27th July 2007

VisitorVille – The Coolest Live Web Stats Tool

I absolutely LOVE this application – despite the fact that it only runs on Windows (c’mon guys, make a Mac version soon, pretty please?)…..VisitorVille. is fun, enlightening, and highly addictive. With its “Sims”-like interface and comprehensive reports, keeping track of your web site stats has never been this much fun. Add in that it’s “real time” reporting (you can watch and even interact with visitors WHILE they are on your site) and you have a web site stats package that’s not just fun but highly useful as well.

VisitorVilleWith VisitorVille, your site is shown as a “virtual city”. Pages of your site are represented by buildings, and site visitors are (naturally) people. They arrive on buses that represent the various search engines that deliver them to your site, and then wander from building to building (page to page) as they browse your site. The 3D graphics are amazing – as nice as high-end video games (and don’t worry if you have an older PC – their 2D graphics are still great and fun to watch). The package comes with the ability to interact with your site visitors via Live Chat, and you can even “push” Chat to initiate contact, which is useful if you think someone may be having trouble finding what they need, or filling in a form or completing an action such as a purchase.

Below the surface of what looks like just fun and games is a robust reporting package that can utilize both the stored cookie data (from a small snippet of code that you put on all your pages) as well as your log files, in order to give you a full and sophisticated suite of reports, including in-depth visitor data, repeat visitor behavior, conversions, and sales data (if your site sells a product or service).

I’ve tried and abandoned numerous web stats packages. Omniture, ClickTracks, WebTrends, Sawmill, and a fair number of others. Some were great but expensive, some were difficult to implement and use, none of them really impressed me until now.

I have a Windows PC close by that I use for testing web site designs in various Windows browsers, so I installed VisitorVille on that, and I have to admit that I can’t stop watching it – the little buses driving around and the people walking around are just enthralling to say the least. If you work in a ultra-conservative corporate enviroment (translation: very little sense of humor in the office) then this may not be for you. But for anyone who needs or wants live web stats, VisitorVille is a fun, affordable, and really darn good reporting package.

If you sign up through this link to VisitorVille be sure to use coupon code tk10 to save 10% off the already low price.

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24th July 2007

Five Reasons Why I Blog

After spending some time browsing Conversation Agent, the brilliant Blog of Valeria Maltoni, in particular her post titled Why I Blog, I am inspired to write my own top 5 reasons for why I blog, so here they are:

Why I Blog:

  1. First and foremost, to help people – there is so much in my head that I often take for granted until someone else asks me a question – so for those who don’t know me personally (in order to ask), I decided to post what I know in the hopes that someone looking for that small piece of knowledge might stumble across it and find it helpful in some way. I post reviews of software I’ve tried so that others can find an honest, unpaid assessment, or tips on how to save time doing some small task that can otherwise be intimidating.
  2. Because I have so many words running around in my head all the time – if I don’t write them down I’m afraid I’ll lose them 🙂
  3. Because I’m an introvert – I know that sounds contradictory, but the very nature of the internet is perfect for introverts, because you – the reader – come to me (my site) to seek some answers or conversation or a laugh. Introverts often find it difficult or intimidating to approach others, so the fact that others must make the approach to come to our blogs frees us from our insecurities and allows us to give freely without worrying that our advice or comments are unwanted.
  4. Because I often find humour in situations that can sometimes be frustrating or intimidating, and by pointing out what I find funny, and getting others to laugh too, it can make the frustration just a litte more bearable and what’s intimidating just a little bit less so.
  5. Because I’m practicing my writing skills in preparation for that great novel I hope to write someday…….when everyone else switches to a Mac and I have more time on my hands! 🙂

Valeria, thanks for the inspiration! I look forward to spending more time reading your posts!

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