Using Heatmap Testing To Improve Conversion

Using Heatmap Testing To Improve Conversion

In today’s uber-competitive online world, people are using every tool in the book to try to improve website conversions. I am going to show you one tool I have been using that has helped me increase my newsletter signups by 136% in one week. Not only that, but this tool also helped me DOUBLE my Adsense earnings from one of my niche sites.

Website Conversions Explained

Before I tell you about heatmap testing, I must explain the purpose of testing: to increase website conversions. Website conversions can mean different things for different web sites. A conversion occurs when a desired action is taken by the visitor. On blogs, for instance, a conversion could be achieved when someone subscribes to your RSS. For an eBook sales page, the conversion might be collecting an email address. On an e-commerce website, the sale of a product is a conversion.

Obviously, the goal of any well planned website is to continuously track and improve conversion. This is done by monitoring how visitors interact with the web site. Google Analytics provides several good tools for tracking conversions, but perhaps one of the best tools I have come across is heatmap testing.

What Is Heatmap Testing?

Heatmap testing is pretty simple. Instead of just explaining it, I will show you also…

heatmapThe image to the right is a heatmap overlay from the WordPress homepage. The “warmer” areas corresponds to more clicks. Clearly, the most number of clicks were made on the login section and the top few blogs under “Hot Blogs Today.”

The point of using a heatmap is to test how a user is interacting with a web site. What links are they clicking on? What advertising layouts produce the most earnings? There are some of the questions any conversion conscious webmaster should be asking.

The heatmap testing I have been using is by a company called Crazy Egg. According to the Crazy Egg website, other possible uses for testing include:

  • Test different versions of a page to see which works better
  • Discover which ad placement gives the best results
  • Find out which design encourages visitors to click deeper
  • Learn which content leads to improved sales

Essentially, by implementing heatmap testing over several days, we can monitor and change around the visual elements to continuously improve our website conversions.

How Heatmap Testing Has Helped Me

I have been using heatmap testing for the past two weeks on several websites including my blog. I first used it on my blog to track what visual elements were receiving the most attention and where readers were generally clicking.

For example, one of my goals is to increase my newsletter signups. When I first started my heatmap testing, it became clear why I wasn’t receiving as many signups as I had hoped — the area around the signup box was receiving very little heat. I did notice, however, that my navigation bar was receiving a ton of heat. After learning this data, I decided to create the 3-column header graphic that shows my popular articles, newsletter signup and recent articles (shown below).

header
My newsletter signups increased by 136% that week. I would have never made this change if it weren’t for my initial heatmap testing.

Another heatmap test I did was on one of my Adsense sites that receives a ton of traffic. After analyzing where visitors were clicking, I removed two simple elements on the page and my Adsense earnings DOUBLED! Not bad for 5 minutes of work. I will write a post next week about the specific changes I made and a few other tips for improving CTR.

Conclusion

As I mentioned earlier, heatmap testing is certainly one of the better web analytic tools I have come across. I strongly recommend everyone tries it out if for nothing more than seeing how visitors interact with your site. It’s good data to have and I am sure at some point in the future you will be able to put it to use.

Here’s the good news: you can start heatmap testing right now, for free. Crazy Egg has a free version of their tool that allows you to test up to 5000 visitors/month from 4 pages. I went through my 5000 visitors pretty quickly, so I decided to sign up for the Basic plan which allows me to track 10,000 visitors from up to 10 pages. It also includes live reporting and some other advanced tools, only for $9/month. Not a bad investment considering I just used it to double my Adsense income from $25 to $50/day.

This post was sponsored by Create Business Growth.

22 thoughts on “Using Heatmap Testing To Improve Conversion”

  1. It looks like an interesting tool. It is really important to know how your visitors reacts to your website. I think this tool will get much more popular
    Grate post Nate, keep it up šŸ˜‰
    Phil

  2. Great writeup. It’s always nice to see how people are using their analytics to real gain. šŸ™‚

    Have you ever looked at http://www.robotreplay.com? It records a video of where the user actually moves their mouse and scrolls to. It doesn’t give the overall picture that Crazyegg does, but if you watch a few videos, you start to get a feeling of where people are looking, not just clicking. šŸ™‚

  3. I added your blog to MyYahoo last week after following a link from John Chow…I am impressed! Your content is sensational, we should talk about doing some cross promotion at my blog.

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  5. I’m another Crazy Egg fan. Been using it for a couple of months. The data they provide on where a user clicks has been very valuable. In my case I found the sidebar attracted very little attention so that it is an area I will focus on improving next.

  6. hi
    nice post. i recently started using crazyegg and was very impressed by its result showing where clicks were made.
    i think every one should try it.

  7. I was lucky enough to come across Crazy Egg during their BETA signup and they gave me a 10,000 pageviews account for free. I’ve used it a few times but I’ve yet to really exploit Crazy Egg to its full potential.

    I will be using it in the future though to really narrow down some details on a new site. I think it works best if you have a very specific question that you want answered by the data.

    Nate, you’re such a tease with that last sentence. Everybody now wants to know what site you’re talking about. šŸ™‚

  8. Yeah, Crazy Egg is a great service. I’m nowhere close to the limits of the free service, but I’m hoping to change that eventually and will be happy to pay for it.

  9. This is a tool I never used and I know I should. I am sure there are some parts of my site I would like to emphasize and I just didn’t know where to place that sensitive data. I am curious to see the results. Will try this night …

  10. I’ve been trying to convert the unconverted at my soon to be job for many of the blogs. Amazing resource and truly shows what the hell visitors do.

  11. Oh that sounds sweet, I’ve got to try it. I’ve got a site that I would love to get that kind of information about. Too bad only the first 5000 visitors are free, but this sounds like it could improve click through so much that $9 a month would be nothing.
    Thanks for the great information!

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