Creating Powerful Friends: Samurai’s Alexa Ranking Challenge

There’s a fun hypothesis saying that you are the average of the closest five people around you.  I believe this to be true, do you?  What’s interesting about the blogosphere community is that anybody with enough intention can start a website.  Some are interesting, some are not, but regardless we can all compete with the ProBloggers and the Huffington Posts of the web in our own niche way!

Alexa is a dynamic website ranking and information company owned by Amazon, which has over 40 million users world wide.  The tool bar is free, and easy to download.  The Yakezie Alexa Ranking Challenge is straight forward.  If you’re outside of the top 200,000, get in the top 200,000 within 6 months.  I can’t even name 100 sites, let alone 199,999 sites.  Can you?  If you’re already in the top 200,000, get in the top 100,000.  And if you’re already in the top 100,000, get in the top 50,000.

There are some who poo poo the Alexa ranking system, and I recognize their two main arguments:  1) The system only tracks visitors who have the Alexa Toolbar installed, and 2) There are cases where some websites with bazillions of users have a worse ranking than sites with less users.  We don’t know why, because we don’t fully know what goes into the calculations.  It may be because readers don’t visit and just read off their RSS.  That said, the Alexa ranking system continues to grow, and is the best system we got.  At least 40 million webmasters around the world think so, and there has to be something to it if Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube are ranked #1, #2, #3, and #4, respectively.

Since starting this site, I’ve been rejected as a guest poster, didn’t even get responded to, let alone make it as one of the 7 finalists for one site’s staff writer tryouts, denied admission to a personal finance blog network, and even got my first carnival submission rejected.  But through all the rejections, I took comfort in my friend, Alexa, who is always by my side motivating me to keep going.  I’m sure many of you have been rejected as well.  Here’s your chance to create our own network of powerful friends by joining in on the challenge!

BENEFITS OF BEING IN THE TOP 200,000

* You’ll get to compete for a spot on the top personal finance blogs list (Yakezie Network) and be on the first page Wise Bread’s Top 100 Personal Finance Blogs ranking. I’ve heard some publishers in the Top 100 don’t even bother to associate with others outside page 1.  Oh, the snobbery!  But seriously, if you’re on page one, opportunities start coming to you, because this list has become the default ranking in the community, and the default ranking in the community uses Alexa.  Remember the 80/20 rule.  There are 440+ on the list now and I’m sure it’ll just continue to grow.  The bigger the list grows, the harder it will be to reach the Top 100.

* Motivation.  Unless you’ve got an established blog already, writing gets very lonely and discouraging sometimes when not many people come to visit.  You might say you are writing for yourself and don’t care, but if that’s the case, why make your writing public?  Witnessing progress is fun!

* If you love books, you’ll get approached by authors and publicists looking to send you tons of free books to review and giveaway.  You may even get a catalog of a publisher’s entire library of books from which you can choose from.  In fact, you will have opportunities to sample many free products if you so choose.  You know how movie stars get all those goodie bags of stuff to sample at the Oscars even though they’re already rich and don’t need more free stuff?  It’s kinda like that, a virtuous cycle of people who provide mutual benefits.  If you someday wish to write a book, you now have direct access to the very people who reject hundreds of authors everyday!

* Advertisers will flock to you, and ask you to pimp things you’ve never heard of.  Some of them, could be gems, but many will be junk traps.  The Top 100,000 ranked sites on Alexa (top 0.25%) earn 72% of all revenue, hence you can potentially earn a good amount of lunch money from your site over time.  I have been very disinterested in advertising over the past the past six months, but I’ve recently had an “a-ha” moment.  Part of the money generated from this site will be donated to charity to help others more in need.

* Other big sites who never bother responding to you, suddenly take notice and give you the time of day.  Those comments you leave asking for feedback or help actually get addressed.   Cut them some slack though, because I’m sure they get inundated.  You can also join plenty of “exclusive” networks if you wish.

* If you want to earn a partial living as a staff writer, you have a much higher chance of getting accepted.  Furthermore guest posting and having others guest post on your site will be easier.

* You cultivate a competitive edge, get inspired and appreciate those who are way up the rankings.  I used to think watching golf on TV was extremely boring.  After I began hacking it up on my own, I now find watching golf extremely fascinating!  Same thing with a website.  You truly start to appreciate the marketing geniuses of some bloggers out there, and therefore strive to better yourself.

* Girls or guys, depending on your sex and preference, will love you when you say you have a “top” website at the bars.  For a brief moment, you can escape your mundane day job and pretend you are someone really important.  You could try saying, “Hi there good looking, I am the the CEO & Editor of X, America’s #1 personal finance site” for example, and you’ll immediately be whisked away into la la land.

TIPS ON BREACHING ALEXA TOP 200,000(Please share more if you have any!)

* Badge & Toolbar. Download and install the Alexa toolbar and put the badge on your site.   The Alexa toolbar is fascinating because it shows you so much detail about other sites you visit.  The badge will naturally peak interest as well.  The ranking is dynamic, and motivating.

* Content. Nothing else really matters, and that includes doing all that SEO stuff.  I had no idea what a site-map was, or what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) even stood for the first 4 months.  If you write something you feel strongly about, you’ll do great.  Try and write with a thesis.  Whether you are right or wrong is besides the point.  What’s more important is to get readers thinking about the topic at hand.  Write what you know, too, because if you try to fake it, people can tell.

* Content Length. Did you know that the average person spends just 7 seconds on a resume?  The point is that people have short attention spans, and if you write in huge paragraphs, with no breaks in the post for categories, you’ll likely lose readers.  After the 1,300th word, people’s eyes start glazing over, unless it’s superbly written.  This post violates this rule with 1,650 words, so I need to practice!

* Personality. Realize that you can’t please everybody all the time.  If you write with no thesis, no conclusion, no personal spin, then what’s really the point?  The great thing about the internet is that the market place is so huge, if our friends in America aren’t stopping by, maybe our friends from Australia will!

* Frequency. If you can post 2-4 times a week, that’s good enough!  You can try posting everyday, but you increase your chances of burn out, and you’re not getting maximum exposure for the articles you’ve written.   Notice how comments fade from your post after a new one comes, even though the older article is only a day or two old.  Instead, use the days off to visit other sites, comment, build relationships and let your articles percolate.

* Branding. Get an image that one can easily recognize as you.  Go to Gravatar.com, and use that image in many things you do.   There are a lot of Davids, Johns, and Jims in the community.  Instead, sign off as a variation of your site, or your site itself because nobody has a monopoly on your common name, and you may confuse others.

* Read & Comment. Actually read an entire post and get the concept.  If the post is too boring, skip it, but if it’s interesting enough, share your thoughts.  Comments inspire writers, because it shows that someone is listening.  There will be reciprocity.

* Twitter. Twitter is probably the best micro-blogging tool out there, which I don’t do enough because it’s off during the day.  I’m amazed how some have thousands of followers, and can also follow hundreds of people as well.  Make sure you have a widget that will allow others to retweet your content easily.

* Guest Post. I’ve only done only one guest post, and that was with Wise Bread six months ago.  I would have done another, but my second guest post got rejected because it was deemed too controversial.  Surprise!  Since then, I haven’t guest post for another site and have diverted all my attention here.  The rejected article hasn’t been published here just in case you’re wondering, but it will.  If you can write quality content on bigger blogs, while producing quality content on your own site, that’s probably the best way to go. 

Update: The rejected article is now up: “How To Get Your Super Motivated Boyfriend (SMB) To Marry You

* Promote Others. If you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel in the rankings,  be selfless and promote others relentlessly.  Even if you are doing OK for yourself, promote others freely.  That includes re-tweeting and highlighting other articles on your own site.  The higher ranked sites will be appreciative and eventually return the favor.

* Don’t Think About Making Money. Because it will likely take a year or so if you’re lucky to earn over $1,000/month from your blog, the money you receive may demotivate you.  As soon as you start writing for money, you start losing your soul and it’s not as fun.  Write what you want to write, and the money will come.

CONCLUSION

If you just focus on two things, focus on content and promoting others. We’ve taken the initiative to start something on our own, so we might as well give it our best shot.  Like all ventures, it’s not easy maintaining the intensity and team effort goes a long way.  If we’re all in the top 200,000 by summer, we’ll be quite an influential bunch!  Just think about all the things we can do.

Once you break your particular Alexa benchmark, you can officially call yourself a Yakezie (pronounced yah-KAY-zee, and not to be confused with Yakuza).  Fail to achieve your goal in six months and you don’t have to chop off your pinky!  Who’s in?

TO JOIN THE YAKEZIE ALEXA RANKING CHALLENGE

1) Install the Alexa toolbar if not already and comment what your current Alexa ranking is, so we can keep track.

2) Write consistently 2-4 times a week on your own site and consider guest posting around the community including on Yakezie.com to raise your profile.

3) Install the Yakezie Challenger Badge.

4) Announce on your blog that you have joined the Yakezie Challenge.

5) Selflessly promote others and build relationships.

6) Stay committed and consistent over the next 6 months!  Whether you are a huge blog or a start-up, everybody most go through a 6 month Challenge period to ensure that we build the best relationships possible.

7) Come introduce yourself on the Yakezie Challengers Forum and get to know your fellow Challengers and Members.

8) Once the 6-month challenge is over, let us know how far you’ve come in the forums, on your blog, and via an e-mail.  If you’ve developed good relationships, broken 200,000 in Alexa, and are ready for the next step, we will invite you to submit a form and write your Yakezie Member Post and become an official member.

Keiju,

Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

Follow on Twitter @FinancialSamura and subscribe to our RSS feed.

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

You can sign up to receive his articles via email or by RSS. Sam also sends out a private quarterly newsletter with information on where he's investing his money and more sensitive information.

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Comments

    • says

      Good stuff Joe! Definitely great for you to get back in the top 100. I find your analysis and insights on taxes extremely insightful! Your contribution to the “Be A Sloth and Don’t ROTH!” post was excellent.

  1. says

    I’d like to join the challenge if it’s not too late! Alexa toolbar installed, I just added the badge, and will do a quick post later to talk about joining!

  2. says

    I’m definitely late to the party, but I’m also up for the challenge. I’m weighing in currently at 578,098 with the Alexa toolbar installed. Thanks for the Challenge FS!

  3. says

    It would be extremely helpful if on the Yakezie challenge page it showed the last time it was updated. Being a new blogger it feels like I might be late to the game and that the Yakezie challenge has gone fallow.

    If I am wrong that’s great!

  4. says

    I’ve been observing the challenge from afar — and I know they say, “Better late than never!” — but I think I’ll put my nose to the grindstone and come back after I’ve got a few months under my belt. It’s very cool seeing how supportive of a community that’s been built up here. I’ll check back in after the 4th of July, see if I can keep up. ;)

    Blessings,
    Chris

  5. says

    Just joined the challenge. Put the badge up on my blog, and made the announcement!

    Better late than never, that echos what a few others say. I agree!

    I’m looking forward to being a part of this. All the best to everyone.
    .-= Squirrelers´s last blog ..Yakezie Challenge =-.

  6. WB Canada says

    I am way late to the party but count me in :) Hope I can help someone else in the process!

    Cheers!

  7. says

    I hope I’m still able to join. I put the badge up and I’m excited to get started. I’m currently ranked 1,059,759 and hope to reach 900,000 by July 4th. I look forward to getting to know everyone.
    .-= Kevin´s last blog ..Friday Night Likes =-.

  8. Ryu says

    This is interesting. I didn’t realise that Alexa ranks were so important to people. You just wonder how accurate these results are outside say the top 1000.

  9. says

    Coming really really late to the challenge. I have added the badge, installed the toolbar and also announced it in my blog.

    http://www.wealthinformatics.com/2010/05/29/joining-the-yakezie-challenge/

    I am currently ranked 7,773,156. Long way to go! Coming way late to the party, but better late than never I guess. I am super excited and proud to be part of this group. Looking forward to highlighting my fellow members posts and working together! Thanks for setting this up! Could someone tell me what else I should be doing?

      • says

        Thanks a lot for the welcome, Sam! I am glad I found this group!
        I have contacted Gred @ Eliminate the muda and Joel @ CCC as well. Could you tell me how to submit a carnival post or how to volunteer to host a carnival? I tried searching but couldn’t find it. Sorry!

  10. says

    I entered some information I do not want posted the the entire Internet, in response to questions on Alexa’s application form. Yeah, I know that was naive and I should’ve given them disinformation, but it’s a bit late now for the “don’t be stupid” response.

    The site allows you to change your contact information, but it doesn’t actually change it. Got any ideas, other than siccing a lawyer on them, for how to get these people to fix this?

    • says

      Hi Funny – I don’t quite understand what you’re asking? Alexa is revealing your private info? I’m sure if you get them on the phone, they’ll take it down, but I’ve never had to deal with any privacy issues with Alexa. They just have a website ranking algorithm.

  11. says

    Im joining the challenge. Im ranked 602,510 right now.

    I had issues installing the banner from the code given. doing so wiped out 3 of my widgets… they vanished. data lost. good thing I had backups. I had to ftp the banner to my site for it to work.

    lets see how this goes.

  12. says

    ok, so I only just found out about this and it is only 1 month until it’s done, but I will join anyway. I have been working hard on getting a better ranking, so this is great.

    I have been reading through so many of your blogs too and they are awesome. Lots of good advice and personal stories.

    My blog is about my goal to become a millionaire as a sahm of 2 within 5 yrs. The ultimate goal is actually higher, but $1,000,000 seemed more achieveable and has a nice ring to it, lol.
    .-= 1milchallenge´s last blog ..9 Things I’ve had to learn the hard way =-.

  13. says

    w00t! I’m in! Talk about jumping on the bandwagon as it’s rolling away! Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, Jackie at Money Crush, and Mrs. Accountability have all been urging me to join…hope it’s not too late!

    When I installed the Alexa Toolbar, FaM’s Alexa rating was a little over 235,000. Today it’s at 212,377. Can’t wait to see that number drop into the five-digits.

    BTW, Sam– Alexa finally changed the data in its settings that I inadvertently published to the entire galaxy. It takes two or three days for changes to take effect.

  14. says

    I just joined the challenge. I’ve been watching it for a while and it is definitely working.

    I wish I would have read the comments about installing the badge and having all your text widgets disappear before I tried to install the badge. Oh well, I had been needing to update my widgets anyway. Downloading the image to my computer and hosting it on my site works.

    My current Alexa ranking is 444,332. That is about 100,00 higher than it was last week. It should rank even higher now that I’ve joined the challenge.
    .-= Andy Hough´s last blog ..I Joined the Yakezie Challenge =-.

  15. says

    Hello! I posted a question earlier about having issues with the Yakezie badge on my site. I have tried many workarounds and such and cannot get it to work without deleting my text widgets. Mr. Samurai, can I please join even if I can’t put the badge on my page? Please? I promise to follow all the rules of the Yakezie!!

    Thanks
    Kris

  16. says

    Well, I too am late in the game in joining the challenge today. My blog is about saving money, going green, and having fun. I really do appreciate any of your help in getting my Alexa count up as well as my subscribers. I currently even have a subscriber challenge which any of you can enter. My current Alexa count as of today is 1, 722, 015. I post the PEP (Prairie EcoThrifter Picks) every Friday which include all the great personal finance and frugal reads of the week that I have had a chance to check out. It is my way of supporting fellow bloggers. I wish you all the best of luck and thanks for letting me participate.

  17. says

    I am finally joining the challenge!! At the moment my blog is at 337,894…

    The toolbar has been installed and I’m placing the badge on my site right now. I’m excited to use the challenge as a new source of motivation to keep me focused…and I’m looking forward to interacting with other participating bloggers as much as possible.

    Thanks Sam!

    • says

      Hey Earl – Sounds good man. Welcome to the club. We’re looking forward to your insights as a lifestyler! Make sure to contact Greg at Eliminate the Muda to join the Google Groups. Cheers, Sam

  18. says

    Hello,

    I’ve joined the challenge with MaximizingMoney.com and am excited to participate.

    My current Alexa rank is 162,558, and I’m hoping to get that into the top 100,000.

    I’ve installed the Alexa toolbar and I’ve installed the Yakezie badge on my site (see right side-bar toward bottom).

    I’ve also just posted about joining the challenge on my blog.

    I regularly Tweet, Stumble, etc. other finance blogs and will continue to do so, plus I’d be glad to participate in any other way possible if anybody is interested, please feel to contact me through my blog.

    Thank you so much and looking forward to joining the top 100,000.

    Max

  19. says

    I have been allowed in to the Yakezie Challenge, even though I cannot get the badge to work properly (therefore, it is not on my site).

    When I started following the principles of the Yakezie on May 7th, my Alexa rank was 632,075. When I wrote the Yakezie intro post on my site today (http://everydaytipsandthoughts.com/commentary/happy-fathers-day-and-i-am-now-a-member-of-the-yakezie/), my rank was 203,076.

    Thanks in advance to anyone that stops by my site. I have so enjoyed visiting other Yakezie member blogs.

  20. says

    I know it’s late, but I just joined the challenge. What’s the best way to promote other blogs on my site?? My Alexa Ranking as of today June 21, 2010 is 2,378,181 so I have a LOOOONG way to go.

  21. says

    So curious – where do we stand on the challenge? It’s after July 4 – are we continuing on?

    If not, I appreciated the challenge, no question. :) I just wonder about our Alexa rankings at this point: if we all visited each other’s blogs with our toolbars intact, etc., that’s great, right? But isn’t it artificial rank-inflation that would necessarily end when the challenge ended? The average Joe reading our blogs probably doesn’t have the toolbar installed… right? :\

    I’ll be curious to see what others of you think – this has been crazy-helpful and instructional for me, but I’m curious about the long-term benefits (if there are any) and how to keep our mojo, well… mojo’ing. :)

    • says

      Hi Sue, post coming up next week. It’s all about relationship building. Hopefully you have built some good relationships over the couse of the challenge, which should help propel you forward. Stay tuned.

  22. says

    I am one of those that started blogging a while ago, but got off track and took some time off. I am back to blogging semi-regularly and looking forward to the challenge.

    Current stats show that I have a 629,450 world wide ranking and 141,435 US ranking. Will post my ‘coming out’ article this week.

  23. says

    I would love to be a part of this challenge. I thought it was too late until I read the recap and see that it is just beginning!

    When I first installed the toolbar (sometime last week, I think) my rank was 1,704,000 (rounding the last 3 digits). Today it is 828,363.

  24. says

    What a powerful and compelling post! You kept my attention right through to the end. You’re so right about the money. You can’t care about it. What’s really interesting is that as soon as you give up trying so hard to meet financial goals, the money starts coming in faster. What could be better than that? The more fun you have at your job, the more money you make! The hard part is surviving the first two years financially. While not signing up on the challenge, I’ll definitely be installing the toolbar and watching your progress!

  25. says

    Hi,

    I just wanted to give you a quick update. Last week we signed up for the Alexa challenge with a very poor 10,000,000 ranking. This week we’re at 3,595,786, a massive improvement. Thanks to everyone who has visited our site.

    Aside from visiting the blogs of the people who have commented here, is there anything else we should be doing?

    Thanks.

    Please follow us on Twitter: SEOpod

  26. says

    All very good tips. Really, the more you give, the more that comes back to you. Think about this when looking for opportunities, guest posting, etc.

    It’s tough, but if you stick with it, you will get there! It’s hard to be EVERYWHERE, but that’s what it takes to make it to the op. I would also add to make a list of sites that you like that are related to yours, and visit them at the very least, once a week, and comment often. They will eventually take notice and you will notice your stats go higher and higher.

  27. says

    Just saw this challenge after reading Budgeting in the Fun Stuff! I’m a new blogger in the PF community, but I’m in! Thanks for the inspiration and continued success to you and all the 1st pagers on the Wisebread Top 100. I hope to be there sooner than later so look out! :)

  28. says

    There are some absolutely great tips here – I too should use twitter more and i had totally forgot about the widget to “re-tweet” – must get on that…thanks for posting!

  29. says

    Joined the Yakezie challenge a while ago, and it is an awesome motivation boost.

    A lot of people are far more willing to help me out because I am a Yakezie member, as well, so it’s an all-around good thing.

    When I started, I was a long ways down at 12,000,000 or so. Since then, I moved to 6,000,000, and now, I’m at just over 2 million, and I actually have links in!

    • says

      Sounds great bsimple! Welcome to the challenge! I think you’re going to find it a great experience and meet a lot of great people. Going to write an updatee on Yakezie.com on Wed, Aug 18th so stay tuned. In the meantime, hope to see you around the network and building relationships!

  30. says

    Thanks again for stopping by my site, Sam!

    I thought about joining a while back but didn’t. I did start following the suggestions though and bumped up my Alexa ranking a good bit. But I’m officially joining now, and my Alexa ranking is at 225,269 today. I’ll announce it on my site this Friday!

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