Heat Maps: Why You Should Use Them?

Chris Sams, May 4, 2018

A website owner’s number one priority is to identify which pages are popular with his visitors and why. Understanding how a website visitor navigates the site and why he chose the path he did allows website owners and administrators to optimize the site for improved user experience and performance efficiency and effectiveness. This is where a heat map helps.

5 reasons to implement heat mapping on your website

Identify the best and worst performing areas of the website

Heat maps are color-coded visual representations that answer important questions about the way the website is used by visitors. Using the heat maps, you can identify which pages, forms, buttons, and links are favored by visitors and which ones are completely ignored by them.

If the results remain the same over a period of time, you can take action to improve the ignored sections of the website and drive traffic towards them.

Identify which sections of the website are still unvisited and untouched

Four colors- red, orange, green, blue – are used in heat maps to show customer movement on the site. Red’s indicate areas of high activity, orange & green represent medium-level activity and blues represent zero activity.

If you spot too many areas in blue, it is indicative that visitors are either willfully ignoring these sections because of low-quality content or they aren’t aware of their existence. Action can be taken to either remove these sections completely or improve their quality to draw user attention.

Answer the 5 W’s of customer-website interaction

Heat maps help you answer 5 important questions.

  • Who are the visitors?
  • What do they want?
  • Why do they want this information?
  • Where are they coming from?
  • When are they visiting the website?

Let’s say you have a website for your university, with pages for students, faculty, and parents. By using the heat map, you’ll be able to see which pages generate the highest views, at what time and in what numbers.

You can use this information to understand the dynamics of visitor-website interaction and work on improving the usability of the website.

Identify faulty website navigation and make improvements

There can be only two reasons why visitors aren’t viewing certain sections of your website:  

  • They really don’t want information about these sections.
  • They want information about these sections, but can’t find a convenient path to get to them.

If it’s the former, there’s nothing you can do about it. But, if it is the latter, you’ll need to take a look at your website navigation.

Heat maps act as a trail telling you how the visitors moved to the site and where the trail stops cold. You can use this information to examine how helpful the navigation is on the less visited areas of the site and work on improving the user experience.

Create an engaging, interactive and immersive user experience

Once you know the path that users take when navigating the website, you can start improving the entire experience and making it more fun and entertaining for the visitor. Since you’ll already be privy to the steps that the visitor will take next, you can have resources and bots ready to assist the visitor the moment they come on the page.

You can incorporate direct links to most-visited pages and encourage the visitors to take a look at some of the less-known pages as well.

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