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February 13, 2017
Test Your Website’s Success Using Heat Maps

Test Your Website’s Success Using Heat Maps


Written By Jessie Martin of 10 Pound Gorilla

What’s the point of a having a website if it’s not meeting your objective? The Internet is a passage to billions of websites with currently 3.5 billion Google searches recorded for today, and the day isn’t even over.

What do these numbers mean? Your website has a lot of competition to fend off. One of the best ways to measure the success of your website is to use real-time heat map analytics. Heat maps offer a very simple way to see how users navigate your website. Essentially, it’s is a colorful overlay of your website detailing which areas of the site receive the most attention, or interaction, as distinguished by warm colors, like red, and which areas of your site are typically ignored as distinguished by cool colors, like blue.

Using heat maps will show you the changes that need to be made to your website in order to fulfill its potential. There are three variations of heat maps, and each one is useful to any website owner, but they all tell a slightly different story.

Eye Tracking Heat Maps

Software that displays this type of heat map does not exactly track a viewer’s eyes. That technology may come a little later. You can think of eye tracking heat maps as cursor tracking heat maps; it’s a visual outline of the cursors movement throughout a web page. Research of thousands of sites using this technology found that people have a tendency to look at the upper-left area of a web page the most. If you are designing or revamping a site, this tells you that you want engaging content in this area. The unfortunate truth is that on average you only have seconds to grab a viewer’s attention before they jump ship and go to another site, so optimize this space!

Click Tracking Heat Maps

Another kind of heat map shows where visitors click on the website and how frequently they do so. Another way to put this is click tracking shows actions taken. Common call-to-action (CTA) buttons are downloads, logins, purchases, hyperlinks to other pages on your site, and any other clickable button or link. The more clicks a location receives, the warmer color that spot appears on the map. These heat maps reveal issues of having too many buttons on a page, having content, like images which people confuse as a CTA, or having a cluttered site. The less distracting content a website has, the easier it is to navigate and obtain the ultimate goal, which is often conversions.

Scroll Heat Maps

A study by the Nielson Norman Group found web users spend 80 percent of their time above the page fold, an area of the page that is immediately seen without scrolling or clicking away from the landing page. Scroll heat maps have proven this to be true. This heat map is a testimony as to what the most engaging content is. Articles often use a writing style called the inverted pyramid, and it’s not a bad idea for websites to follow this same structure. Put the most essential, need-to-know information at the very top, so as viewers scroll down a web page (eventually dropping off) they have already consumed the most important information. As the colors on this map change from orange to yellow to green, you will be able to pinpoint the exact location viewers lose interest in content. An abrupt change in color should be a red flag that there needs to be some reorganizing or added content to the website.

Heat Map Overview

  • Make the first thing a viewer notices worth their attention — more often than not they will not see your site through.
  • CTAs are typically in the first fold of a web page, so if there is one action you specifically want viewers to complete, make sure it is clearly upfront (and positioned to the left)!
  • Viewers enjoy skimming, you yourself may have even skimmed straight to these bullet points at the end of the article and ignored the rest of the text, so make the content as clear and concise as possible.
  • Too many choices of action on a website may lead to no action taken at all.
  • Chartbeat discovered that the average reader spends only 15 seconds on a web page. Make those precious 15 seconds count!

Heat maps are extremely valuable and pretty easy to use. 10 Pound Gorilla can make it even easier for you! If you’re experimenting with heat maps and realize you have a flawed web page, our expertise can quickly recreate an effective web page that makes sure your message doesn’t get lost in the dense mass of information that is the Internet. Try it out and give us a call!

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