Gabbly, Meebo Me and Stickam are three very popular IM services that let you embed live chat window plugins in your web pages or blog. So you can either chat with people while they are on your site or even the site visitors can chat among themselves.
Now since these blog chat addons are done in Macromedia Flash, visitors need not download or install anything in order to get started. As soon as they open your blog in any web browser, they are ready to converse with either you or other blog readers.
Why should I embed Live chat in my blog ?
Here are some reasons:
» It could be a great opportunity to get instant feedback about your blog from site visitors. A lot of your site fans may want to send you comments but they are sometimes too lazy to write you an email or even dropping a line in the comment section. But with these services, the visitor can start a conversation with you by simply typing in the text area - they can even choose to remain anonymous.
» A lot of service oriented and product websites have a "Talk to our representative" or "Live Support" button where visitors can speak with their support staff online without dialing any number or writing emails. If you also need to provide a similar customer support service on your blog or web page but don't have big budget, these IM services may be just right for you. Business online with zero setup cost.
» If you place Meebo Me in your site, it will show you the number of visitors who are currently visiting your site. The visitors will automatically appear as guest inside the meebo chat window even when they don't plan to chat. No web analytics program like Statcounter or sitemeter would ever be able to tell you how many people were on your site at 11:32 am.
I thought they would slow down my web page ?
Though all the three services download a swf file on the client computer, the footprint is very small and the visitors may not even notice any change in the site loading time. However, if you are still not comfortable with integrating chat windows in your main web pages, you can place them in a pop-up window which will only open when the visitor clicks on the hyperlink.
Gabbly vs Meebome vs Stickam - Which is better ?
It really depends on what you want to do with the service like do want to have control over the size of the widget, want group discussion, video chatting or just text chatting. Here's a quick review of the three services:
Meebo Me has a very pleasing interface and comes in three standard sizes so you can either fit it easily in the blog sidebar, main post or even in a popup. You will have to login into your meebo account so when someone visits your site, they will be able to instantly communicate with you through the meebome widget. [Thanks, Shahrzaad Parekh]
Stickam lets you do a live video chat with site visitors. The service is miles ahead of competition in terms of features and customization options. You can add your own skins, profile picture or even change the background color. Other than text chat, Stickam lets you share videos, photos, music within the player. Robin Good has a more detailed review of Stickam when it was in the beta phase.
Gabbly lets you choose any custom height and width of the chat window so you can customize it as per your blog layout. Gabbly is for group chat so everyone who visits your page will then be able to chat with one another. The conversation can be subscribed to via rss feeds [gabbly chat for this blog]