If you want to know more about how your visitors experience your website and what they do once they’ve arrive on one of your web pages, the tools we are looking at today can help you do just that.
While Google Analytics is most website owners go to user reporting tool, if you look a little bit further afield you can find a wide selection of tools that can give you an even greater insight into what your visitor are doing on your website. These tools allow you to see where your visitors are clicking, what is the focus of their attention, and even playback entire visitor journeys on your site.
Heat Maps, Click Tracking, and Visitor Session Recording Tools for WordPress
In this post you will find a mixture of free and premium services and plugins that can help you get a better understanding of what is taking place on your website. Armed with this data you can then start tweaking and experimenting with your site design and content to increase the number of visitors who perform the desired outcomes of your website.
Contact Analytics and Heat Maps from SumoMe
The SumoMe suite of free tools for website owners includes some great apps for building your email list, growing your website traffic, and now, optimizing your content.
As well as the popup email newsletter optin form apps and social sharing tools, there are now Heat Maps and Content Analytics tools which you can add to your WordPress website for free.
The Content Analytics tool lets you see exactly how far down your visitors are reading or scrolling on each page of your site. Armed with this information you can now move important elements, including calls to actions, above the point where most of your visitors stop reading. This can drastically help increase conversion rates and make the most of each visit to your site.
The results are displayed using a coloured scroll map that shows how far the majority of your visitors scroll down on the individual pages of your site. The results are also displayed in percentages to give you an exact figure of how many readers reach a certain point on your page.
The Heat Maps app shows you instantly where your visitors are clicking on your pages, allowing you to improve your page design, layout, formatting, and styling to get your visitors to start click where you want them to. The results are displayed in real time so you can see what your visitors are clicking on as they do it.
As with the other apps from SumoMe, these two user analytics tools can be installed with one click and are free to use on any WordPress website. The data is stored offsite so you don’t have to worry about site performance being negatively affected.
If you are looking for a collection of free tools for optimizing your content and growing your audience, then it’s hard to beat the SumoMe apps.
Clicky serves up real time website analytics data which is presented in a range of easy to read reports. While you can sign up and start using Clicky for free, if you want access to the heat maps and other premium features you will have to sign up to at least the Pro Plus plan which costs $14.99 a month.
One of the key selling points of Click is that your website stats are shown in real time, giving you an up to date view of what is happening on your website that isn’t available with some other services, including Google Analytics.
Click also makes it very easy to see the details of each visitor’s journey on your site. Simply by clicking the action link next to each visitor, you can quickly drill down and investigate their experience on your site.
This lets you see information about them, such as their location, as well as their path through the pages they visited on your site. While other analytics do make this data available, Clicky makes it a lot easier to find, thanks to its intuitive interface.
With a good selection of mobile and desktop apps available, Clicky makes it easy to monitor your website and the visitors accessing it wherever you are.
Crazy Egg was one of the first services to offer heat map analytics to website owners and now you can get started for free by using their 30-day trial.
After the trial, plans start from $9 a month, and all users get access to following reports to help analyse their website traffic more effectively:
- Heat map report
- Scroll map report
- Confetti report
- Overlay report
- List report
The confetti report is a particularly useful report to have access to as it allows you to not only see which elements of your pages are being clicked on, but also who is doing the clicking.
The clicks can be separated by a number of variables, such as device type, region, or Google campaign, allowing you to get a better insight into who is clicking where on your pages.
With Crazy Egg you can also compare mobile vs. desktop visitors to see how the two different groups interact with your content. Another nice feature of Crazy Egg is that it gives you the exact number of times an element has been clicked on, as well as a percentage of the total clicks, instead of just a coloured dot on a heat map.
Crazy Egg was one of the pioneers in the advanced web analytics market, but the service was eventually overtaken by newer entrants offering more useful reports. However, now, thanks to some new features and reports, it looks like Crazy Egg is back to offering a competitive package to website owners that are looking to learn more about their visitors.
ClickTale has some interesting reports up its sleeve that aim to give you a better insight than its competitors into how your visitors are spending their time on your website.
As well as the traditional click heat maps, with ClickTale you also get the following report types:
- Mouse movement heat maps
- Attention heat maps
- Scroll-reach heat maps
- Visitor session recordings
The mouse movement tracking report is particularly useful as studies have shown that mouse movement closely correlates with eye movement. This means you get a cost effective way of determining which elements on your site are catching the attention of your visitors, without the expense of tracking the eye movement of the individual visitors to your website.
The visitor recording reports allow you watch a recording of a visitor’s full browsing session on your site. This is like watching over a visitor’s shoulders as they navigate your way around your site. If you are looking to optimize sales or conversion rates then this type of feature could be the most powerful tool available to you.
The reports have advanced filtering which allows you to extract users who are interacting with your site in a certain way, such as those who fail to complete a pre or post-defined goal. This saves you the trouble of trawling through all reports and recordings to find the visitor journeys you want to examine more closely.
By combining the different types of report on offer from ClickTale you can make the distinction between whether a confusing layout and design is causing low click through rates, or whether the unappealing calls to actions and button text is lowering your number of conversions.
ClickTale is a high-end service that includes all the report and data you could ever need in order to optimize your website and increase goal conversions.
If the feature-rich, but premium ClickTale service is a little beyond your means, or just not necessary for your site yet, the free Hotspots Analytics – Heatmaps, User Activity & Custom Event Tracking plugin could be a good compromise.
The plugin is compatible with Google Analytics so you can let that service take care of the standard tracking data, while the plugin adds click map reporting to your site. Once installed on your site, each page gets its own heat map report which can be viewed at the touch of a button. The heat map reports record not only mouse clicks, but also record screen touches from visitors browsing your site on touchscreen devices.
All the data is recorded in your site’s WordPress database, with the reports being available without the need to go to an external website. The downside of this however, is that it could have a negative effect on your site’s performance as the number of visitors to your site grows.
Thankfully, this can be negated by upgrading to the premium version which lets you install the tracker on a remote WordPress site to avoid putting an extra performance load on your main website.
The premium remote bundle is available for just a $9.95 one-time fee, making it a very competitively priced option for adding heat map analytics to your WordPress website.
If you don’t mind going down the do it yourself route, this plugin is definitely worth a closer look.
Hopefully you now have the information you need to start tracking the visitors who find their way to your site in order to get a better understanding of the user experience you are offering them.
While data showing the number of visitors your site receives, their time on site, and how many pages they visit is useful, being able to see exactly where they are clicking, or even a recording of their entire journey on your site can be invaluable when it comes to improving the user experience and increasing goal conversion rates.
If you have any questions about this topic or would like to recommend an advanced user analytics service or plugin, please leave a comment below.