19 February 2008 in Mindscape, Tools | Comments enabled

In the last six months we have been carefully monitoring the statistics for our website and have been using a mixture of Google Analytics & AWStats. Those two provide a reasonable amount of what I would consider “core” statistics and if you invest more time with Google Analytics you can get some seriously cool statistics about conversion rates for advertising campaigns (such as how many people click through, how many sign up to emails, how many download a trial etc). However I’ve always been wanting to try something like crazyegg to get some heat map statistics. Recently Sam from YouTXT pointed me in the direction of ClickHeat.

What’s a heat map?

A heat map is a graphical representation of where people actually click on a page and looks very similar to weather maps that you sometimes see showing rainfall (red means more, blue means less, transparent means none). This can be useful for identifying where people click on your page and highlights what is important on certain pages.

Here is a screenshot of a forum page from the Mindscape site:

ClickHeat heap map for the Mindscape forums

What sort of things can you learn? Well, from my experience, I’ve learnt the following:

  • Anywhere that you write “free” tends to attract clicks. I don’t have that currently hyperlinked to a download page so I should change that to increase conversions
  • Continuing the trend of the previous information, I have found several areas where people click expecting a link but where we do not currently have links – time to update those locations
  • Our services page does not have many links and yet people seem to click a lot on one or two of the technologies that we specialise in and can provide great services for. For example, Windows Server 2008 is attracting a lot of coverage at the moment with Jeremy doing the Microsoft road trip promoting Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008

That’s just a taste of some of the things we’re learning – there is a lot of data in there. Some of the more simple stats (e.g. most people visit our blog from the services page) could be calculated from existing web stats but it would more challenging to extract that information. Higher fidelity representation of information is a key to to improving information consumptionand this tool certainly highlights that.

How can you use it?

You could either use CrazyEgg or you can install and setup your own free version of ClickHeat, an open source alternative. If you would prefer to have some professional help in setting up this sort of system then you’re more than welcome to get in touch with me and Mindscape can help you out.

– JD

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