Turn the "Heat" Up on your Website: Instantly See What Site Visitors Are Doing

Do you know which website content captures site visitors interest?

Earlier this year I tested a tool called Crazy Egg that displays clicks as “heat maps” and now I can’t live without it!

CrazyEgg Heat Map Plans start at $24.00/month

Let’s Compare CrazyEgg to Google Analytics: While Google Analytics is hard to beat as an easy-to-use analytics tool I’ve found that our clients can more easily grasp the visitors intent when they see the page in the “Heat Map” view.

Initially, I was excited by the data from Google Analytics. Their Site Overlay function measures and highlights the links that visitors click on. Unfortunately, without additional coding Site Overlay can’t distinguish the difference between a visitor clicking on a “Services” link in the main navigation versus a click on the “Services” link in my page footer.

What I really needed was the whole picture without having to depend on our client’s web developer to make additional changes for us. Previously this took too long to implement when I wanted to run a quick test of new content or design elements.

→ What Did I Learn from CrazyEgg Reporting?

    I can now instantly see the content that visitors are most interested in on some of the most important pages of a website and did I learn a lot!

  • Visitors clicked on images that were not intended to be links.This meant we had to go back and recode the image files for graphs, logos, etc. so that we wouldn’t lose visitors when they were interested in specific content that wasn’t a hyperlink.
  • Visitors clicked on links in the footer area – way below the fold! In the past we have been using footer site maps (see example footer site map on this page) as a way of improving search engine rankings but now we see that visitors actually use those links. That’s good to know.

→ What Do I Use It For?

    1. Testing new designs or design elements on a specific page – the software allows you to retain previous tests so it’s easy to compare.
    2. Testing “Calls-To-Action” call-outs – test click activity between graphic and text links.
    3. Testing content – the software indicates visitor and click counts so it’s easy to see changes in a given time period.

CrazyEgg Drawbacks: The software doesn’t do a good job of tracking click activity for Flash elements and fancy JavaScript, and many of our clients’ homepages contain Flash. The reports can take 1-5 minutes to generate and it can feel like an eternity.

Customer Service: I have to applaud the company for its prompt response in handling all my requests since I started using their product. They’ll actually talk to you on the phone and reply promptly to emails.

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→ What Do The Reports Look Like?

Heat Mapping Technology: Previously this type of reporting capability was expensive and required skill in setting up a test. But now, in ten minutes, you can be set up and gathering data.

Click Activity Bubble: This is a cool view because you can see which areas have the highest click activity by the color of the circle associated with each link. And, if you roll over or click on the circle you see the actual number of clicks.

There’s several other report styles but these are my favorite versions.

Set Up Tricks: To start tracking visitors you need to add a piece of JavaScript to the page you would like to track. I’ve found the easiest thing to do is to add it to all pages of a site and then once in the interface, you can determine which pages you want to track.

For more reports and information, visit CrazyEgg