Most people enjoy the creative process of creating a blog, especially when it’s designed to help you generate more awareness for your products or services. However, while creative elements can impact user engagement levels, if you’re not learning from how your users navigate and use your content, you’ll inevitably see a decline in the overall traffic to your blog.
But how can you avoid complacency when analyzing and optimizing your blog, and what KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that you should you be tracking?
Well, while most people use Google Analytics as their primary source of performance tracking for their websites and blogs, there are other tools for web-traffic analysis that are much more visual and easy to use. Heatmaps are a great way to learn more about how your users are navigating your site while giving you valuable insights into how you can improve your engagement levels.
Here are a few examples of different mapping tools available and some practical tips on how you can use them to analyze and optimize your blog.
When you hear the word “heatmap”, you probably immediately think of real-time weather reports and infrared scanners used on construction products. But this same technology also exists in web applications to help visualize where higher concentrations of specific actions are taken.
Heatmaps use a warm-to-cool spectrum to color-code areas on your website that receive more or fewer interactions than others. Standard heatmaps are also knowns as “eye tracking” maps that track the location of your mouse pointer. By reviewing these hot and cold trends, you can get an impression on what aspects of your blog your users spend the most time interacting with and for how long.
Scrollmaps are useful tools for understanding how much time a user spends reviewing the content on any webpage or blog post. Scrollmaps work the same as heatmaps do in that they show warm and cold color spectrums based on levels of concentration. The main difference here, however, is that scrollmaps show you how far up and down a page your users are making it before they leave the page.
Scrollmaps can spot “dead areas” on your page that hardly ever get noticed. This is an important insight into how effective your CTA placement is. If you bury your CTA below content that a scrollmap shows you have little interaction, then it’s a good chance you need to re-prioritize how you’ve laid out your content.
Clickmaps are nothing more than a visual representation of click-through frequencies and locations on your blog. While most people already have this information available to them in their blog analytics software, a visual presentation of this information makes it much easier to digest.
UX (User Experience) design has become more critical in websites and blogs, and clickmaps help you recognize if buttons, dropdowns, navigation links, and other creative elements are getting the attention they deserve. While there is not a direct science to how your clickmap should look, you definitely want to see a balance across main sections of each page of content. If not, it may mean that your users are getting lost or redirecting from your pages too soon.
While most heatmap reports give you a more general visualization of how your users interact on your blog, confetti reporting gives you specific details about the users themselves. Confetti reports use different color variations that identify granular details about your users, including repeat visits, geographic locations, time of day, and the search terms they used to find the pages.
Confetti reporting can be a great tool to use when optimizing your content for a specific audience. By recognizing how certain demographics interact with sections of your blog, you can tweak layouts and your content to better cater to their preferences.
How to Get the Most Out of Visual Mapping
To get the most out of using heatmaps and clickmaps on your blog, it’s important to establish the short- and long-term goals you’re trying to achieve. With no attainable targets in place, it’s impossible to optimize the content of your blog for better conversion rates.
A/B testing is a great way to test the reactions of your audience as you incorporate changes to both content and creative elements on your site. By benchmarking your current heatmap layouts, you can test multiple strategies over time and how they change that layout for better or for worse.
Begin this approach by segmenting certain aspects of your blog and running analysis in stages. Focus on your main content blocks first, as this is typically where your users will spend most of their time. From there you can graduate to your sidebars, headers, and navigation windows.
Regardless of your approach, it’s important to continue benchmarking and not incorporating too many changes at once. This will ensure that you’re maximizing the amount of time your users stay on your site without confusing them with dynamic changes to navigation and overall blog structure.
Heatmapping is a great way to get more value out of your blog analysis and optimization efforts. By visualizing your traffic and how your users interact with your website or blog, you can make quick assumptions about what areas of your blog deserve your attention and how you can make changes to maximize your conversions.