Two Tools to Evaluate the Success of your Website

Using Compete SnapShot and Yahoo! Site Explorer to Measure the Success of Your Websites (and those of your Competitors!)

One very common way to determine a site’s success is to know how many unique visitors it gets each month. Unique visitors is a stat everyone wants to know and it’s usually the first number a website publisher will mention when discussing the success of his or her website.

A stat publishers mention less frequently, that we’ve recently discovered plays a huge role in a website’s success, is the sheer volume of content contained within a website. In other words, how many pages of content can be found at a website. That, plus the number of inbound links a website gets, are two major factors in determining a website’s success.

We recently finished a research project where we analyzed the website strategies of 14 top American media brands. We analyzed:

  • Organizational Strategy (whether they had a dedicated online publishing team and treated the website as an independent profit center)
  • Audience Strategy (how they developed their online audience—SEO, PPC, outbound syndication, email newsletter strategy, RSS)
  • Content Strategy (how they developed their online content—content aggregation, user generated content, original online content)
  • Website Metrics (unique monthly visitors, number of web pages and number of inbound links)

We learned that success didn’t depend on whether they had RSS feeds or outbound syndication programs. The clear correlation among the winners, in conjunction with unique visitor count, was the sheer volume of content on their sites and the number of inbound links they had pointing to their site.

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To measure monthly traffic, we use Compete SnapShot, a free tool that measures website traffic in terms of U.S. unique monthly website visitors. Compete SnapShot is based on a panel of 2 million and provides free information for every site on the Internet. This information includes:

  • site traffic history and competitive analytics
  • a list of available promotional codes across thousands of online retailers
  • site-specific trust scores based on up-to-the-minute data from Compete and third party security services

To measure webpage count and inbound links, we use Yahoo! Site Explorer, a free service (currently in Beta) that

  • website page counts at the domain and site-wide basis
  • links from other web pages—both internal and external

We recommend you look at the number of web pages reported from all subdomains and links reported ‘except from this domain’ to ‘entire site’, which will show you the number of external inbound links coming from other publishers’ websites.

We now routinely use these two tools to measure the success of the websites we analyze for our case studies and special reports. We hope you find these tools useful. Please let us know your thoughts and feel free to share additional tools and resources you use to measure the success of your website.


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