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Follow the traces of your visitors with Heatmap Tools

Another instrument to optimize your website or blog

Web heatmaps are used to show which areas of a website are most frequently scanned by visitors. Heatmaps let you visualize the stream of visitors, showing hot and cold click zones. They provide an overall view of activity and help you see every mouse movement and every click. Using these tools can help you improve web usability, conversions and revenue. In other words, heatmaps help you to find problems on your web site or landing pages, fix them and get the most from your online campaigns.

People use heatmaps for many reasons including link optimization and ads placement; maximizing conversions of online forms; minimizing shopping cart abandonment; and optimizing landing pages. Heatmaps are great tools because they let you understand where people look and where they click on your pages, and this can help you optimize the pages to be more effective. A heatmap can even show you where users attempt to go, so they’re great for usability testing. This is a view of your site that you can’t get in any other way – after viewing for just a second, you’ll understand what is right and what is wrong with your website or landing page.

There are two types of heatmaps – the eyetracking-heatmap and the click-heatmap. They look almost the same, and some tools offer heatmaps that include both variants. The colors of the heatmap show the intensity of clicks and what grabbed the user’s attention. Cold colors, such as blue or green, indicate areas that get less attention and fewer clicks than hot colors, such as orange and red. Red indicates places that generate most of the clicks on the page – almost every user who visited the page had their attention drawn to this place. Yellow indicates places that attracted more than half of all users’ attention for at least a fraction of a second. Some heatmaps use more than just colors. For example, a horizontal dotted line on the computer screen can represent where the page breaks, crosses can represent mouse clicks, and red horizontal lines can indicate how far down users scrolled before leaving the page.

Let’s go through some popular heatmaps so that it’s easier for you to choose which one to use. Some well-known heatmap tools are not included in this review, because there are reports that these tools will include some backlinks in your code which can be penalized by Google, so it’s not worth the risk.

CrazyEgg

CrazyEgg is perhaps the most popular heatmap tool and in fact it offers more than a simple heatmap. It is a great analytical tool which you can use to block your own clicks and get live reports – not only about clicks, but for referrals, etc. CrazyEgg is easy to use and gives you four different ways to analyze your data. The List view is useful and easy to understand, but to get heatmap data, you should use HeatMap view. This tool has a free plan, but it’ll only work for you if you have less than 5,000 visits per month on your website. Otherwise you will have to pay for a subscription, but CrazyEgg is the least expensive paid heatmap tool. Prices are from$9 to $99 per month.

ClickDensity

ClickDensity is a great heatmap tool without extensive analytical information. It helps you refine your website content and optimize link and ads placement. This tool can show you “heats” (places that grab user attention), clicks and hovers. You can also filter data by browser, click time, date and screen size. This lets you do deeper analyses of your site and improve the information architecture. ClickDensity is easy to use and easy to implement on your site. However, the page stats provided by it show only minimal information. The only really bad thing about this tool is that it is paid. Plans are from £50 to £200 per month. There is a free version of the software, but it’s available for only 1 page. However, you can request a 30-day free trial in order to test all the functionality. Try it – perhaps you’ll be convinced that ClickDensity deserves to be paid for.

ClickTale

ClickTale offers two types of heatmap (for heats and clicks) and it records mouse movements in real time, which is not only fun – it’s really useful. This tool is offered only as a paid version and in fact is suitable only for large websites. For enterprises, it offers a customized version.

There are a lot of other heatmap tools which are not as popular as the ones mentioned above. Go through the list below if you want to try something different:

  • AttentionWizard predicts what is likely to happen on a page, so it’s perfect to use it when you want to test different designs of landing pages, for example. It creates an “attention heatmap” of your page that predicts where someone would look in the first few seconds of their visit.
  • Feng-Gui is similar to AttentionWizard. The heatmap is generated by an algorithm which is the result of numerous studies. To use it, you need to upload a screenshot from your website.
  • Mouseflow offers a detailed click-heatmap and a mouse movement and scroll heatmap. This tool is not only for heatmaps, it is also a web analytics package. There’s a free demo available, try it!
  • There are a couple of WordPress Heatmap Plugins, try this one, for example. It’s simple, but it doesn’t offer weekly or monthly summaries, which makes your analysis shorter than it would be otherwise.
  • And don’t forget the free Google In-page Analytics.

Be aware that heatmaps are better when they are used on static websites rather than dynamic ones. The content of dynamic websites is often changed, so it’s harder for the heatmap tool to record clicks. Another problem that may affect you is that most of the heatmap tools make their connection with the website through Javascript. This can slow down your site, so keep it in mind. A possible solution is to activate click recording when a low number of visitors are on your site, but this means you have to test the heatmap tool over a longer period of time.

Have you tried heatmaps or do you plan to use them? Share your experiences with us!

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  • matto3c

    you can try also http://www.extrawatch.com it’s hosted version is free for small websites

  • Nataniel Wbp

    you have forget about extrawatch.com heatmap tool

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