The Referring Pages report – Getting the URL Parameters to Show Up

Augment the Referring Pages report by allowing the referring page URL query parameters to be displayed, instead of just the URL stem.

Applies to:  Software

The Problem

The Referring Pages report, as it comes out of the box, can be a bit of a disappointment.

What most of us would like to have is a list of clickable URLs that will take us to the referring page so we can see the context, i.e. the exact page on which the link to our site is being displayed.

Well, the URLs in the Referring Pages report are in fact clickable, but much of the time they won’t go to the correct page on the other site.  This is because the Referring Pages report strips off query parameters.

So if you see a lot of traffic to your new product’s page coming from www.reviews.com/products/review.cfm, you won’t  be able to find the review that links to your site, if the complete page URL is actually
/review.cfm?review=283999.

The Solution

If you have software, you can add a line to one of your configuration files that will make parameters show up in the Referring Pages report.  The line will change how much the referring page’s query string will be truncated.

The line goes into the [profile] section of the config file and is:

referrerquerytruncatelength = xxxxx

where “xxxxx” is the number of characters you want displayed.  I don’t know if there’s an upper limit.  I use 45 which is long enough for most cases.  A value of zero will of course result in complete suppression of the URL parameters.

The Details

You can make this change in either of two configuration files.  You can set it up to apply to all profiles by changing the global configuration file, or you can make it happen only in selected profiles.

  • To make the change in all your profiles,  add the above line to the following file.  It’s in your WebTrends installation folder:

/storage/config/wtm_wtx/wtm_wtx.ini

  • To make the change in just a selected profile(s),  locate and modify the *.wlp file for your selected profile in this directory:

/storage/config/wtm_wtx/datfiles/profiles/

(The name of the profile file you want to edit will be <GUID>.wlp where <GUID> is the long string that appears in the Profile File Name box,  in the first screen you see when you edit a profile.  An example is “ER53ShxcFK6” which would have a configuration file named ER53ShxcFK6.wlp in the /datfiles/profiles/ folder.)