You might think you have a website, but is it really a website, or just a domain?
Many people install WordPress, and think they have a website. They do not.
Compare it with the traditional business world. If you buy premises, install your plant and machinery, and make your products, do you have a business? No, you have a business address. Without customers you do not have a business, and without visitors you do not have a website.
In my Install WordPress guidelines, I state that you do not really have a website until you have 50 to 60 pages. This is a general rule, and a working website might happen with less pages, if you intend to pay for advertising to attract a market. Some online businesses require more pages before they can perform effectively in the chosen marketplace. I’ll leave the details of the target number of pages for a planning article. For this article I want to focus on how to measure the number of pages we have achieved.
When we reach our target number of pages, we are just about ready to move from installing WordPress to improving website traffic. It is a critical point in our online business development. It is the point where we know we have more than a domain name. We have a website. For your website, the exact point is determined by your intentions. That is why I place such emphasis on making your intentions clear from the outset. With 50 pages, you can review your website purpose statement and see if you are likely to reap the rewards you anticipated.
If you chose the organic growth option, you can assess your current market potential and judge if the project is feasible, or scrap it and start afresh.
Now, you might think that the page count is simple. Just add the number of WordPress posts to the number of WordPress pages, and you have your total count. Perhaps you want to add attachment pages, and custom post formats such as forum pages or ecommerce product pages. Actually, no.
It is important only to count effective pages. That is pages that your target audience can see. If your audience can’t see a page, it might as well not exist. Fortunately, it is easy to count effective pages using Google Webmaster Tools (GWT).
By default, when you launch GWT Search Queries, you see a snapshot of the latest 30 days. This rolling month snapshot is an ideal place to measure the effectiveness of your pages. You will see that I use this data for several aspects of planning new content and improving existing content. The most important use of GWT data is to determine when you change your domain name into a viable website.
It’s great to see a domain turning into a website, but it is also useful to know some of the secrets of page count measurement. Counting effective pages means you can identify failures early, and push yourself to install a successful website.
In the next article, I’ll look at measuring page count in more detail.