How to use heat maps to improve your website

author
Anna RubkiewiczApril 29, 20218 min

Did you know that it takes just 50 milliseconds for a website visitor to form an opinion about it? This means one thing – you need to create a website that provides a great user experience. One of the best ways to discover and understand how you can optimize your page for visitors is by using a heat map.

In the following article, you’ll learn how to improve a website using a heat map. Specifically, we will help you understand how they give insight into users’ interactions and how you can leverage these findings on your homepage, blog, or landing pages. We will also give you examples of how heat maps can help you boost user engagement rates, optimize your customer journey paths, and overall improve the conversion rate.

Improve your website

Top benefits of using heat maps for a website

Among others, website heatmap tools can help you uncover on-site user behavior data and, as a result, analyze user intent. Here are three examples of heat map uses:

1. Boosting user engagement

Understanding which areas get the most attention will help you place critical elements and content where they get the most exposure. For instance, if you are running a promotion, and the hero image of your website is a “hot” area, this is where your visuals and clicks should be placed to get hits.

heat maps for website as a way to boost engagement

2. Optimizing the information architecture

Another benefit of using a heat map on a website is information architecture optimization. Once you have determined the “hot” areas of your website through heat map usage, you can optimize the information layout on your website to suit user behavior.

3. Finding usability issues

If you notice a drop in user engagement on specific webpages, a heat map can help reveal any unusual activity worth investigating further. For example, you might see that there’s an unexpected number of clicks on an image, or that a recent change to the layout has made it confusing for visitors to engage with the content.

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Now that we have covered some of the benefits of a heat map, let’s take a look at which pages you can use heat map tools on.

Which pages can you use your heat map tools on?

Using heat maps on a website will help you iron out any usability issues and inspire improvement ideas. Here are the top pages that you should consider using your heat map tools on.

Homepage

Your homepage is the first port of call for your web visitors. In many cases, it’s where people first come across your brand. This means that you cannot allow this page to have an unoptimized experience.

So, how will a heatmap help you improve your homepage?

Firstly, it can reveal where it’s best to place your Call to Actions (CTAs). For instance, if visitor data indicates that certain areas are “hot”, this can be the prime territory for your CTAs.

Heat map on website – example of two CTAs above the fold.

Secondly, it might reveal the site’s confusing elements. Say, for instance, that you run a marketing business and allow your customers to try it out for free for seven days. You will likely have a “Try For Free” button to draw users’ attention, right?

However, if you place a “Contact Us” or “Sign Up for our Newsletter” right next to this button, it can prove confusing – after all, users might rather click on the contact button or simply scroll past! By consulting your website heat map for scroll rates and eye-tracking, you can, perhaps, remove some CTAs lower down your homepage and give more prominence to your main Call to Action.

Landing pages for specific products or campaigns

Imagine you’ve just launched a brand new, cutting-edge product on your eCommerce website. You simply cannot wait to start getting hits and sales… but the results are simply not coming in!

When people visit campaign landing pages, they are certainly closer to converting and buying. However, if there are elements on your site such as broken links or confusing wording, they might not move down the sales funnel.

Heat map usage can help you identify gaps in your website’s landing page layout. Do you have insufficiently enticing content above the fold? Or maybe your product images are not clickable, despite the amazing page view statistics? Cutting out the clutter will help ensure visitors keep scrolling down your landing page and have better engagement with its various elements.

Blog pages

Your blog is another important part of your website – likely, one that brings in the most organic traffic. It’s one of the places where you can add value for your customers, all the while establishing yourself as a thought leader. However, if your website heatmap tools indicate that users are simply not digesting the full content, you must use your data to determine the reason.

Content length is often to blame – especially if you find that users are not reading through a full page. Although the word count doesn’t necessarily equate to the quality of your content, your website heat maps could indicate whether you need to assess the length of your content or play around with the design. Think – adding more images or placing a table of contents for easier navigation.

A blog page is a good example of a heat maps for website use case.

Source: Ahrefs

Furthermore, if you see that there’s a particular place most blog readers look at, it might be a great place for your newsletter signup field.

Other pages to consider for heat map on website application

On top of your homepage, campaign landing pages, and blog, there are also other pages that you can consider in your website improvement efforts. Have a look at some additional heat map uses below:

Your website’s most popular landing pages

When you visit your Google Analytics account, you’ll be able to filter a list of the most visited landing pages. These are the webpages where you must guarantee the absolute best experience. Therefore, it’s worth studying user behavior to understand how visitors interact with their content. Were they drawn in by big, bold images or enticing CTA buttons? Did they scroll down the pages further than expected?

These learnings could provide valuable insights for current and future pages. If users are interacting positively with content, you could use this data to improve your website’s other pages that are struggling with drop-offs and low conversion rates.

2. Newly launched pages

Using your website heatmap tools can assist in testing your website’s new design or layout, to check if people notice crucial information. Heat maps for your website will also be great for A/B testing of two versions of your new webpage. They can be used as part of your usability testing research to help you determine which layout will guarantee the best user experience.

3. Pages that have the highest conversion rate

It’s quite simple – if something has proven effective on your website in the past, it’s worth using it as a source of inspiration to replicate your success. For this reason, it’s worth placing a heat map on your highest converting webpages.

That said, heat maps will also help ensure that these pages remain effective in the future. Having any glitches or issues on them could lower your conversion rate and cause visitors to not interact with your content. The consequences of leaving such issues unaddressed could be grave – it could hurt your business and drop the organic popularity of these pages all too quickly!

4. Pages with low conversion rates

Is your ‘About Us’ page not getting enough attention? Are users not scrolling further down the fold on your promotion pages? Optimizing your page layout could improve your website considerably when guided by your website heat map tools.

By taking into consideration aspects such as scrolling behavior and “cold” (less popular) areas on your website indicated by colors such as blues and greens, you can improve places that aren’t noticed by web visitors.

How to improve a website with a heat map – concluding thoughts

When you dedicate the time and effort to understand your website visitors’ behavior – i.e., why they scroll through pages or interact with certain content/elements more than with others, you’ll be on the right track to creating an optimal online experience.

Using heat maps for a website enables you to:

  • Verify if users are seeing your most important content
  • Determine whether your website visitors are getting distracted by any elements throughout their journey
  • See if people are clicking on the most important elements of each page, and
  • Assist you in ironing out website components that cause friction and issues.

If you want to improve your digital marketing efforts and conversion rates, heat maps will be a great start point. Investing the time and effort into your website’s UX will help your business stay at the top of its game. Thanks to heat map usage, you will be able to put yourself in the same frame of mind as your visitors and improve your website’s performance based on a custom-centric approach.

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