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Category: Tools

Stay Fit With xFit

27 February, 2008 (13:38) | Life, Tools | By: Nick Dalton

Most Internet business entrepreneurs spend a majority of their time in front of a computer. It is important for both your health and your productivity to get some exercise into your daily routine. But you don’t always have access to a gym or other exercise equipment.

I know you have heard all this before and you’re probably paying as much attention to me now as you did the other times someone told you to exercise more. So why am I telling you this? I’m one of the developers behind a cool little program called xFit. It’s a complete workout program in your phone. It contains 50 exercises that use your body weight as the resistance. No equipment is needed.

Incidentally one of the company founders is currently in Antarctica. Down there it’s obviously a little bit hard to get to the local gym. And bringing your own Bowflex or Stairmaster is not really an option either. Here’s a picture of Joel doing one of the xFit body weight exercises in a very remote location:

Joel exercising in Antartica with xFit

To check out if xFit is available for your phone and to download a free trial of xFit goto: www.mobileXware.com

If you decide to purchase the program, use the promo code “nick” and you’ll get a 20% discount. I’m not sure how long they’re going to run this “friends and family” promotion, so if you’re interested in a new and easy way to get some exercise into your daily routine, check it out now.

Personalize Headlines and Landing Pages with AWeber

15 February, 2008 (11:01) | Tools | By: Nick Dalton

I was listening to to Eric Graham’s excellent Headline Testing Secrets Webinar the other day. One thing he pointed out was that personalizing a headline or a landing page has a very positive effect on your conversion rate. That got me thinking. It’s easy to use the personal information recorded by AWeber combined with some code on your landing page to create a personalized page. Here’s how you do it.

This is an example of an AWeber link with several personal information fields added as parameters:
http://www.tipstrickstoolstechniques.com/aweber/personalize.php?n={!firstname_fix}&e={!email}&c={!geog_city}&r={!geog_region}&o={!geog_country}

Use the “Personalization Field” drop-down in AWeber when you’re composing your message to insert the special {! } codes. The exact spelling of these codes is important. But the names of the URL parameters are arbitrary. I like to keep them short, hence the “n”, “e”, “c” and “r” in the example above. If “name” makes more sense to you, then use that. Just make sure that the names you use in the email match what your landing page is expecting.

Since this link is pretty long an unsightly it’s best used with HTML emails. The complete HTML link may look like this:

<p>Check out <a href="http://www.tipstrickstoolstechniques.com/aweber/personalize.php?n={!firstname_fix}&e={!email}&c={!geog_city}&r={!geog_region}&o={!geog_country}">this page</a>.</p>

On your landing page you need to grab these URL parameters and insert them into your text. Here’s an example using PHP:

<html>
<head>
<title>Welcome <?php print $_GET['n'] ?></title>
</head>
<body>
<h1><?php print isset($_GET['n']) ? $_GET['n'] : 'You' ?> may be missing sales every day...</h1>
<p>Internet business entrepreneurs in <?php print isset($_GET['r']) ? $_GET['r'] : 'your state' ?> are already using our system to improve their business.</p>
<p><?php print isset($_GET['n']) ? $_GET['n'] . ', will' : 'Will' ?> you be the first in <?php print isset($_GET['c']) ? $_GET['c'] : 'your city' ?> to take advantage of this new system?</p>
<p>Thousands of customers all over <?php print isset($_GET['o']) ? $_GET['o'] : 'your country' ?> cannot be wrong...</p>
</body>
</html>

And this is what the customer would see when they click on the link in the email:

Nick may be missing sales every day…
Internet business entrepreneurs in CO are already using our system to improve their business.
Nick, will you be the first in Denver to take advantage of this new system?
Thousands of customers all over United States cannot be wrong…

The isset code is used to display a default alternative should the parameter not be set. This way you can use the same landing page for other traffic sources than emails sent by AWeber. Here’s what the page looks like without any URL parameters:

You may be missing sales every day…
Internet business entrepreneurs in your state are already using our system to improve their business.
Will you be the first in your city to take advantage of this new system?
Thousands of customers all over your country cannot be wrong…

You can also use this technique to pre-populate a form. The code looks like this:

<form method="POST" action="#">
<table>
<tr><td>Name</td><td><input name="name" value="<?php print $_GET['n'] ?>"/></td></tr>
<tr><td>Email</td><td><input name="email" value="<?php print $_GET['e'] ?>"/></td></tr>
</table>
</form>

Now all the customer has to do is click the submit button to sign-up to whatever you’re selling. Some customers may find this level of personalization too creepy. So you’d have to test it to make sure it doesn’t hurt your conversion. Or you can take it even further. Add a little bit more code to the page and you can have it autosubmit if the right parameters are passed in on the URL. The customer would see a link in the email like “Click here to sign-up to this free webinar”, and when she clicks on the link, the page shown would be the thank you page saying “Thank you Jane for signing up”.

Note that there are a couple of drawbacks with this technique:

  • You cannot combine personalized links with AWeber’s link tracking.
  • If you add an email address inside a link, that gives you a 0.4 penalty in Spam Assassin.
  • Always test any changes against a control. Personalization is no exception. In some markets it will likely increase your conversion, but in others it may very well turn off some of your customers.

This was the second preview from the upcoming special report on AWeber Tips and Tricks. Sign-up to the blog notification list (by the big pointing hand in the top-right of this page) to receive a special offer when the report is released.

4 Reasons Why You Should Always Send HTML Emails From Your Autoresponder

29 January, 2008 (17:04) | Testing, Tools | By: Nick Dalton

1. Tracking

Unless you send your emails as HTML most autoresponder services cannot report how many of your emails were opened by their recipients. I know that this tracking is not very accurate since many email clients block the tracking image or HTML. But we’re not primarily interested in absolute numbers; trends are more important.

Here are some important findings you can learn from the tracking data:

  • If fewer and fewer of your emails are being opened over time or as your autoresponder series progresses, then you are probably not providing enough value in your emails for your readers.
  • The subject line of an email is your sales letter that tries to convince the recipient to open the email. Look at your subject lines together with the percentage of recipients who opened the email. This will help you craft better subject lines.
  • What is the optimal frequency of sending emails to your list? Keep an eye on the open rate to get early warnings of email fatigue.

2. Real Links

Instead of having to resort to text like http://www.something.com/page.html and hoping that the email client will automagically convert the text to a clickable link, you can create normal HTML links just like you do on your web site.

With normal HTML links it’s easier to embed web analytics tracking code. It looks better and you don’t have to worry about the link text breaking across two lines.

3. Looks Better

Hard line breaks made sense in the 60’s and maybe the 70’s when terminals had a fixed character width. But who has a screen these days that can only display 65 characters per line?

Even my phone displays HTML emails better than preformatted text with hard line breaks. Lines and paragraphs flow they way they should, and don’t suddenly break off in the middle of the screen.

With HTML you can use headlines and emphasize text without having to resort to ALL CAPS, stars or other unreadable characters. Would you have made it this far in this post if there were no headlines or other normal typographical items to rest your eyes on?

4. Branding

Without going overboard with HTML you can add the color scheme of your website to your emails, reinforcing your brand identity. If you decide to add your logo or any other images make sure that the email looks ok without the images since many email clients block images by default.

In a world where 99% of the marketers only send you plain text messages you have a chance to stand out with professional looking emails.

Example

To see a very simple example, sign up to the email notification list in the top right corner of this page. Each time I publish a new blog post you will receive an HTML announcement email.

Are you sending your autoresponder emails as HTML? Why not?

Does RaSof Really Help You Rank Better?

8 January, 2008 (11:35) | Search Engines, Tools | By: Nick Dalton

I didn’t get any questions over the weekend to answer, so I’m going to address the elephant in the room: Does RaSof really help you rank better? In a world full of bad SEO advice, is RaSof just another product based on hearsay and witchcraft?

James Brausch often points out the fact that he ranks very well for the competitive phrase “internet business”, and he credits that achievement to RaSof. This blog is not nearly as well known as JamesBrauch.com and it doesn’t have close to as many backlinks, so I figured this would be a really good case study of the power of just on-page ranking factors. Before writing this post, the RaSof score for the home page of this blog is 1,274 for the infamous keywords “internet business”. If you have rApogee you can quickly check the scores for the top ranking sites for this phrase. You will find that 1,274 is a very high score.

So this site has very few incoming links, it doesn’t have any of the keywords “internet business” in the URL, but the home page is optimized with RaSof. What did I achieve with this? I’m on the second page of Google for this very competitive search:

internet business Google page 2 ranking

And I’m on the first page of Google in the Philippines and Nigeria… There may be more good rankings out there, but I don’t go around looking for them. I have noticed all these stats just by monitoring my web analytics. Google is already sending me lots of free traffic and I can tell that it’s because of my natural ranking for “internet business”. Keep in mind that a good search engine ranking is pointless in itself. Your goal is to get traffic.

James Brausch received 1,636 free visitors from Google in November, mostly due to his first page ranking for “internet business”. How much would 1,636 new visitors to your web site each month be worth to you? If you had to get these visitors using Google AdWord you would have to pay at least $0.41 per click for an ad on the first page of the search results for “internet business”.

Obviously you can use rApogee and RaSof to optimize your web pages for any keywords. You are likely to have even faster success with keywords that are less competitive. I choose “internet business” for this experiment because it seems more worthwhile than coolest guy on the planet, and it is also happens to be the topic of this blog.

If you are new to this blog you may be confused by the references to rApogee and RaSof. Basically rApogee is a product that helps you use RaSof. Here’s what one of my readers who just started using rApogee has to say:

Thanks for rApogee. It makes using RaSof so much easier. I used it yesterday and got my score over 1400 and there are still a few tweaks I could make to get it even higher.

Checkout Aaron’s blog about online business. With a score of 1,400 I expect that we’ll see him rocket up the rankings for those keywords very soon.

Note: By the time you read this blog entry, my rankings in Google will most likely have changed. Writing about your ranking and especially explaining what you did to achieve it usually has a detrimental effect on your ranking. Using these simple tools everyone will be gunning for a top listing for “internet business”.

There is also a fourth ranking factor at work here. One I haven’t written about yet. But more about that next week.

If you found this blog post useful please link to it from your blog. That will give me a little boost in the off-page ranking factors. Thanks!

PS. Get a free copy of rApogee. I have decided to extend the Holiday Season to January 25, 2008. If you have not yet picked up your rApogee Christmas gift (and if you did receive something in your stocking from James Brausch) then go here.

Question Time: rApogee And Search Engine Ranking

5 January, 2008 (07:42) | Search Engines, Tools | By: Nick Dalton

Here’s how it works:

You ask me any question you would like about rApogee and ranking better in search engines.

Before you ask a question please read my recent posts on this topic:

If you ask the best question, I’ll send you a copy of James Brausch’s “Life Management 101“. I choose the best question and it is entirely arbitrary and what I personally think is the best question.

You can ask your question in a comment below or by posting to your own blog and linking back to this blog entry. I’ll answer questions in a post on this blog on Monday.

I Have A Great RaSof Score – How Come I’m Not On The First Page Of Google?

4 January, 2008 (11:33) | Search Engines, Tools | By: Nick Dalton

This is the fourth installment of the RaSof/rApogee mini-tutorials. You can read the previous posts here:

First keep in mind that RaSof only deals with on-page ranking factors. In addition to the HTML on your page, search engines also consider the URL of your page and other web pages linking to you. According to James Brausch on-page ranking factors account for about 40% of your search engine ranking. 40% is huge and these are factors that you have direct and immediate control over. That is why RaSof and rApogee are such powerful tools. But even if you maximize the on-page ranking factors for your page, other web pages can still rank ahead of you based on their domain/URL and link factors.

Side Note: You can score your URL using the software Nemeas.

The second issue to keep in mind is time. Even if you make changes to your home page today, it’s going to take Google a while to index the new page. And it’s going to take even longer for Google to update the ranking of your web site based on the latest crawl. The Google ranking algorithm is very complex and it involves checking other web sites that link to yours to determine the relevancy and authority of those web sites for each query. The entire Google ranking system cannot be recomputed every day (not even with Google’s massive resources). Therefore you will see your ranking fluctuate day by day as different parts of the ranking system is recomputed. If you consistently apply the recommendations of RaSof and rApogee, as well as take action to get incoming links to your page, you should see your ranking improve over time.

This concludes my mini-tutorial series. No doubt you still have questions about search engine rankings and the softwares RaSof and rApogee. Therefore, tomorrow I will have an open question time where you can ask me any question on this topic. All questions will be answered on Monday and there will be a prize for the best question. Before you ask a question please check out James Brausch’s recent answers on the ranking topic. Your question may already have been answered.

How Do You Improve Your RaSof Score (And Thus Your Search Engine Ranking)?

3 January, 2008 (11:05) | Search Engines, Tools | By: Nick Dalton

Yesterday you learned what the RaSof results meant. Today we’ll build on that knowledge and learn how to increase your RaSof score. If you have not already done so please download my product rApogee – my Christmas gift to you. It will be very useful in this exercise.

In yesterday’s example you noticed that the page had a ranking factor score of -10 for a keyword count of 12 for the page. That seems like a score that is low hanging fruit for improvement. If having the keywords exist 12 times on a page results in a negative score, then there are probably values that are positive. Look at google-page.txt for the various entries “Does having a keyword count of x for the page affect ranking?”. And find the one which has the high score as the first number on the “Data” line. This is what I found:

Q. Does having a keyword count of 18 for the page affect ranking?
A. No; It does not significantly affect ranking.
Data: +32 7 3 6 5 3 5 6 2

Just by adding the keywords to the page 6 more times for a total of 18 will increase the score for this ranking factor from -10 to +32. That’s a good improvement and probably pretty easy to do.

However, the best value for this particular ranking factor is:

Q. Does having a keyword count of more than 50 for the page affect ranking?
A. Yes; It increases ranking.
Data: +92 123 100 95 95 93 81 81 77

For the best search engine ranking benefit you should have your keywords appear more than 50 times on a page. Now this is more of a challenge. How do you work in your keywords more than 50 times into your text without it sounding like gibberish? If you can that’s great. If not, then just focus on some of the other ranking factors. Keep in mind that search engine ranking is not a goal in itself. What you want is customers who buy your products. If they find your web site through a top listing in a search engine, but they get turned off by the text on the web site because it suffers from keyword stuffing, then you haven’t gained anything.

Locating the right entry in the ranking factors data files and correlating it back to the RaSof results can be rather time consuming. That is one of the reasons I wrote rApogee. If you’re using rApogee all you have to do is look in column E to see the value of the ranking factor. Just scan the rows to find the one with the highest value. That’s your target.

rApogee ranking factor scores in column E

There are a couple of things to keep in mind while you’re doing this process:

  1. Adjusting your page for one ranking factor can have an impact on another factor. For example if you were to add your keywords to your page 50 times it’s very likely that the page would get longer. Total page length is another ranking factor.
  2. Make small changes at a time and note the new total RaSof score after each change.
  3. If you are optimizing a blog, keep in mind that the content of the blog home page changes each time you write another post. Therefore you should not pay too much attention to ranking factors like number of keywords on the page. Focus instead on elements of the page that do not change with each new post: the page title tag, and anything you have in your page header.

Here’s an extreme example of how a small change can make a large impact on your score due to the compounded effect of multiple ranking factors. Say you want to rank for the keywords “golf bags”. If you change your title tag on the page to be just “golf bags”, nothing else, then this is the RaSof score you would get for just that one item:

  • KeywordExists: +71
  • KeywordBeginning: +78
  • KeywordEnd: +42
  • KeywordCount of 1: +35
  • KeywordCount of 1-10: +71
  • KeywordDensity of 91-100%: +32
  • SectionLength of 1-9 characters: +67

For a grand total of +421 !

Where do you start?

My recommendation is that you tackle the page elements in this order:

  1. Title
  2. KeywordsMeta
  3. DescriptionMeta
  4. Head – Optimizing the first three items will often give you a good score for the Head section too.
  5. FirstAlt – If you have an image in your page header this is easy.
  6. Page and Body – Your page presumably already contains your keyword multiple times, so this should just be a matter of tweaking the number of keywords.

Another important tip

Until you’re comfortable working with rApogee and RaSof, do your changes and experiments on a test page. Make a copy of the page you’re trying to optimize and call it www.yoursite.com/test.html. RaSof can score any web page that is publicly available. When you’re happy with the RaSof score then copy the page back to its original location. You can even create multiple copies, e.g. test1.hml, test2.html, where you keep a copy of the highest scoring page and then try to beat it.

Side Note: This is like the method you use in Glyphius to refine your headlines to ever increasing scores. Note that James Brausch is currently running a 24-hour special on Glyphius and Glyphius 2007. The price is now $100 instead of the regular $300. After the 24-hour special Glyphius will no longer be for sale by James Brausch.

What Do The Results In RaSof Mean?

2 January, 2008 (15:37) | Search Engines, Tools | By: Nick Dalton

Some of you who received James Brausch’s generous Christmas gift of a subscription to RaSof, may be struggling with how to use the service. RaSof is a very powerful tool. And I remember that I was puzzled when I first tried to use it.

This is the first post in a series of mini-tutorials on how to use RaSof and my companion product rApogee. As a reminder you can still get rApogee for free as my Christmas gift to you.

On the first page of RaSof (and rApogee) you need to enter the URL of the page you want to score and the keyword(s) you want your ranking score for. (If you don’t know what keywords you should select for your web site, then read my Concise Guide To Keyword Research.)

Finally you need to select a search engine. Since each search engine has a different algorithm for ranking web pages, the score that RaSof calculates will differ depending on the search engine you selected. A consequence of the different algorithms is that it’s very difficult to get one web page to rank very well in all three search engines. My recommendation is that you start with Google since they typically refer the most traffic. Once you’re done with optimizing your page for Google, then you can create separate web pages and optimize them for Yahoo and MSN separately.

The results you get back from RaSof look something like this:
RaSof results for internet business

Each of the almost 1,500 lines on this web page corresponds to one entry in the Ranking Factors data that you received with the RaSof subscription. The first line on the results page in the image above reads:
Section  Variable       Score
Page     KeywordExists  53

This corresponds to the first entry in google-page.txt, which looks like this:
Q. Does having the keyword exist within the page affect ranking?
A. Yes; It increases ranking.
Data: +53 353 346 349 342 342 343 344 340

What RaSof does is examine your web page and search for the keyword(s) you entered to see if they exist “within the page”. In this example the keywords “internet business” did exist at least once on www.jamesbrauch.com. RaSof therefore added +53 (the first value in the Ranking Factor “Data” row) to your total score.

Continuing on the next line, RaSof did not find “internet business” at the beginning of the page (”KeywordBeginning”) so no score was added for that ranking factor. Further down RaSof determined that “internet business” existed 12 times on the page. Unfortunately that resulted in a ranking factor score of -10.
Q. Does having a keyword count of 12 for the page affect ranking?
A. No; It does not significantly affect ranking.
Data: -10 5 10 6 8 4 9 8 8

Flipping back and forth between the RaSof results and the Ranking Factors data can be a bit time consuming. Therefore in rApogee all you have to do is hover over the variable name and a tool tip is shown with the Ranking Factors explanation.

rApogee Tooltip shows Ranking Factors data

This process continues all the way down to the end of all the ranking factors where a total score is presented. Now this score does not have any real meaning other then a higher number is better. James Brauch currently has a score of 947 for the keywords “internet business”. This is a very high score and it has contributed to his first page ranking in Google. On other not so competitive search terms you can probably achieve a first page ranking with a much lower RaSof score. What’s important is that your score is higher than your competition.

Of course you can, and should, analyze your competitor’s web pages with RaSof. From this you can learn what your competitors have done to optimize their web pages and what you can do better. You can also try different keywords to find some that are not as competitive for ranking well.

In rApogee you can enter more than one URL to analyze at a time. The results for each URL will be presented in separate columns so that you can easily compare the results against each other. Alternatively if you want to compare your web site against the top 10 web sites for a particular keyword then all you have to do is specify this in rApogee and the program will automagically retrieve the top 10 search results from the search engine you specified, and then compute the RaSof scores for each one.

Got iPhone?

20 December, 2007 (12:24) | General, Tools | By: Nick Dalton

If you’re a seasoned iPhone owner you know that behind the shiny surface and the slick user interface there are many unexplored features hiding.

Did you know for example that you can increase your speed of typing on the iPhone keyboard significantly using this simple “Shift and Hold” trick:

Most keys don’t register your keystroke until you lift your finger. However the Shift and Punctuation keys are exceptions that you can use to your advantage.

  1. To type a punctuation character, tap and hold the punctuation key (.?123)
  2. The punctuation keyboard appears.
  3. Drag your finger to the desired punctuation key.
  4. Lift your finger.
  5. The keyboard returns to the alphabet layout.

How could you know that? There are no hints in the user interface that might lead you to discovering this trick. As it happens I have a shortcut for you to discover this trick, and one hundred other useful tips and tricks about the iPhone.

I just finished writing an ebook called “101 iPhone Tips and Tricks“.

If you’re getting/giving an iPhone as a gift this holiday season, do yourself and the recipient a favor: get the ebook as a companion for the iPhone. It will save you a lot of time and headaches. And it will allow you to get the most out of the iPhone.

Looking for a last minute holiday gift? The ebook doesn’t require any shipping. You can download it immediately at the last minute. But don’t wait too long. You will want to take advantage of the special holiday pricing before it expires. Here’s the URL:

http://www.iPhoneTipsTricks.com

How to install a web analytics tool the right way

28 September, 2007 (13:20) | Testing, Tools, WordPress | By: Nick Dalton

Welcome to the first installment in the Tracking, Testing and Tweaking Your Web Site series. If you haven’t yet suggested topics you’d like to see covered in the future, it’s not too late to do so.

In this first article I’m going to cover installing a web analytics program for your web site. This is the first tool that you should to get into place to track your visitors. Even if you’re already using Google Analytics or a similar tool, please read on as there are some important tips in this article that will help you later on.

Web Analytics Tools

Your web hosting account probably came with a web statistics tool like Webalizer or AWstats. These tools can show you some statistics about your visitors and their page views, but they do not track visitor behavior very well. So ignore those tools.

The “installation” of most modern web analytics programs consist of adding a little piece of JavaScript code to each web page on your site. Since this code needs to go on every page most vendors recommend that you place it in the footer of your site (assuming that you have a footer file that is included on all web pages). There is another reason for placing the code at the end of the page: The JavaScript code takes some time to execute and if it’s at the bottom of the page the visitor will be able to view and read the full web page while the browser is processing the web analytics JavaScript. However if you want to do some more advanced web analytics, installing the JavaScript at the end of the page is sometimes the wrong thing to do. More about that later.

I suggest you use two different web analytics tools: one simple tool for real time information and another one for more advanced analytics. Real time information can be useful to react to abnormal traffic. For example: Last week one of my old blog posts became popular on StumbleUpon and I received over 500 visitors within a few hours. While it was a good blog post, it didn’t have any affiliate links. So I quickly added a few to capitalize on the traffic surge.

There are many, many web analytics tools to chose from. The simple tools have similar basic web analytics features and offer detailed data on the last 100 – 500 page views for free. If you want a larger buffer you have to pay a monthly fee. (Obviously if you’re receiving 10,000 page views per day then 500 is only going to last you an hour or so which is probably not all that useful.) The advantage with these simple tools is that the data is shown practically in real time. You can literally follow along as visitors are surfing your site. Not that this is good use of your time…

StatCounter

The simple web analytics tool that I use is StatCounter. Sign up for a free account and then answer a few questions about your site. Of these questions there are a few that are significant: Make sure that you add your own IP address to the IP Blocking section so that your own page views on the site are not included in the stats. StatCounter helpfully displays your current IP address next to the entry window, e.g. 76.81.54.162. If your ISP doesn’t give you a static IP address you can block out a whole range of addresses with a * at the end (76.81.54.*). If you still see your own traffic occasionally you might consider blocking an even larger range (76.81.*.*).

The other important configuration with StatCounter is the look of the “counter”. In the early days of the web it was cool to display a counter on your web pages to show how popular your site was. For a business web site this looks very unprofessional, so you should be sure to select the “Invisible” counter.

After all the questions are answered you will get a snippet of JavaScript code to install on your web site. It will look something like this:
<!-- StatCounter -->
<script type="text/javascript">
var sc_project=xxxxxxx;
var sc_invisible=0;
var sc_partition=29;
var sc_security="xxxxxxxxx";
</script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.statcounter.com/counter/counter_xhtml.js"></script><noscript><div class="statcounter"><a class="statcounter" href="http://www.statcounter.com/"><img class="statcounter" src="http://c30.statcounter.com/xxxxxxx/0/xxxxxxxx/0/" alt="website stats" /></a></div></noscript>

This JavaScript code should be added just before the </body> tag at the end of each of your web pages. If you’re using WordPress, the file to edit is called footer.php within the Theme you have selected for your blog. After you have added the code, do a View Source with your browser to make sure that it was installed correctly. If you do a View Source on this web page and scroll down to the bottom you will see what it should look like. Also with the real time nature of StatCounter you should quickly start seeing traffic statistics in the tool.

Google Analytics

The other web analytics tool that I use is Google Analytics. It is pretty advanced and you can’t beat the price: free. (You may have to sign up for a Google AdWords account to use Google Analytics, which may require a $5 activation fee. But there is no requirement to actually spend money on AdWords to use Google Analytics.)

In Google Analytics you should also block your own IP address. This is done in Analytics Settings -> Profile Settings -> Add Filter. Select Filter Type “Exclude all traffic from an IP address” and then enter your IP in this format: 76\.81\.54\.162 (Google uses powerful regular expressions here, hence the backslashes in front of each dot. Click on the help link for more information.)

I recommend that you place the Google Analytics JavaScript code in the <head> section of your web pages. This may seem counter to what I said above. But GA offers a feature called urchinTracker that allows you to track outbound links, among other things. To use urchinTracker the GA tracking code must be placed before any links or events that try to call it. The <head> section is a good place to ensure this.

For WordPress users the file to edit for the <head> section is header.php. If you’re not comfortable editing PHP files then there are several WordPress plugins that make it easier to install web analytics tracking code. Just make sure you get a plugin that allows you to control where on the page the code is added.

Again View Source on this page to see what the completed installation should look like.

That completes the installation of your web analytics tools. I know this was a very brief tutorial, so if there is enough interest I may create a Camtasia video to illustrate each step.