Have you ever used heat maps to analyse your website? If not, you could be missing out on some important information about site visitors and what they’re doing on the site.
Heat maps give you information about site visitors, how they’re interacting with the site and also provide clues on strategies you can use to improve the site and make it more effective.
What Are Heat Maps?
Heat maps are a type of software that analyses data on a website. It uses colours as to help visualise the data. In other words, a heat map is a tool used to analyse a website or webpage to see which areas visitors are most often engaging with. This is a great tool web designers can use to analyse a website and develop strategies on how to make the site more useful to site visitors, ensure ads are in the right place and more.
What Does a Heat Map Show Exactly?
The heat map uses a colour spectrum from warm to cool, which indicates areas of the webpage most often accessed by site visitors. It shows which areas are receiving the most attention and those that have low attention from site users.
The heat map software creates an overlay of a website or web page. The overlay uses variations in colours to show where visitors are more engaged, and those areas that don’t receive much attention.
For instance, one area that usually receives a lot of attention is the upper left-hand corner of a site. Here, visitors are used to finding navigation tools and other information. An area, like this, that receives a lot of engagement is usually red, maybe outlined by orange, then yellow, leaving off in green or cooler colours. The red area receives the most attention, while areas with cooler colours are receive hardly any attention, if at all.
Heat maps provide a visual analysis and are a great way to tell which areas of the site could be underperforming, while helping you determine what needs to be changed, moved or improved on the page or site.
Different Types of Heat Maps
There are basically two different types of heat mapping software: eye-tracking and mouse-tracking. Mouse-tracking is the most common, as it’s usually priced lower than eye-tracking software.
In addition, there are also click-tracking, mouse-movement and scroll-tracking heat maps. With a click-tracking heat map, you’ll see where visitors are clicking on the site. This is a great tool for deciding what could be distracting visitors, such as links or other page elements. This tool is most often used to help improve placement of a site’s CTAs (call to action).
Mouse-movement heat maps track the pattern of how users move their mouse around on the site or page. This software also highlights where users hover their mouse. This is a great tool for learning with parts of the site are receiving more attention.
Scroll-tracking heat maps shows where visitors leave the site or page as they scroll the page. This is a helpful tool to see if your content is too long, where to place the CTA and more.
Eye-tracking heat maps use the site users’ interactions with the site to determine eye-tracking. These are the most expensive heat maps to use because they are more complex. However, you’ll see where visitors are looking on your site or web page.
What are the Benefits of Using Heat Mapping Software?
With the information provide from heat maps, you’ll have insights on how to improve content, where to place ads so they’re more effective, and more.
They help to identify:
- The elements on the site that should be clickable
- Where key information and elements should be placed on the page
- Which elements are working and those that aren’t
- Are visitors finding and responding to CTAs
- Are instructions on the site clear, such as for making a sale? Do the instructions convert into sales?
- What elements could be distracting visitors? Can these elements be moved or should they be deleted?
If you’re a marketer, that’s a ton of valuable information that could be used to improve the site and lead to an increase in the number of sales. Even if you’re not a marketer, this information can help you to place certain elements in areas where visitors may expect them to be, while eliminating those that are too distracting or not really serving a purpose for site users.
All of this information can help you make your website and its pages better and easier for site users.
When Should I Use a Heat Map?
Experts say you should use them all the time! This is because heat maps can provide such valuable information. Using them all the time can help you fine-tune the website or page with regular check-ups.
Website redesign: heat maps are also helpful for website redesign projects. The goal of a redesign is to improve the site and make it easier for site visitors to use. Heat mapping tools can help a web designer to view site visitor’s behaviour in regards to graphics, colours, placement of key ads and content, and more. If the heat map is run before the redesign, the designer will have all this information to use when improving the site. Visitors will be pleased, and the business will have better outcomes, such as increased sales, and more.
A/B testing: heat maps are also great tools to use when running an A/B split test. They provide instant insights as to what’s working, or not with site visitors. It can also help in repositioning of the call to action button or message, improving site content and images, and more.
Content marketing: using a heat map can also let you know if site visitors are actually engaging with your content or not. The scroll maps can even show how far down the page users scroll when reading.
UX and usability testing: tracking visitors with a heat map also shows where site visitors are clicking or when they may be having problems.
Heat mapping tools can even provide more information than what we’ve included here. They’re an excellent tool for website owners and web designers to see exactly how visitors are using their sites and what needs to be improved. You’ll have happier visitors if your site meets their needs and expectations, which could also lead to increased sales.