This one’s for my fellow bloggers…. (and if you’re here simply looking for directions on how to install the Alexa toolbar you can skip ahead to the last section).
You may be wondering, what the heck is Alexa? Or, if you’re already familiar with the term you may be wondering Why do I want it? or even How do I get it?
What is Alexa?
Alexa gives each site on the internet a “page rank”, somewhat like Google Page Rank or MozRank. The page rank is based on incoming links (aka when other folks have linked to your site), and traffic. They measures the amount of visits your site gets, plus the number of links out there linking to your site and from that gives you a page rank number. Where Alexa differs is that they have a Toolbar you can install in your internet browser and visits from those with this Toolbar installed count for more. So basically every time someone with the Alexa toolbar installed visits your site it counts as a vote towards your site.
Why should I care about Alexa?
Alexa is one of the many ways out there to measure the success of your webpage. If you’re a blogger who is interested in selling advertising space, or receiving product for review or giveaway Alexa ranking is one of those stats that advertising agents and PR reps are going to ask for.
It’s also fun to compare. Once you have the tool bar installed you can see the worldwide rank number for every site you visit. Twitter? #9 in the world. Facebook? #2. My blog? #190,142
To put it in perspective, I have seen many review or giveaway opportunities where they asked for an Alexa ranking of 200,000 or less. While some of the top bloggers that I admire rank in at under 100,000.
How do I get Alexa working for me?
You absolutely need to install the Alexa tool bar. Personally, I recommend installing it on every PC you use. For example I have it on both my Netbook and my desktop computer. Once you have the toolbar installed everytime you visit your own site you are helping your Alexa ranking.
How many times a day do you visit your own blog? Dozens, right? Now every time you stop in you are helping to boost your ranking. And every time you stop by and visit a fellow bloggers site you are helping them out as well. You don’t have to DO anything. Just have the tool bar installed, and surf as normal. Every site you visit gets Alexa ranking bonus points via the toolbar. Personally, I saw my Alexa number drop down to half what it was once I installed the toolbar –and keep in mind, in this case low is good.
I read once how tech bloggers have a major edge in Alexa ranking because they, as a group, tend to have the Alexa toolbar installed. If we lifestyle/family/product review bloggers all install the Alexa toolbar, we’re doing ourselves and our blogging community as a whole a service.
How do I install the Alexa toolbar?
Head to www.alexa.com/toolbar. The website automatically detects which browser you are using and directs you to install the correct toolbar.
Here’s what it looks like in Firefox:
Click the big green “Install Alexa Toolbar” button and you’re on your way!
Agree to the end user agreement by clicking “Accept and Install”.
Firefox wants to make sure you’re okay with being asked to install new software. Click “Allow” and the add-on will download.
Once it’s downloaded (which took about five seconds on my machine), click on Install Now.
Then restart your browser by closing all browser windows and then reopening the program.
Once it’s installed you have to be sure the add-on is TURNED ON. You need to see a little check-mark next to Alexa Toolbar. If it’s not turned on, it’s not doing anything.
The Alexa Toolbar looks like this…
Personally I find it a bit of a waste of space. So here is my trick — you can change the options so it instead turns up as a discreet Status Bar in the bottom right hand corner of your browser.
If you click the little cog icon on the far right of the tool bar you will see a menu, the top choice is “Options”. Click that and the options menu opens: Choose “Show Status Bar”.
Now instead of a tool bar at along the top of the browser Alexa shows up as a nice little Status Bar in the bottom right hand corner. This I love.
Here’s a close up of the wee status bar. It shows a graph, which is the six month trend for the site you are on, and it shows the Alexa ranking. Short & sweet.
Again it has to be TURNED ON to work. If you ever notice that wee status bar isn’t there any more (which happens to me because my husband goes in and turns it off, ahem), you will need to go to the Firefox add-ons options menu and click on it’s name (“Add on Bar” or “Alexa Toolbar”) to toggle it on.
Now every site you visit you’ll help spread some Alexa love! I am guessing that installing the tool bar in other browsers would be a similar experience, but if you run into any kinks let me know.