Site Engagement or Big Brother-ish Stalking?

Today I learned of a website analytics software package called Woopra that is a very interesting application for sure!  The premise of it is that you install a tracking script on your site, and you are then able to view your site visitors “in real time” as they navigate around.   As a test, I set it up on the NCGenWeb site since Weepro rocks and offers a WordPress plugin.  If I were not using WordPress, like Google Analytics code, it would need to be placed on each page I wanted to track.

Upon installation, I can then log into the Dashboard where I see the number of current visitors; the number of visitors over the past several hours; find out if those visitors are just reading or potentially writing, or are idle; what pages are currently being viewed, recent search queries that landed them on the site, which sites they just left to come to NCGenWeb, and what countries they are from.  I sent out a test call to my G+ & Twitter community and had a terrific response!

Dashboard of site visitors.

There is a nifty World Map that plots visitors on the map

site visitors plotted on a map

I can see repeat activity too. Here is Visitor #47 who at the time I captured this screen shot, had visited the site 4 times within an hour.  Visitor 47 is from the Knoxville area and is a Comcast customer who uses Firefox as their web browser.

repeat visitor info

In the ultimate of coolness, I can also prompt a chat session with any specific visitor(s).  I sent out several chat requests during the test and had some fun exchanges.  This is what the chat request looks like

my initiation of a chat to a site visitor

And this is an example chat I did with Fran

chat from the user's perspective

Thanks to Fran’s retweet, I also had a brief chat with Mary who even complimented the NCGenWeb site – aww.. thanks Mary!

Mary's kind comment re NCGenWeb

Is all this cool or what?  Now, how might I use this for genealogical advantage?

Well, within the first 10 minutes of my use, I saw that one visitor was receiving a 404 message for a site they tried to access twice, so I set up a redirect from it to the new location of that page – it was one I’d missed the last time I moved things around so I was able to see that and fix it. Also, for the TNGenWeb project we are about to do a site redesign, so it may be interesting to use this as a way to survey site visitors.

There’s a lot of potential here. It is one thing to see your stats in various software packages, but completely another to see it LIVE!

Is that the ultimate in site engagement? Or is it big-brotherish?? 

Comments (6)

  1. Lineagekeeper

    I’ve been using Woopra for a couple of years — early Beta. Works great. Couple it with Google Analytics and you can make an evening of it just reading stats.

  2. taneya (Post author)

    Thank you for sharing! It does seem to work well and I am looking forward to learning how to use it even more effectively.

  3. Janell

    I think that because it’s private info, you can’t really see who is doing the searching, it’s not really big-brotherish. Now the scary part might be more when it’s used on a site where people log into their accounts that do include a lot more private information, and then this information was tied to that….

  4. taneya (Post author)

    Good point Janell – I cannot see anything specific about the visitor, just their specs. I don’t know if this software has the ability to be tied to specific accounts, but yes, that would be quite different wouldn’t it?

  5. Liv

    Thanks so much for this detailed review of Woopra’s features!

    This application is very much like that I started using on some of my literary blog as far back as 2006 or 2007. A comparison of Clicky versus other Real Time Web Analytic apps can be viewed at their website too; so check it out if you have some time!

  6. taneya (Post author)

    thanks for the info about I’ll have to look at it too.

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