Analyze Your Statistics

Viaweb's extensive tracking tools can tell you almost everything about what's happening in your site. You can view your statistics by logging into the Manager and clicking on the links in the column labelled Statistics.

Statistics are updated once a day, usually in the middle of the night.

Since you probably won't have any statistics to analyze until your site has been open for a few days, we've arranged for you to be able to look at data from an existing store.

Here, in order, is what you can do with each of the tracking tools:

This tool shows page views and income generated for each page of your site. Initially it will show the most popular pages, sorted by number of page views, for the last year.

In each line, a thumbnail graph shows the trend over that period for each page. You can use these graphs to alert you when individual pages in your site become stale.

If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you'll see that you can change the time period and how the data is sorted. So if you want to see what pages in your site are selling the most, change the Sort criterion to "By Income", and click on Show.

The References tool shows you what sites your visitors came from, and how much money people coming from each place spent. Initially you'll see the entries sorted by visitors for the last year, with thumbnail graphs of the trend over time for each referrer.

As with Per Page statistics, you can change the time period and sort criteria at the bottom of the page.

For many sites, including search engines, you'll see a Details link at the end of the line. If you click on that, you'll see detailed data for visitors from that site.

For search engines, you should see the actual search keywords used by your visitors, and how much money was spent by visitors using each keyword. If you want to see which keywords generated the most sales, scroll down to the bottom of the page and change the Sort criterion to "By Income".

For keywords associated with orders, the number in the Orders column is a link to the orders placed by the customers who searched for that keyword.

On average, you'll get referrer data for about half your visitors, which is usually enough to be statistically significant.

The Searches tool shows you what visitors to your site have searched for. This not only helps you to understand your customers, but also shows where your site can be improved. When visitors do searches, it often means either that your site is missing something they expect, or that some part of your site is too hard to find.

The Graphs tool will generate graphs of overall trends in your site, for a number of measures and a range of time periods. Initially it will show you page views for the last year (or the life of your site, if shorter), but the options at the bottom of the page will let you choose a number of statistics to view.

The most important are page views and income. Two other important measures: income per page view, because an increase there shows that visitors are increasingly confident about ordering from you; and page views per visit, because a decrease there means that your site is getting stale.

You can also get to the Graphs tool by clicking on any of the thumbnail graphs that appear, for example, in the Per Page statistics.

The graphs are gifs, and so can be saved to your local disk and incorporated into e.g. MS Word documents.

The Click Trails tool will show you the paths taken by individual visitors through your site. This will give you an idea of how your site looks through the customers' eyes. You will probably find the paths of the visitors who put something in the shopping basket the most informative.

You can also view the click trail of any individual customer by clicking on the Click Trails link at the bottom of the page showing their order.

While most site statistics are saved for 365 days, click trails are only saved for 60. Also, some click trails will be garbage, if they are generated by proxy servers or search engine crawlers.

The Reports tool generates a table summarizing trends in your site. You can export this data directly to desktop spreadsheets like Excel by clicking on the link to that effect at the bottom.

The link labelled Repeats leads to the Repeat Customer Detector. This tool groups orders that were probably placed by the same person and lists them by number of orders.

The RCD matches orders by looking at the name, credit card number, and email address. So it enables you to recognize repeat customers without requiring them to register. It is also useful in detecting fraud orders.

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