Using Heatmaps To See If Your Site Works

Man, smiling, looking at his laptop and using a heatmap for his website.

It’s hard to remove your subconscious biases when visiting your own webpage. You know what you want a visitor to do and you see the site through your own eyes. How do you understand the potential client’s experience?

A heatmap shows how your site works by converting scroll, click, and mouse movement data into graphs. 

You get a better idea of where visitors look and what they see when they come to your private practice website. In turn, you can adjust the layout, design, and information to match their response.

What Is A Heatmap?

Heatmaps are a way of displaying data to show where the majority of activity occurs on a webpage. Generally, heatmaps are a graphic depiction of activity, using graded color to depict areas of high and low interest.

A heatmap shows you where your visitors move about the page: it uses areas of color to show how the average visitor is interacting with your site and if they navigate where you want them to. 

By displaying the data as a heatmap, rather than a set of figures, it becomes much easier to understand. Take scrolling as an example. If you have information at the bottom of the page, you want to know if visitors are scrolling to see it. 

As raw data, you’d need to use careful analysis to see just what’s happening. With a heatmap, a glance shows just how far the average visitor scrolls. 

Types Of Heatmap

There are three main types of heatmaps: click, scroll, and movement. In this section, we’ll explore these in more detail.

1. Cursor Click Heatmaps

Cursor click heatmaps track where users click on a webpage and display it as a heatmap graphic. Typically, areas with a high level of clicks will be red, while buttons with fewer clicks will be blue.

Some cursor click heatmaps can show more detailed data, such as rage clicks and dead clicks. 

Rage clicks show where users might be annoyed at the functionality of the website, while dead clicks show areas that look interactive but aren’t.

2. Scroll Heatmaps

Scroll maps display just how far along a webpage the average visitor scrolls. These pages can be very easy to understand, helping you discover exactly when visitors abandon the page. 

Scroll heatmaps will often display a percentage analysis, explaining what percent of visitors made it so far down the page.

With a scroll heatmap, you see if the content is too long and if important information is being buried at the bottom of a wall of text.

3. Mouse Movement Heatmaps

Movement heatmaps are detailed analyses that display how the average visitor moves around the page. You see where they linger, sentences they might highlight, and everywhere they go when they stop by your website.

Mouse movement heatmaps can provide a lot of detail, but they aren’t always easy to interpret

A cursor hesitation might indicate that the visitor is struggling to understand something, but it might mean they looked away for 30 seconds to check their phone.

However, when gathering data from a large number of visitors, mouse movement heatmaps can help you see the website through the eyes of the average visitor.

What A Heat Map Can Show You About Your Website

Now you know exactly what a heatmap is. But how can it help you understand your private practice website?

Is Information Getting Buried?

The scroll heatmap can help you see just how far down the page visitors get before clicking away. 

If most visitors scroll only 25% down your webpage, then you need the relevant information to be in that top 25%. Otherwise, no one is going to see it.

The average online visitor has a short attention span. If they don’t get the information they want promptly, they’ll look elsewhere. With a scroll heatmap, you can see if a web page is too long for its purpose. 

Where Should You Put Your Important Links?

A click heatmap will show you what parts of your webpage are getting the most clicks. There are many reasons why a visitor will click on a link, and positioning can play a role. By tracking taps with a heatmap, you can see if visitors are clicking where you want them to.

You might discover that visitors to a certain page are drawn toward one link, rather than another. If they aren’t clicking where you want them to, you can use the heatmap data to rearrange your webpage. 

Positioning isn’t the only factor in getting visitors to click links, but it can help you assess the overall functionality of your webpage. 

For example, if people tend to click a random link halfway down the page, instead of the CTA a little further along, you might want to switch things around.

What Might Be Distracting The Visitor?

The internet is already full of distractions, so the last thing you want is to add them to your webpage. 

Movement, scroll, and click heatmaps can help you see where the average visitor does most of the looking on your website (and is it in the right place).

Your website has an important function — drawing clients to your private practice. Dead links, distracting pictures, and overlong content will prevent potential clients from reaching out. 

Heatmaps And A/B Testing

Heatmaps should act as a guide to your website, not a set of instructions. While they can give you an impression of how your website is working, they aren’t mind readers. They tend to show what is happening, not why it is happening.

The best way to use the information from heatmaps is for A/B testing and split testing. Use the data gathered from your heatmaps in contrasting ways to see what appeals more to your visitors.

Heatmaps can show you if your website has a problem. A/B testing can help you figure out what the problem is and find a solution.

Final Thoughts

Heatmaps are a visual representation of how visitors use your website. Different heatmaps can show how far a visitor scrolled, where they clicked, and what they did with their mouse. 

You can use this information to tailor your website so visitors become clients.

Heatmaps aren’t perfect, but they do give a broad overview of data that can otherwise be difficult to understand. 

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