As a web “professional”, I know the frailties that face Alexa. However, that darned tool bar is so easy to install and it’s literally become a habit for me to glance at the Alexa Ranking before the page has had time to load.
Over the weekend, I learned that there are successful businesses who are NOT using the web as part of their success.
I was shocked.
It’s funny how short sighted those of us who live and work on the web can get sometimes- myself included at the TOP of that list!
This revelation started innocently enought. I got a phone call yesterday from a friend of mine who has a “real” job. She’s the training director for a large company… you know, the type of company that has “divisions” which each are assigned a “budget.”
She began her call with, “I’m at this conference to be a certified-blah blah and I met this amazing woman who’s launching her own business and needs your help.”
“Wait! Certified– to be what? Did you quit your job? Are you launching your own business?”
“No, my division has budget to burn so I’m becoming a certified “blah blah”. ”
I’m not being coy or trying to protect an identity- I really can’t remember the program name- it was THAT generic! It was one of those made up words that people create so they are “guaranteed” top position in the search engines.
“What is a certified blah blah?” I asked.
“You know, I asked that before I left on Friday. No one at work knew either,” she said. “You’d think that someone would ask that question before plunking down $2500 for a 3 day seminar. But that’s how Corporate America works. By this time tomorrow, I’ll have another certification to my name.”
She then asked me to check out the website for the firm putting on the seminar. My friend is a business woman through and through and instead of paying attention to the presentation (which usually annoys her because she’s a real expert in training and sees the mistakes being made in the presentation instead of every absorbing the content), she’s counting heads and computing how much money this guy is bringing in.
She counted 300 heads in the room… and multiplied it by the $2500 her company paid for her seat there. She figured they made$750,000 in revenue from this seating alone and she knows there’s another seminar next month on the west coast.
I’m intrigued. I type in the website address and my attention goes first to the Alexa ranking. I’m STUNNED at what I see- I didn’t know Alexa numbers went above 24 million!
The Alexa ranking for the website is in the 24,500,000 range.
Talk about a billboard in the Alaskan Wilderness, this website is a wasteland. Oh, and it’s a mess both from a coding standpoint AND from a content standpoint.
The coding issue is obvious. I mean, you don’t reach the deepest darkest depths of 24 Million plus in Alexa without some serious coding issues at work. However, the content is what surprises me. I mean, it’s little more than a narcissistic rant tooting the horn of the seminar’s developer.
The site doesn’t follow ANY of the rules for website success!!! Lousy domain name, poorly coded, narcissistic content… I can’t imagine anything he could do to make the site worse.
Despite all of that, he obviously has a thriving business. I text my friend with a “you’ve GOT to find out how people found out about the seminar,” because one thing is certain, he’s not using the web to market it.
Turns out, he’s made connections with a national association and is offering this “course” at a substantial discount for members. The association sent out the communication to it’s members and offered them a half price discount.
The whole experience has shaken me a bit. It has forced me to admit a bad habit which I’ve developed – I tend to look to Alexa rankings to judge how “successful” a website is and by extension, the business which owns the website. This particular website destroyed that belief system of mine. It goes to show that you don’t need a great Alexa Ranking to have a successful business venture.
I should have known better. I mean, I tell clients all the time that a blog can be used as a powerful tool for business communication. Using your blog to communicate your marketing message is a GREAT use of a blog. Using a blog in that manner is actually using your blog to target the non-blogging community.
Do I think a great web presence would help this guy’s business – definitely. But the lack of one obviously hasn’t stopped him from achieving a level of success.