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What Is Blog Or Website Heat Map And Why Should You Care

Do you sometimes wonder what your visitors do once they arrive on your blog? Do they just read one article or do they click on your links, your categories, your navigation tabs, social icons or on your ads? Wouldn’t it be great if you could see exactly how the traffic behaves on your blog? You can. There are tools that allow you to analyze the behaviour of your visitors on your site. The output of these tools is a blog or a website heat map.

There are a number of companies that will create a heat map for your blog or your website for a fee. They will track the clicks and will provide you with results that will pinpoint exactly where your blog excelling  or failing in attracting clicktroughs. But did you know that Google through their analytics tools offers us this service for free?

Most bloggers are not aware of this wonderful service. I did not know either until I came across Andrew Hiddleman’s video where he talks about heat maps. But before you take a look at Andrew’s video let me show you how you can easily find your blog’s or website’s heat map using the good old  Google Analytics.

You need to have Google Analytics plugin installed on your blog (I urge you to install it if you don’t). Goggle Analytics will analyze your blog thoroughly and you will also have access to the heat map information. If you do not have Google Analytics plugin installed yet please do so as it tracks your site and provides you with a plethora of useful information about your site.

How to Find Your Blog Heat Map In Google Analytics

Sign into your Google Analytics account and access your blog’s analytics dashboard. On the left hand side of the dashboard click on Content and then click on In-Page-Analytics.

Image 1. Signing Into Google Analytics

Google Analytics Dashboard

GA Dashboard

Update: You need to click on Behavior to get to In-Page Analytics.

Once you open In-Page-Analytics you will be able to see the behavior of your visitors related to your blog. In other words you will be able to find out which areas of your blog are most favored by your readers. Below you can see a few examples of a heat map from Blogging Spree website.

Image 2. Blogging Spree Heat Map Example

Blogging Spree Home Page Heat Map

Heat Map Top Of The Page

The orange rectangles on the image represent the percentage of clicks per item. It is hard to see but the “Home” tab received the most views, over 60%. As you can see every single tab was clicked on at some point, with the exception of “Contact”. As well, the ad under the header, the article and the categories linked to the article were also viewed.

These results suggest to me that I should not waste the valuable navigation bar space with a Contact Tab. I should place the Contact link either in the footer or under the About tab.

Image 3. Heat Map Below The Fold

Blogging Spree Heat Map Home Page Below Fold

Blogging Spree Heat map Below The Fold

The clicks continued below the fold as well. You can see that pretty well every post and categories were clicked on at some point.

Image 4. More Heat Map Spots On A Blog

Blog Heat Map Sidebar Widget

Blogging Spree Heat Map Sidebar Widget

Notice the sidebar widget. Every single post labeled in the “Latest Posts” tab was clicked on suggesting the need to have related post section somewhere on the home page. These clicks are likely the reason why the bounce rate of this blog is so low.

The last image I want to show you is an interesting result from one of my posts. When you are on the Google Analytics dashboard looking at your home page results, just click on any of the posts or pages and you will see the results for that particular post or page. I selected one of my recent posts about commenting platforms. I’ll explain why below the image.

Image 5. Heat Map On A Post

Blog Post Heat Map

What was interesting to see was that when visitors visited the post many of the clicks were going to various related material information, suggesting the need of having related posts listed also on the bottom of your post. Although not shown on this image, the widget on the sidebar that shows latest posts also received a number of views

Most surprising were the clicks on the section just above “You may also like”. This is the output of one of my newest plugins I installed on my blog. I only installed this plugin a few days ago so I cannot analyze the results precisely but the values in the orange boxes show that 87% of the visitors clicked on these tabs.  To me that is very revealing. It suggests  that the readers are curious and want to know what’s new, what’s hot and what’s related to the topic of the discussion.

Learn More About Heat Maps from Andrew’s Video

 

 

To conclude, all I can say that I am very excited about my ability to analyze Blogging Spree blog heat map. It has given me so much food for thought. A lot of it relates to the monetization of my site. I can tell right now that my sidebar widgets, apart from the “Latest Posts” and “Categories”,  have not received any attention at all.  This suggests to me that if I want also to make money blogging, I should not waste this valuable space with ads that are no clicked on. In the near future, I will replace these ads with different ads to see if it will make a difference. If I will continue to see such lackluster trend I will replace the ads with other material more prone to clicks.

Google Analytics gives you an opportunity to get a lot of information about your site, not just a means to track your traffic results. I bet you that if you analyze your blog’s /website’s heat map and tweak your blog based on what you learned, your bounce rate will diminish (the average bounce rate for my site is around 3%). In addition, you may get more interactions such as comments, likes, Google pluses which may help you gain more rankings hence more traffic eventually.

The last point I want to make is about the totally unexpected result in Image 5. As I mentioned, I only implemented this plugin a few days ago, but the results are astounding. 87% clicks is huge. I will discuss these results with the developer of the plugin. As this plugin is not available to the public at this time I will also ask the developer of this plugin to see if I can get access to it and share it with you. If you think you may be interested in getting it let me know either via comments or by contacting me directly .

I’d love to hear your comments and feedback. Please make sure to share this post with your blogging friends so that they too will have an opportunity to analyze their blogs and if necessary, improve them.

 

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14 Responses to What Is Blog Or Website Heat Map And Why Should You Care

  1. Troy February 7, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    Right. Who knew? I mean I had heard about heat maps from some of the ‘gurus’ but thought it was something well beyond my scope or need. Really it IS good stuff, easy to use and quite useful. Thanks for the knowledge.

  2. ingrid September 4, 2013 at 1:13 am #

    Hi Dita,
    Great information, I have never been a Blogger, but will definitely start.
    The AWeber info was great! Since I don’t have a list, this will be very helpful
    thanks

  3. tonythanhcd02 August 23, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    I found that google analytics is not enough information of heat map. They do not show the heat map of adsense, so I have a difficult in arranging adsense on blog. WordPress has a great plugin of heat map analytics, and anybody else know the website which can show clearly the map of click please show me. Thanks you very much
    tonythanhcd02 recently posted…The comment of Google+ comment do not display, how…My Profile

    • Dita Irvine August 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

      Hi Tony,

      There is a heat map specifically for Google adsense. Google offers it. Just search Google help and you will find it.

  4. Victor Björklund August 12, 2013 at 5:33 am #

    Hi Dita,

    Great post! I have never really looked at the heatmap in Google analytics (even though I been aware of it). I think I will take a closer look at it now! Have you ever tried Crazyegg? If you have, did you find it valueable?

    Thanks
    Victor Björklund

  5. Daniel Powney August 7, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    Google Analytics fails when it comes to responsive web design and usability. It cannot tell you exactly where clicks or taps on touch screen devices were made. It only captures links. Are your links usable on smaller screen sizes and what does it look like to the user?

    If your blog runs on WordPress, you can use a free plugin called Hotspots User Tracker which compliments Google Analytics. It draws a heat map of mouse clicks and touch screen taps overlayed on your webpage allowing you to improve usability by analysing user behaviour. It also caters for responsive web design, touch screen devices and provides a whole lot of options for filtering the data in the heat maps. All data is stored locally and no signup is required! Viewing a heat map on your website is easy, just add a query parameter ?drawHeatMap=true onto your URL or you can go into the WordPress admin plugin page for options.

    Check it out: wordpress.org/plugins/hotspots/stats/
    Daniel Powney recently posted…danielpowney.comMy Profile

  6. darasi July 28, 2013 at 8:33 am #

    Hi Dita,
    google analytic is sure have more and more fitures 🙂
    What I really proud of google analytic these days is they can tell me how many visitors and what posts and pages that they’re visiting on real time. And The heat map itself really help me when I want to put related links both in the article and the sidebar. After all, I just want to make the visitors comfort and stay as long as possible … 🙂
    darasi recently posted…Ideal Protein Diet ReviewMy Profile

  7. Barry McKillip July 26, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    Dita,

    I did not know you could use Google Analytics for this. Now that I do,I can use this to learn more of whats going on on my blog.Thanks for the great info.

    Barry

  8. Adrienne July 26, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    That was interesting Dita and I bet that the majority of people who have this plug-in weren’t aware of this feature either.

    I don’t use this plug-in myself, I have the code placed on my blog. I’m one of those that prefers less plug-ins you know but I might have to install it just to check out the results of this. Thanks for letting us know and walking us through this.

    Great share Dita!

    ~Adrienne

    • Dita Irvine July 27, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      Hi Adrienne,

      When you place a code on your blog, can’t you access Google Analytics. You should be able to and then you should also be able to access the heat map of your blog.

      I think it is the function of the Google analytics itself not the plugin?

      Take care,

      Dita
      Dita Irvine recently posted…Tips To Reduce Website Bounce Rate: What Does Bounce Rate MeanMy Profile

  9. Tonya Stephens July 26, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    Hi Dita,
    Great tip on the Google heat map…who knew! I enjoyed Andrew’s video and subscribed to his You Tube Channel.
    You have a lot of great tips here on your blog. Thanks for all the value.
    I’m glad we connected.
    Have a great weekend!
    Tonya
    Tonya Stephens recently posted…Attraction Marketing | 3 Mistakes You Don’t Want To MakeMy Profile

  10. Glenn Shepherd July 26, 2013 at 3:51 am #

    Hey Dita,

    I was already aware of heatmaps, in fact I’ve just installed a plugin on my blog that I got as a free bonus with something else. I was quite pleased considering that I did consider buying the plugin when it was released as a WSO and it was more expensive than the thing that I just bought that it came with!

    What I didn’t know was that Google Analytics has a heat map. You give a great overview of it here and I will definitely be checking this out for myself.

    While you can certainly get along quite happy without using a heat map, it’s one of those things that is very, very useful in giving you an idea about certain aspects of your blog. Then you can take this information into consideration when thinking about how best to optimise things.

    Thanks for the fantastic info as usual, Dita 🙂

    Regards,
    Glenn
    Glenn Shepherd recently posted…What is Your “Because”? Eliminate Your ObstaclesMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine July 27, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

      Hi Glen,

      Of course you can get along without knowing your blog’s heat map, but since it is available to most of us for free why not use it to our advantage to better our blogs?

      Cheers
      Dita Irvine recently posted…How To Protect Your Blog From Botnet HackersMy Profile