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How To Use Hotjar Analytics For Improving Your Website

January 17, 2023
By John Hawley
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Have you ever wondered how visitors interact with your website? 

Don’t rely on guesswork. There are tools that will provide you with insight into user behavior when visiting your site. Enter Hotjar — a powerful customer experience software that will allow you to do just that.

Hotjar is software for your website using customer experience analytics (also known shorthand as CX analytics) that allows you to visually see and measure how visitors behave when visiting your website — like what they’re seeing and what they’re clicking on. And so much more.

Why does that matter? Well, depending on the scale of your business and its traffic on the web, you could see anywhere from a hundred to thousands of people accessing your website in a day. All without you knowing who they are when they visited, or what they did. So if something on your website isn’t working well with your customers… how would you know?

Despite this, many businesses treat their website as a “one-and-done” project and miss out on opportunities to discover potential user pain points with their site. Your business may miss out on many leads by failing to improve your customer experience on your site.

That’s why the difference between a good website and a high-converting website is simple. A high-converting website has been constantly optimized over time. Just like professional boxers need to work on their fitness and technique to improve constantly, a high-converting website needs to be optimized regularly to get the best ROI possible. And the key to optimizing your website is using customer experience tools like Hotjar in order to understand how your customers use it.

Don't rely on guesswork. There are tools that will provide you with insight into user behavior when visiting your site. Enter Hotjar — a powerful customer experience software that will allow you to do just that.

What does Hotjar analytics do?

While web analytics like Google Analytics are critical in helping you measure big-picture results, customer experience tools like Hotjar allow you to visualize user behavior and actually see things from the user’s perspective — quite literally!

Using Hotjar tools like heatmaps and session recordings, we can validate design changes on our websites with concrete evidence across all devices from desktops to smartphones. These insights provide businesses with the confidence to make changes that will have a meaningful impact on their website and remove any guesswork from the equation.

With heatmaps and session recordings, we gain access to unique insights like:

  • Where are they clicking on your website? 
  • How are they moving through your website?
  • Are they seeing important information? What information is being ignored?
  • When and where are they losing interest?
  • Are there areas that cause frustration? Is the current user experience working well?

Let’s look at how these Hotjar tools help us improve our websites.

Heatmaps

One of the main ways we can visualize user behavior on a website is by using Hotjar heatmaps. 

Heatmaps are the graphical representation of the aggregate of user activity recorded on your website over some time.

Think of it like having thermal vision goggles on your website for customer experience. If you aren’t familiar with thermal imaging, the colors represent how “hot” or “cold” certain parts of your page are. The hotter colors indicate more activity, whereas the coolers indicate less.

Tools like Hotjar heatmaps are crucial in understanding what your users are interacting with

As such, you’ll be able to know which areas users are spending their time on a page — and sometimes, more importantly, where areas they aren’t. The aim is to get users where you want them to go and create a conversion. 

We use three types of Hotjar heatmaps to analyze user behavior: Scroll Maps, Click Maps, and Move Maps. Each offers a different type of insight into a website’s performance. And when used in conjunction, they become invaluable to determining how users behave with the pages on your website.

Scroll Maps

Don't rely on guesswork. There are tools that will provide you with insight into user behavior when visiting your site. Enter Hotjar — a powerful customer experience software that will allow you to do just that.

Scroll maps show a cascade of colors that represent the average of how far down the page your users are scrolling. The colors range from hotter (most viewed) areas to colder (least viewed). 

It’s also important to note that this does not include direct interactions with your website (such as clicking or hovering over elements on your page). A section can be highly viewed but hard to determine physical engagements without the other two maps. It’s essential to use these tools in conjunction with one another.

You can draw many conclusions based on the gradient of colors on a scroll map. For example, a sharp change from one color to another can indicate users think that there’s nothing left on the page (also called a False Bottom). 

This can also help you make important determinations about what content should be placed higher on the page. In a majority of cases, the higher something is on your page, the more likely it is to be viewed, and the lower something is, the less likely. As such, you want to ensure the most important content is placed as high as possible so more people will see them. First impressions happen within seconds of someone landing on your page. 

For this reason, placing valuable information higher up, like social proof (reviews of your business, testimonials, etc.) or a summary of your product or service, is advised. 

Pro tip: You should not automatically assume a page is performing well if a large number of people are scrolling to the bottom. In some cases, this can indicate that users cannot find what they’re looking for. People browse most business websites with a specific objective, so it’s always important to cross-reference scroll maps with session recordings to ensure people find what they need quickly.

Click Maps

Don't rely on guesswork. There are tools that will provide you with insight into user behavior when visiting your site. Enter Hotjar — a powerful customer experience software that will allow you to do just that.

Click maps are — you guessed it — an aggregate of all clicks recorded on a page. It shows exactly where and how many times users are clicking. Click maps are invaluable for tracking what users are engaging with on your site (be it buttons, images, or hyperlinks). As such, they’re convenient for helping us make inferences about how to optimize CTAs or other relevant information that’s important for the user to access.

They’re also convenient for showing us what users are not doing. As you can guess, any area of the map that has no color whatsoever has not been interacted with. Keep in mind; this doesn’t mean people aren’t using it. For example, it’s not very common for text to be clicked on (thus a colder rating), but this doesn’t mean people aren’t reading it.

But if you notice important links or buttons aren’t being interacted with, you know immediately that something needs to be changed.

Pro tip: Sometimes, a lot of clicks on something is not a good thing — remember, context matters! For example, users can be Rage Clicking — this means that they are becoming frustrated and repeatedly clicking on something that is unresponsive or isn’t behaving the way they believe it should. It’s always helpful to reference session recordings in order to single out these instances.

If the button is unresponsive it means something needs to be fixed. Every customer experience within your site is important. 

Move Maps

Don't rely on guesswork. There are tools that will provide you with insight into user behavior when visiting your site. Enter Hotjar — a powerful customer experience software that will allow you to do just that.

Move maps may look a bit similar to click maps, but they function entirely differently.  In the example above, you’ll notice that the main areas users click on and move their cursor line have a similar “temperature.”

Instead of clicking, move maps are the recorded places of your user’s mouse movements. So, why is this an important distinction to make? This is because there is some correlation between the location of the user’s attention and where the mouse is pointing. As such, you can make inferences about where users may be looking based on move maps. 

Pro Tip: While move maps have their uses, there is no pixel-perfect correlation between where a user’s mouse moves and where they are specifically looking. Be sure to draw conclusions based on the vicinity of where the mouse is pointing rather than the exact location. Additionally, this data is only relevant for desktop use cases, as mobile devices do not use a mouse cursor.

Session Recordings

Session recordings (or session replays) operate how you’d expect. Session recordings are a recreation using the mouse and keyboard actions taken on your site by real anonymous users.

A short snippet of a session recording using Hotjar.

While heatmaps are more useful for understanding user actions, session recordings provide a granular view of those actions step by step.

It’s the closest thing you can get to observing how people navigate your website in person. And in some ways, it can be more valuable — since there is no user bias of knowing they are being scrutinized. Instead, you get a neutral, unbiased view of a real user navigating your website. On the flip side, you are not able to give them directives and receive feedback live. Regardless, it’s important to take note of trends in user behavior like

  • How long they are taking to complete a task
  • Which pages do they navigate to, and what page did they stop using your site on
  • Erratic user activity (wild scrolling or clicking… remember Rage Clicking from earlier?)
  • Broken or unresponsive functionality
  • What elements do they use — or don’t use — on the pages they visit?

Small fixes using behavior analytics can lead to huge wins

Using behavior analytics tools gives businesses access to information that is invaluable in understanding their user’s needs and pain points. And sometimes, simple tweaks can be hugely beneficial.

Check this out — a quick lesson in some Hotjar magic!

Using Hotjar’s heatmap tools, Taskworld boosted their conversion rate by a whopping 40% with a 5-minute fix on their landing page’s sign-up form.

Don't rely on guesswork. There are tools that will provide you with insight into user behavior when visiting your site. Enter Hotjar — a powerful customer experience software that will allow you to do just that.
Can you spot the issues Taskworld had with their sign-up form?

From this heatmap, they inferred two issues based on user behavior. 

Problem #1:

Form engagement dropped off after the first field, and the fifth field wasn’t even being used.

Problem #2:

People used the “Sign In” button below the form more than the main “Sign Up” CTA.

The 5-minute fix:  

Taskworld simplified their form from five to just ONE field entry — email address. Next, they removed the “Sign In” button from the bottom of their form.

Boom. It improved like magic.

Don't rely on guesswork. There are tools that will provide you with insight into user behavior when visiting your site. Enter Hotjar — a powerful customer experience software that will allow you to do just that.

Taking those observations from their Hotjar analytics and making an informed decision boosted conversions by a whopping 40%. We think that’s pretty slick for just 5 minutes.

Start making decisions with real user data

Rome wasn’t built in a day — and neither is a successful website or digital advertising campaign. Even if they are already looking sharp, there’s always room for improvement, and as we just found out, sometimes seemingly small optimizations to your customer experience can result in massive gains.

And best of all, there’s no guesswork. You can objectively compare the performance of a page between different versions before and after, or even make use of A/B testing multiple versions at the same time to test multiple hypotheses at once.

If your business needs to take that next step and begin using and implementing Hotjar analytics in order to improve your website or digital advertising campaign, the team at Mighty Fine is just a call (or a form) away.

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