Become a Predator: Using Heat Mapping to Track Your Visitors

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Welcome to our Digital Intelligence series. Over the next few weeks we’ll be giving you an inside look into the world of web analytics. Today we’ll be sharing one of our favorite analytic tools: heat mapping.

The Internet is a jungle. It’s beautiful and rich with resources, but also difficult to navigate and full of animals that want to poison and/or eat you. It’s constantly evolving, and if you don’t evolve with it you’ll find yourself prey to a faster, more adapted predator.

So how do you make sure your business survives out there?

When you’re in the wild, you need to be acutely aware of your surroundings, and at the same time, stealthy.

Wait, that sounds a lot like…

Would you be interested in being a patron of my business?

But how do you make sure your visitors are going where you want them to go? Treat the viewers of the Internet as soliders. Viewers of the Internet are experts at ignoring advertising and marketing efforts, equipping themselves with the back button and even creating counter-campaigns against marketing efforts they disapprove of. You’re up against the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers, and they aren’t just going to fall for any website. You’ll need to reel them in without them realizing it’s a trap. You can track your website’s visitors with heat vision just like Predator.

Don’t believe me? Take a look:

This is a heat map. The one above is made courtesy of a tool by CrazyEgg. It shows what parts of a website receive the most clicks. Analyzing a heat map reveals what parts of a website are “hot” and sought after, and which ones are “cold” and need improvement. By generating a heat map of multiple pages on a website it’s possible to determine the general flow of traffic.

This heat map features the homepage of one of our clients and neighbors, Peak Performance Business Coaching.

By looking at the homepage, we can come to a few conclusions:

1). The sign up section for a free coaching workout is drawing attention. People are signing up, so we can conclude that its current layout and placement on the page is successful.

2). The button for the book Coach to Win the Leadership Game, is not being used. This tells us that we need to make a change. Our current suggestion is to allow visitors to read a free chapter of the book, and make a call to action statement encouraging them to read it. This should draw more viewers to the book.

3). The buttons for Coaches, About Peak, and Blog are popular. This tells us what visitors are looking for. They want to know about the business and the faces behind it, and they’re interested in what the blog has to offer.

4). The buttons for Monthly Workouts and In the News are not popular. These buttons aren’t being used to their potential. We’ve concluded that it is because these sections are rarely updated. We’ve suggested updating these sections more frequently or moving the content to a different part of the website.

5). @petewalsh is followed, @familybizcoach isn’t. Towards the bottom of the page there is a call to action to follow two separate twitter accounts. Only one of those buttons is being pursued. We’ve determined that as the family business coaching branch of the Peak Performance brand is developed, the @familybizcoach call to action should be moved to a more relevant part of the site.

By performing a heat map analysis of every page on your website, we can optimize it to keep visitors interested website for as long as possible, keep them coming back, and most importantly, guide them into interacting with your content.

Do you guys feel strangely compelled to buy Pete Walsh's book or is it just me?

Heat mapping is just one of the tools available to track visitors. What tools do you use most?

About The Author: Justin Hoffman


A reformed redneck and recovering rocker, Justin blogged, marketed, and wrote his way across the country until finding himself in the metropolitan desert. Ask him about his three amigos.
Follow Justin on Twitter at @GlitterDunn or on Google+

This entry was posted on March 20, 2012 by in Blog
  • http://www.storylinedesign.be/ Stein Peeters

    are there free tools available providing this kind of heat maps?

    • http://www.fallingupmedia.com/ Casey Kluver

      Hi Stein,
      Both Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer provide similar tools for free. We like to use http://www.crazyegg.com/ though, it is by far the best solution we have tried, and the data you receive – and how fast you receive it is well worth the $10 a month!

      • http://www.storylinedesign.be/ Stein Peeters

         thanks a lot for your answer casey!

  • http://twitter.com/micah_castro Micah Castro

    I agree, Crazy Egg provides so much data and useful information that it is well worth the money. Even at an agency levels it’s pretty affordable considering the value you can add to clients.