31 Days to a Better Blog – Day 16: Create a heatmap of where readers click on your blog

The 31 Days to a Better Blog challenge continues…(for background information to the project follow this link here.)

The task for day 16 is to create a heatmap of where readers click on your blog. This looked a fun task to do and I could see the usefulness of having a go, and seeing if it would be a useful tool to use when supporting nonprofit organisations.

Darren at Problogger says:

“The basics of this tool are that it tracks where readers of your blog click when surfing on your blog. It creates a heatmap of the results.”

Why would we want to create a heatmap?

I already use Google Analytics and can track how visitors use my site, which links they click, find out where they enter their site and leave and more. But it did look kind of fun, so I signed up with the free service at Crazy Egg.
You can add up to four pages on the free service, but just for the purpose of the experiment I chose just one, the home page.
It is a useful aid, and can help you to identify if your visitors are finding what they need to on your site. Does your design and layout work? Where do they click?

I think using this as well as Google Analytics can be really useful. It’s very visual and easy to comprehend, although I think that it needs to be understood that it isn’t the same as Google Analytics which provides so much more in depth data for your site.

picture of my heatmap
I waited for a few hours and then came back to it, logged in and true enough – there was an overlay of my webpage with the heatspots on. I’d only left it a few hours before checking on it so not too much there yet, but already interesting viewing. I’ll check again tomorrow to see how the spots have grown! It shows where people click on your page. You can also get more in depth data easily too, of the referrals to the page and more.

overlay picture with confetti optionThey had another option of viewing your visitor ‘clicks’ too. The Confetti option. Each coloured dot represents a click. It was useful to see exactly where on links people were clicking.

As mentioned earlier, I’ve only had this set up for a few hours, and the data it provided has been useful so far. It said that in four hours, I’d had 90 visits and 77 clicks in all.
Google Analytics gives a more realistic number of visitors rather than ‘hits’ or the ‘visits’ as Crazy Egg terms it as.
I look forward to checking back again tomorrow, and will also try it out on some of my other pages at some point.

My learning observations

I think it could potentially be a useful task to come back to every so often, especially if when using Google Analytics and my Feedburner account, I notice when visitors drop off or away from my site. Maybe using the Crazy Egg tool in addition, I can use all the above to help me to make sure my design and content works well for my readers.

The usefulness of tools like this, is that it doesn’t just have to apply to a blog. Providing you can access your template page for your website or blog, all you need to do is add a little bit of javascript code to enable it to track your site. Sounds scary if you’ve never done it before, but it isn’t.
With this in mind, especially if you are a non profit looking to update your website or review it’s progress, this is a really useful tool to use every so often to be able to monitor how people are using your site, in conjunction with other analytical tools such as Google Analytics. (you can see a previous recent post on analysing your visitors and site statistics with Google Analytics here). All it requires is a little bit of your time and if you use the above tools, you’ll become better informed about the success of your site, and importantly able to understand the needs of your readers too.

Finally, Day 17’s task by Problogger Darren, is to run a StumbleUpon advertising campaign on your blog. This one isn’t really for me. So won’t be reporting on that task!

Filed under BB31Days, Nptech, On the web.