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By Ralph F. Mariano

To begin, we received the software package via email from NetIQ and promptly decided to thoroughly explore the software's power before actually going live. What a mistake we made in thinking we'd need hours to get the program up and running. The user interface is intuitive as well as straight forward.  The guesswork is gone.

Please Note; This review is not intended to be an exercise in "techno-babble" but instead, a first person report in a relaxed, conversational manner.

First, let's get a basic idea of what WebTrends is all about. WebTrends is the e-business intelligence product line from NetIQ, offering a comprehensive set of solutions for web analytics and management. WebTrends' award winning software and e-service solutions provide insights into visitors' behavior and preferences that translate into enhanced business performance, including higher returns on infrastructure and e marketing investments and improved visitor/customer relations.

A little history..

STReport has used one iteration or another of WebTrends for roughly five years. At first, we battled with an ISP (in the beginning) to place WebTrends on their system so we could see our activity reports in action. That was a task. We countered every excuse in the book. That escapade, by the way, began our search for our own facilities. We should thank them for being lackadaisical.

Shortly thereafter, we purchased T1 access, a pair of Netfinity Servers, a Cisco Router, an Adtran CSU/DSU and then promptly proceeded to hook up to the smart jack. Then came the installation of the server software, we decided on Windows 2K Advanced Server.  The server software configuration was not as difficult as we thought it would be. Soon thereafter, we were online from our very own facility. Then the real work began. What with having to grow the hosting service to enable it to pay for itself and of course jumping through all the "wonderful hoops" presented in learning the intricacies of IIS and authoring web sites we eventually became novices. That was a few years back. Now we are novices "grade a".  (a little humility never hurts)

By now, we have a good working knowledge of the entire system (NOC) and get along with it very nicely. WebTrends was there with us all the way. From Enterprise 3 all the way to today with version 7.0b. The program has yet to present any problems.  When needed NetIQ's support is on a level of its own. Superb, superb, superb.

Back to the present....

We initially installed our new WebTrends 7.0b on the server itself... After a few weeks. the decision was made to install WebTrends on another system on the LAN and have that installation "do the job" via our LAN. WebTrends was removed from the server and installed on one of our "power" workstations.

The actual installation of WebTrends is straight forward and painless. Choosing the various reports and methods of getting the job done was as easy. WebTrends is, in our opinion, well written and done so with the user in mind. Using WebTrends does not "test" the user or "tax" the hardware at all. It is fast, virtually transparent and non-intrusive. The machine we have WebTrends installed on, under Windows XP Professional,  runs a myriad of other functions as well as WebTrends. ...Not so much as a peep out of WebTrends. Its all running smooth as silk.

The Bottom line...

Now that we are past the history and preliminaries, let's take a look at the reporting itself.

The Visits graph displays the overall number of visits to your Web site. The General Statistics table provides an overview of the activity for your Web site during the specified time frame.

We soon discovered that potential customers appreciated the reports WebTrends offered and asked about it being available to them.  In fact, I'd say WebTrends influenced their decision to use our services.  Below we'll look at some of the other charts and graphs WebTrends generates.  WebTrends Analyzer will immediately indicate where the web site needs attention.  For example; broken links, slow pages and other errors.  This was an extremely valuable tool in fine tuning our web site.

The table below is a deeper explanation of the chart graph above.  WebTrends leaves very little to "guess work" in its reporting.  Quite thorough and accurate.

General Statistics  
Hits Entire Site (Successful) 211,008
Average per Day 7,536
Home Page 14
Page Views Page Views 11,208
Average per Day 400
Average per Unique Visitor 0
Document Views 11,192
Visits Visits 47,707
Average per Day 1,703
Average Visit Length 00:15:23
Median Visit Length 00:03:24
International Visits 20.81%
Visits of Unknown Origin 25.53%
Visits from United States 53.65%
Visits Referred by Search Engines 1,936
Visits from Spiders 427
Visitors Unique Visitors 31,648
Visitors Who Visited Once 25,308
Visitors Who Visited More Than Once 6,340

Our experience with the reporting that WebTrends offers has been nothing short of complete satisfaction.  Easily, we could repeat this over and over and never feel we were being redundant.

Top Geographic Regions  


Geographic Regions

Visits Sorted by this column

1 North America 27,441
2 Region Unspecified 12,181
3 Western Europe 3,495
4 Asia 2,356
5 Northern Europe 610
6 Australia 515
7 Eastern Europe 430
8 South America 291
9 Region Not Found 160
10 Pacific Islands 83
11 Middle East 82
12 Southern Africa 29
13 Caribbean Islands 25
14 Central America 9
Total for the Geographic Regions above 47,707
So you wanted to know where your action was coming from... well this is just the beginning.  This gets broken down even further.

The chart below offers an activity report on two different servers; our web server and our ftp server.  WebTrends is easily configured to do so.

Most Active Countries  



Visits Sorted by this column

1 United States 25,598


    STRWEB01 25,329


    STRFTP 269
4 Japan 2,139


    STRWEB01 2,139
6 Canada 1,583


    STRWEB01 1,572


    STRFTP 11
9 United Kingdom 874


    STRWEB01 873


    STRFTP 1
12 Australia 515


    STRWEB01 508


    STRFTP 7
15 Belgium 470


    STRWEB01 467


    STRFTP 3
18 Netherlands 446


    STRWEB01 446
20 France 432


    STRWEB01 431


    STRFTP 1
23 Germany 361


    STRWEB01 361
25 Spain 352


    STRWEB01 349


    STRFTP 3
28 Italy 309


    STRWEB01 307


    STRFTP 2
31 Mexico 260


    STRWEB01 260
33 Sweden 223


    STRWEB01 223
35 Poland 218


    STRWEB01 218
37 Denmark 204


    STRWEB01 204
39 Austria 172


    STRWEB01 172
41 Brazil 164


    STRWEB01 161


    STRFTP 3
44 Switzerland 160


    STRWEB01 159


    STRFTP 1
47 Finland 136


    STRWEB01 134


    STRFTP 2
50 Taiwan 79


    STRWEB01 79
Total for the Countries above 34,695

Had enough charts?  If you want to see a complete report prepared by WebTrends Enterprise Suite 7.0b, click here and you'll see the entire report for STReport Magazine's monthly activity.

NetIQ has taken WebTrends to levels of performance we had never imagined they'd go.  If you're looking for a reporting tool that'll provide you with the "real skinny", (the whole truth and nothing but the truth), WebTrends is the answer. Actually, at this point in time we'd be lost without WebTrends.

Tech Support...

Now, here's a touchy subject with most everyone.  Mention tech support and all you hear are the horror stories about busy signals, more busy signals, holding on in queue forever, the horrible background music or constant procession of advert blurbs, the incessant urgings to "leave a number and we'll get back to you within 24hrs" and finally, the worst.. "we're sorry your hold time is approximately 62 minutes would you like to leave a message or call back at a later time?"

Real Tech Support...

With NetIQ that sort of grist mill does not exist.  We make it our business to "try" tech support for every product we review.  We feel tech support is a vital and extremely important part of every software offering on the market.

To make a long story short.. we made a series of "tech support" calls to WebTrends.  The phones were never "busy".  By that I mean, its fairly obvious NetIQ takes tech support seriously.  They must have an excellent in house phone system as we never encountered a problem reaching tech support.

The Personal Touch... 

Here's the best part... the tech support people themselves.  We spoke to five, different tech support technicians.  Each and every one of them were polite, cordial, knowledgeable, spoke English well and best of all... never replied with a; "talk down to you attitude".  Believe me, we prepared some pretty ridiculous questions. 

One question in particular stands out.. It went like this; "We run some games like Diablo2 on our workstation that has WebTrends scheduler running on it as a service.  After we're finished playing the game, the scheduler does not run.. Why?"  Instead of either busting out laughing or acting peculiar, the tech support person (quite professionally) replied that we should consider a re-boot after using software of that nature.  There is no doubt the tech support folks at NetIQ are professional, courteous and know their products well. They get an A+.

STReport highly recommends WebTrends for anyone needing accurate reporting of hits, visits, page views, source of visits etc.. and analysis. A truly Complete Activity Report.

Finally, in closing, we voted to award NetIQ and WebTrends 7.0b our Editor's Choice Award for excellence in programming, documentation, tech support and product updates.


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