Heat Map: A Visual Analysis Of Your Website

Good morning internet fans, it’s Ryan Perry with a Simple Biz Support. Today is a Thursday, the 7th of May. It must be May ’cause we had Cinco de Mayo the other day. It is Internet Marketing Thursday; therefore, I do have Virginie Dorn, the CEO of Business Website Center. Good morning, Virginie.

Happy Thursday, Ryan. How are you doing this morning?

RP: I’m doing fabulous, thank you. Once I actually got here, there was a small accident on the freeway so it was a little bit of a trouble getting here, but I’m here. This is something I’m getting into the topic that we’re going to talk about today and that is heat maps. Because I knew we were going to do this presentation today, I actually signed up for one of the company’s last week just to kind of learn more about it. It’s interesting, before we actually started the broadcast real quickly, we looked at the Google Analytics information being collected versus the heat map information being collected, and it’s interesting. So first of all, why don’t we talk about what a heat map is and then we can get into the details and why it would be important for small business owners.

VD: Sure, and it’s not useful for everybody but what a heat map is, it shows you where most of your visitors are clicking and that it would give you percentage. For instance, 25% of people clicked around about area of your page, 10% clicked at the bottom of the page, and it shows you what attracts people to your page and what they’re more interested in. When you know that data it helps you improve your conversion rate. So for instance, if you see there’s an area on the page then gets a lot of heat, a lot of attention from your visitors then next time you want to put something of importance, maybe a call to action or new product you’re releasing. This is a good spot to put that about new product because that’s the area where people look at the most and click on the most.

RP: Right. There’s a couple of other things where I think heat maps are really important and that is, one is business owners. A lot of time, we think because we’re in our business we go this is what’s really important, this is what people are going to love and that’s kinda the old school push mark in where we really push stuff onto people and we just assume that because we like it and we think it’s great that other people are going to like it and they think it’s great. A nice heat map will let you know black or white, the numbers don’t lie they say, if that content’s relevant and the other area where I could really see heat maps is if you’re doing A/B testing, and seeing that okay… You have to collect enough data with A/B testing but if you have a button that’s done a certain way and then you change that button for 30 days and see if your heat map changes. If you get a hot 5% higher click through rate just by changing the button and a true A/B test is simple as that, just changing a button or changing a word or changing a picture and that’s it, and then collecting the information and seeing, did anything change? Anything significantly change?

VD: Correct. You’re exactly right. And when we have done A/B testing in the past, we actually have done A/B testing within the same page by putting two call to actions going to the exact same page and typically we’ve done that with Donate button for non-profit organization and with the heat map we were able to see which button was more interesting to the visitors and which one was being clicked on the most. The truth of the matter, we were both identical functions, they will go into the same donate page but they have different graphic, different text asking for a donation. So that’s what heat maps are great, they’ re great for well-established websites. For people who are ready to maybe revamp it a little bit, put a heat map on for a couple of months first so you can really see the areas of interest on your page. Again, great for conversion and it removes all the guessing games we’ve done for many years since that new technology came in.

RP: The other thing about heat maps is the fact that you have limited real estate if we think about a desktop, your website on a desktop typically people don’t swirl down on a desktop or they don’t like to and that means we have limited real estate for information and if you’re a company that has maybe 10, 15 different products or services, I’m just going to throw that out as an example, hopefully you don’t, a lot of times your home page can become cluttered because the business owner says, “Oh, but we gotta show this, we gotta show this, we gotta show this.” By having a heat map up you can then see what people are not responding to. If people are not responding to something you have to realize it’s taking up real estate, so either

[A] remove it or change it so that that real estate is being used more efficiently.

VD: Yes, indeed. You know what will be great, I think some people they know what heat map is but maybe you’ve even seen it, but for those who have never seen it I don’t think they get to appreciate everything you just said without a visual. Are you about to pull up maybe a screenshot of… If you Google website heat map.

RP: Yeah, I actually have. Well, there’s two things we wanted to show and again, I have very limited information because I just signed up for Crazy Egg, just crazyegg and I forget how much it was, but it’s not expensive. And this is essentially the heat map. Let me darken it a little bit so the little heat sensor, so it’s kinda like thermal, the hot spots are where people are hanging out. So over on the top left hand corner is my logo, I’ve got a couple, a few people clicking there. I have a training link that actually I haven’t used in some time, but by taking a look at the heat map, I should reevaluate that and see maybe I need to reinvest in doing some training again around SEO. But a lot of people are clicking on the blog, that seems to be the most prevalent place, and then also my contact. And then if I scroll down my page, they are clicking on SEO and search engine optimization, and I’ve got a couple of random clicks that aren’t on anything at all.

RP: So this gives me an idea of where people are clicking. Now, what’s interesting is, on this heat map, and I can change the contrast on this so the heat map shows up easily or not, what’s interesting is I have these big buttons here, “What is SEO?” “SEO programs,” “Social Media Training Workshops.” People are not clicking on these on the desktop according to the heat map, however if I go to my Google Analytics, and on the left hand side under, “Behavior,” there is a section called, “In-page Analytics,” and the one thing I will warn people about if you do have Google Analytics set up and you go to this, it’s probably about a 50-50 chance that it will actually work for you. I know Virginie you tried it earlier this morning on your site and it didn’t work.

VD: Correct. That’s why I think if you’re really interested in a good heat map, you should pay for it, Crazy Egg, that’s the one I think you were on. I think there’s Inspect Let, I’m trying to remember the ones with heat maps.

RP: Yeah, all you have to do is just do a Google search and you’ll find plenty of them. I personally haven’t researched a bunch of them, Crazy Egg was one of the first ones that I ran into that looked pretty simple to use. For me, I have a WordPress site, they had a plugin that took care of all the code, so I just had to add their plugin and boom, pay, you’re done. What’s interesting though is that Google Analytics has… It’s not exactly a heat map, but it’ll let you know where people are clicking. Now the one difference between, and so we’re not comparing apples to apples, I just want to be upfront about that, is that this has only been going for about six days, my Crazy Egg account, where this Analytics here is for the last 30 days, but what I found interesting, and let me get on the right scroll bar, I’m getting a lot of people that are actually clicking these buttons, however according to Google Analytics, however according to my Crazy Egg, that is not the case.

VD: But again they occur different time periods, so I think that’s primarily where the discrepancy is.

RP: Correct, although you would think that at the buttons, and this is coming from as I built this out, I thought big buttons would make it very obvious, “Hey, check this out.” And the other thing is with Crazy Egg, there’s not a lot of information, so we’re working with very limited information because it’s only six days essentially at this time. But I built out these big buttons to make it really clear and easy for people to see, “Hey, this is where you want to go,” and what’s interesting is that they’re not, they’re actually clicking at the top menu. Now what I’m really looking forward to is when I relaunch my new website, it’s going to be all video up top, so I’m kind of curious to see from the heat map point of view where people go from there.

VD: Yeah, and even within Crazy Egg you have different plans, so there are two types of heat maps, both can connect to Google Analytic directly and kind of use the backend data to provide the heat map, and all those will provide you a custom code from their own company to put on your website, and those tend to be more accurate, and you have to place it typically on every single page you want to be tracking.

RP: Correct, and with Crazy Egg I have to create what they call a “snapshot” for each page that I want to track, and they do have a mobile and desktop, so it will track your mobile also, however that is an extra cost, you have to be at a certain plan, and I was going to try and figure out what my price plan is but I’m not seeing it. I’m not seeing it right now.

VD: If you have basic, it would be $9 with Crazy Egg, if I recall. It used to be…

RP: Yeah, that sounds reasonable, I want to say it was right around $100 for a year, or $110 for the year, it wasn’t that bad.

VD: Correct. I was hoping since I always have a problem with screen sharings during our conversation, if you can click on the link I just submitted through the comment box, I really want people to see what a fully established heat map looks like, and this one is from the US Census, so they get a lot of traffic, as you know…

RP: I can show it, but the image is super small.

VD: If you can maybe increase it, control…

RP: Oh yeah, I can do screen size. I always forget about that, let me just do that first.

VD: ‘Cause they get thousands and thousands of visitors every month, and…

RP: Alright, here we go.

VD: Okay, so this is what a typical heat map that has been on long enough, yours has only been on for a few days, should look like. It always shows very significant trend, as you can see.

RP: Right, and what’s nice about the heat map also is that it’s color coded, so it’s just like looking at a heat sensitive camera in the sense that the hottest points are going to be red, and then as things get cooler, they’re going to turn yellow and then it looks like bluish/purple. So you can get a really good idea of where people are spending their time on your website. And again, this is going to be really important because you have limited real estate and you can see they’re pretty… I would say they’re using their real estate pretty darn well here. The left-hand side menu is very popular, looks like people are using the search function quite a bit. And then even on the right-hand side in the data finder section, there’s a lot of clicks. So, I think they’ve really maximize in the real estate here.

VD: Correct. So again, as you and I talk, if someone is ready to take their company to the next level and do more internet marketing and maybe some revamping of their website, they should put in place some heat maps, so they had a good understanding where people go, so they don’t break it. If a lot of people like the top-right, it will be a good location to put your new advertisement and do AB testing within the same page with different call to actions, just like we do here. Without the data, if you just market for the sake of marketing, your company, you’re kind of shooting in the dark. So you have to… You want your analytics in place, you want the heat mapping pretty less, before you make any drastic decision, but it go in to cost thousands of dollars. And you don’t want to hurt your website. You want to take it to the next level, again. So people like to hang on as perfect to go to for that kind of services ’cause he understands them and he can analyze your data for you.

RP: The other thing that I was going to say you’re talking about doing this upfront before you actually make drastic changes. I’ve been talking to Nikki over the referral institute and he categorizes all of that into hope marketing that, if I build a new website it’ll be better, so I hope it’s going to work out.

VD: I love that term, hope marketing. A lot of people do that and maybe it’s out of fear or maybe they don’t take the time. But I swear, the five hours you’re going to take installing a heat map, analyzing it before you make any decision can save you thousands and thousands of dollars in the long run.

RP: Right. And make your website that much more successful. So, the one thing I would recommend is that, if you are going to do this, if you have a WordPress site, Crazy 8 it’s really simple as a plug-in, really didn’t take that much work. If you have a web master, have them take care of it for you. But I would probably give it at least, at least a full month. And with Crazy 8, you have to create what they call a snapshot. So, I have to create a snapshot for the homepage. And then, I went to my SEO page and then I create a snapshot for that. So you can’t just install it and expect that every page is going to be heat mapped for you, have to tell it exactly which page. So make sure you focus on your core pages that you want to follow that heat map on.

VD: Very good advice, Mr. Perry.

RP: Hey, I got lots of it. It’s not always good, but I do have a lot of advice. With that, it is a little bit after 10 o’clock, so we need to wrap this up. Any last minute comments?

VD: No. If you have more questions, simply call Ryan or myself and we’ll be happy to assist you about the heat maps.

RP: All right, perfect. Virginie. Mouth is not functioning correctly today. As always, I appreciate your time and I hope you have a wonderful week.

VD: You, too. Bye-bye.

RP: Bye.


About the Author:

Ryan Perry is the founder and CEO of Simple Biz Support, Inc. Ryan started video blogging in 2009 as an alternative to written blogs to create visibility and credibility online. During the workweek, he enjoys helping small business owners harness the power of video to grow their companies. On the weekends, he enjoys hiking and searching out waterfalls throughout the state of California.

Leave A Comment