How do you know if your blog site is effective? One of my favorite tools is Website Grader who will, gratis, grade your site and give you helpful hints and tips on how to optimize it. Not only that, but you can choose other websites to compare with yours.
Below is the results of my most recent analysis. I chose ElsaElsa and Jeffrey Kishner’s Seduction Central to compare my site with, not because I consider them similar blogs, but for their popularity in the astro blogging world.
There is a a mixed bag for all of us. While Elsa tops out at 99.3% rating, (way to go Elsa!), her blog rank is slightly behind mine, most probably because she has a smaller number of inbound links. I consider inbound linking one of the major stumbling blocks for astrology blogs because astrology blogging is such a small niche. You have to work at it to build any numbers at all.
The reason why I have so many inbound links is that Astrology Explored is part of a network of blogs. There is a lot of cross linking between blogs. This has the advantage of building your inbound links, but it has the disadvantage of adversely affecting your official Google Page Rank. Notice my pagerank is 4, while Elsa’s and Jeffrey’s is 5. Google says that network links are not as good as other inbound links. That’s a whole other story we won’t go into here. Suffice it say, the only thing the pagerank hurts is the ad dollars coming in. I’ll take inbound links over pagerank any day. Since the number of inbound links helps to establish the “reliability” of your blog, more links helps to push forward your blog to the head of the pack in searches for your topic.
Seduction Central has been up since November of 2006, eight months longer than I’ve been blogging at Astrology Explored, so I am surprised at the low number of Google indexed pages. Jeffrey, however, does not use as many keywords in his posts, a stylistic choice that fits well with the very conversational nature of his blog. A website grade of 92 is nothing to sneeze at, so overall, Jeffrey is marketing his blog well.
When you run website grader for yourself, don’t be dismayed at the number you first get. After periodically checking AE, I’ve noticed that the grade bounces up and down, depending on a number of factors. The last time I checked I had a grade of 84, then realized that Google, for whatever reason, wasn’t sharing its data that day. Also, if you are running on any of the free blogging platforms your grade is going to suffer. Website Grader will explain why. The important thing is to look at the free recommendations and follow the ones that make sense to you to increase your traffic.
(note: this post was originally posted on August 27, 2008 on my wordpress.com blog of the same name. Since that time, Jeffrey launched his wildly popular Sasstrology site and recently attained number 1 status on Invep Consulting’s blog rank algorithm. Astrology Explored on 451 Press attained number 6 even though the network went belly up a couple weeks previously and no new material had been posted. Elsa launched Astrodispatch, the successor to the now defunct Top Ten Sources of Astrology News. It’s been a busy year for all of us!)