This is an introductory article written for the novice. Experienced bloggers, webmasters, and SEO freaks may find some useful content here, or you can just skip down to my list of Additional Resources.

If you have your own website, blog, or bulletin board forum, one of the very first questions you'll ask is: "How many people visited the site today?" While stating the importance of web traffic is obvious, it turns out that measuring web traffic with any degree of accuracy is not that easy. In fact, fifteen years after the First International WWW Conference in 1994, there is still no universally agreed upon strategy for the gathering and interpretation of web traffic data.

How Hard Can It Be Just To Count (Virtual) Heads?

Well, to be fair, there's more involved than mere arithmetic. Here's a definition from the Web Analytics Association, or WAA (yeah, I know, almost as silly as the Wii), an industry standards trade group:

The Official WAA Definition of Web Analytics

Web Analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage.

Okay... Let's try to KISS this verbiage. For me, the goal, at least, of web analytics is simple: I want to know everything possible about the visitors to my site. Additionally, as an online entrepreneur, I want to know as much as possible about my competitors' sites, and their visitors, as well. Getting a handle on the different ways & means of measuring (the metrics) is fundamental to the growth and prosperity of my business.

So now we identified the problem; what's the solution? What tools and tactics are available to us? For the purposes of this tutorial we can broadly divide our options into two different methods: census-based and panel-based.

The census method, as you've probably guessed, involves the direct measurement of visits to a given URL. Historically, the server logs were the most immediate source of raw data. Server logs are still very much used today -- by System Administrators of medium-sized and larger companies, mostly. For the vast majority of individuals and small business owners who use a remote web hosting company, access to the server logs isn't an option. Instead, a number of reputable third-party firms provide snippets of JavaScript code that you can insert into the HTML templates or individual pages that you want to track on your site. We will examine two free online census, or embedded "tag" services in a moment.

The panel method involves sampling the web surfing behavior of volunteer focus groups, and then extrapolating, or generalizing the panel's results for a whole nation, or the entire world even. Critics have pointed out the biases and limits of this approach; however, it is unreasonable to expect that census tagging will ever cover a majority of the billions of active web pages. So panels are still helpful. My preferred technique is to combine both methods. This hybrid approach then yields some very powerful insights.

Four Free Tools To Get The Job Done
Let's deal with the worst, first. Alexa is familiar name to many; a subsidiary of, they employ the panel model for their rankings, which are often quoted as the definitive authority. Their biggest plus is ease of use; you don't need to register, give an email, or anything, to access their information. Just type a domain name into their search bar and presto, you get a Rank number and a graph, like this:

Alexa Pyrabang example screenshot

Looks pretty good, right?

Sorry, folks, but Alexa kinda sucks. Yes, they rank millions of domains -- probably yours, too -- and, yes, they've been doing this for a long time, so they should be good at it. Well, there are many reasons why Alexa's numbers are suspect. First of all, only people who download and install their toolbar have their traffic and surfing analyzed. As Peter Norvig has informally observed, the kinds of folks who install Alexa's toolbar (like me), tend to be more interested in it's specific Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features. So that means that webmasters & geeks tend to be overrepresented. Norvig is a renowned computer scientist and currently Director of Research at Google, so his opinion carries some weight.

The other less obvious, but much more serious, flaw with Alexa is that their algorithms grossly favor social traffic over search-driven traffic. So much so that two sites with roughly the same number of unique daily visitors can have rankings a million spots apart! Ridiculous. The well-known "Make Money Online" blogger, Grizzly, thoroughly documented this problem back in January. Basically, if your ecommerce is heavily dependent on Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or Google Adsense display ads, then Alexa is going to give you garbage. And social websites will get garbage in the other direction. Of course, we all know the world needs more vanity bloggers with an overinflated sense of their importance. Use Alexa with extreme caution. boasts that they are "a new breed of web analytics company". Also panel-based, but they claim to be larger and smarter about it. They offer very detailed reports for their paid Pro members; however, there's some really nice features available for free. Name and email registration is required, but then you get to combine site AND search analysis on up to five sites simultaneously. For example: example screenshot

This shows one-year traffic history by default; 3-month, and 6-month views are only a click away. Even better, you get get referring and destination sites to and from a given domain, PLUS the top five keywords that drove the traffic. Very handy, indeed.

Compete's graphs are color-coded and uncluttered and interactive -- in short, they're user-friendly. They distill many complexities into an easy-to-absorb format. This service should definitely be in your web analytics toolbox. The only downside that I'm aware of at this time is that so far Compete has limited their reporting to US sites only.

Google Analytics is the impressive census model service from the search engine giant. It's so impressive, that I hardly ever use it. Why? Well, maybe I'm a little bit cynical, but it seems to me that the main goal of this tool is to get enterprise-class businesses to buy more Adwords. All Internet Marketers are painfully aware of our dependence upon the "800-lb gorilla". So... hypothetically speaking, the same company that hosts my blog (Blogger), sells me text ads, controls my SERPs, arbitrarily slaps my PageRank, and unilaterally determines what my Adsense real estate is worth, is now going to offer me web traffic analysis and content data mining out of the goodness of their heart? Do I really think that such an asymmetrical relationship is a good thing? I know my answer. You'll have to decide for yourself. Having said all that, I still signed up and installed the JavaScript tag, anyway, dammit.

Quantcast is a hot West Coast startup company with a growing stable of top-notch publishers that are using their code-based census analytics. They provide free online rankings of the Top 1 Million Sites, and if you search a domain that is tagged, you get detailed demographics, and info on the "also visits" sites. For all other non-tagged sites, they give "Rough Estimates". I appreciate the honesty. Like Google, it's free but you have to register and paste their code into your own pages. Here's a screenshot:

Quantcast Mailchimp example screenshot

Of the four services, none of them provides a complete picture. For domains based in the United States, I would recommend Compete combined with Quantcast. International sites, unfortunately, have to make do with Alexa, adding Google and/or Quantcast for balance.

Web Analytics is a deep subject; this article is meant to just open the door for beginners. With multiple free choices, there is no reason or excuse not to use at least one of each methodology, census and panel. I happen to like math, and the theoretical (if not actual) purity of data for its own sake; so I use all four tools. If you're new to crunching your own numbers, my advice is to not get bogged down in minutiae. Staring at too many pie charts can lead to "analysis paralysis" as I call it. Especially when Internet properties first go live, there are going to be wild swings in traffic; spikes and valleys are normal at first. Or maybe the site traffic is basically flat -- that means to stop moping over your spreadsheet and start building backlinks, or do more promoting on the Traffic Exchanges -- you get the idea.

Then, when you come back to the data, you can use the information below to further your expertise.

Additional Resources

About the Author

Posted by Hasan Barbary 04:20 | , , ,

Hasan Barbary

Hasan Barbary is a writer, IT consultant, and the founder/owner of Snowball Affiliates ~ a membership-based Internet Marketing website.

His professional interests include Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Social Justice issues. When he's not up to his elbows in CSS or PHP, he thinks about gourmet cooking.

He is a once and future musician... one day he will play the jazz bass again. He will.

7 Fitness Myths by Greg Mooney

Posted by Hasan Barbary 20:40 | | 0 comments »

Greg Mooney

1. You can pick where to eliminate fat from the body

False. Despite marketer and product claims, you can never decide where the fat will come off the body. Everyone is unique in how their body decides to store and spend it's fat (unused energy), so while that Ab Roller and 1000 crunches will strengthen your underlying muscle in your stomach, they have nothing to do with getting rid of that fat sitting on top. Body fat must be burned off by maintaining a caloric deficit, vigorous cardio, and strength training. So don't look to gimmick items to reduce those unsightly love handles! Get to hard work!

2. Women will get too 'Manly' by lifting weights

False. Unless a woman has crazy amounts of testosterone surging through her body, she doesn't have to worry about looking like the Hulk in a tube top after lifting. It takes many years for most to build high quality, dense muscle, so it's not hard to get to your ideal physique and then go into maintenance mode.

3. You need a gym or expensive equipment to get in shape

False. Don't fall into the trap that you will start getting in shape when you get that gym membership or fancy ***Flex machine! There's plenty you can do outside or in your own home. In fact, many of my clients prefer outside to break up the boredom of the gym. Find a nice park where you can jog, sprint hills, do lunges, jump squats, use a picnic bench for dips and push ups. Most parks have Jungle Gyms where you can wow the Kindergartners with your pull ups!

4. Light weights 'tone' muscle, while heavy weights 'bulk' them.

False. Believe it or not, there is no such body response that tells a muscle to 'tone' itself. Muscles either strengthen and grow, stay the same, or shrink. What you are actually seeing when saying a person looks 'toned' is some muscle growth coupled with less body fat and perhaps increased vascularity to the area. You should train with both light and heavy weights relative to your strength and experience.

5. Guys can Bench their way to get big

Yes and no. You could probably walk into any gym in the world on a Monday and you will not find ONE empty Bench. The reason, most people take the weekends off but can't wait to get back to that bench first thing. That's great, as benching is one of the big compound moves utilizing many muscle groups. The problem is that this trend continues for the rest of the workout week which results in overtraining of certain muscle groups which is counterproductive to building size and strength. Remember, it is all of the power moves such as Squats, Deadlifts and Bench Press that really tell a body to grow, so don't get stuck on just one.

6. You need supplements to make any real gains

Totally False. While some supplements have shown strong evidence for slight increases in strength, fat loss, and energy, they generally come with costs to the overall well-being of your body. Continuously imbibing substances that have received very little in terms of long-terms studies is both risky and sets you up for the magic-bullet mentality that you can just swallow something, and Boom, your in tip-top shape. I'm certainly not against all supplementation, but the important things to ask yourself are:

Am I training as hard as I possibly can? Leaving a little piece of myself in the Gym, on the Field, or on the Mat every time I work out?

Am I training smart? Using perfect form? Forced sets with a spotter? Switching up routines every 6 weeks?

Am I Eating properly for my specific goals? Getting enough quality proteins and healthy carbs? Staying true to my prescribed eating regiment?

If you've answered yes to all of these, then I'm damn proud of you and only then should you consider supplementation.

7. That 'Muscle Pump' you feel in the gym or right after the workout means your muscles are growing

False again. The 'Pump' is actually increased body fluid to that muscle area and will subside a day if not less after the workout. There is some evidence that having that increased nutrient-rich blood does indeed help support that muscle group, but your main area of focus should be on increasing strength. When you get stronger, your muscles get bigger and stay that way, so you don't have to worry about shrinking back down in a couple of hours.

Greg Mooney is a Certified Personal Trainer and 2006 World Cup Strength Coach to the US Virgin Islands Skeleton Team.

Greg also runs Jungle Cat Training in Boulder, Colorado.

Email Greg at

I don't own a television. For the moment, anyway. This is a conscious decision: there is a finite number of hours in a day, or a week, and watching tv often squanders precious time that I could be using for more productive purposes. According to Nielsen, the average American household has a tv on somewhere in the house for over seven hours a day! If that doesn't suggest addictive behavior I don't know what does. So my first and most obvious "Wisdom Tip" is this: if you truly want to succeed in starting an online business, concentrate your focus and cut the time spent in front of the "boob tube" in half.

Now before you write me off as a wacko, let me say that I enjoy tv programming as much as the next guy-- NFL games, HBO series, science & nature shows, movies, sure... but it's a Pandora's Box. Like a lot of things that bring short-term pleasure – eating fast food, for instance – there have to be LIMITS to our indulgence. The good news is now with DVRs, and archived episodes online, we can use discretion and still catch our favorite shows. In my case, I like the surprise of watching something that I missed when it originally aired.

Right now I'm thinking about The Boondocks, the funny, foul-mouthed, subversive cartoon series created by Aaron McGruder. I loved Season 1, but I'd never checked out Season 2 until recently. The first episode deals with the grandfather character trying to sneak the kids into the movie theatre to see "Soul Plane 2". There are bullseyes on lots of black stereotypes here; I laughed a little, but often I cringed. There is one scene in particular that really bugged me.

In the theatre lobby, there's a showdown between Grandpa and an usher named Ruckus, the most race-hating Uncle Tom you've ever seen. Uncle Ruckus hates his own blackness and ALL African Americans to the point of absurdity. He demands to see Grandpa's (nonexistent) tickets, but Grandpa claims that "uh, I-I got my tickets online." Then Ruckus pounces: "A-HA! A damn lie! I ain't never met a nigger smart enough to use a personal computer, not even a Macintosh."


I admit at this point I was insulted. Yes it's satire, and yes, Uncle Ruckus is supposed to be offensive, but come on, people, it's the 21st century! How is it that such an ugly notion still has any room in the public imagination, even as a joke?

To be fair, this show was nurtured in the "dark ages" of the previous presidency; this is before Barack Obama's historic victory, this is before President Obama impressed us all with his technical savvy, his beloved Blackberry, and his unprecedented use of "netroots" websites during the election campaign. I'm not even sure that McGruder would write a script like this today. That scene now seems grossly out of touch, and therefore, not very funny.

So here's the deal: I am a proud PC user who also happens to be a black man. And I'm not just a PC user, I'm a freakin' Power User. I was programming in 8-bit machine language when I was 12 years old. I got skills, I got game. And I got a powerful urge to prove Uncle Ruckus for a liar, so I'm gonna share my knowledge with you.

You don't have to be a prodigy or a computer expert to make money with Internet Marketing. You don't need an advanced college degree. You just need the native intelligence that you were born with, and a willingness to learn. Study the efforts of others who are getting real results.

How are real results measured? After all, anybody can make fantastic claims. Well for starters, I look at those websites that rank highly in Google's search pages for the specific niche I'm studying. They must be doing something right.

For example, the phrase "make money online" is an iconic one for folks in this business. So much so that the keyword is often abbreviated to "MMO". Here are the top 3 sites returned when you type "make money online" into Google's search bar:




They've held their respective positions for months now. These three sites are the "Olympic medalists" for that keyword. I study these sites regularly. I encourage you to do the same. The number three spot in particular, Grizzly's blog, is a mind-blowing resource. Grizzly really breaks it down for the n00bs (beginners). It's a gosh-darn FREE ONLINE UNIVERSITY FOR INTERNET MARKETERS! Full disclosure: I don't know these people, & I don't owe these people. I'm not getting paid to pimp their websites. But as little Riley from the Boondocks says, "Game recognize game."

P.S. ~ Just so there's no misunderstanding, I really am a big Boondocks fan. Aaron McGruder's a super-talented guy, and his acerbic, politicized vision is one of the very few bright lights in entertainment today. You can buy his comic strip anthologies and the complete tv series from The Uncut, Unrated Season 1 DVD is especially classic. Enjoy!

Let's get down to brass tacks. You've got more time than money on your hands, or else you probably wouldn't be reading this. Take heart, it IS possible to increase your income with little or no cash outlay -- you just need to apply some "sweat equity" instead. I can really empathize; so the following suggestions are verified, no b.s. methods that you can work on from home, or wherever you have a computer and Internet access. Just remember: "Perseverance trumps talent". This is true regardless of the economic climate. Good luck!


  • Sell stuff on Craigslist and/or eBay
  • Sell stock photos
  • Paid surveys | Paid-to-Click | Paid-to-Post
  • Freelance article writing
  • Start a Blog with AdSense
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Job & Product referrals
I will elaborate on the first three now, as they are the easiest for the beginner to practice, as well as offering the fastest payoff. The last four points will be explained in depth in future posts. If you haven't done so already, now would be a great time to bookmark this blog; be sure to check back every couple days or so for updates and new tutorials.

#1 Sell stuff on Craigslist and/or eBay
Do you own a cellphone with a camera, or know somebody who does? If the answer is "yes", then don't overlook the value of your unused or unwanted belongings. Take a few high-quality, in-focus pictures; upload them to
Craigslist for free; write a catchy description -- be sure to include your phone number in the classified ad -- and BINGO! you've got a real shot at putting cash money in your pocket within a day or two. Don't sleep on this, people. I've paid my rent before this way! Make sure you nail the essentials:
  • Research a fair price by comparing to similar items
  • EXCELLENT PHOTOS (up to 4 pix per listing);
  • Creative, catchy copy, e.g. don't call it a used clothes chest, it's an "Antique Steamer Trunk" ; )
  • Timely submissions & updates (if your item doesn't sell in 48 hrs., rewrite/tweak the ad).
#2 Sell stock photos
This is an income opportunity that can logically grow out of Method #1. With even basic picture-taking skills, you can help supply the huge demand for stock photos. Almost anything you see is fair game for a snapshot. The obvious exceptions are any items that are trademarked, copyright protected, or recognizable people (NO faces -- unless you have a signed release form). And of course, take care to protect your own privacy.

Here are some web-based stock image purchasers:
  • Dreamstime
  • Fotolia
  • iStockphoto
  • Shutterstock
  • StockExpert
#3 Paid Surveys | Paid-to-Click | Paid-to-Post
I know what you're thinking. We've all seen a gazillion ads for this stuff... it's gotta be a scam, right? Not necessarily. Listen, let me state unequivocally: you will never get rich filling out forms online, but you CAN get paid. I tend to lump all these options under "Mindless Robot" work: it's time-consuming, boring, very repetitive, and did I mention "boring"? But I have made a little bit here and there this way; it's good if you've got nothing better going on. A consistent 2-3 hours every day of surveys can earn you $200-$300 in a month without too much trouble. Good for groceries, gas; hey, every dollar counts these days.

Personally, I need more variety -- and more money -- in my routine; nonetheless, I will share the names of some solid, scam-free market research firms if you want to give this a try. NEVER, EVER pay a third-party website for this information! Insider tip: the way to really leverage this method is by referring lots of other people to the survey companies; THAT's where the real money is, and THAT's why you see so many search results & sponsored ads for this stuff. Just remember the old saying: "There's another sucker born every minute." Forewarned is forearmed.

  • FusionCash
  • Cash Crate
  • Ipsos
  • Lightspeed Panels
  • Panda Research
  • Survey Savvy
Now you have some knowledge; make sure you apply it. Take positive action today, and again tomorrow, and again the next day. Disciplined, determined effort is the key to building up your bankroll.

As I write this, the lead story on the CNN website is 'Shovels hit the ground': referring to a road resurfacing project in Maryland, the first to directly benefit from the Transportation Department's share of the $787 billion stimulus bill. That's really good news for the 60 people who got jobs and their families. But for the rest of us who aren't likely to earn a living digging ditches, we have to be a little more creative, a little more resourceful. In many cases, we have to change our whole game up. And with major change can come major stress.

Stress comes in all shapes & sizes; no longer just a catch-all phrase, we now know that it can directly and seriously impact our health – even shorten our life expectancies! More and more, current advances in medicine and brain science confirm this truth. Stress, anxiety, fear... when they persist as chronic emotional states cause real, measurable, and lasting damage to our physiologies. So before we can get our financial house in order, we have to make sure we have a solid, healthy foundation. That means relieving and reducing stress whenever and wherever possible. Check out WebMD's Stress Management Center for some great helpful resources.

Ok, let's say you've come to terms with the generalized national stress due to the economy. You've decided to pursue income opportunities on the Internet, you're starting to get psyched-up, but then--

The critics start in. These are the voices without and within that have a thousand reasons why you shouldn't bother, because you're just gonna fail anyway. "Don't take chances, don't risk it", the voices say. Just stay where you are. Change is bad.

There's a term for this kind of negativity that comes from the computer/hacker culture: FUD, an acronym standing for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. [For the geeky, or merely curious, you can learn a lot more about authentic (white hat) hacker history & lingo from Eric Raymond's Jargon File.]

In my experience, of all the obstacles to the entrepreneur, many of the toughest to overcome are staring us in the mirror. What I mean is that often people are their own worst enemies. How many times have you had an inspiration, a great idea for a new product or service, only to second-guess yourself or decide that your vision was "just a dream, just a fantasy?" Then the kicker comes weeks or months later, you're watching late-night TV and --- POW! -- somebody else is marketing your idea! This scenario has happened to me more than once.

More than an amusing anecdote, this kind of self-censorship has serious repercussions over the long haul. Compromise is a fact of life, and necessary within limits, but for too many of us, "settling" for a miserable job becomes an acceptable cop-out. This is especially true for smart, ambitious black folks and other people of color. When we obsess about "just getting by", when we spend all our time worrying about surviving, we cheat ourselves out of the real possibility of THRIVING. We must continually guard against such small-mindedness, whether in ourselves or in the dismissive attitudes of others (aka the "Crabs in a Bucket" syndrome). Otherwise we may suffer the consequences of a "Dream Deferred", as chillingly immortalized by Langston Hughes in his poem.

When the mountain seems too high to climb, take a break. Step away from the computer; turn off the television. Personally, I make it a habit to take a 20-30 minute walk outside every single day. (Unless the weather's so fierce that people are blowing sideways!) While I'm moving, I practice controlled, diaphragmatic, deep breathing techniques to relax. You don't need an expensive gym membership, or a fancy complicated machine. These simple exercises really, really work – for FREE. I come home energized, refreshed, and uplifted. Maintaining and improving my health is an investment that multiplies my more tangible assets. Make sure you invest in yourself.

A New Kind of Locksmith

Posted by Hasan Barbary 23:23 | , | 0 comments »

Welcome to the inauguration of Stand Up Brother. This blog's mission is to educate & empower folks in very practical and immediate ways. Specifically, we will focus on "How To" articles in the following three broad categories: HEALTH, WEALTH, and WISDOM. My own areas of expertise are computer technology and Internet marketing, so I will be sharing tools and resources for those interested in starting a web-based business. If you want to learn how to make money online, either full- or part-time, you've come to the right place.

Let's be honest – these are really rough times for almost everyone. Money is tight; and if you're currently unemployed or just underemployed, the job market can seem even tighter. Watching the news doesn't help much – we KNOW about the problems we face, but what about some solutions? Many of us are proud of our new President, and hopeful that this massive Stimulus bill will make things better. But even the legal and financial wizards in Washington agree that the US Government's efforts to improve the economy will take at least six months to be noticed by the average American; it will probably take 18 to 24 months before we see really significant, widespread positive change.

Meanwhile, many of us feel stuck and stressed-out, tryin' to make a dollar outta fifteen cents. Hard work is not enough... a hamster might burn lots of calories on the exercise wheel, it might be running fast, but it's still going nowhere. If you can relate to that, then the next logical question is "How to get off that damn wheel?!?" If you feel like you're trapped inside a glass box looking out, you need to find the exit. Maybe you SEE the exit, you KNOW you have to think "outside the box", but you need a key to open the door. What do you do when you're locked out (or in) without a key? You call a locksmith.

That's exactly what Stand Up Brother aspires to be: a new kind of locksmith. As founder and Brother-in-Chief of this blog, I invite you to think of me as your virtual handyman, a standup cyberguy with an excellent set of tools, willing to share and willing to learn from others as well. If you're already doing your e-commerce thing – fantastic! Let's exchange ideas, pool our resources, and take our hustle to the next level.

I promise to always keep it real. It's easy to fantasize about working from home, getting rich in your underwear. But most people fail to realize their dreams either because they procrastinate, or because they can't discriminate between legitimate, effective opportunities and the multitude of misinformation that spams their email.

Stand Up Brother can help, but only if you're sincerely determined to succeed. Vibes are contagious; I find that if I surround myself with positive, results-oriented people, then I become even more enthusiastic, and achieve even better results.

That means, to all my upwardly-mobile brothers and sisters out there, let me hear from you. Your comments, questions, concerns, and respectful criticisms will help make this blog truly righteous. There is no time like the present – now let's get busy.

To All My Relations,