Top sites on the Web

Like the Neilsen ratings for television or Ebert and Roeper for the movies, determining the best of what’s on the Web is a nebulous thing. And, like movies and television, the number of people using different Web sites is important because it helps companies decide where to put their advertising dollars – the impetus behind the Internet – and, conversely, helps Web sites decide how much to charge advertisers.

Since 1996, a company by the name of Alexa ( has been tracking Web traffic, listing the top overall sites, both overall and on a daily basis. If you are connected to a Web site and want to see how you are positioned compared to other similar sites, this is the place to go.

Alexa also tracks sites in specific categories, such as news, business, sports, entertainment, etc., for easier comparison.

The site uses several criteria to rank sites, and also offers its own toolbar service, allied with Google, which allows you to browse the most popular Web sites, as well as check out what sites are on their way up and what sites are on their way out. This is a great way to follow trends, and learn about new sites.

To use Alexa to find out where a site ranks – assuming it’s not on the daily top 500 list – type the name of a site in the toolbar titled Search the Web and hit "Go". Alexa will bring you to an overview of the site.

The information available includes an overview of traffic on a daily basis; visitor numbers averaged over three months; a look at other sites visited by people who visited the site in question; a list of links to and from the site in question; and contact/publisher information for that site.

Having a quick look at various Whistler sites, Whistler-Blackcomb ( led the way, and ranked 45,125 th over the past three months. During the winter months, the site ranks in the top 10,000., Tourism Whistler’s portal, is currently ranked 72,553 rd , although it is also ranked as high as the low 40,000’s in the last three months. It should also rank higher in the winter months, although there isn’t much data from the past year because it’s a new site, replacing, a privately-owned portal for Whistler visitors, is currently ranked 54,658 th , although it has been ranked considerably higher – under 20,000 at different times of the year, with more than 40 per cent growth in the last three months.

Of all the Whistler sites I looked up, the highest rated was at While this isn’t a Whistler site per se – more of an international snowboard community site – I thought I’d give props to site creator Rick Godwin.

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