There are two ways to measure popularity. How many people are viewing the content, and how many people are taking advantage of, or using, the content.
For business, or even easier, e-commerce sites, this makes things pretty easy. On the one hand, you have to track people as they visit the site - how many people are coming to the site? A good stats program will tell you all about this.
Secondly, how many people are making purchases? If the e-commerce site allows people to make a purchase online, they also have an idea of how often people use their site to make a purchase. If the site is only a front-end for a brick and mortar business, then things are a little more tricky.
An aside to this is the fact that it is possible for a brick and mortar business to gauge the usefulness of a site that is merely for information purposes. A different phone number could be used online to track how many people call the company because of the site. Coupons or codes could be available online that, when printed off or remembered, could be used for a discount at the store.
We can open this further and bring in sites that don't sell a product, but rather offer one for free. For example, the browser Firefox. Mozilla, the group behind Firefox, has the habit of tracking how many times the browser has been downloaded. However, the site also provides information, by way of (support) forums.
If you run a site that doesn't sell a product, either directly or indirectly, it's a little tougher to determine how popular a site is. On the one hand, you can still use stats to track unique visitors and page views.
Tonight I'll be finishing this discussion with ways that personal sites can track popularity, and share how 'popular' the StrivingLife.net network pages are.
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