By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2004-06-07 Print this article Print

With the release last month of WebTrends 7, NetIQ has significantly upgraded its venerable Web site analysis application into a platform that offers companies the most flexibility in analyzing Web site traffic of any product weve seen.

Using WebTrends 7, companies can choose from an extensive range of ways to collect and analyze Web site data. On top of the traditional log-file analysis on which WebTrends built its reputation, it is also possible to use NetIQs JavaScript code option, called SmartSource. We embedded SmartSource code in our Web pages to get real-time site analysis.

In addition, companies can run WebTrends on their network or use the On Demand option to run it as a service hosted by NetIQ. WebTrends 7 is available in Enterprise, Professional and Small Business versions that differ mainly in the amount of analysis and reporting available.

Pricing for WebTrends 7 Enterprise, the version we tested, starts at $9,995 for the software or $1,000 per month as a service. WebTrends 7 Professional is priced at $3,495, or $200 per month as a service; WebTrends 7 Small Business costs $495, or $35 per month as a service.

Administration capabilities have been enhanced in this version, often to handle new features. We especially liked the new design features, which let us easily create report templates and dashboards with a drag-and-drop interface. However, although individual components were very good, the browser-based administration interface was somewhat confusing overall, and it took a bit of trial and error to find where each feature was configured.

WebTrends Desktop is where most users interact with WebTrends and its reports, and this browser-based interface has also seen a great deal of improvement. Our favorite addition by far is the visual path analysis capabilities—a feature that some competing services have had for a while. The visual path analysis features worked very well during tests, letting us quickly get a visual sense of how visitors used our site.

WebTrends 7s enhanced e-commerce and campaign reporting functions permitted us to dig deeply into our sites e-commerce data and perform detailed scenario analyses. The product also has improved Excel integration, letting us output reports to Excel and perform complex analyses using updated data.

WebTrends 7 includes two new Java-based client applications that provide additional reporting and access to data.

We liked the SmartView plug-in, which let us view our Web pages and see dynamic traffic information for different links and elements with our pages.

The Express viewer provides a light ticker program where we could view real-time traffic updates. However, while this was useful, we would like some additional capabilities, especially the ability to compare current data with past data without launching the entire WebTrends Desktop.

Labs Director Jim Rapoza can be contacted at jim_rapoza@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms Developer & Web Services Center at http://developer.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

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Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr RapozaÔÇÖs current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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