Do your website visitors click where you want them to?
Or are they distracted by clutter, overlooking your forms and buttons, and completely missing your calls to action?
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell just from analytics alone. You can’t watch over your audience’s shoulders as they use your site. (Well, you can, but conducting user experience studies like that can get expensive.)
All the conversion optimization advice in the world won’t get you far if it doesn’t apply to your audience. So how do you figure out what to change to get better results?
If you want to spy on your visitors without conducting expensive studies, heat mapping software is the way to go.
In this post, we’ll show you how to set up SumoMe’s heatmap app on your website, and share a few tips on using it to improve your website.
About SumoMe’s Heat Mapping tool
SumoMe’s Heat Maps show you exactly where your visitors are clicking – or NOT clicking – on your website.
Using heat maps will help you to understand what your visitors are seeing, what they’re missing, and what they respond to on your website.
It’s easy to install with a WordPress plugin (though they have options for other CMSs and HTML sites, too). You can set it up on multiple pages around our site, and it gives you real-time data as visitors click around the page.
You can install the free version to follow along below.
How to install SumoMe Heat Maps
Click over to the SumoMe Heat Maps page and click the green “Try It Free” button at the top:
(note: it says “Try It Free” but there’s no limit to how long you can use it for free)
In the pop-up, just enter your site URL where you’ll be installing the heat maps, your email address, and a strong unique password:
On the next page, go ahead and click the WordPress button:
In a new tab, your dashboard will pop up, and you’ll be able to install the SumoMe plugin. Just click “Install Now” and then activate the plugin:
In the corner, a cool overlay will appear. Ignore it for now!
Instead, navigate to the page you want to create a heat map for.
Now go ahead and click on the crown logo:
Login with the same email address and password you used on the SumoMe website, and then click Activate:
Now follow the directions and click on the green Sumo Store icon:
Now, ignoring the directions, click on the pink Heat Maps icon in the second row (the third icon under the header “Analytics”):
Click on the blue “FREE” button on the right to continue. You’ll see a brief pop-up that confirms “Heat Maps has been installed!”:
Go ahead and click on the blue button again (it now says “Open”).
Then click the green button that says “Record New Campaign for This Page”:
Now click on Settings in the left-hand column. Under “Track Logged In Users,” select the “No, don’t track clicks for users logged in to SumoMe.” This will make sure that your own actions won’t be included in the heat maps:
Make sure to click the green “Save” button at the bottom!
Now you can navigate to any page you want to create a heatmap for, and click the little flame icon in the corner. When heat map recording is activated, you’ll see a little red “recording” dot over the icon:
You can click the icon again to load the heat map display over the current page.
The free trial will be free forever, but it only includes up to 2,000 clicks per tracking campaign, and up to 1 million monthly website visits.
If you want to increase those limits, or add more features like:
- VIP support
- White label branding
- A/B testing
…and more, then check out their paid plans which start at $20/month (paid annually).
One important note is that with a paid plan, you don’t just get the paid features for the Heat Maps app, you get the paid features for all of their apps. This includes other apps such as Content Analytics, List Builder, Welcome Mat, Smart Bar and more.
Tips for making the most of your new heat maps
Great, so now you know where people are clicking on your website.
What do you do with your newfound knowledge?
Get enough data to inform your decisions
Using heat maps for the first time is exciting, but you’ve got to give it some time to record if you want data you can actually use.
Don’t make big changes on your website based on just 50 clicks, or 100, or even 500. Experts suggest having around 2,000-3,000 pageviews will help you to have more accurate results, and make better decisions.
SumoMe suggests running your heat map for at least one week, or 3-4 weeks if you get less than 10,000 visits per month.
Fix phony links
One thing that’s useful about click maps is that you can see when people are clicking things that aren’t links.
If you see that a lot of visitors are clicking on some page element that isn’t actually a link, you can fix that to improve your website’s usability.
You can either:
- Make it a real link: For example, if a lot of people are clicking an unlinked logo or header image at the top of your page, you should probably link that to your homepage.
- Change it to NOT look like a link: If you’re not sure where people are trying to go, or if you don’t want to link the element they’re clicking on, you should change the design so that it no longer looks like a link.
I chose the 2nd option for one of my sites where I’d been using WordPress Jetpack to display an image gallery widget in the sidebar. Because of the way that particular widget works, each image was automatically linked to the image file – but I didn’t actually want them to link anywhere. When I set up the SumoMe click map, I learned that people were clicking on these images. So I used a different widget type and made them unlinked so as not to confuse visitors.
Choose a goal for each page
Each page on your website should have a primary goal. If your visitors only clicked in one place, where would you want them to click?
Once you have your goal in mind, you can use your heatmaps to determine what’s interfering with that goal.
For example, let’s say you have a hugely popular blog post on your site, and your goal is to convert all that traffic into subscribers with an opt-in form at the bottom of the post.
But after activating your heat maps and gathering enough data, you realize that people are clicking on posts from your “Related Posts” section instead.
After discovering that, you could try removing your “Related Posts” widget altogether, and focus on making your opt-in form stand out more. Then you’d test to see if that improves your signups.
Ready to get scientific about optimizing your site? Then you need to gather data first. SumoMe’s heat maps are an easy and fun way to visualize how visitors are using your website, and learn what you can do to improve it.