Last Updated on July 15, 2020 by Michael Brockbank
There are a lot of tools on the Internet to improve how you write content. Of them, I think heatmapping your website is probably one of the more prolific. In reality, it can offer a wide scope of information about how people see your site.
Don’t get me wrong, tools like Google Analytics and other metric data collectors are great. But being able to see where people click, scroll, and read can help you build a strong strategy for your posts.
Today, I’m going to dive into what heatmaps are and why you should consider using one.
What is Heatmapping?
A heatmap works by showing you areas that people interact with on your website using hot and cool colors. In this case, it’s red for the most active and blue for the least. The more often a certain area is interacted with by visitors, the brighter the map.
It’s like looking through a thermal FLIR camera for your website. It helps you identify where and what is the most attractive to your audience.
Perhaps you want to see if anyone is clicking a link, image, or button. Maybe you want to see if anyone is actually scrolling through your pages. You can see this data using heatmapping on your website.
And although there are many out there to choose from, you can sign up for free with some of the more prominent heatmap developers.
How Heatmapping a Website Works
Every tool is a bit different, but most heatmaps offer similar capabilities. By recording the movements of a mouse and clicks or taps on your pages, you can literally see what people find the best parts of your site.
Some of the best heatmap software out there lets you:
Follow the Mouse Cursor
Often times, people will use the mouse pointer as a way to scan through content. I know I do when I read a blog post. The cursor helps my eyes stay along the sentence as I read through.
And I’m not the only one.
In a heatmap, the sections people are reading will highlight with color. Then, you can see where they stop and identify the most important segments of your article.
See Mouse Stopping Points
According to heatmap developers, a “mouse stopping point” happens when someone finds what they were looking for in your content. In many instances, this can be an image, affiliate links and banners, actual text, or anything else on that particular page.
Why is this important? Because it lets you discover if there is a common element stopping visitors from continuing reading through your content.
Maintain a Fast Website
This means that if you put in a lot of effort to keep your website fast, it will remain so.
How Heatmapping Your Website Helps Develop Content
Wouldn’t heatmapping be more related to website design? After all, images and site layout govern a lot of how people interact on a site.
Yes. Adding a map to your site does help you find the best places to put specific things. For instance, you can see if anyone truly utilizes the right sidebar of your site or not.
However, you can use the color-coded data to identify quite a bit within the content itself. You can then either revamp the article or keep the data in mind the next time you write a piece.
A good heatmap will…
Record the Visit
One of my favorite tools is Mouseflow. It’s a popular heatmap tool that not only shows where people click, but also record individual sessions. This means you can watch exactly how someone behaves on your site.
It’s almost like spying on your visitor and seeing directly what he or she interacts with of your content.
Think of it like a security camera for your website. All you’re doing is watching someone move around your online location and seeing what they find the most interesting.
Kinda makes you paranoid about visiting websites now, eh?
Show What Links Are Clicked
Virtually every heatmap tool will show you where someone clicked on the website. This means you can see what links are clicked within any post you have.
This works great for those who use affiliate links such as Amazon to sell goods. Is anyone exploring the links you add? How often do people visit your affiliates links? Do link colors matter?
Maybe the text itself isn’t interesting enough to attract attention from the visitor.
All of these questions can be answered by adding heatmapping to the website.
Show What Activity is Visible
Since heatmapping records the activity of visitors, you can actually see what areas of your page are the most important to those people.
If the visitor doesn’t scroll down the page to read the rest of the content, then perhaps he or she didn’t find the material engaging. Or, perhaps the visitor couldn’t find what he or she was looking for.
My point is viewing the data from these kinds of tools can help you structure the post better for readability. Header location, sentence length, link placement, or even banner location can be derived from seeing the hotspots of your pages.
Avoiding Bot Interaction
One of the greatest weaknesses of most analytical apps is the intrusion of bots. How often have you had to add an Amazon bot filter to Google Analytics? When bots visit, they can throw off your data.
Most heatmap apps only show organic results. This means since a bot doesn’t interact or move a mouse around a site, no data is collected. It gives you a better chance of seeing how real people interact with your site.
You get an accurate portrayal of how a living person is engaging with the content.
Where Can You Get Heatmapping for Your Website?
Adding a heatmap is often relatively easy. In some cases, it’s merely a case of adding a snippet of code to your files. Others might have a WordPress plugin you can install…that is if you use WordPress.
Today, I’ve comprised a list of some of the best free heatmap tools on the Internet. And, I’ve also added one that has an affordable price.
I’ve been using Mouseflow on and off for a very long time. It’s a quick install and records up to 100 videos per month for free. You can upgrade the account to add more records and functionality.
It’s a nice tool to get your feet wet. And the free version is perfect for those with new blogs and websites.
Hotjar is a relatively popular choice for heatmapping a website. It comes with limited reporting, but you can add unlimited team members for free and the system stores data for a year.
On top of this, the free version lets you track up to 2,000 pageviews per day. This is quite a bit, especially for new websites.
Heatmap.com has a free tool you can add that saves data for up to six months. It works with mobile-friendly websites and provides real-time statistics.
However, the free version only lets you place the heatmap on five pages, which is a bit pointless for monitoring a blog. That is, unless you’re interested in tracking a landing page or specific posts.
I do like how you can track up to 1 million visits per month, though.
Another free alternative you can try is Ptengine. It can handle up to 3,000 pageviews per month, but only supports one heatmap. In this instance, I’m not sure how useful it would be for blogging.
I suppose you can make it work by keeping an eye on one page at a time, which is a bit of a pain. But, I thought I’d mention it anyway.
And finally, here is Crazy Egg. Now this one doesn’t have a free version, but it’s perhaps one of the most popular heatmap tools on the Internet.
At the time of this article, the Basic plan is only $24 per month and offers 30,000 pageviews and 100 recordings. The system also gives you tracking for an unlimited number of websites.
So for someone like me who has five blogs total, Crazy Egg would be great for tracking visits.
Heatmapping a Website Is Greatly Beneficial
Adding a heatmap gives you all kinds of useful data for planning content and site design. Understanding how people interact can give you an advantage for building a site people want to visit.
Add heatmapping to your website today and start reaping the benefits. Since many of the platforms above are free, you have nothing to lose but a few moments of your time.
What do you think is the best part of your website? What kind of heatmapping have you used in the past? Let me know in the comments down below.
For more information regarding blogging, don’t forget to check out the YouTube channel. I’m building quite the library of videos.
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