Serving up my thoughts since 2004

Visitor Path Weirdness

We recently laucnhed a new shopping cart on our site, so I decided to check out how it’s doing. Most of the stats looked fine, but the visitor path report was showing almost impossible paths for the checkout process.
A normal path should look something like this:

  1. Add to cart
  2. Shipping info
  3. Billing info
  4. Confirm order
  5. Thank you

What we were getting was this:

  1. Add to cart
  2. Shipping info
  3. Home Page
  4. Billing info
  5. Confirm order
  6. Thank you

I had a few theories about why this was happening, but none of them really made much sense. Upon further investigations, I found the culprit. Instead of a dedicated 404 page, we were simply redirecting to the homepage. This includes 404 errors for images.
What was happening is that there was a bad link to an image on the page, so the homepage was being requested.
Of course visitors didn’t know the difference, but it was really messing up the web analytics.

Case solved!


  1. a really great homepage! i’m a big fan of your stuff although i’m just 16!

  2. Warm greetings! Thanks for all the information, a very nice and well done site! Cheers.

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