In order to let your advertisers know what they are getting (and so you can price accordingly) you need to have accurate information about your traffic. Most web hosting accounts come with some sort of tracking system, either Webalizer or AWStats. Both of these packages are great in that they reside right on the server but they also have problems.
These packages do not take into account the fact that many modern websites use PHP and that the page your visitor reads may be made up of 10 or more php pages.
What does this mean? It means that even though you have only served one webpage to your visitor your server will tell you it sent 10!
This is why you need to run multiple stat packages to insure that you have a good amount of information on how well trafficed your site truly is.
Let's look at my August numbers. As many of you may already know I split my blog at the beginning of august and launched a new one chock-full of my Pokemon content, this is why my numbers have fallen.
Total Hits: 1,085,422
Total Files: 887,663
Total Pages: 390,830
Total Visits: 112,728
Total KBytes: 22GB
Those numbers look sweet, don't they? Almost 400K page views? I should be rolling in the dough! Once I scrolled down to look at my top 30 URLs I see my style.css file at number four with 31,477 hits. Remember that number, it is important.
Pages per visit: 1.58
Bounce Rate: 71%
Total Pages: 30,211
Total Visits: 19,067
Avg Time on Site: 00:05:05
New Visits: 85.33%
See the difference in page views? Notice how it is almost the same as the number of hits on my style sheet? Even the number of visitors is way down. Do you know why? It is because Google does not count bots and crawlers.
Both page views and visitor numbers are a little bit higher than Google's count but not off by a whole lot. I have one more set of numbers.
Page Loads: 36,941
First Time Visitors: 22,533
Returning Visitors: 2,527
So, taking a good look at the data from all the stat packages we can say that the site gets about 32K page views per month with a core audience of about 2.5K readers. Not to bad for a personal blog.
Pricing your advertising
Before you start spending those dollars you have not earned you might want to take a minute and think about a few other aspects of your site that are not represented in your stats. Three things come to mind:
- Page Rank
All three of these are looked at by advertisers so it is important to know where you stand. Yes I know that Alexa can be gamed and that Compete is very new. Regardless, your advertisers care so you have to as well.
Currently my Page Rank is four, Alexa is 55K and Compete is 63K. Not too bad but a higher Page Rank would be better. As long as you are in the top 100K on Alexa you should be fine. Entering the top 10K should be your goal but you will need real traffic to get there. Gaming Alexa can not put you in the top 10K.
I have some very reasonable advertising rates on here. With the new blog design I even added the option of image ads right on top. You can check my advertising page to see my prices. The way I see it a text link ad on a PR 4 blog with my numbers should be worth $25. I double that for the image ads. I also make sure that my advertising appears above the fold.
Even if you do not plan on selling advertising you should still run multiple tracking packages so that you will know how popular you truly are.