Over the years, I have used a variety of analytics programs to keep track of website traffic. From Google Analytics to Microsoft adCenter Analytics to OneStat, they’re all the same. Since last week, however, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to test drive a new sort of web statistics software, Woopra. Though still in closed beta, it offers a number of revolutionary features that promise to shake up what is currently an uninnovative market.

woopraAfter receiving an email last week from the Woopra team offering PC Fastlane a place in their closed beta, I jumped at the opportunity. I’m been an avid Google Analytics fan since its debut several years ago. While it is still a good statistics program to work with, it sometimes takes up to forty-eight hours to update and has become so bloated with features load times are abysmally long.

Once you register on Woopra’s site, it is very easy to get started. One can install the necessary code manually like with any other statistics software, or take the more user-friendly plugin approach, which automatically installs the code into sites using popular CMS or blogging platforms like Joomla and WordPress. I opted for the latter, and within minutes had Woopra running.

Unlike most other web analytics services, Woopra stats are viewed through a desktop client. The client, which is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux, is simply a pleasure to use. Opening it up on my iMac for the first time, I was quickly amazed at how easy getting around the program was. Whereas using Google Analytics involves a mild learning curve, I was able to instantly find all the data I needed in Woopra.

Woopra displays everything you would expect a good statistics program to track. This includes search keywords, referrers, visitor and page view numbers, as well as trends. What makes Woopra different, however, is that all these things are updated instantly. Rather than have to wait hours to find out who’s been on your site, Woopra will tell you exactly who is on your website at any given moment on a special “live” pane.

The live pane details all sorts of information about visitors, including how they found your site, where they live, and what links they click. You can even tag visitors and track their usage of your site over time. Perhaps the most unique feature in Woopra is the ability to initiate a chat with live visitors, with no add-on software needed. This probably wouldn’t be helpful for a site like PC Fastlane, but there are tremendous applications for this in e-commerce and tech support.

When Woopra leaves closed beta, both free and paid versions will be able. There is currently no information about what particular differences will exist between the two, but the free version will likely contain some sort of advertising. Currently beta users can only track one site, but a Firefox-like tab interface is present for tracking multiple sites. One cool feature in development is the ability to use the client’s world map of visitors as a desktop background or screen saver.

Woopra is clearly an analytics program above all others. Utilizing a desktop client rather than a web browser, its developers seem to understand user interfaces better than the likes of Google or Microsoft. Though still in beta, its unique features are already generating buzz in the web world. After using Woopra for a week, will I go back to Google Analytics? As of right now, no. The experience it provides is simply too good to pass up.

Woopra Review: Feature-Filled Analytics in a Nice Package

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