Google Analytics is a great tool for analyzing visitor entry and exit points, demographical data, and other visitor information. One area it falls short though is in determining visitor behavior and intent. For instance, Google Analytics can show you that a user went from the "Home" page to the "About Us" page, but does not show *how* that user got there. Did they click the link in the primary navigation? Did they click on the link in the footer? Did they get to the "About Us" page in some other way, for instance through a call to action? This type of information helps you analyze the usability of your site, and can provide you with good insights into your users behavior. So how do you go about getting access to this information? Through the use of heat maps.
A heat map is a visual representation of where a user clicks on a webpage. The easiest way to explain what a heat map is, is by showing you an example:
In the above image, the brighter areas represent more clicks, whereas the darker colors indicate less click activity. The great thing about heat maps is they allow you to see where your visitors ARE clicking, and where they are NOT. This in turn can allow you to adjust your site in a way to encourage more conversions.
Using a heat mapping service is a great way to gather intelligence prior to a redesign, but even if a redesign isn't in the near future you can still reap benefits from heat maps. Regular site optimizations and usability studies should make up an active part of your post-launch site maintenance plan. Heat mapping makes that process effective both in terms of cost and results.
Heat mapping is something we have done for our clients with great success. If you are interested in having us perform a heat map of your website, contact us and we'll be happy to provide you with a variety of options.