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I suppose we should start off by asking the question, what is heat mapping on a website?
Heat mapping is tracking how a user interfaces with your website. It shows where they click, what they read, and what areas of the website get the most attention. You then map those graphically to get a visual picture of how visitors interact and view your website.
The next question is; how does it impact your business?
We as website designers get a lot of information from heat mapping. We learn where to put buttons, where to put important content, and what pitfalls a user may have when browsing. To learn how it can impact your business let’s take a look at two different kinds of heat maps and how they look for both desktop and mobile users.
A scrolling heat map shows the percentage of people who got to a section of the website. The old adage in website design is that people won’t scroll below the fold. To prove that theory out, instead of guessing, with scrolling heat maps we have data to back up or debunk that claim.
As you’ll see the image that represents the top of our page is bright yellow and green, 100% of the visitors land on the banner when they come so of course it’s well represented.
The second image is well below the fold, nearly 3/4ths the way down the page, yet 25-50% of users come down there. If you’ve got 1,000 visitors a day, it’s hard to ignore 250 people that are reading that far down the page. In our case we don’t. While the content is less wordy, there’s valuable information on who we are that a visitor can get all the way down the home page.
When you map for an extended period of time you’ll get a better picture of not just where people drop off on your page, you’ll also learn some interesting things on how they interact with a website. Such as, where do they click.
So, how does this affect your business as a whole? If you’re not listing your other services, goods, or more about who you are other than at the top of the page, you’re missing out on a number of people who may have scrolled down and then gone to another page. (see article about session recording on how to see those things)
The home page is your store front, it’s where you attract your visitor. Don’t ignore the bottom of the page to get a visitor to engage. The fold is where the majority of people will land. But it’s not the end of the story.
Lastly, in today’s market place, do not forget about mobile, track how they view your website. It will help you make improvements on design and what information you want to display at the mobile breakpoint versus at full desktop viewing.
Click heat mapping is a double edged sword. On the one hand you can see what areas of your website get clicked through the most. On the other, you can learn where you made a mistake in your design. It’s important to know both and make adjustments based on your findings.
Let’s talk about the good stuff first. Where are you getting the most clicks?
This doesn’t always translate into the most sales unfortunately. That’s a learning lesson you’ll need to master and redesign for in the future. You’ll see that in the photo there are a lot of clicks hovering around our services pages. After looking at things like Google Analytics you may find that the page that is the second most visited page is not the one that’s translating into sales.
For us, we see that the services page gets a lot of attention and that digital marketing is well visited. This isn’t our number one sales point. Website design is our first entry point with someone and from there if their needs match our skill sets we offer marketing services.
We have learned that our marketing pages need to tell a story that we’re not telling in order to get more attention and convert a visitor into someone who’ll engage. For your business to be successful in the areas you want to be; using click mapping to see where people are going can help you determine the areas of your website that need the most love in order to convert.
Now for the down side, the pitfalls in design you may have made that you didn’t see coming. In the second image, you’ll see a bright dot next to “content management”. This indicates that a lot of people have clicked on this area to learn more about how we handle content management only to find – it’s not a link or button.
These kind of findings are not only an indicator of bad user experience, they’re also a missed opportunity to educate your visitor further. In this section users want to learn more, thus moving them down the buying funnel. We missed that opportunity and that’s ok.
The great part about learning more about your website is that you can improve. It’s not like finding a misspelled word on a print piece or a coffee stain on your shirt during a TV interview. With the web we can learn from the users and make improvements that will help shape our future.
Don’t be afraid to say to your web designer or digital marketing firm, “I don’t know” when they ask what potential sales are you missing. When you ask for a piece of content, a graphic, or a video it’s ok to not know if it’s going to do what you think it is. Use data and time to teach you, your marketing team, and your designers how to make changes and watch your company meet its goals.