Clue

There should be an image here!Are you proud of your Web site? You may be happy with what you’ve created, but if your site isn’t accomplishing the goals that are set out for it, then is it really all that great? You can create a Web site to be what you think your visitors want it to be, but despite what you may think, you don’t always know what your visitors want and expect. Instead of just publishing a site without any concern for what people think, you could try a tool called Clue that helps you to find out what people remember about your Web site.

All you have to do is enter your URL to get a link from Clue that can be shared with anyone that you would like to invite to participate. The tool gives participants a few seconds to look at your site and then it asks them to write down what they remember about what they saw. At the end of the experiment, you’ll be able to review a report that shows you how things went. Prepare for a reality check.

Pop Feedback

There should be an image here!You can’t underestimate the value of getting feedback from visitors to your Web site. They’re the people who are providing your site with traffic, so it’s important to find out what they’re thinking. If you’re curious about something or would like to see what they think about something that you might be planning to do, all you have to do is ask them. There are a variety of ways that you can try to get feedback from your visitors, but Pop Feedback provides a nice solution that gets the job done.

Pop Feedback enables you to create simple and short surveys that sit in the corner of a page that you specify. You can create the question, pick the design of the survey window, and even choose a follow-up action that encourages the participant to do something like provide their e-mail address or follow you on Twitter. Once you embed the code and visitors start participating, you’ll get a nice breakdown that shows in full detail what the response has been like.

Feedjit

There should be an image here!The Internet is a global tool, and that means that if you have a Web site, you could potentially have visitors from your own town, but you could also have visitors from all over the world. In fact, you’re really missing out if you don’t know who’s visiting your site or where they’re from. Many people may think that gathering this information requires complicated analytics software, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A service called Feedjit offers a widget containing a live traffic feed that will open your eyes to what your visitors are like.

You might have seen these widgets on a variety of sites before, but if you haven’t created your own yet, then here’s your chance. The Feedjit widget is customizable and easy to install, and once installed, it goes to work right away. Not only will you find out where people are from, when they arrived, and what they viewed, but if they decide to offer additional information, you could even see their picture and find links to their Web site and social networking accounts. When you get this going, it’s hard to take your eyes away from it, and your visitors will also benefit because they’ll see who else is visiting your site.

[Photo above by Gauravonomics / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Nurph

While some Internet users may be drifting away from chat rooms, that doesn’t mean that they’re not talking to other people online. The ways in which people communicate online continue to evolve as time goes on, and these days, a lot of the conversations are taking place through social networking services like Twitter. Instead of forcing people to communicate in a way that doesn’t naturally fit in to the habits that they already have, Nurph uses Twitter so that people can chat anywhere.

By entering a URL on Nurph, you’ll get a special customized URL that you can share with your friends and visitors so that they can see the original site and chat about it directly on the page. When users visit this special Nurph URL, they’ll find a chat box that sits on top of the page. They can then login through Twitter and chat with other visitors who have found their way to the site. It makes sense for your visitors to be able to chat in this way, especially since they probably have common interests. Besides, I’m sure you don’t have a problem with having your visitors want to spend more time on your site.

UserTesting.com

We’ve talked before about the importance of figuring out what visitors think of your Web site, but are you showing by your actions that you really believe that? You can use a variety of tracking and analytics tools to see what your visitors are doing on your site, and that information is helpful, but it’s even better when the visitors who use your site talk you through their experiences with it. Many companies skip this step when they develop a Web site, but that can be a costly mistake. Thankfully, UserTesting.com provides you with usability feedback from real people quickly and for a very reasonable amount of money.

Once you specify the demographics that you want to target and fill in the information about the required tasks, UserTesting.com will match your needs with the users that they have in their system. Before you know it, depending on what you’ve paid for, one or more users will use your site and provide you with a video that shows their activity and includes their narration that details what their immediate thoughts were during the process. In addition to that visual and audible feedback, you’ll also receive written comments. The impressive thing is that you can get results in as little as an hour, so you won’t have to wait around for a long time. You may think you know what your visitors are thinking, but you have no idea.

Tal.ki

Most of us have probably been in an online forum before. These forums promote discussion about a particular topic, and once you start to get to know the members and participate in the discussions, they can become pretty addictive. For many people, forums aren’t as interesting as they used to be because they don’t necessarily offer the immediate communication that you would get from a chat session or certain social networks. With that said, forums still serve a purpose, and Tal.ki makes creating one as easy as embedding a YouTube video.

The free plan doesn’t even require you to sign up for anything. All you do is copy and paste some code and go. This ease of use also applies to users of your forum because instead of being forced to create an account, they can use one of the accounts that they already have (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). The forums are very straightforward to use, and since they keep your visitors active and engaged, a basic forum might be just what your site needs.

Mouseflow

When you have a Web site that’s online and shared with the world, your hope is that people will find it and use it in the best way possible. If you didn’t want that to happen, then you wouldn’t have bothered with creating a site in the first place. If you’re going to spend all of that time, money, and energy on creating an online presence, then it only makes sense that you would want to know how your visitors are using your Web site. Surprisingly, there are a lot of people out there who remain clueless about these details. It’s a good thing Mouseflow is around to help us find out if our sites are on the right track or not.

This service offers premium accounts with more features, but the free version should be enough for any budding Web entrepreneur. By simply creating an account and including one line of code, you’ll be able to record the activity of visitors who visit your site to see how they interact with it, look at heat maps to find out where people are clicking, see how far down people scroll on the page, and much more. This data might just change how you view your site and your visitors.

Monyta

Are you listening to what the visitors to your Web site have to say? You may think you are, but are you really? The truth is that many people who use the Internet feel disconnected from the sites that they visit. They may be able to get information from them, but they may not be able to share what they have to say and feel like they’re actually being heard. If you run a Web site, then that Web site exists to serve the visitors, so it’s important to try and get their feedback not only about your content but also about your entire site overall. Sometimes it may sting a little bit, but it has to be done. Monyta gives your site a feedback tab that gets visitors talking.

Once you create an account and personalize the settings you then install the widget script and open your site up to feedback right away. Whether visitors are contributing feedback, bug info, or questions, they can easily do so through the Monyta widget. Ideas that are submitted publicly are also listed and can be voted on by other users, so there’s no doubt about what the community has to say. It’s just up to you to make things happen.

Clixpy

When you create a Web site, you try to figure out how people are going to respond to it and interact with it. Despite your best efforts, there’s no way to predict how everyone is going to use your site, but there are some things that you can do to actually get a glimpse of what your visitors are doing on your site. This information can then be used to make changes that would improve the experience for everyone. Traditional analytics packages just give you straight data to look at, but Clixpy enables you to actually watch your users navigate around your site.

You can give the service a try through the demo that they offer. Once you create an account, this recording functionality is enabled by simply placing some code on your site. You’re provided with some initial recording captures to get started, but you’ll have to pay for additional captures to keep things going. With that said, they aren’t very expensive, and you might only want to use them whenever you make changes to your site, anyway.

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Kutano

The social media revolution has encouraged everyone to comment on everything that they see online, but it wasn’t always that way. In the past, even though we were all connected online, sometimes it didn’t feel like that was actually the case. These days, it seems like no matter where you go online, you can participate in a discussion with other people and connect in meaningful ways. In a lot of aspects, surfing the Internet has become a social activity, and Kutano proves that.

Kutano is a browser add-on for Firefox and Internet Explorer that lets you make comments about any page that you come across online. Even in this Web 2.0 world, not every site will support comments and visitor interaction, but Kutano makes that possible regardless. Comments posted by Kutano users are associated with the content on the page and not the URL, which means that the comments are available in other ways. The service also includes a comment ranking system and Twitter integration thereby making it even more useful. Isn’t it nice to be able to have organized and relevant conversations?

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WebbyChat

When you visit a Web site, do you ever sometimes think about the other people who might be visiting that same site at the same time as you? That may not happen very often, but I know that I have thought about it before, especially on sites that tell you when there are other people on the site with you. Every Web site attracts a certain type of visitor, and you probably have a lot in common with your fellow visitors. Because of that, you might enjoy talking with these people who have the same interests as you, and while most Web sites don’t contain chat rooms, WebbyChat makes it easy to turn your Web site into a chat room.



The chat rooms are provided through an unobtrusive chat bar that can be displayed and hidden at your will. One of the nice things about it is that it doesn’t get in the way of the content and can be viewed while you switch through the pages of a Web site. The chat bar is customizable and can be installed by simply copying and pasting some code. Some people may not want to be involved in this chat activity, but if you run a Web site, it’s a nice option to think about.

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Zopim

Do you care about your community and customers? You should. Many businesses treat their customers as a group and don’t consider the individuals within that group, but they should be making an effort to connect with each person in some way. One of the best ways to do this is to simply respond to them when they contact you. You can turn someone into a fan for life by just doing that. For a visitor or customer, there’s nothing more infuriating than when their messages are ignored. Therefore, you should be trying to make your company as accessible as possible. Zopim offers a chat bar that can be embedded on your Web site so that visitors can chat with you directly.

This instant communication is especially pleasing to your visitors. The chat bar is not intrusive at all, and you can route the messages to your IM client so that they’re easy to keep track of an respond to. Additionally, you can also have other people from the company get involved in the conversations. Far from being just a communication tool, Zopim even offers detailed analytics about who’s visiting your site. Try it out and see how your visitors react.

CrowdSound

Are you listening to your customers, users, or visitors? If you’re not, then your offering may not be around for very long. For many years, the standard in business has been to talk to your customers as a whole without actually listening to them collectively or as individuals. This just doesn’t fly anymore. Social media has made it much easier for businesses to actually communicate with their customers, but not everyone has accepted this new reality. With a little work in this area, customers can be kept happy and products can be greatly improved due to the feedback that is received from users. CrowdSound is a great first step for companies interested in finding out what their customers have to say.

No matter who you are, as long as you’re building something for people, CrowdSound will prove to be useful for you. By using their widget, your community can make suggestions and vote them up or down together. Their comments shed even more light on the suggestions, and you can even specify the status of them to show that you really are listening. The service becomes more useful with a paid account, but the free version will get you started.

FreeTellaFriend

If you have a Web site, it only makes sense that you would want your visitors to tell their friends about what you’re doing so that they can also check out your site. The more visitors the better, right? The ways in which people spread the word to others can be varied, but as a Webmaster, you want to make it easy for your visitors to share your content. You’ve probably seen buttons on many Web sites that encourage you to tell a friend about the site that you’re visiting, and these tools can work very well. If you don’t have something like this, then check out FreeTellaFriend. 

The button that you’ll be given is free, customizable, and simple to add. When your visitors click on it, they’ll be able to do a lot more than enter the e-mail addresses manually and send a quick note. While that basic functionality is a part of the service, visitors can also access e-mail addresses from their online address book on a number of e-mail services and take advantage of bookmarking features. It really doesn’t get much easier than this.

W3Counter

Webmasters have access to so much information about their visitors these days, and it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come. About a decade ago, those of us who were running independent Web sites were excited just to have hit counters displayed that showed how many people were visiting our sites. These days you can discover incredible details about where your visitors are coming from in the world, what they’re looking at, how they’re interacting with your Web site, and what they were searching for that led them to you. With that knowledge, webmasters can optimize their online creations to the extreme. If you don’t know anything about the people that are visiting your space on the Web, then you need to check out W3Counter.

If you can paste a small piece of code into your Web site, then you can use W3Counter. I love looking at the information that W3Counter provides, and it’s quite easy to become addicted to constantly examining this data. The service even provides widgets that you can embed to show your visitors some of your stats. A free version of the service is available, however, if you have over 5,000 daily page views and want access to some more features, you’ll need a Pro account.