This is the first of an ongoing series of guest articles which explore web analytics and using . If you would like to contribute to this series, contact Lorelle at with your proposal.

By Charles McKeever

Building a social networking community is a lot of hard work. To really make it work and make people feel like there's someone on the other side of their monitor you have to stay on top of welcoming new members, responding to discussions, being aware of new groups, commenting on new photos and videos, and responding to support requests.

It's true that alerts for all these events can be programmed into a system, but that takes time and money. You could use some form of email system to track what's going on in your community, but using email to respond to requests can be tedious. Unless you have to be in your email all day, it isn't very productive and certainly not all that interactive.

What I've discovered is that Woopra provides a crazy simple solution to staying on top of activity in my social networking site with event notifications.

Using Woopra's Event Notifications

Woopra Event NotificationsWoopra's event notifications let me set alerts for when certain events happen on my website. An alert can be a sound, a custom on screen message, or both.

Alerts can be set by visitor identification, pages and referrers, and system specifications. This makes it very simple to track when community members are online, when new forum discussions, new groups, new photos, new videos, and new comments are added.

Event notifications also gives a real-time way of knowing when someone comes from a particular country or city. If community members are sensitive to certain time zones then this can be extremely helpful, especially when trying to build a community with an international member base.

Woopra event notifications are extremely flexible and offer a great way to stay interactive on your websites.

Here are the events you can flag within Woopra's event notifications:

  • Visitor ID
  • IP Address
  • Tagged Visitors
  • Country
  • City
  • Page URL
  • Page Title
  • File Downloading
  • External link clicks
  • Referrer URL
  • Browser Type
  • Platform
  • Language
  • Screen Resolution

So, how do event notifications help you stay on top of your social networking site? Well, imagine you run a social community and you want to know each time a new member signs up so you can give them a personal greeting and welcome them to the community. You also want to get other things done so you don't have time to watch your email box all day waiting to get a new member signup notification.

In Woopra under the Manage tab on the left you can create a custom event notification that watches for the url of your member sign up page. When someone loads the page to join, Woopra will tell you. Then you can go and welcome the new member to the community and let them know that your glad they joined.

Woopra Community Signup Event Notification

If you want to cut out false positives on the sign up form, set the alert to watch for the account confirmation page for your sign up process and then you'll just get notifications when someone completes the registration process. It really depends on the system your using and whether or not you have access to the pages within the process.

This same concept can be applied to email list subscribers, promotional downloads, and partner link monitoring. The list of uses really is huge and the alert events are flexible enough that they could be used for just about anything.

Social networking is becoming a whole lot more interactive as it continues to mature and Woopra is bringing a whole new level of awareness to website management with tools like event notifications. Woopra makes it simple for bloggers, community builders, and general website owners to increase the level of interactivity they maintain with their visitors without adding complex programming to their startup costs.

Because event notifications are easy to implement and monitor, it is easy for you to run a promotion or have an idea and then test that idea quickly. This creates a fundamental shift in the way you react to events within you community.

Not only does it give you greater visibility into what is happening on your website, but it also helps you to take action in more proactive and organic ways.

Charles McKeever writes for his marketing blog, Charles McKeever of Open Source Marketer, where he helps new bloggers understand how to apply Internet marketing concepts to their blogs using tools and language that anyone can understand.

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