Creating a heatmap online isn’t as difficult as it sounds. In fact, if you have the right software, you can get your first heat maps going in as few as five minutes.
Crazy Egg allows you to create several different user behavior reports from the same database. You get access to all the tools that show you how real people interact with your site.
That’s the power of building heatmaps online. You don’t have to guess about what works and what doesn’t. You see it in black and white — or, rather, lots of color.
But how do you create a heatmap online, and what can it do for you? Let’s dive right in.
Why You Should Create a Heatmap to Understand your User Behavior
A heatmap supplies tons of data about your website and the people who visit it.
Instead of making assumptions about how well your site resonates with your target audience, you can see it right in front of you.
Crazy Egg offers several user behavior reports to help you visualize data more effectively. You can view a traditional heatmap, scrollmap, list report, confetti report, or overlay report, depending on the type of data you want to see.
After you create a heatmap online using Crazy Egg, you can use the results to decide what to change on your website.
You might decide to run A/B tests, for instance, to refine your headline or CTA.
How to Make a Heat Map Online Step-by-Step
Not knowing how to create a heatmap online shouldn’t slow you down. It’s a simple, intuitive process as long as you have the right tools and some traffic to your site.
If you’ve just launched a website, you can use heatmaps to maximize the small amount of traffic you’re receiving.
Be aware that if you’re just getting started, you might have to wait a while to interpret the results because you’ll want to base decisions on what a large percentage of your visitors do.
Imagine, for instance, that you’re tracking traffic patterns in a brick-and-mortar store. The first day, only five people visit your store. They all go in different directions and pay attention to different signage. You can’t really draw any conclusions from their behavior.
On the 30th day in business, though, you have 500 visitors to your store.
Now, consumer behavior becomes more easy to read and predict. You start to notice patterns, such as that most people go right when they enter your store or that a particular end cap captures their attention.
When you create a heatmap online, you can follow a similar approach. As your website draws more traffic, you can make more concrete decisions based on what your heatmap tells you.
If you already have an established website, tracking clicks, scrolling activity, and other interactions on your site is even more impactful.
The more traffic you have, the more valuable the results of your heatmaps become for helping you make design decisions based on visitor data.
Whether your website is brand new or has been around for years, heatmaps can help you make smart changes that improve the user experience — and your bottom line.
Let’s look at the step-by-step process of creating a heatmap online.
1. Sign up for a heatmap tool with robust features
The wrong tool will steer you in the wrong direction. You need a heatmap tool that provides you with multiple report views and reliable capture of information.
Crazy Egg, for instance, allows you to view multiple types of heatmaps. We call these “snapshots,” and they tell you what your visitors do after landing on a specific page.
A scrollmap report, for instance, shows you where the majority of people stop scrolling on the page. Whereas a confetti report will show you characteristics and demographics of your visitors (such as mobile device users, or new vs. returning visitors). It will also display tracking parameters like email campaigns or paid ads, if you have those available.
2. Install the tracking code to your website
When you sign up for a Crazy Egg account or for any other tool that generates heatmaps, you’ll need to install a tracking code on your website.
The tracking code connects Crazy Egg with your site and allows the tool to collect data.
For instance, you’ll see a prompt when you sign into your Crazy Egg account.
Simply click “Yes, I want to install tracking script now.”
If, like many of today’s webmasters, you’re using a WordPress site, Crazy Egg will let you know about our plugin.
You can simply download the plugin, then upload it to your WordPress installation.
For those of you who use other content management systems, you can choose to install the tracking script yourself or to refer the task to your developers.
Crazy Egg also has third-party apps for Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, and more. You can use those apps to make setting up the tracking script much easier.
3. Set up your first snapshot
Now that you’ve installed the tracking script, you’re ready to create your very first snapshot. You’ll get the option to create one snapshot or multiple snapshots, the latter of which is the most common.
From there, just enter the URLs from your website where you want to create a heatmap online and name each snapshot so you can recognize it instantly.
You get to decide whether you want your snapshots to track traffic from desktop, tablet, mobile devices, or all three, and how long you want the snapshots to collect visitor data.
It’s that simple. As soon as you complete that information, Crazy Egg will begin to collect the data you requested. When the snapshot is available, you’ll receive a notification.
4. Explore the heatmap data
Your snapshots will give you information you can use to make decisions about your website’s design, layout, copy, and more.
You’ll notice that your data might look different depending on how long your snapshot runs and how many people click on various elements on your website. That’s okay.
You’re looking for aggregate data that can help you make more informed choices about your website’s appearance and functionality.
Creating a heatmap online allows you to explore numerous data points. For instance, the confetti report will tell you what percentage of clicks came from specific referrers, including search and social channels. You can then optimize your site for those referral sources.
This is particularly helpful when you’re optimizing your landing pages. For instance, did most of your traffic come from your Facebook Ad or from an organic Twitter post?
5. Start A/B testing the main elements
Crazy Egg is unique in that you don’t have to turn to a third party for A/B testing.
Once you’ve made observations through your heatmaps and want to start making design changes, experimentation is built into the tool. So you can run A/B tests on specific pages on your site without leaving your Crazy Egg dashboard.
A/B testing is useful throughout your website’s lifespan.
Consumers change how they view your products and services, design sensibilities evolve, and fresh marketing approaches emerge. Use A/B testing to make sure you’re serving up content that resonates with your audience.
The more you test, the more you can refine. Remember, you’re only changing one element at a time so you don’t skew your results.
When one A/B test ends, change another element and begin the process all over again. Keep going as your website evolves and you add new pages.
3 Most Common Heatmap Questions and Answers
There are three questions just about everyone asks when they’re new to heatmaps. It’s understandable.
Even though we see heatmaps every day, such as on the Weather channel, the snapshots themselves can prove difficult to understand.
We’re not going to go into the technical aspects of how Crazy Egg works, but we’ll provide you with information you need to know about what Crazy Egg does to collect and display information.
1. How is the Heatmap report generated?
A heatmap is a data visualization tool. It uses the spectrum between warm and cool colors to symbolize activity.
In the case of a website heatmap, the activity refers to mouse activity on the screen, scrolling, and other interactions.
Crazy Egg overlays the heatmap on your website. You can turn the contrast up and down depending on how much you want to see below the heatmap colors, but you’ll always be able to see the heatmap itself.
Over a set period of time, Crazy Egg collects information about your visitors through the tracking script we discussed earlier.
It filters out duplicate information so you only see data related to unique visits. It also uses plenty of other coding to ensure you get pure information.
When people visit your website, they interact with it as normal. They don’t know their activity is being tracked to generate a heatmap.
Consequently, you can see cool areas of your site — the parts that people don’t pay attention to — as well as warm areas, which signify more activity.
If you’re getting lots of warmth in areas that don’t matter for things like conversions or sales, you can tweak your website’s layout to better present information to your visitors.
When you first set up a snapshot, Crazy Egg takes visual and hierarchical inventory of your website.
The tool catalogues all the areas where people can interact with the site and identifies each aspect’s parent element.
The map is created — we just have to fill in the data based on what people do when they arrive on your site.
For instance, let’s say someone lands on your homepage.
The visitor scrolls down a bit, then clicks on a link to a blog post. Crazy Egg records that click so it’ll show up on the heatmap. The more people who click that link, the brighter and warmer that area on the heatmap becomes.
2. What can I use the Heatmap report to do?
There are several reports you can access through your Crazy Egg dashboard.
First, you have the traditional heatmap report. It’s what most people start with when they begin analyzing user behavior on their websites. They’re simple to interpret, but extremely versatile and useful!
For example, journalism site Radio Free Europe uses heatmaps to analyze how readers interact with their most popular news content — while ecommerce company WallMonkeys uses them to optimize interaction and purchase behavior on their homepage.
Next, there’s the confetti report. You’ll see lots of little dots all over the page when you view this snapshot. Each dot represents a click.
This might seem like too granular a view of your website, but it can actually be very constructive. For example, maybe you have an image on the page that people assume is clickable, but it doesn’t actually lead anywhere.
The confetti report will show you that lots of clicks take place on the image, which might frustrate readers.
If you see a high bounce rate and lots of clicking on unclickable elements, you’ve discovered a potential source of lost traffic for your page.
You can either make those elements clickable or redesign the page to make it more intuitive.
A scrollmap is another type of snapshot that Crazy Egg generates. The scrollmap uses cool and warm colors to show you where people scroll on the website, where they stop, and what they never actually see.
It’s a great tool to use when deciding how long your content should be. If people never scroll more than halfway down the page, you know you need to shorten your content to make sure everyone sees the most important elements.
The list report is yet another snapshot available through Crazy Egg. It’s not a heatmap, but instead a list of all the elements on your page, from images and links to copy and CTAs. It’ll tell you what percentage of clicks each element gets.
You’ll notice that it tells you how many clicks it received and what type of element it is.
Last, but not least, is the overlay report. When you view this report, which is also not a heatmap in the general sense of the word, you’ll see lots of plus signs overlayed on your site. You can click each plus sign to view more information about that part of your page.
You can click each plus sign to view more information about that part of your page, and even drill down on the demographic information of each click (like whether the majority of the clicks came from new or returning visitors).
As you can see, heatmap reports provide you with valuable information about your visitors and how they engage with your site.
3. Can I export my report?
You’re more than welcome to export your snapshots from Crazy Egg.
You can go with the default export status, which will export all five types of reports described above for each URL you have run a snapshot for, or you can select which specific snapshots you want to export.
From there, you can archive your reports for future viewing and comparison.
Start Using Crazy Egg to Increase Conversions
It’s easy to sign up for a Crazy Egg account and start generating heatmaps immediately. Sign up for a free trial and install the tracking code on your website. It’s as simple as that.
From there, you can choose to initiate one snapshot or multiple snapshots for a URL, and track more pages using the link at the bottom of the page.
Creating a heatmap online gives you access to information about your visitors that you would never have thought possible.
Instead of guessing about what your audience wants, you can see how they behave on your site so you know what you need to change.
There’s no substitute for hard data when it comes to online marketing.
After you’ve created a heatmap online, sign up for our email list!
You’ll get tons of helpful information about online marketing, heatmaps, and A/B testing so you don’t miss any of the latest developments.
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