Day 5: Let’s stalk your website visitors

We’ve seen how knowing your numbers with Google Analytics can help you keep track of your user experience through your funnel.

But actually, numbers only give you a part of the picture.

To truly understand how users behave on your website and make the right changes, you need to follow their journey from when they land, to the moment they leave. And thanks to technology, you can.

Many platforms like Hotjar, Lucky Orange, CrazyEgg, Fullstory, VWO, allow you to basically “stalk” your website visitors, to see exactly what they pay attention to, where they click on and how they consume your content.

Cross reference this type of visual data with GA numbers, and you have a surefire way for improving conversions.

We’ve been using Hotjar for all our projects but what you’ll learn here is applicable to any platform.

Hotjar allows you to track a few things on your site. Here’s what we’ll look at:
Heatmaps, which are divided in:

  • Click maps: showing you where users click
  • Movement/attention maps: showing you where users move with their cursor
  • Scroll maps: showing you how far down the page your visitors scroll

User session recordings: screen recordings of real users using your site.

So what kind of insights can you gather by using these tools? And how do you do that?

After you’ve installed Hotjar on your site, you’ll be able to create heatmaps for specific conversion pages. Here it’s a great idea to use Google Analytics to see which pages get the most traffic (Behavior – Site content – All pages) and create heatmaps for those.

Once you’re done with the setup and your pages received the required number of visits (2k, 10k etc. depending on your settings and subscription plan), you’ll be able to get in and look at the heatmaps.

1. What should you look for in a click map?

  1. Do you get clicks on elements that are not clickable? Chances are they look clickable, hence why people get confused. So:
    • Make those items clickable or add a link
    • Change your design to make it clear that the elements are not clickable
  2. What are the “top tasks” on the page? What links are the most clicked? This will give you an idea of what you should prioritize if needed, or what users need more information on that they cannot find on the current page.
    • What’s causing distraction? Do you see a ton of people clicking on something that they are not supposed to? See if you can find a way to make it less prominent.
    • Do you get a lot of clicks on the navigation menu and very few on the actual page content? Users might not be able to find what they are looking for on the current page. You should move information to this page and remove what people don’t care about.
    • Do certain items get a lot of clicks but they are further down the page? See if it can be helpful to move those up on the page.

2. What should you look for in a movement map?

  1. Is cursor activity spread all over the page with no specific focus areas? Create some attention points to make the page scannable (bullet lists, a summary, visual elements etc.)
  2. Is there dense mouse movement activity in certain areas?
    • If yes, it’s good if you want people to pay attention to that area
    • If not, change your design (it might be confusing), or rewrite your copy (maybe they don’t understand it or it’s too vague)
  3. Is there no activity at all in certain areas? Do these areas add to the understanding of your product or service? Or can you remove them? Be ruthless if needed.

3. What should you look for in a scroll map?

  1. Look for sudden changes in color. There can be a few reasons for this:
    • It’s not clear that there’s more info lower on the page (“false bottom”), hence people leave without scrolling.
    • Your content is either too much about you, too hard to read, or too vague.
    • Your main CTA is in the above the fold (visible section when people land on the page) and a lot of visitors click on it; in this case it’s logical that people leave your page to find out more (which is good!).
  2. Look for a big dark blue area signifying that very few people reached it. Ask yourself: why did almost everybody leave? Is it bad design, boring content, or too much info on the page? If your CTA is in that area, adapt your page or place your CTA higher on it.

4. What should you look for in user session recordings?

User recordings are super insightful, but can take away a lot of time. We recommend that you look at them only when you spot a specific problem (on Analytics and heatmaps first) that you want more information on. Here’s what you should look for:

  1. Clicking
    • Are people clicking on a link and using the back button right after? Either the page isn’t what they expected or the link copy was misleading.
    • Are people trying to click or tap on something but they miss because it’s too small, or that element is not clickable? Make it bigger or clickable if that helps.
  2. Mouse movement
    • Is their mouse moving between 2 points several times? They might not be sure what to choose or what’s the next step.
    • Do you see crazy mouse movements? They might be waiting for something loading in the background and getting impatient.
    • Are people highlighting or hovering over text? They might find it either important, unexpected or hard to understand.
  3. Page scrolling
    • Are they scrolling the page continuously up and down? They probably can’t find what they need. A website poll could help here (“Did you find what you were looking for? Yes, No – Please specify”)
    • Do people stop scrolling and suddenly leave? You might have a false bottom or the content might be boring/irrelevant.

There you go, you now have a checklist you can go through anytime you jump into Hotjar (or similar) to find issues and ideas for fixing them.

Your homework:

Install Hotjar (or similar) on your site and create the following:

  • Heatmaps for you main conversion pages (or at least the one you’ve picked as most important)
  • User session recordings

Then think about a specific problem you’re trying to understand (that you’ve found by looking at Google Analytics) and use heatmaps and recordings to dig deeper.