Best Free Proactive Live Chat for Websites

While it's seems like web sites are pretty static, it is really cool when you visit a site and someone starts chatting with you. It can be a little startling at first, but I kind of like the idea of someone actively wanting to engage with me. And it just happened that at one point, I actually did have a quick question which was answered promptly without me having to search for it.

With that being said, I was on a quest to find a live chat program that I could easily put on my own web site. I tried several of them, first, one that I had experienced above. It was pretty good, but I couldn't justify paying $40/mo. for the infrequent visitors to my site. I then tried the one that came with my web hosting company, but that one was very technical and looked dated. Finally, I tried a few others but was still disappointed with the technical issues and lack of features for their free accounts.

After many Google searches, I was lucky to come across this comparison of live chat software. I was particularly interested in a free plan, as I was going to be the only agent with a small number of chats per month. I also really wanted to see important information about who was visiting my web site, such as from what url they come from, what pages they were viewing on my own site, and especially, their IP address and location.

The winner: olark! This one really takes the cake and was a breeze to set up on my web site. As a bonus, I was able to use a free IM client, in this case, I am using Pidgin, AND it works on my Android phone using IMO. All were very easy to set up. If I get busy enough, I love it so much that I will probably just start with their Bronze paid plan, which is pretty affordable anyway. I am willing to provide feedback on the ones I've already tried, so feel free to leave a comment.

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