Do you want to know how people are navigating your site? Are you curious if hero images or carousels on your homepage are useful? Do you want to see if visitors are clicking on ads, dead areas, and errors that you might not notice otherwise? If so, then heatmaps should be at the top of your list to review.
Heatmaps show where users have been clicking while they're browsing your site. They also tell you which parts of the page get clicked more often than others. This information can help improve user experience and conversion rates by highlighting high-value opportunities for optimization.
So, let's discuss five benefits of using heatmaps for insights into your website visitors' behaviors!
Benefit #1: You can see how your visitors are navigating your site.
Heatmaps show you which parts of the page get clicked more often than others, so they're great for figuring out where people start to explore and what's engaging them most. It's actual data as opposed to our suppositions, so you know whatever improvements you make will be directly impacting your user experience.
You can highlight high-value opportunities for optimization, like rewording links to areas that people are not clicking on as often, to what may make more sense to them. You can also use heatmaps to measure the success of new content or design changes. This could be by signing up for an email newsletter or purchasing something from you store - anything that's valuable to you.
You'll be able to see how your visitors are using mobile vs desktop sites, since some people prefer one over the other.
Probably best of all, you can see if others are getting errors or not finding what you want them to find—so you can fix it.
Benefit #2: You can see if hero images or carousels work.
Hero images and carousels are often used on websites to highlight the most important information, like a product or service. They're not my favorite design feature, but they're still popular.
Heatmaps show you if more people click through those pages than other areas of your site which can help you decide whether they're worth keeping around, editing the content, or doing away with altogether. They also help determine what content is engaging enough for users to click on or if they keep scrolling.
Benefit #03: You can see how they use mobile vs desktop sites.
Mobile and desktop traffic can have different browsing patterns, so it's important to pay attention to how people are using your site in order to provide a better experience for the type of device they're on.
Many times when you see heatmaps, you'll notice that visitors are clicking more often on items like text links, images, and buttons on a mobile site. This could be because they're using their fingers to tap the screen instead of scrolling up/down with a mouse or trackpad.
Heatmaps also show you how visitors use desktop vs mobile sites which can help inform decisions about design and UX for users who visit through different platforms (like adding better navigation on a desktop site to make it easier for users who are browsing from their phone).
Benefit #04: You can see how users click on dead areas.
Dead space is the area of your page that's not being used (like blank white space or empty content) which might only be seen as wasted screen real estate.
Heatmaps show you which areas of your site visitors are clicking on the most, including dead space. You can then decide whether to remove those blank spaces or focus less attention on them by removing links from that area, for example. Dead space is still important because it's a good indicator of how people use certain parts of your website and might show you where people are getting stuck in menus or not being able to find the content they're looking for.
Benefit #05: You can see if visitors click on errors that you might have missed otherwise.
It's easy to miss things when you work on a website every day, which is why it's important to occasionally take a step back and look at the site from a visitor's perspective.
Heatmaps can show you if visitors are clicking on errors that might otherwise go unnoticed like broken links, missing page content, or not being able to submit form data, for example. These are high-value opportunities for optimization like fixing broken links, content errors, or form design (especially if the site is particularly large).
Heatmaps are a great way to get insight for how your users interact with the site and what they find most interesting. They can help you decide whether or not an ad is effective at grabbing user attention, which areas need more information so that visitors feel fulfilled in their shopping experience there, and if certain pages should be changed based on visitor feedback. Heat maps will give you insights as well into where people spend time looking around and clicking the mouse cursor - it's like someone has taken note of every single detail!
I'm happy to interpret your heatmap findings in a website audit. With other tools, you can optimize your site and make it even more successful than you'd imagine!
Designer, WordPress developer + writer for over 20 years. Love design, travel, good food and the Iowa Hawkeyes.