January 4

Zopim: Live Online Chat for Websites

Zopim is one of those little live chat boxes that sits on a website (look down and to your right) and gives you the chance to connect with your visitors as they browse your site. I installed it a couple of years ago with a WordPress plugin, and I have to say I’m in love.

When I send out NerdWords on Friday, I make sure I’m around to be able to chat when people stop by. Frequently I’ll see the same folks stop by my site and say hello. It’s like a virtual coffee shop with no coffee. Or cupcakes.

Zopim makes the chat easy because it integrates with my Google Chat service. I get a “clunk” sound when someone hits the site, and they see a message that I’m online. I prefer the passive presence, which means that I don’t pop up and bother visitors when they arrive — they can talk to me if they want.

Most of the time I use Zopim from my Gmail page. I have to set my status to “Available”, and I sometimes forget to change it back to “Invisible,” which means I look like I’m online but away from the desk. If I really had my stuff together, I’d keep Zopim open on my phone through their apps, but I walk around staring at my phone enough without adding yet another task that keeps me nose down into my devices.

If I want more options, I can login to the Zopim dashboard to see even more details. Zopim gives me a few details about the visitors, such as where they’re from and what they’re looking at, but other than that I don’t have any information unless they reach out to me. Then I set the service to require a first and last name so I don’t have to write, “And to whom am I typing?”

If I am not around, I leave a friendly message in the chat box that encourages people to send a note. I probably get two-thirds of my weekly messages through that box.

Here’s the most important thing I love about Zopim… it’s 100% free for one user. They don’t even put a note that I’m using the free version on the chat area. Having this feature makes me feel, I don’t know, more official or something. It’s a fancy addition that doesn’t cost me anything but upgrades my profile and makes my website more useful to my visitors. As my business keeps growing, I may consider upgrading to the paid version (starting at $11.20 a month) so I can have more than one chat going at once.

There are, of course, numerous Zopim competitors out there, many with free versions. But I love a company that starts with “Z,” and I’ve never had a lick of a problem with this service, so I’m a huge fan and a loyal customer. Whichever one you go with, you’re probably going to make better connections (and we hope more money) when you add this type of personal touch to your site.

Zopim made Beth’s Top Website Tools list!


collaboration, communication, forms, utility, web

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