Lab Report: A Six Month Old Website

Our company lab site is now six months old. This is long enough to get a sense of how a website is doing, and to decide whether to make changes in your approach.

Follow along with me, if your site is six months old or older, to see how it’s doing.

First we’ll check traffic. The image below shows six months of traffic as measured by Google Analytics, week by week. We can see that our traffic rose impressively between launch in April and the Back to School peak in August. We then had a seasonal drop, which we were expecting. However, our traffic since then has been rising back up at a fairly steep rate. This is what we like to see.

Google analytics

While we’re at our dashboard, we’ll check out our keywords. We see that, in the six months since we launched, we’ve been found with 10,593 different keywords. This shows that we’re doing well in terms of search, being offered to a lot of people with a lot of different keywords.

There are a lot of other metrics to check at GA, but these give us a quick picture of the overall health of our website.

Next we’ll check our score at Website Grader. This is a quick way to get a lot of information about basic metrics of site success.

In our case, we can see the number of in-links we have, our Alexa rankings, the number of pages Google has indexed, our MozRank, and a number of other things which add up to a nice score of 96 out of 100.

We’re #1 (and #2 and #3, with an offer to show more from at Google for the name of our site. We’re nowhere near #1 for terms like “teacher resource” or “lesson plans,” but we have high rankings for quite a few long tail searches.

We have 39 subscribers. Frankly, we don’t know whether this is a good number or not; we have clients with everywhere from zero to 60,000 subscribers, and we have no idea what a good baseline for subscribers in six months might be. One of the reasons for our making this site is because it is so difficult to get that kind of data.

This site doesn’t really have a bottom line to check, but if we were selling something we would certainly want to see how sales were. If your site brings customers into your store, brings you leads, or serves as your portfolio, it can be very hard to determine how much value the site has for you. The old saying is that you’ll know how valuable your website is as soon as you take it down and see what happens to your business. It’s an old saying because nowadays no business is likely to consider being without a website. But it makes sense to watch ways in which your website is benefiting your business or failing to do so. In our case, we earned a tidy little sum from our affiliate marketing in August, and have seen a steady increase over the six months in that income, if we exclude August (as you would need to exclude December from typical retail) from our calculations. In the future, we’ll be able to compare year over year, which will give us a better gauge.

We’re contented with our progress. As we look at our results, though, we can also see that there are a lot of things we could do:

  • We could do a proper linkbuilding campaign, which we haven’t yet done.
  • We could put more effort into social media, which is currently receiving minimal effort.
  • We could work to resolve the duplicate content issues between this site and our former education blog.
  • We could increase our efforts with multimedia, including our YouTube channel.
  • We could add a forum or other interactive options to the site, and in other ways court subscribers.

Take the time occasionally to check your website’s progress.  It’s likely to give you a nice to-do list for the following six months.






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