In our weekly Salty Waffle number report, we use a site called Alexa to help us out. Alexa is a company that provides all kinds of information on any site on the internet. They focus on traffic, ranking, inbound links, and demographics and provide basic information at no charge.
The awesome thing is how they come by the information: us. A good part of Alexa’s data comes from millions of users in their community with the installed toolbar. With their web crawler, user base, and beastly system, they can collect amazing amounts of data on nearly every site out there.
The great thing about the Alexa ranking is that while it uses traffic as a measurement, it also gives you that traffic in comparison to the rest of sites out there. For example, you could be ranked 1,534 of all the sites on the internet. This gives you an idea of where you are more than straight traffic because traffic across all sites can vary. (One week our traffic dropped, but we still moved up in the Alexa ranking)
Alexa also provides limited demographic information and a rough number of inbound links. If you have a website, Alexa is something standard and something people will ask you about it. We love it because it tells us where we are in the landscape of the giant internet landscape and of course, because it is a social solution to collecting data we couldn’t otherwise have.