Heat maps: Converting visitors into customers

Posted on August 30, 2019

You may be wondering what a heat map is and how it relates to online traffic. Think of a heat map as a weather map for your website; both kinds of maps are color-coded down the spectrum for easy interpretation. But while weather maps use reds, oranges, and yellows to denote high-temperature areas, heat maps assign these colors to popular website content instead; the warmer the color, the more clicks the content is receiving. Below are some tips for heating up your conversion rates:

Give your critical information pride of place

Many people don’t read website content beyond the first fold. Some people may simply have short attention spans, while others might be doing battle with tiny screens or poor eyesight. Position important content at or near the top of the page; don’t make visitors scroll to the bottom to find it. Your call to action should be your first priority, and you can (and probably should) use it more than once. Don’t just put it atop the page and leave it off elsewhere. Also include it at the bottom of the page as a courtesy to those who do want to keep reading. The heat map will show you which placement of the CTA visitors prefer.

Install analytics—and recognize their limitations

Paired with heat maps, analytics can help you keep your digital marketing strategy fresh. Analytics will show you the number of visitors, visits by country, traffic sources, bounce rates, mobile performance, and keyword relevance. What analytics won’t show is whyvisitors left your website. Was there too much or too little content? Was the site unresponsive or not accessible enough? Was it not visually or conceptually appealing? Was the navigation confusing?

If you’re not sure how to answer those questions, it’s time to play detective.

Research visitor behaviors

If potential customers are leaving your site, take the time to learn why. Put your analytics and heat maps to work tracking visitor behavior over days, weeks, and months. Digging deeply into the details of user actions will help you improve your website, sometimes in ways you didn’t expect.

Suppose your home page has tabs for “About Us,” “Who We Are,” “Services,” “FAQ,” and contact sections in addition to a button for your CTA. If the heat map shows that your home page tabs are brighter/warmer than your CTA button, people might be confused about what your company does, they may be looking for a specific product or service that isn’t listed, they might have a question that the FAQ section doesn’t answer, or perhaps the pages contain redundancies. In each instance, users are having trouble finding the information they need, and beautiful visuals won’t make up for that. No matter how eye-catching (and potentially budget-busting) the site is, functional fall-downs such as broken links, poorly written content, and forms that lack clear instructions can lead users to mistrust your site and not return. All of these possibilities bear investigating if you want your website to stay relevant. Remember to make proofreading your site part of your investigation.

Heat maps can help you understand visitor behavior by lighting up every click of the mouse. Use this simple but elegant tool to drive traffic across all of your website content. If the heat map is full of cool colors—or worse, displays no colors at all—it may be time to rethink your content choices. Our monthly assessments are designed to improve user experience and boost conversion rates. Contact us to learn more.