: “Not enough traffic data” means that Alexa’s massive panel of toolbars, extensions, pixel installs and third-party sources has 0 data points for a site. Basically, it’s “Invisible.”

Note 3: The ballparks are snapshots, not judgments. Consider these ranges in light of your circumstances and especially in light of your site’s actual traffic. For example:

  • If you just finished writing the home page of a brand new site, “Invisible” is normal.
  • If your site is young and growing, an Alexa rank of 10,000,000 may be excellent for you.
  • If you have a mature site with 30 pages and a rank of 5,000,000, that can be excellent if you have a high-dollar monetization model (e.g., selling Hollywood homes).

When you need granularity (including traffic stated in terms of the number of visitors) or certainty (e.g., when it’s especially important or when the Alexa score seems off), consult SEMrush and SimilarWeb.

Alexa Ranking Is Great for Influencer Marketing

It’s easy to check engagement numbers to determine the social power of potential influencers. Even more than social media success, site traffic is an important consideration in assessing both influencers and super-affiliates.

Suppose you have an online business based on mathematics.

And let’s say that you have identified math-only-math.com (an actual SBI! business) as a candidate for a potential joint venture to sell your math courses.

Note that despite having an older design that hasn’t been updated over the years, and other imperfections, this site demonstrates that great content can attract impressive levels of search traffic to power real revenue options. You’ll see why in a moment.

Start at Alexa, where you find a traffic ranking of 30,465 (and 4,379 in India!). That’s Outstanding (the highest of our six ballparks). Few solopreneurs reach that level. You can be confident that it’s a high-traffic site.

Alexa score for Math-Only-Math.com

However, you’ll be investing some time to develop a relationship, so you want to be sure of your numbers. The following two extra measurements will nail down a good estimate of site traffic:

SEMrush reveals both paid and organic (free search) traffic.

For example, SEMrush reveals the traffic of math-only-math.com at 200,000, huge for a solopreneur. It’s high for a mid-sized company! (Note also that the owner does not pay for any traffic.)

Website traffic from SEMrush for Math-Only-Math.com

A high organic count corroborates the Alexa finding — it was not a fluke. If you had found a high Alexa count but a low SEMrush outcome, you would definitely proceed to the final test…

SimilarWeb confirms Alexa’s high traffic estimate (ranking of 52,505, with 1M visitors per month). We don’t really care if it’s 30K or 53K — both are Outstanding (well within 100,000).

Rank checker SimilarWeb result for Math-Only-Math.com

His SimilarWeb ranking for India confirms the Alexa score. So his site is a top site in India.

Checking social media? Even though the Facebook presence is weak (@mathonlymath) and Twitter is private (@ghosh0), this is a solopreneur you would want on your side.

From here, you would reach out and discuss ways to create a mutually beneficial partnership. For example:

  • Advertising on his website.
  • Creating an affiliate relationship.
  • Guest posting on his blog.

Bottom line:

Alexa traffic rankings help you find potential partners to help grow your business — and determine whether an opportunity is worth your time, effort, and money.

When Not to Use Alexa Ranking

There’s really only one time not to use Alexa. That’s for your own site. Here’s why…

when not to use alexaDirect measures such as Google Analytics are exact.

So, do not use Alexa to measure your own traffic.

We have seen countless posts in various online marketing forums worrying about a low (or deteriorating) Alexa score, or rejoicing over an improvement. Why do folks worry about Alexa as it relates to their own sites? Some reasons:

  1. They fail to understand the concept.
  2. They understand the concept, but are embarrassed by the public availability of the Alexa ranking (especially if it falsely shows a result that’s worse than reality).
  3. They use the Alexa ranking to show off how much traffic their site has — rankings can be an ego boost.
  4. They used a falsely high Alexa score to fool someone into buying ad space on the site or buying a product.

The Bottom Line on Using Alexa Ranking

It’s simple, and short:

Alexa is a good way to assess traffic of the sites of others

Not yours!

Speaking of traffic — don’t forget to download our checklist with the 23 best tactics to grow your website traffic for free.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/34QHfWq

7 Ways to Use Alexa Ranking to Grow Your Business Today By Ken Evoy (CEO, SiteSell)

The Definitive Guide to Alexa Traffic Rankings

Alexa ranking is an often misunderstood, but incredibly useful tool.

Whether you’re starting a blog or looking for affiliate marketing opportunities, Alexa rank provides essential data — if you know how to use it.

Owned by Amazon, Alexa.com (not to be confused with the Alexa device) was the first free traffic rank service. In 2019 it’s still a relevant and valuable tool that delivers a variety of web analytics.

In this article, you’ll learn seven important ways to use its most important metric, traffic rankings. And why the conclusions from these daily-use strategies are not only safe to act upon, they’re valuable and will help you grow your online business.

A mountain of misinformation exists about Alexa. Why? Partly because it’s the oldest (1996) and the most widely used tool of its kind. Early reviewers correctly mentioned problems but missed the fact that those problems did not invalidate Alexa’s usefulness.

Subsequent reviews spread the misinformation. The result? Alexa is the most widely misunderstood tool on the Web. Using it properly gives you an edge over your competition — a key success factor in business.

This comprehensive review helps set the Alexa record straight. It covers Alexa from the ground up, and includes coverage of the best two complementary tools, SimilarWeb and SEMrush. It’s based on comparing the Alexa traffic rank with actual site traffic stats for thousands of sites over 15+ years.

You’ll learn how to use it, when to combine Alexa scores with results from SimilarWeb and SEMrush — and when not to use it at all.

What Is Alexa Ranking?

sitesell alexa rankAlexa site ranking results are derived from a sampling of tens of millions of Internet users. Every sampling method has its strengths and weaknesses. The biggest example of that:

TV networks spend billions of advertising dollars based upon reports from the Nielsen survey of TV habits of a mere 40,000 households. They do so despite the fact that the survey is riddled with flaws, not least of which is its small sample size. They understand the issues and can still extract a great deal of valuable information.

Serious TV executives recognize the flaws and understand which data becomes invaluable, actionable information. So it is with Alexa.

Complaints that “Alexa is useless” or “too inaccurate to be useful” start with how Alexa first worked. Its data came from tracking users who implemented its browser toolbar. This limitation led to biased results in niches where webmasters were more likely to install the toolbar (e.g., tech-savvy users, Internet marketers, etc.).

The complaints were not fake reviews, but they are no longer accurate. Alexa has corrected that bias. Today, its methodology reflects a wide, representative sampling of online traffic.

To use Alexa, click here and in the box at the top of the page enter any domain name. Click “Run Analysis.”

Alexa returns where that domain name ranks out of the ~20,000,000 sites that it tracks.

For example, as of the date of this article (September 2019), SiteSell.com is the 23,992nd most visited site in the world (and 11,868th in the U.S.).

sitesell traffic rank in USA

Google’s rank is 1 — the most visited site. 20,000,000 is the worst numeric score possible.

Beyond that, you’ll get a “not enough traffic data” message, which means that Alexa has no record of traffic to that site.

Important: Alexa delivers a site’s position relative to other sites. It does not deliver a visitor count. And that’s fine — relative ranking is all that you really need for the common purposes (covered below) that deliver most of its value.

While Alexa is useful on its own, you’ll have a more reliable fix on a site’s popularity when you combine it with other tools.

Where Do SimilarWeb and SEMrush Get Their Data?
SEMrush data is based on the first 100 Google search results found for each keyword in its database. It delivers a good idea of a site’s traffic from searches.

SimilarWeb gathers data from its crawl of the Internet, Internet service providers (ISPs), and click-stream data of tens of millions of users who have installed SimilarWeb’s apps. The ISP data adds diversification, further reducing the risk of bias.

There are no reported issues of significant data bias in these tools.

Because all three tools get their data from different sources (although some overlap between Alexa and SimilarWeb is likely), using them together provides a more accurate result.

The Alexa Overhaul

In 2008, Amazon overhauled Alexa. They began pulling in more data from a wider and diversified base of users — 25,000 different browser extensions, browser toolbars and plugins. These changes corrected much of the earlier bias, as evidenced by immediate changes in the ranking of many sites.

Alexa now “sources data from a large number of third-party providers, representing a significant sample of the Internet browsing population.” It compares the data from a variety of sources to detect, normalize, and correct for bias that exists in any individual source.

Site engagement is now also a contributing factor to ranking.

Is Alexa Ranking Accurate?

Most recent reviews of Alexa quote no hard, original research. Most aggregate information from earlier reviews (which were based on even earlier ones 😃). Naturally, they come to the same conclusions.

Alexa has had a hard time shaking the 1990s and 2000s, despite the fact that the original issues were corrected in 2008. Most reviews don’t mention the diversification of data sources or the use of site engagement.

Why do we keep finding inaccurate reviews?
Google ranks “authoritative” articles highly. It depends on visitor-generated signals to determine “authority” (e.g., inbound links and hundreds of other off-page/off-site signals). But that only works until humans fail to recognize that a report is wrong or out-of-date. So the older, cited articles continue to rank well, together with some well-received new ones.

Anecdote vs. Data

We’ve studied more “actual site traffic vs. Alexa traffic rank” than any company (except for Alexa itself). This article is a result. Our studies show, among other things, that:

  • there’s a definite correlation of traffic with Alexa score
  • the higher the traffic, the more reliable is the ranking
  • there’s increasing “scatter” (unreliability) as traffic decreases

Scatter tightens as Alexa traffic rankings improve from 2,000,000 to 1,000,000 to 500,000 and so forth. Your site could jump from 10,000,000 to 5,000,000 just by adding a few visits per day. But your site would need to increase by tens of thousands of visitors per day to rise from 100,000 to 50,000.

So what can you learn from Alexa traffic rankings, that will help you promote your website?

Think “ballpark.” Anyone who understands Alexa will not say “Wow” about a site with an Alexa ranking of either 5 million or 10 million. In terms of how much traffic they get, both are in the “Poor” ballpark. We’ll cover the six ballparks below.

Indirect methods use a large sampling of Internet users. This is the only way to get reasonable traffic estimates of sites that you do not control.

Alexa, SimilarWeb, and SEMrush are valuable tools that provide “good enough” traffic estimates for any site.

You can’t use Google Analytics to get data about other sites. There are paid tools that provide better data, but they cost more than solopreneurs can afford. And they wouldn’t need those tools at all if they knew how to use Alexa, SimilarWeb and SEMrush.

Remember, these three are all indirect, so are suitable for ballpark estimates when comparing within a niche. And use Google Analytics to get this data for your own site.

7 Ways to Use Alexa Rankings to Grow Your Business

Alexa has always been a simple and valid way to measure the popularity of a site. Here are seven ways you can use it for your online business:

1. Comparing Alexa ranking of sites in the same niche

Alexa’s most useful function is to compare your website with another one in your niche — or to get a fix on where you stand within the market.

Comparing the competition not only gives you ideas on what’s working in your niche but gives you a goal to work towards.

2. Checking to see if a site’s traffic is rising or falling (and how that compares to your site)

When your site is losing traffic, the first reaction is usually panic. After that, you start looking at why. It’s useful to look at the performance of other websites in your market.

If they’re also losing rankings, that’s a clue that something bigger is affecting your niche. It could be a Google algorithm update, a seasonal change in demand, or changing trends.

If you’re losing rank and your competitors are gaining, what are they doing differently?

3. Getting a “quick fix” estimate on any site

There are all kinds of reasons you might want a quick estimate of how well a website is performing. It could be to assess the traffic potential of a new online business idea or simple curiosity.

4. Evaluating a site’s commercial potential

Growing your online business means you will start to receive a lot of requests from potential collaborators. For example, blogs asking you to guest-post, sponsorship requests, or joint ventures in promoting a product.

Alexa ranking gives you a “big picture” test of reasonableness for a single site. A marketer with something to sell (e.g., ad space on his site) might claim that he gets 10,000 visitors per day.

When you find a ranking of 5,000,000 at Alexa for that site, you can be 99.9% sure he’s lying. With a single, free check, Alexa has saved you time, money and the usual ugly ending when dealing with a liar!

5. Seeking potential influencers to build relationships

When you’re looking for other businesses that can help yours, Alexa ranking helps you evaluate which ones have potential.

You’re seeking high-traffic sites, meaning the Alexa ranking is more reliable. As you use Alexa more and more, you’ll develop a strong frame of reference for what’s outstanding traffic in your niche vs. “not worth pursuing.”

6. Finding potential super-affiliates

If you have an affiliate marketing program, finding those high-volume marketers can give your sales a huge boost. But you have to make sure they can deliver before you offer preferential commissions or other perks.

Use Alexa, SimilarWeb, and SEMrush to maximize reliability and to determine how much traffic is organic search (which is generally higher quality).

Once there’s a deal to be made, you’ll want to take considerably more time to insist on seeing Google Analytics proof. But no doubt about it, Alexa definitely has its place in your toolbox when screening sites for potential opportunities.

7. Verifying claims of success

No matter what niche you’re in, Alexa is invaluable when you’re trying to figure out who’s delivering the goods.

For example:

Go to Wix.com and review their success stories. The first two we checked had Alexa rankings of 8,000,000 and 13,000,000. That’s “success”?

Compare those to the 500 SBI! businesses in the Top 1,000,000 at Alexa.

The definition of success should not be “putting up a stunning website,” with the implication that business success follows automatically. It’s about building income and equity.

Since most individual website owners don’t make their income public, the best evidence of success for the majority of online businesses is traffic.

You can’t earn if you don’t have visitors.

The 6 Ballparks — How Best to Use Alexa

traffic ranking ballparksI use Alexa’s tool many times each day, as a first-pass check to see how popular sites are doing (ballpark!) and whether they’re growing or contracting.

I also use it to check claims, assess potential influencers, or satisfy my curiosity. It provides “good enough” ballpark estimates.

Most of the time, all I want to know is which of 6 ballparks a site’s traffic falls into:

  1. Outstanding (100,000 or less)
  2. Excellent (100,001 – 1,000,000)
  3. Pretty good (1,000,001 to 2,500,000)
  4. Medium (2,500,001 to 5,000,000)
  5. Poor (5,000,001 to 20,000,000)
  6. Invisible (“Not enough traffic data”)

Note 1: Few solopreneurs make it into the top ballpark (1-100,000). Almost all “Outstanding” Alexa rankings come from mid-sized to large businesses. At the other end of the spectrum, almost 100% of the “Invisible” ballpark is solopreneurs.

Note 2: “Not enough traffic data” means that Alexa’s massive panel of toolbars, extensions, pixel installs and third-party sources has 0 data points for a site. Basically, it’s “Invisible.”

Note 3: The ballparks are snapshots, not judgments. Consider these ranges in light of your circumstances and especially in light of your site’s actual traffic. For example:

  • If you just finished writing the home page of a brand new site, “Invisible” is normal.
  • If your site is young and growing, an Alexa rank of 10,000,000 may be excellent for you.
  • If you have a mature site with 30 pages and a rank of 5,000,000, that can be excellent if you have a high-dollar monetization model (e.g., selling Hollywood homes).

When you need granularity (including traffic stated in terms of the number of visitors) or certainty (e.g., when it’s especially important or when the Alexa score seems off), consult SEMrush and SimilarWeb.

Alexa Ranking Is Great for Influencer Marketing

It’s easy to check engagement numbers to determine the social power of potential influencers. Even more than social media success, site traffic is an important consideration in assessing both influencers and super-affiliates.

Suppose you have an online business based on mathematics.

And let’s say that you have identified math-only-math.com (an actual SBI! business) as a candidate for a potential joint venture to sell your math courses.

Note that despite having an older design that hasn’t been updated over the years, and other imperfections, this site demonstrates that great content can attract impressive levels of search traffic to power real revenue options. You’ll see why in a moment.

Start at Alexa, where you find a traffic ranking of 30,465 (and 4,379 in India!). That’s Outstanding (the highest of our six ballparks). Few solopreneurs reach that level. You can be confident that it’s a high-traffic site.

Alexa score for Math-Only-Math.com

However, you’ll be investing some time to develop a relationship, so you want to be sure of your numbers. The following two extra measurements will nail down a good estimate of site traffic:

SEMrush reveals both paid and organic (free search) traffic.

For example, SEMrush reveals the traffic of math-only-math.com at 200,000, huge for a solopreneur. It’s high for a mid-sized company! (Note also that the owner does not pay for any traffic.)

Website traffic from SEMrush for Math-Only-Math.com

A high organic count corroborates the Alexa finding — it was not a fluke. If you had found a high Alexa count but a low SEMrush outcome, you would definitely proceed to the final test…

SimilarWeb confirms Alexa’s high traffic estimate (ranking of 52,505, with 1M visitors per month). We don’t really care if it’s 30K or 53K — both are Outstanding (well within 100,000).

Rank checker SimilarWeb result for Math-Only-Math.com

His SimilarWeb ranking for India confirms the Alexa score. So his site is a top site in India.

Checking social media? Even though the Facebook presence is weak (@mathonlymath) and Twitter is private (@ghosh0), this is a solopreneur you would want on your side.

From here, you would reach out and discuss ways to create a mutually beneficial partnership. For example:

  • Advertising on his website.
  • Creating an affiliate relationship.
  • Guest posting on his blog.

Bottom line:

Alexa traffic rankings help you find potential partners to help grow your business — and determine whether an opportunity is worth your time, effort, and money.

When Not to Use Alexa Ranking

There’s really only one time not to use Alexa. That’s for your own site. Here’s why…

when not to use alexaDirect measures such as Google Analytics are exact.

So, do not use Alexa to measure your own traffic.

We have seen countless posts in various online marketing forums worrying about a low (or deteriorating) Alexa score, or rejoicing over an improvement. Why do folks worry about Alexa as it relates to their own sites? Some reasons:

  1. They fail to understand the concept.
  2. They understand the concept, but are embarrassed by the public availability of the Alexa ranking (especially if it falsely shows a result that’s worse than reality).
  3. They use the Alexa ranking to show off how much traffic their site has — rankings can be an ego boost.
  4. They used a falsely high Alexa score to fool someone into buying ad space on the site or buying a product.

The Bottom Line on Using Alexa Ranking

It’s simple, and short:

Alexa is a good way to assess traffic of the sites of others

Not yours!

Speaking of traffic — don’t forget to download our checklist with the 23 best tactics to grow your website traffic for free.

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Did the Jetsons Ever Wonder If Rosie Was a Spy? By Patti Podnar

As families around the world excitedly gobble up devices that connect to the Internet of Things (IoT), home life is starting to look more and more like an episode of The Jetsons. (If you’re too young to have spent Saturday mornings watching The Jetsons, this clip explains a lot about our current fascination with household technology!)

But the Jetsons never seemed to worry about the security of the devices that made their lives so easy. It’s a different story for today’s homeowners (whether you know it or not). Home IoT devices are notoriously easy to hack — and cybercriminals know it. But you don’t have to give up all of your connected devices; you just have to learn how to secure them.

What falls under the term “IoT”?

“IoT” refers to the Internet of Things and includes all of those cool, helpful, and trendy devices that rely on a connection to the internet to work. Amazon Echo and Google Home are obvious examples, but there are so many more:

  • Doorbells that let you see who’s at your door via your smartphone
  • Light bulbs that can be turned on and off from your smartphone, helping you save energy costs (not to mention the more fun aspects like syncing them to a playlist when you’re having a party)
  • Smart locks that let you unlock your door remotely for your babysitter, dogwalker, or the Amazon delivery guy
  • TVs that let you stream content from Netflix, Hulu, etc.
  • Healthcare devices — from patches to ingestibles and implanted devices — that record vital signs and other information and, in some cases, transmit them to health care providers and family members.

There are even refrigerators that know when you’re out of milk (and add it to your grocery list) and diapers that let you know when your baby needs to be changed. In fact, there seems to be no end to our appetite for IoT devices: There are already more of them in use than there are people on the planet. And it’s predicted that, by 2020, there will be around three devices per person.

Unfortunately, at this point, most of them are vulnerable to attack.

Why in the world would anybody want to hack light bulbs?

Because the light bulbs themselves aren’t the real target. Once hackers access that light bulb, they have access to everything else on the same network…which for many homeowners, is everything. Including the computers that store their personal data, the passwords to their bank accounts, etc. To build on the pop culture theme, remember that all Luke needed to do to take down the Death Star was to hit one tiny exhaust port.

Luke attacking the death star

When it comes to security, your IoT devices are the equivalent of that exhaust port. If hackers can get into one, they can get into the whole shebang.

Is that really a thing?

Yep. One report stated that average IoT device is attacked every two minutes (and that was back in 2017). Not that all of them were successful, of course, but far too many are. Here are some of the most notorious examples:

  • Back in 2016, a botnet took down huge portions of the internet, including sites like Netflix, Twitter, and CNN. That takes a lot of computing power, and, in this case, investigators determined that power came from hundreds of thousands of IoT devices — things like TVs, digital cameras and DVRs — that were hijacked without their owners’ knowledge.
  • In 2014, an Ohio couple was startled awake in the middle of the night when they heard a male voice screaming, “Wake up, baby! Wake up, baby!” It turned out that someone had hacked into and taken control of their “smart” baby monitor. When they raced into their baby’s room, the camera turned toward them and started shouting obscenities.
  • Another couple had a similar experience one evening when their Alexa Dot started screaming “like a child in a horror movie dream.”
  • A family in Oregon received a call from one of the father’s work colleagues, letting them know that Alexa had sent him a recording of what they thought was a private conversation (fortunately, it was just about what kind of flooring to buy). An Amazon engineer was able to go through the logs and determined that it was the equivalent of a cell phone butt dial: Alexa heard certain words in a certain order and acted on what she thought was a command, even though nobody was talking to her.

And those are just a few documented examples. It’s not too hard to imagine some real nightmare scenarios:

  • What if your smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors were attacked by a Stuxnet-like virus that turned them off while all signals indicated they were still on and functioning properly?
  • What if your security cameras or nanny cams were used to scout your home for valuables, so criminals would know whether to bother breaking in?
  • What if a cybercriminal hacked into your smart light bulb (something that can be done in as little as three minutes) and switched it to the “home” setting, thereby telling your smart hub to turn off your alarm and unlock your doors?

None of this means you have to give up your smart home devices, but it does mean you should give some serious thought to the security risks and take steps to protect yourself and your family.

What homeowners can do to make their connected homes more secure

The easy answer? Education. There are a lot of simple things homeowners could be doing to secure their devices, but they’re not doing them because no one ever told them they should. Here are some of the most important:

  • Before you purchase a new IoT device, do your homework. First, think about why you want it, and ask yourself if it’s worth the security risk. If you decide that it is, start researching the product. Some brands are more secure than others. One non-negotiable: Make sure it can be updated with software and firmware patches. Many IoT devices can’t be updated when new vulnerabilities are discovered. Those are the ones you want to leave on the shelf!
  • Buy a router that allows you to set up more than one network: Newer routers often allow you to set up multiple networks. (Hint: You don’t have to stick with the router you got from your service provider.) Put your personal computers and anything else that contains sensitive data on one network, and put all of your IoT devices on another. That way, if one does get hacked, the damage will be contained.
  • When you buy an IoT device, create a new password: If a device comes with default login credentials, change them right away — when you set the device up. (Don’t think you’ll do it later, once everything is in place, because you’ll probably forget.) Why is this so important? Because the default password is often the same across an entire product line, and few self-respecting criminals would pass on the opportunity to hack so many devices at once. It doesn’t even take a hacking genius to find out what the default password is — the information is often available online. So, to quote Nike, just do it.
  • For both your router and all of your connected devices, install software and firmware updates as soon as they’re available, since they’re often used to fix security issues. If possible, set your device preferences so that these updates are installed automatically. In most cases, though, you’ll have to go to the manufacturer’s website to see if there are any updates available, so set yourself a reminder to check for updates on a regular basis. (Or try syncing it to the time changes, like the reminders to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.)
  • Take the time to read the user’s guide. It may be boring, but it may still contain valuable information, like the fact that there are no plans to provide updates or patches (in which case I’d strongly recommend returning the device right away).
  • Avoid internet cafes and other places where you have to rely on public WiFi. Cybercriminals can camp out at a table in your favorite coffee shop and gain access to the smartphone apps you use to control your IoT devices. Once they’ve done that, they can access the devices themselves — as well as every other connected device on that network.

Taking these steps will make the average connected home much more secure than it is today. For homeowners who want to take their security even further, you can find advanced steps in this white paper about security in the smart home.

Featured image credit: Jon Betts via Flickr Creative Commons license

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