Using Heatmaps to Better Understand Your Visitors

The more you understand your visitors the better you can deliver exactly what they are looking for, in the place they are looking for it. While it can oftentimes be easy to know what your visitor is looking for, putting this in a place they can easily find it on your site is a whole different story. Heatmaps can help you visualize your visitor behavior and better understand how your visitor interact with your site.

There are different kinds of heatmaps from basic click tracking all the way up to eye-tracking! Right now I use CrazyEgg for my Heatmaps, they are reasonably-priced and offer easy to understand click-based heatmaps. I am currently using this on my blog to better understand how visitors interact with my content and ads. Below is a sample heatmap looking at a small sample from my blog:

heatmap_full(Click to see full size)

From a heatmap like this you can learn a lot of things about your visitors that might not be immediately apparent when viewing your analytics data. Just to give you an example let’s take a closer look at the top navigation on my blog.

heatmap_top

It takes less than three seconds for me to see that “About” and “Resources” are two popular navigational elements. If I wanted to make a change to one page in my site that would make the most impact I would look at one of these – the heatmap makes this easy to see. Now the above heatmap has only been running for a few days, as you let data continue to collect you will be able to clearly see what your visitors interact with the most on your site.

Heatmaps can be a great way to A/B test designs as well. If you find that visitors aren’t clicking your most profitable links you can try a new design and use a Heatmap to see if the user changes their focus. It’s amazing how even small design changes can dramatically impact user behavior, heatmaps let you see this and quickly determine if a new design is helping or hurting your bottom line.

So if you’re a Domainer that is getting into development or a developer looking to improve their revenue Heatmaps are a great way to understand your visitors even more!

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