Why Woopra is Best Web Analytics Tool Ever [Interview]

Lorelle VanFossen explains why Woopra is the best web analytics tool on the web. I have been using the amazing Woopra for a long time, and now let one of the most authoratative voices on the Internet convince you why Woopra is different and a generation ahead from any other traffic tracking tool available online. Lets ask Lorelle…

Let me thank you first for taking the time to talk to me about Woopra – and warn you that it’s hard to shut me up once I get going! I love Woopra and am proud to be on their team.

We have a small team that create and maintain the Woopra world. It’s amazing that something so powerful and revolutionary came out of the heads of two incredibly talented and gifted people, Elie Khoury and Jad Younan, and we have a fabulous team of five supporting all of what you see with Woopra. Amazing!

People laugh when I say that I believe Woopra is going to change how we think and work on the web. Then they see it in action, especially the brand new Woopra 1.3x, and eyes pop and mouths fall open. We call it the Woopra Effect. :D I present workshops and programs and keynote at conferences talking about Woopra, so I love seeing that Woopra moment for the audience.

As I said, I can talk about Woopra for hours, so to your questions.

5 Reasons Why I Should Use Woopra?

Only five? :D

  1. Real time live stats and analytics: No waiting to see who is visiting your site and what they are looking at.
  2. Actionable Data: We live in a world where fast has a new meaning. Woopra gives you data RIGHT NOW so you can make decisions to change ads, content, update pages, fix problems, track spammers and hackers, and respond in the moment instead of hours, days, or even weeks later. Decisions can be made through the data or through the popular Event Notification feature which alerts you when a specific event or trigger happens on your site – helping you to respond now.
  3. Customizable Analytics, Segmentation, and Reports: We’ve just added the first in a series of improvements to our Analytics area bringing customization and personalization of your analytical data. You can sort, filter, search, and customize what information you need to know now. You can save commonly used search filters and even apply them to a variety of data. It’s your data. We’re working hard to bring you the data you need, not what we think you need to know about your site’s traffic and visitors.
  4. Individuals Not Numbers: A lot of people talk about their pageviews and traffic to impress people, similar to bragging about having 12,458 Twitter followers. If you don’t know them individually, or even how they can help you or you can help them, who cares? It’s noise. Woopra turns the numbers into individuals, personalities. You can track who comes back for more. Your numbers become relationships. When they register or comment on your site, they become a name not a number, so now you are tracking Sally not #4598301. You can chat live with your visitors, be alerted when an individual shows up, or find out what one person has been doing over time on your site. When you talk to individuals, you can benefit the masses much more than trying to talk to everyone.
  5. Woopra changes your online life and work: It sounds strange, but we’ve seen that “Woopra Effect” on tens of thousands of users. When we present Woopra at conferences, we watch people’s eyes glow and the motors churn with a new perspective on how to make their site work better for them and their customers and visitors.

How Many Sites Use Woopra? Can You Name a Few Major Sites?

We have more than 80,000 sites using Woopra during this phase of testing. We’re opening approvals with the release of Woopra 1.3x and that number may grow to almost 100,000 by the end of the month.

As we are in closed private beta testing, we’re focusing on testers. They may be running Woopra on huge, heavy traffic sites, or private sites with only a few visitors for testing purposes. We have people running a wide variety of servers, operating systems, website types and platforms, and browsers, helping us put Woopra through the wringer to make it as strong, flexible, and powerful as possible.

Who uses Woopra? Some folks who love what it does and are willing to help us put it through its paces and give us the feedback we need.

There are colleges and universities, high schools, elementary schools, non-profits, government agencies, radio and television shows and stations, multimedia and web technology companies, famous people, bloggers, employment agencies, entertainers – the list is long. Woopra is running in dozens of countries including Japan, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Bulgaria, Germany, Sweden, Israel, Spain, and Russia.

Our servers are tracking millions of hits and serving up stats in the billions live, right now, to Woopra desktop clients, WordPress users, and those using the new Woopra Web Analytics app, so you don’t have to be tied to your computer to check your stats. There is currently an unofficial iPhone Woopra app but we’re working on an official version now that this version of Woopra is out.

A few examples of “big” sites using Woopra include Bjork (the singer), Ireland Breaking News – Irish News site, ButterScotch Tech portal, Envirolink Environmental community, Cali Lewis of GeekBrief.TV, John C. Smith University, Al Gore’s Live Earth, The Fan Sports Radio 97.1FM, No Fact Zone – #1 Stephen Colbert fan site, Portsmouth Police Department, the Samsung Newsroom, Dave Courvoisier – Las Vegas News Anchor/Voice Actor, Barbados Fair Trading Commission, New Zealand Human Rights Commission, Linfield College, MojoPortal, Port of San Diego, The Pew Charitable Trusts: State policy and politics, The Big Bay – San Diego Travel Guide, and the NBA Trail Blazers.

While it’s nice to know that these well-known and popular sites are using Woopra, for us, it’s about our beta testers at this stage in the game. The reports and feedback we get in the Woopra Forums help us make Woopra better. Those are the people we praise daily.

How is Woopra better than other traffic statistics tools?

Better? Define “better.” It’s different, and we like to think it’s better because it offers a unique perspective on your web stats. On the surface, Woopra is prettier than any other web analytics program. DB Ferguson of the No Fact Zone calls it “eye candy, stat crack.”

Woopra is not all about the pretty. It is has a hard driving engine underneath that was totally rewritten from the ground up to be more powerful and efficient, as well as with a framework that will help third-parties develop a variety of applications, plugins, and tools for the new Woopra 1.3x.

Primarily, Woopra was the first to offer comprehensive, real-time, live stats and web analytics. In the past, you had to wait 12-24 hours for updates from Google Analytics and other web analytics programs. The data was clumsy and hard to understand, especially for the novice. Woopra’s new Analytics segmentation features allow you to set up the data in ways you want and need.

What is fascinating is how people are using Woopra. A web analytics program is all about the numbers, right? The giant virtual score card. Woopra changes the game by giving you more than numbers. It tracks people. Individuals. Human beings.

We’ve had Woopra Members report on how they use Woopra in ways we never envisioned. Ron Pare wrote about his hobby train site and guild, Scratch Builders Guild, and how tracking the visitors to pages featuring model train kits can not only help him know which kits are successful, but use the geographical information to know which kits to sell to which area distributors and hobby stores.

Charles McKeever of Open Source Marketer, wrote about tracking visitor activity and using the Woopra Event Notifications to not just track visitors to test his social media marketing efforts. Submit an article to Twitter, StumbleUpon, or other social networking and bookmarking services and watch in real time to see the immediate response. One of these services not working for you, it’s time to make a change.

Real Estate agents and companies are changing how they track visitors through their site, monitoring which properties are of interest and where the interest is coming from. Woopra allows them to create a wide range of Event Notifications to alert them immediate to interest in a specific property or area, and the Live Chat feature lets them talk directly to the visitor and answer any questions they may have. They can respond now, turning visitors into customers.

Bloggers are loving Woopra. Sure, it gives them keywords and search terms to help them understand what their readers are looking for, but it personalizes the blogging experience. Before, interaction and relationships were built through the comment box. With Woopra, bloggers actually see the action and navigation through their blog, making the experience much more personal and tangible. They can watch people move from one article to the next, looking for information or possibly throughly studying the content, understanding how people use their site and information. It’s fascinating to watch the walls between the blogger and the reader disappear.

We’ve heard from some ad agencies and web development usability researchers that they are using Woopra with their testing, letting them monitor live how people are using a website or website application. They can use the Live Chat feature to ask a question at the moment something happens, getting immediate feedback that they might not get hours later when they sit down to review the test with the users.

We recently asked our Members to tell us about how they use the Woopra Live Chat. We were stunned at how popular this feature is for Woopra Members! The Woopra Live Chat requires nothing but the Woopra desktop client to hold a conversation with someone live on their site. Right now, the Live Chat is one way, initiated by the webmaster, but we’re working on making it more interactive and customizable.

People are using it to hold contests on their site, offering customer service, chatting with regular visitors or their team of bloggers and authors, getting feedback, interviews – it’s amazing all the ways people get creative with a tool we’re still developing.

As Woopra moves through the closed private beta process towards full release, we are learning so much about how people use the numbers and Woopra to make their online decisions and actions. And Woopra is evolving accordingly.

What is the easiest and fastest way to set up Woopra? How long does it take to get approved?

There is only one way. First, register to be a beta tester. We approval new beta testers in random batches when we have resources available. Once approved, install Woopra. Takes seconds. Put the Woopra JavaScript on your site per the Woopra Installation Guide, install the Woopra Desktop Client, and it will work within a few minutes as the servers catch up.

Remember, Woopra is currently in closed private beta testing. We approve new beta testing members when we have resources available, and then randomly. Let me explain this as people have a hard time understanding what “random” means.

We are tracking billions of bits of data across our servers at no cost to our beta testers. When we move Woopra out of beta, we will have a free basic version and paid versions, depending upon need and usage. Until then, we’re paying out a lot of money every month for the most powerful servers in the world.

To keep our costs low, we restrict our members to a 10,000 pageview per day limit and two sites per beta tester. That’s a lot of pageviews for the average webmaster. Few ever pass that limit. This keeps our costs down and allows us to manage tends of thousands of beta testers instead of the couple hundred originally budgeted.

We approve randomly. There are no favorites, no time limits, not even first-come-first-served. It’s done manually, so it is time consuming and random. We approve sites, not members. This is why we tell people it can take months or minutes, there is no telling. We’re adding new servers as fast as we can afford, and when we move out of beta, there will no waiting to use Woopra.

As a special deal for QOT readers, if you sign up and add your site to the Woopra Members > My Websites area, and tweet @woopra with the word “QOT” I will approve your site as fast as possible. This is only good until 8 September 2009, so act now.

Can Woopra be used on any website?

Yes. If your site can handle JavaScript, the Woopra JavaScript is quickly and easily installed per the Woopra Installation Guide. It also includes links to scripts, plugins, and installation tips for many different website and CMS platforms, and more are being added all the time.

We have the Woopra WordPress Plugin for WordPressusers. As a reminder, Woopra will not currently work with WordPress.com, only single hosted versions of Woopra. We’re working on a WordPressMU version of Woopra and looking for Plugin authors across a variety of platforms to help add to the list of sites Woopra can be installed on.

Can you highlight some new developments in the latest Woopra version?

Most of the news about the new features and upgrades are in the new version of Woopra announcements, so I’ll highlight only a few of them. We’ll be doing screencasts, videos, and publishing a ton of details about the new features over the next few weeks.

The most exciting features are the improved Analytics and segmentation features I’ve already mentioned, especially the Custom Reports feature. We’re really looking forward to hearing about all the ways we can improve this new feature, but also how people are using it. I’m working on a way to get people to report their Custom Report criteria to share with others.

There are so many things that have completely changed in this version of Woopra, it’s hard to select a few. The new charts and graphs, the added Analytics, the right click menus for analyzing data, webmaster tools to check page ranking and WHOIS…The new Woopra Theme Editor is fun, allowing users to customize and share their Woopra colors and designs. We’ll be adding more to that in future versions.

What is the long term plan for Woopra?

We’re in the early stages of offering customizable web analytics, so expect to see a lot of more development in that area. We want to not just be different in look and feel but also in customization. If you want to track specific information on your site, we want you to be able to do so. It’s your data. We want you to have control over it.

We’re making dramatic improvements to the Live Chat, Live Map, and all the various features of Woopra.

We’re also working towards developing a billing system that will allow us to move from the free version to paid versions, removing all the restrictions and limits. We are working to incorporate such a system into our website, and possibly even into the client in the long term to make it as easy as possible to customize how Woopra works for you.

Most important to us is the Woopra Community. The feedback on Twitter through our accounts, @woopra and Woopra Members, and in the Woopra Forums, and other social media sites helps us make Woopra better. We are working hard on getting as many people using and testing Woopra as possible, and using that feedback to squash bugs and create a strong and flexible web analytics tool. So we are listening a lot and answering a lot of questions on how Woopra works, as well as how to help you make Woopra work for you.

You are known as the Queen of WordPress, so why Woopra?

LOL. Honestly, the first moment I saw the earliest version of Woopra, my mouth would not close. I’ve been in the web business since its earliest development days and have been looking for something new to invest my time and energy into for over ten years, something totally new that will help change the web. I knew in a second that Woopra was it.

I’ve fought long battles to help break down communication barriers, helping everyone get a chance to have their say in the world, against copyright infringement, and have worked hard to break down language barriers around the globe through machine and live translations. Woopra breaks down some fascinating barriers as well.

Woopra provides instant and live information and interaction on your site. It isn’t about the past or the future but the present. To me, that changes the relationships we have with those who spend time on our site.

Woopra is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re in the earliest phases of development and have a ton of fantastic ideas and projects coming soon. Just as I continue to feel the same kind of excitement and energy that keeps me involved and passionate about WordPress, Woopra is even more exciting!

lorelle on wordpressLorelle VanFossen is Editor-in-Chief of Woopra. She is a top public speaker, trainer, writer, and consultant on web writing, web design, and blogging, and a leading voice on WordPress. She has written the book Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging, where she shares her web writing and blogging experiences.

Share with friends

About the Author: P Chandra is editor of QOT, one of India's earliest tech bloggers since 2004. A tech enthusiast with expertise in coding, WordPress, web tools, SEO and DIY hacks.