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Old 31st July 2006, 10:57 AM   #11
thejenn
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A.N.Onym,

You are correct in that not everyone can get free software, but at the same time, not everyone is getting the free consulting and such either. We're not saying that anyone can do exactly what we're doing for free, but we are trying to show the BEST solutions that are still somewhat affordable.

For example, I'll talk in future articles about visitor labeling...and if Carrie's still reading this thread she'll attest to how great it is... Anyway...visitor labeling is actually available, though a bit limited, on the Appetizer version of ClickTracks (which is totally free.) You can download it here: http://www.clicktracks.com/products/appetizer/

There's also quite a bit of data that you can get from Analyzer (the lowest paid level, which runs about $500) but you gain enough more functionality with Optimizer (about $1200) that it's on of those "worth saving for" kinda things. (or starting with Analyzer and upgrading down the road, ClickTracks does give upgrade credits...)

On to the shopping cart question...that will be a better one for Matt to answer as he tends to have a bit more experience with different systems than I do. But I will say that for this site and for the budget that Carrie is working with, it's just not feasible to switch carts at this point. She's got a great Miva developer that she's already working with and her entire system is already setup...So, we could tweak it to make it more search friendly or...we could do the search work AND spend the time and money starting from scratch with a new cart system.

Carrie knows that the ultimate goal is to move into a more custom cart environment, perhaps one built from scratch, but that right now, that's simply out of reach. So, we've got to work with what we've got to help her make enough profits that she can afford to invest in an even better system that will generate even more profits... Does that make sense?

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Old 31st July 2006, 11:13 AM   #12
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In a case such as this, we like to provide advice for this specific situation. Carrie is able to use the current software to do what she needs, and to switch would be another cost expense, learning curve for new software, etc.

Changing carts is not the easiest thing for a business owner to do - there is a lot of time involved in learning a new cart system, especially if one is not as familiar with the basics of shopping cart software. remember - there are many online site owners that just want to run their business and not learn programming.

Also, I recommend switching carts when you have the sales to support the upgrade, and you need the additional functionality and features that another system can bring. This case doesn't meet any of those factors, and only a few adjustments were necessary to improve the visitor tracking.

These issues will come up in the next few articles, but sometimes the best approach is to improve what's there and make it workeable rather than scrapping it in favor of another system. Anyhow, that's the goal of this series; to help site owners figure out what can work for them in their present situations.

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Old 31st July 2006, 11:16 AM   #13
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Ask and ye shall receive...

So I just talked to the good folks over at ClickTracks and told them that we've had some folks asking about the software and the different versions. They see your point...but obviously, they can't just give their software away to everyone.

So...for ONE DAY ONLY...as in today, Monday, July 31st, they're offering Search Engine Guide readers a special deal.

Analyzer for $299 (instead of $495) - use coupon code seg299 during checkout


Optimizer
for $799 (instead of $1195) - use coupon code seg799 during checkout

or $500 off of ClickTracks Pro (it's $3500) - use coupon code seg500

To note...if you purchase the "maintenance and upgrade" plan, you'll get notice anytime they offer up a change to the version you've purchased (this happens fairly often) and you'll also be able to "cash in" the version that you have now toward an upgrade down the line.

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Old 31st July 2006, 09:36 PM   #14
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Thank you for the response, Jennifer.

So, it seems that visitor labelling is not as good in the Analyzer version, when compared to the Optimizer. Is the difference a significant one to switch to the Optimizer or not?

Or I need some special understanding of SEO to gain the full advantage of the Optimizer package? (which I do, but some people may not)

So far, I am using free AwStats tracking system and it gives me enough data to draw conclusions on how well I am doing in terms of traffic and conversions. Should I need visitor tracking, I'll try the Appetizer (and maybe even stumble upon the "Web Analytics Day"). (In fact, I did use Appetizer a couple of times and it provided some great feedback.)

Thank you, ClickTracks, for providing an opportunity to purchase the versions at the lower rate, but I myself am in the research (and pondering) phase of the buying process.

I hope other forum members have or will benefit from the generous offer, which I'd suggest accepting, should you know what you are doing. At the time of this writing, there are about 3-5 hours before the offer closes.


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Old 31st July 2006, 09:52 PM   #15
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LOL...picky picky.

No, you can't do the exact same stuff, nor can you do as much stuff as you'd do in an ideal world if you have Analyzer instead of Optimizer. But then, you'd have to expect that for a $700 price difference, there would be a significant difference, right?

Seriously...you CAN get some good data from Analyzer and if it's seen as an entry point, then I see nothing wrong with going with that level.

However, for anyone that has ANY experience with stats or that has a strong understanding of visitor tracking, I'd say that you really need to at least have Optimizer to be able to get the real juicy data. In fact, I use the Pro version and sometimes have a hard time working within the "limitations" of Optimizer...but again, I'm spoiled by having access to really great software. That's obviously going to make "lesser" versions of the same software pale by comparison.

I'd say that if you're still having doubts, then playing the patience game is a good idea here. When we get to the parts of the articles where we talk about the tracking that we're teaching Carrie how to do, we'll be including lots of screen shots and detailed bits of info on how we used the data to come to conclusions. That may help you decide one way or another if Optimizer is the type of thing you're looking for.

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Old 31st July 2006, 10:14 PM   #16
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Heh, yeah, I wanted some detailed explanation, worthy of being quoted at ClickTracks 8)

Yes, I understand that Optimizer has to be different from other versions.

Now that you said that you can't do well without Optimizer, I might consider getting it as soon as I get a sufficient flow of targeted traffic (within a half a year, I guess?). Probably buying smaller versions might do the trick to be able to learn the software and use it to full potential, too.

Thanks for the response.

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Old 31st July 2006, 10:47 PM   #17
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Yeah, I do really think that if there's any way to swing it, waiting on Optimizer is the best bet.

Keep in mind they also have hosted versions that can be pretty affordable if your traffic levels aren't super high. That might be a route to check out as well...

As for Appetizer, I highly suggest getting it just for the "free web analytics day" that they run now and then. The chance to have yoru data in there and occasionally test some of the "full" services is a GREAT way to get a good feel for the software and to decide if you want to invest in it. It really is nothing like any other 'stats' program I've used. In fact, I sometimes have a hard time calling it a stats program...it's more like a "here's how people USE YOUR SITE" kinda program...

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Old 1st August 2006, 03:16 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.N.Onym
Speaking of e-commerce systems. Did you consider switching to a more usable shopping cart instead of tweaking the MIVA one? I guess Zen Cart is a fairly good alternative to any shopping cart.

Thanks.
What do you mean by "usuable" and "tweaking" in reference to Miva Merchant? I don't hear too often that someone doesn't "tweak" their online store no matter what it is including zen. I use both, btw.

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Old 1st August 2006, 06:43 AM   #19
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Well, if you read the article and the discussion here, you'll notice that we were discussing whether it was worth adjusting the current shopping cart system or installing a new one (Zen Cart). It appears the team has decided (and I agree with them) to keep the MIVA solution.

I have no idea how MIVA looks, but if it didn't work for the client efficiently, I'd consider changing it to a more customizable and user-friendly one, such as Zen Cart, which I suggested.

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Old 2nd August 2006, 12:02 AM   #20
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Hi all!

I can do things in Miva, it is workable for me. If these guys said that Miva won't ever allow you to show up in the search engines organically then we would be taking a different path. I'm not going to change something that is currently working for me.

Also I am a package girl. I like and trust and implemented packages back in the day. I just really see the value in them. That is not to say that when my business gets super big I won't feel the need to have an entire staff devoted to my custom shopping cart that practically reaches out and drapes the user in gemstones.

And, I trust my Miva developer. She gives me the real deal, tells me what it can and can't do and what her limitations are. She knows little to nothing of SEO, yet she is a Miva expert. Finding people who can work with me that I can trust is 80% of my battle as a small business owner.

Re: clicktracks, if they have something where they run your data for free for a day and you can see for yourself how people behave on your website, that would be the best sales tool for them. I would never have considered purchasing a $1200 software package at this stage in my business, but after seeing it at work I would definitely buy it. It is almost like you can't afford NOT to see the information it gives you and to adjust and adapt the way you do business as things change.

CDM

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