Most authors visit a fair number of websites in a week: blog ideas, research, marketing, the competition, pick a topic. If that’s you, the Alexa browser extension might offer you some real benefits. It saves me valuable time, and makes time invested… more valuable.
The Alexa icon sits right at the end of my URL bar, next to other important extensions like those from Bit.ly, Evernote and Shareaholic, ready to deliver key intelligence with a single click. Claiming your own site and doing an inventory of your current stats is probably worth the download alone.
But Alexa also helps you look behind the curtain of any website. Just click the installed extension for a pop-up snapshot of great info. Here are my 6 favorites:
- Traffic Rankings: Instantly see any site’s traffic ratings, with some breakdown by country as well. This immediately helps you discern if you’re looking at a major Internet property, something mid-list or a new URL with an audience of 4. The Design (or feel) of a site does not always point you in the right direction. It is also a good guide for evaluating yourself against the competition.
- Search Analytics: Among the many gems here, I’ve had “aha” moments noting the top 10 search phrases that bring visitors to the site in question.
- Sites Linking In: how many others view site X as valuable enough to link too? Are the links from main sites, blogs or blog articles? Does this site owner appear to have actual strategy for backlinks and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?. Scanning over the link list might highlight a few sites to research and/or comment on yourself. If they are your competition and have 1000+ links, you’re probably not going to surf through them all, 20 at a time, but you might find an idea or two and maybe some motivation.
- Related Links: This is different than “sites linking in” and the difference can be noteworthy. Alexa does these associations, which will often refer you straight to the competition and/or a site that is better for the information you’re really after, compared with the one you are visiting.
- Site Load Time: at the very least, this will tell you if your own blog or website loads slower than other similar sites, and whether you should ditch your very decorative animated free theme for something more streamlined. Don’t forget that Google penalizes sites that load too slowly. I am always surprised at the number of sites which effectively bar the door to more visitors “by design.” I use Standard Theme. It’s fast!
- Reviews: What do other people think of site X? They say so here. This may also present an appropriate review opportunity for yourself as well.
You can download the Alexa Browser Extension here. I believe it has much to offer Authors and Marketers, and the extension is just the tip of the iceberg. Alexa has additional tools (some free, some paid) which also have value. Stay tuned for a future review on those
Question: What other blog or book marketing uses (or alternatives) for Alexa could you suggest?