Measure Everything

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Wed, Aug 25 - 3:35 pm EDT | 14 years ago by
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Many people may think that creating successful site requires luck. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A successful website can be done by following a step-by-step procedure (another day, another writeup) and once the formula is figured out it can be duplicated over and over again. The key though is measuring what methods are successful and what should be considered a failure.


If you are creating a content site that is going to rely heavily on traffic to generate revenue then you must understand that methods bring in the most traffic for you. This is easily done by keeping track of your site statistics with one of the many different stats tracking software available on the Internet. For example, say you are getting 1,000 unique visitors a day on your site. Your traffic logs reveal that over 95% of that traffic is coming from Google. How should this be interpreted?

First it means that you are heavily relying on once source (Google) to bring in your traffic. What if Google was to change some of its algorithms around and your site falls back a couple of pages in the search results. That 1,000 can quickly drop to 100. So the obvious thing to do is increase the number of sources that are generating traffic for your website.

There are two other major search engines out there, Yahoo and MSN, and it would be in your best interest to research and find out how to get quality placement in them as well. Also maybe your content isn’t of high enough quality that other sites decide to link to you. The more links coming to your site the better.

In a different scenario if you look at your stats and notice that barely any of your traffic is coming from Google then maybe you need to improve on the SEO of each of the pages. I know this is the case with one of my sites and I have been slowly re-working some of its pages to improve my SE performance.

Again, the key is to measure.

Ad Clickthroughs

You place ads on your site so that people can click on them, but why are some pages doing better than others? With ads it’s not as much the type of ad you are serving, but the placement of the ad. I used to have Adsense ads to the side of my content on different sites with different colors and got a decent CTR (clickthrough rate), but found that when I put the ads in the content with colors that blend into the site my clickthroughs improved.

The great thing about Adsense is that Google gives you all the tools to measure which techniques work best. However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t be interested in how many clickthroughs you get, but the CTR of each ad. If 2 different ads each get 100 clickthroughs, but one has 10,000 impressions while the other only had 1,000, obviously you are going to want to use the second technique for all your ads.


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  • john cowburn

    Hi Andrew

    Don’t know whether you’ve mentioned this before, but what or who do you use to measure your stats. The Web Stats provided by my Server Host is very basic and pretty useless

  • JC

    I’ll second scrivs on that. I’ve seen stats for a couple of sites that have an integrated amazon store, and a couple that were just the store and nothing else. The integrated ones get lots of google traffic straight to the store… the other ones, well, they get google traffic when someone searches something that resembles the domain name.

  • Scrivs

    There is an Amazon store writeup in the works shortly. Quick thesis: if you are doing them just to put up and leave with no content, good luck. You almost have no chance of survival.

    Most of the time though you won’t get any backlinks for those stores unless they are from your own sites. So hits won’t be coming from other sites, but only from search engines and with a lack of backlinks it’s unlikely that any of the pages will place highly in the SERPs.

    So with all that you should have an idea on how to correct the situation.

  • Bryan

    Very nice. I am trying to better understand where my visitors are coming from in terms of trying to “target” them in an appropriate manner. I kinda took after you Paul when I started putting my Google Adsense in between the end of my content and the beginning of the comments. I think its a good place as a transition and hopefully some clicks

    You should do a writeup on what you think of Amazon Stores. I got one myself right now, and its doing “ok”. I have had two people buy items off it, which got me a whopping $2 total :), but its worth a shot and its damn near automated using their Web Services.

    That is what is ideal, is having a system where the amount of work you eventually have to put into it is minimal, yet the process is automated enough to bring in extra cash and possibly, if you have done it good enough, bring you in a real income.

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