A heat map (written as “heatmap”), is a visual representation of the recorded clicks of the visible area of a web page. In other words, a heatmap highlights the regions of a website which gets the maximum number of clicks.
Heatmaps tell you where your users are clicking
What Good does a Heatmap do?
- Heatmaps are extremely beneficial in your content marketing strategy. They help you determine the areas of your webpage which get the maximum number of clicks.
- The number of clicks is arguably, a direct measure of the user’s attention. Thus, heatmaps show you the areas of your website where your users are actually paying attention.
- The areas with higher number of clicks are highlighted in red, and the ones with lower number of clicks are highlighted in yellow, followed by green and blue – similar to the actual heat (infrared) spectrum.
How does a Heatmap work?
Now, for websites with a large number of users, running a heatmap on the same server where WordPress is installed, calls for significantly higher resources. This could lead to an undue pressure on the server, which results in degraded performance. Ultimately you’ll have a slow site – and no one wants that.
For this very reason, we have heatmap tracking services. They do the same job, but offload the computing job from your server. Each service has some basic tracking, while some track higher number of parameters – such as the number of touches for mobile devices, etc.
The data is recorded in the service’s database – and not on your server. This takes the load off your server. Finally, the data is aggregated and displayed to your from the service’s user administration dashboard. Ideally, you’re supposed to use an external heatmap tracking service as the results will be more reliable and accurate. In today’s post, we’re going to take a look at some of the best heatmap plugins and services for WordPress.
If you’re starting out with content analytics, I suggest you utilize the trial period of the service first – get to know the ins and outs, and then move on to the paid subscription.
Mouseflow puts a lot of emphasis on playback and records all mouse movements – including clicks, scroll events, key strokes and form interaction. Mouseflow can even record your visitors’ keystrokes when filling up forms. It has separate options for e-commerce tracking and a nifty WordPress plugin. Plans start at $10/month and they also have a small, forever free plan.
userTrack is a self-hosted analytics plugin that records what visitors are doing on your site (page visits, mouse movements, clicks, scroll, etc.) and automatically generates heatmaps and playable records that you can view and analyze in order to understand user behavior. With userTrack you also get access to stats about your visitors like browser used, length of visit, user location, pages visited. More than that you can see the number of visitors currently browsing your site in real-time plus some cool extra stats.
userTrack is most useful when used to track visitors on newly created sites that are still being updated. By analyzing the data that userTrack provides you can take meaningful design-changing decisions that will lead to higher conversion rates and lower bounce rates.
Another cool feature is the tagging system. Easily create triggers for customs actions. Such as “if this user clicks the buy button add the [converted] tag next to his session.” Meaning that you see at a glance which of your visitors did a specific action on your site. You can also filter the user recordings based on tags, so if you want you can only watch recordings of users that hovered over the buy button but didn’t click it.
The WordPress plugin version of userTrack includes all features from the stand-alone version plus the ability to choose which pages from your site automatically enable tracking. Being self-hosted you don’t have to pay any monthly fee for using userTrack. Feel free to use it as much as you want or as much as your server can handle. The plugin does use a smart data batching system when sending so it shouldn’t alter the performance of your website.
userTrack also supports multiple domains. You can install userTrack on a single server/WordPress site and track as many domains as you want by simply including a tracker.js script on the pages you want to record. Doing this you can now have a panel where you can, for example, see at once how many visitors are online on each of your websites.
Developed by Hiten Shah and Neil Patel, Crazyegg is a great tool for tracking mouse clicks on you webpage.
- Click data heatmap
- Scroll-map tracking
- Overlay for number of clicks on specific elements
- Ability to distinguish clicks based on referral sources (organic, direct traffic, etc.)
- Track multiple domains within one account
Crazyegg claims to have up to 88% tracking accuracy when compared to other eye-tracking tests. They also have a free WordPress plugin for easy integration in your blog. All plans are free for 30 days, and pricing starts from $9/month.
Clicky is one of the major players amongst the heatmap analytics service providers with over 695,000 active subscribers. Clicky collects heatmap data on a per-page basis as well as for individual user sessions.
Other features include:
- Goal monitoring with alters for specific user activities
- API for enabling video tracking using a third party service
- Advanced bounce rate calculation (check out this post on how to reduce your WordPress site’s bounce rate)
Plans start at $14.99/month for the Pro Plus plan along with a trial account of 21 days free with full access to all features. Of course there’s a free Clicky WordPress plugin to quickly integrate the service with your website.
SessionCam helps you track the actions of a user on your site, including where they moved their mouse cursor, which forms they filled in (even if they didn’t submit them), and any errors they generated.
It has an interesting feature called Session Replay, using which you can select a user from the tracking reports and watch a playback of their journey on your site. It also has a WordPress plugin.
The best part – SessionCam offers a free plan consisting of all its features and records up to 500 pages every month. Signup doesn’t require a credit card as well. It’s a great option for new websites.
Clicktale is an enterprise-level mouse-tracking software, used by bigger brands with features like session playback, data-rich heatmaps, conversion funnels and form analytics. Clicktale offers a range of products including:
- Mouse Tracking Suite
- Heatmap Suite
- Conversion Suite
- ClickTale Touch
It has a free plan which can serve up to 400 page views per month. On the downside, you’ll need to ask for a price quote for higher plans. On the bright side, you can use Clicktale as an excellent tool to monitor user interaction for your new product or blog. However, you’ll have to upgrade once you reach the 400 page view limit.
This is a relatively new service with the standard set of features such as:
- Real-time analytics
- Asynchronous loading – this does not affect your site’s loading time.
However, unlike certain services, you won’t be able to individually track a user. All generated heatmaps are anonymous, thereby safeguarding your visitors’ privacy. Plans start at $100 a month, with a free one month subscription which includes 1 million page views, one website and tracking up to 5 pages.
Ptengine is a feature-packed web analytics and heatmap software with 8 discrete tracking components. It’s heatmap component supports 6 features:
- Multi Device Monitoring
- Click Heatmap
- Attention Heatmap
- Page Analysis
- Scroll Reach Map
- Heatmaps Comparison & Segments
Apart from heatmaps, Ptengine offers:
- Event monitoring
- Group Analytics
- Campaign monitoring
- Conversion tracking
- Realtime analytics
- Multiple device and multiple domain monitoring
- Powerful filtering
There is a free plan which tracks 20,000 pageviews per month across 1 domain, Plans start at $39/mo tracking 50,000 pageviews across 20 domains. It also has a nifty WordPress plugin for easy integration.
9. Heat Maps by SumoMe
Founded by Noah Kagan, SumoMe is one of the few start-ups that provide awesome free marketing tools (yes, that’s a plural) – that actually work. The Heat Map tool works on all websites and seamlessly integrates with WordPress with its free all-rounder plugin. The plugin features the entire suite of SumoMe products which can take your content marketing to the next level.
The free version of the plugin supports heatmap, click tracking, download monitor and live visit statistics. However, the developer does not provide support for the free version of the plugin. The paid version has a few interesting features, however, its severe limiting factor is the fact that it relies on your site’s database to store the collected data.
Regardless of how well optimized the storage mechanism is, your database will eventually get bloated. I would suggest using this plugin, if at all, for experimentation only.
11. Heatmaps and Analytics
This plugin integrates the SeeVolution tracking code in all your site’s pages. The actual tracking is done by the service itself.
- Click heatmaps
- Mouse movement heatmaps
- Scroll heatmaps
- Real-time analytics
Plans start at $29/month, on an annual subscription, supports 300 monthly visits, generates 4 types of heatmaps and retains visitor records for 30 days.
The Inspectlet plugin integrates Inspectlet Analytics to your WordPress site. The service tracks mouse movement, scrolling, clicks, and typed information in your site. The three main offerings of Inspectlet Analytics include – Session Recording, Heatmaps and Form Analytics.
It’s trusted by over 25,000 high profile companies including the New York Times, WordPress, Cisco, eBay and SalesForece. They have a free plan that records 100 sessions for a single website. Paid plans start from $39/month with 5000 session records for a single website.
13. Lucky Orange
Yet another heatmap analytics service – Lucky Orange provides live visitor monitoring and recording, heatmaps, poll monitoring, form analytics and sales/support chat. Lucky Orange sports a unique feature where you’ll be able to select a particular visitor to chat with from the admin dashboard.
Its WordPress plugin quickly integrates the service in your WordPress site. Plans start at $10/month and supports three websites with a combined total of 50,000 monthly page views. The recoded heatmap data is kept for 30 days. You also get a 7 day trial period with no credit card required during signup.
More Heatmap Plugins
The plugins listed below haven’t been updated to the latest version of WordPress, so it’s best to steer clear of them. Yet I’m listing them in the hope that one day they’ll be updated.
14. Clickheat: Clickheat is an open-source alternative, developed by Labs Media, that allows you to create a heatmap from mouse clicks on your site. If you’re a developer, you can quickly integrate the service in your WordPress site with a few lines of code.
15. Heatmap Tracker: This is a very basic plugin with tracks your visitors’ mouse clicks.
16. Hotspot Analytics: This plugin supports heatmaps, user activity and custom event tracking.
Heatmap analytics is one of those “must-know” things for every content marketer and aspiring entrepreneurs. Put simply, it helps you know your customer better. Just like keyword research – where you put yourself in the shoes of your customer, heatmap analytics give you the actual hard evidence as to where your customer are clicking.
With this new information, you can optimize your landing pages, increase your conversions and ultimately build a better experience for your visitors. Do you know of a cool heatmap analytics service we haven’t listed here? Let us know!