Finding out what users REALLY do…

We’ve had endless debates internally about what customers want to do with our site and what works or doesn’t work with the layout of the pages. We have tried things that work in traditional marketing such as focus groups, surveys, analytics, etc. Unfortunately, what people tell you they WANT to do doesn’t always translate into what users REALLY do when they are on a site.

One of our eminent advisory board members (thanks Wendy) spoke to us several months ago about the importance of tools such as heat maps to see what goes on with the site. We finally found a great tool that is beginning to expose real issues and opportunities in building a site that users will really Heat Mapuse.

CrazyEgg (www.crazyegg.com) is a great tool that allows web site managers to visualize what users do when they visit your site. Heat maps tell you by color where clicks happen. Here is an example – this is a landing page for Antiques. What you’ll notice is that there is a tremendous amount of clicks on the search box and go button on the right, on The Gallery and My Home on the left, and nothing on the orange Take the Quick Tour button in the prime location in the middle! Obviously this is a page that we are going to redesign!

Another great feature is called Confetti – which gives you detail by click about what users do. They show things like time to click, operating system, browser type, search term, and other important facts about user behavior and profiles.

The best thing about CrazyEgg is the cost and the ease in implementing the tool. CrazyEgg starts at FREE and is priced based on need up to $49/mo. We are using one of the lower pricing tiers at iTaggit and it’s working great for us. The best part is that we can ramp up our pages and tests as we need to on demand.

Implementing the tool is easy. It’s a line of code on the page that needs to be watched. It took us an hour to implement the tool and immediately started to see results.Confetti

I’m not in the habit of trying to push someone else’s product, but this one is a great tool for any web marketer’s arsenal. Let me know if you find this tool useful. I’d also like to know if tips on tools like this is worthwhile too.

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