One of my friends recently stated I knew all those web design insider secrets. Secrets? Well no it isn’t a secret, most things I share are often standard stuff to the typical web designer. Like any industry, we have best practices and popular tools but I do read a lot of industry publications to keep abreast of the latest.
Today I’ll share one of those possible so called secrets. Heatmaps!
Sidekick for Google Analytics
I know, yawn, Google Analytics. Hardly the most interesting of reports to delve through so I won’t bore you on how they are useful. Hopefully you already know stats about bounce rates, traffic and page views are useful info for marketing decisions.
However, sometimes it just isn’t enough to give you the whole picture. This is where heatmaps are pretty nifty. Lately I have incorporated it into my web design process so I know how well a current layout is doing.
See Clicks in a Heatmap
What is a heatmap? A heatmap shows what is popular visually with colors ranging from red for hot to blue for cold. Heatmaps track the clicks on a page on a website (snapshots).
CrazyEgg.com is one of the leading services for heatmaps. With Crazy Egg, you install a tracking script (or WordPress plugin) on your website. The script once installed will track the clicks on the pages you picked out for snapshots. Over time you will see visually where your site visitors are clicking.
I gotta tell you – nothing like a picture to say a thousand words. Sometimes stats just aren’t enough, a picture shows you exactly at a glance how effective layout items are. For example:
- Are the menu items working? You can tell exactly what they find interesting.
- How about your sidebar, are they clicking on your promoted items or shared info?
- How far are they scrolling down the page? You can see that visually too with a scroll map.
- Where are the clicks coming from? Confetti view can show you.
So how useful is this information? Instead of just reading about numbers of page views and page links, you get a view of how well the layout is working. Is it working, does it need a few tweaks, do they find your call to action box interesting?
I wouldn’t recommend it as a replacement to Google Analytics, but presentation of the information is very useful. If you need to know how well your website marketing items or layout is doing, this designer gives it 2 thumbs up.