Use HeatMap Software to Improve Website User Experience

Posted by Nikki Wardle on Jan 15, 2018 8:21:00 AM

Watching website users
"I always feel like somebody's watching me." And if they are, they can make a better website that is more likely to convert visitors to leads and leads to customers.

Imagine this scenario: You have spent three to four months planning your new website or redesign, hired the best website development and marketing team around. You and your team have spent countless hours designing the layout with all of the best-practices in mind. Workflows have been carefully thought out and implemented. In short, you have designed your website to effortlessly guide your users through the buyer's journey and convert them into customers and delight them into becoming raving fans.

Your new site goes live. The excitement in the air is electric. The whole team is waiting for leads to start rolling in.

A week goes by... nothing. Not one sale or new prospect from the website.

How could this be? Everything was so carefully thought through by your teams. What could have gone wrong?

It's Not All About You

You may think that you have the best and most user-friendly website ever created in the history of man, but maybe your potential customers don't feel the same. 

So, how do we find out what went wrong? The answer is simple, stalk your website users (legally, of course).

Keep an Eye on Your Users

Watching how your website visitors interact with your website is invaluable in so many ways. There are a few ways to observe user experience, but one of the most common and easy-to-implement way is using heatmap and visitor recording software such as Hotjar.

There are other solutions like Hotjar on the market, but because it's what we use at Tribute Media, Hotjar will be used as the example.

After installing Hotjar, (<-- click the link for instructions), you can create heatmaps for the most important pages on your site. At the same time, you can also start recordings of visitors to your site.

Depending on your website traffic, there is a period of time where you will just have to wait for the data/recordings to start building up.

Once you have a minimum of 50 or so recordings, start watching them. You'll need to look for issues such as:

  • Barriers that may exist that prevent conversion activity such as form submissions
  • Users ignoring or not being able to see a call-to-action (CTA)
  • Losing potential customers during the checkout process
  • Should a pop-up show at 30 seconds, 15 seconds, or not at all because a majority of users are closing it right away

Many of these show us that the user does not know what to do to get what they want. Or maybe they see that you have what they want, but they can't find a way to get it, or the offer isn't compelling enough to buy now.

Make It About the User

Now that you may have identified some of the issues that users and potential customers are having with your site, it's time to make some changes.

Discuss with the site developers the issues you found through the recordings and heatmaps and request that changes be made to resolve the problems.

Some of the solutions may be as easy as rewording a call-to-action or adding an image to a link. Other changes may include moving a CTA from the bottom of the page closer to the top or changing the size of the menu links.

The important thing to remember is to watch, make changes, and watch again. It's rare to get it right the first time.

Another Advantage of Recordings

Google. Apple. Samsung. Microsoft. These giants are always changing the rules of the game, also known as software updates and new screen size variations. All of these factors affect your website's performance and the user experience.

Staying Proactive

When watching recordings, not only is it important to watch the behaviors of the users, but also what is happening on their screens, especially mobile screens.

  • Do Android users have issues with operating the navigation menu where iOS users do not?
  • Is everything visible on mobile screens? Tablet screens? Desktops?
  • Is content "readable" on mobile devices?
  • Are images resizing correctly on mobile and tablet devices?
  • Does your website look the same in Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer?

Here at Tribute Media, we have been able to quickly identify user experience issues and proactively take steps to address the issues long before anyone else even notices there are any problems.

Be the Stalker You Know You Can Be

Designing, building, and testing is not a one and done event. Every little change, rearrangement, or addition should be tested, optimized, and then tested again.

Think of the optimization of your website as a continuous process, one of change and constant improvements. Your website and web presence are constantly moving. It's your job to make sure they are moving in the right direction. 

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Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has a degree in Marketing from Boise State University and worked as an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Tribute Media from 2014 to 2019. She's a Google Whiz and dog lover, now serving as a marketing director for a local veterinary clinic.