So tell me… how exactly do you know whether or not your website is working for you? Is it making you money? Is it increasing your visibility with your target market? Is it broadening your reach within your target market? And what about your credibility, is it establishing and continually reaffirming it with your target market?  You need a website metric to measure the popularity of your site.

For most types of businesses, unless your website serves as an e-commerce site directly selling your products and services to your customers, it is very difficult to establish and track whether or not your website is actually making you money.

However with minimal effort, you can easily track and measure whether your website is increasing your visibility, broadening your reach, and establishing your credibility with your target market… three very important reasons for marketing… with one simple metric. Here’s how it works.

From your Internet browser go to the popular search engine Google’s web site and type in the search box the word “links”, a colon, a space, and then your web site’s domain name minus the typical “http://www.” part. So for example, for my website, I would type: “links:” and hit either the “Enter” key or click the “Google Search” button.

The result that Google will return is any and all Internet URLs that it knows about that have linked to my website. And in the eyes of the search engines, typically the more links the better. Yes, the quality of who’s linking to you does factor in to how you’re perceived by the search engines as well, but that’s a conversation for another day. So unless a large majority of your inbound links are coming from offensive, less than desirable sites, it’s hard to argue with the power of sheer volume — it speaks volumes about your popularity across the web.

Now to take the usefulness of that data up a notch, run this metric once a month and record the results in a spreadsheet. Then from the spreadsheet you can easily produce a graph showing your increasing web popularity over time.

That’s it… it’s that simple.

So in closing, it’s nearly impossible to know whether or not your website is working for you if you don’t maintain and analyze some sort of metrics. The one we’ve discussed here is just one in a series of simple, yet critical ones that everyone using the web as a marketing medium should have in their arsenal. The key here though, is not just collecting the data but how you leverage that data to enable you to make better marketing and business decisions.

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