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Web Analytics & Optimization Tools You Shouldn’t be Without – Part 3

There is significant value in being able to determine how your site visitors are using your site. What are the keywords they’re searching on to get to your site? Where are the traffic sources that your visitors are getting to reach your site – are they coming from search engines, or referral traffic from non-search engine websites, or direct traffic from the address bar? It’s also very useful to know the download times of each web page or which pages are giving a 404 “not found” error, as these can reveal potential pain points on your website.

 

While Google Analytics set the trend for making website analytics accessible and easily available to anyone, other innovators have stepped in to make web metrics more visually intuitive.

 

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Crazy Egg has done a nice service for visualizing web analytics by displaying customer website behavior as a set of visualizations, known as heatmaps. The advantage of heatmaps over traditional graphs and charts should appear obvious once you see the layout. Based on the latest marketing research in eye-tracking technology, heatmaps provide a visual representation indicating where users click on your website and what they do there. Using colored coded highlights, a heatmap reports show where the majority of traffic resides, allowing you to make rapid changes to your site to increase conversion rates.

 

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Understanding how heatmaps work is fairly straightforward. The brighter the area of the website, the more clicks it’s receiving. The darker the area, the less popular it is. Once the heatmap visualization has been gathered, website administrators can begin to work with designers to review trends and patterns. Perhaps at first glance these heatmaps look like a bunch of digital smudges or random scattering of hotspots. Ideally, heatmaps should indicate concentrated areas around the call to action buttons. On the other hand, when the heatmaps show scattered or random patterns of user clicks then this indicates the users are confused about what action to take on the site.

 

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Crazy Egg provides additional analytics tools besides heatmaps. There is another feature that tracks web analytics through confetti-like visualizations.

 

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More Stories By Hovhannes Avoyan

Hovhannes Avoyan is the CEO of Monitis, Inc., a provider of on-demand systems management and monitoring software to 50,000 users spanning small businesses and Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to Monitis, he served as General Manager and Director of Development at prominent web portal Lycos Europe, where he grew the Lycos Armenia group from 30 people to over 200, making it the company's largest development center. Prior to Lycos, Avoyan was VP of Technology at Brience, Inc. (based in San Francisco and acquired by Syniverse), which delivered mobile internet content solutions to companies like Cisco, Ingram Micro, Washington Mutual, Wyndham Hotels , T-Mobile , and CNN. Prior to that, he served as the founder and CEO of CEDIT ltd., which was acquired by Brience. A 24 year veteran of the software industry, he also runs Sourcio cjsc, an IT consulting company and startup incubator specializing in web 2.0 products and open-source technologies.

Hovhannes is a senior lecturer at the American Univeristy of Armenia and has been a visiting lecturer at San Francisco State University. He is a graduate of Bertelsmann University.