I’ve been using Crazy Egg — a tool for tracking where your visitors click on a page — for a couple of weeks now, and I am very impressed by it.
Crazy Egg has a different take on web analytics in that it doesn’t try to track all the traffic to your site. Instead it enables you to easily run tests on individual pages to see what effects changes to the page have.
What’s particularly impressive is how easy it is to create and run a test and then to interpret the results.
Anyone who’s struggled with setting up goals in Google Analytics will find Crazy Egg a breath of fresh air as far as usability is concerned.
The results of your test are presented in three ways:
- An overlay that shows the number of clicks for each link
- A data table (note to Crazy Egg: please can you make this printable)
- A heatmap overlay
I’ve mostly been using the click popularity overlay for a test I’ve been running on my home page. What’s great is how easy it is to see what’s working and what isn’t on my page.
Below are a few examples of what I found out. The lighter the color of the click icon (the ‘hotter’ it is), the more popular the link. Dark blue is very unpopular; red is very popular.
Categories get clicked on more than you think
I was truly surprised by the number of clicks my category archives received.
As a result of seeing this, I went back and improved the layout and readability of my category archives.
Not surprisingly for a web design blog, my most popular categories are ‘CSS’ and ‘Web Design’. Also not surprising is that ‘Real Life’ got no clicks at all — clearly, I have very focused visitors.
‘Useful Things’ actually has a lot of useful posts about web-related tools and resources. However, it didn’t get many clicks relative to other categories.
Obviously, it is poorly labelled. I will change it to something like ‘Webmaster Resources’ or ‘Tools & Resources’ and see what effect that has.
Popular posts are … well … popular
I added the three columns of links at the bottom of the page (to recent entries, popular posts and recommended reading) a number of months back.
It appears to have been a good idea as most of the links receive a good number of clicks.
However, having a list of popular posts has proved the most beneficial as it has generated considerable traffic to these old entries.
The links at the top receive the most clicks (green is more popular than blue), but I can’t say for sure whether it’s because they’re more prominent or are just the most interesting posts for my audience.
I suspect the former, and if I wanted to see for sure, it would be easy to move these links down the list and then run a new test to see the effect this had.
Controversial titles generate interest
Obviously, this is not the best web design commercial ever (even though it is pretty damn funny).
However, this ‘outlandish’ title has certainly generated a lot more interest to this post than to other more conventionally titled entries.
People use search more than you expect
I always thought that the only person using search on my blog was me, to find old entries.
Clearly, this is not the case. Great, nothing to change there, except to make sure that my search results are as user-friendly as possible.
However, if you don’t have search on your blog, you might want to reconsider.
Links in the footer get no love
None of my footer links get many clicks (well, duh).
So, if I really want to encourage people to subscribe to my posts by email, I should move this link to a more prominent position such as up by my RSS feed icon.
Again, this would be easy to do and then to test to see if it worked or not.
Even web designers click on the logo on the home page
My first instinct was to think, come on people — where do you think clicking on the logo on the home page is going to take you?
My second thought was, well, that badge is not really a logo.
With such a cryptic message as ‘only one careful owner’ perhaps it’s not surprising that people would click on it to see if it took you anywhere interesting.
This is where the heatmap overlay proved useful. In actual fact, the whole of my masthead is clickable.
It was only by looking at the heatmap that I could see that clicks were fairly evenly distributed across the masthead.
It doesn’t clear up why people were clicking on it in the first place, but it does tell me that they are not clicking on the logo in particular for any reason.
More on the heatmap
Crazy Egg’s heatmap overlay is very nicely implemented, even if I can generally get the information I needfrom the click popularity overlay.
However, when it comes to seeing where people clicked on large graphical links — say, a banner ad — I can see where it would be invaluable.
Indeed, at first I thought it must be a gimmick — how can you tell where someone clicked on a link? Thanks to Matt Johnson for setting me straight.
Despite all the other great web analytics tools that are available, Crazy Egg has made an impressive entrance to the market.
It brings a refreshing simplicity and ease-of-use to running web page tests which I highly recommend trying out for yourself.