I found Crazy Egg years ago. At first I thought “heatmaps… how exciting [/yawn]” – UNTIL I first tried it out and realized that if I 1. used Crazy Egg 2. paid attention and 3. made “smart” changes based on the FACTS it delivered to me, I could make MORE money off the SAME amount of traffic.
About the Crazy Egg Service
Before I get to how I use it to increase revenue, let me first explain what Crazy Egg is (and it is MUCH more than a “heatmap” service). After you sign up for the service, you tell Crazy Egg which page you want to track, set the parameters and insert the code they give you into the footer of the page you're tracking. (If you're using Thesis, do NOT put it in the tracking codes section in “Site Options” as it will put the code on EVERY page on the site – use these functions to add it where it needs to go instead.)
After about 24 hours, you'll be able to start viewing the click data on your site. However, I'd wait until you have a substantial amount of visits before drawing any conclusions (I typically won't even begin to look at the data until I've had between 5,000 and 10,000 visits to the page). Once you have enough data, Crazy Egg will show you the following data…
“The heatmap is a visualization of where your visitors are clicking. The brighter the area, the more popular it is. The darker the area, the less popular it is. As a specific area of your site gets more clicks, its color on the heatmap will change.”
I like the heatmap function, but it's more of an “at a glance” feature. It basically just shows you the “hotspots” on your page, but with no data behind them. It also will ONLY show you the things being clicked that can actually BE clicked. Meaning if a user clicks on an image that is not linked to anything, you won't see that in the heatmap, but you will in the other sections.
However, the cool part is that you can see two snapshots (what they call the results) side by side to compare two different landing pages or designs. I showed you the comparison between the two Sugarrae homepage designs below, but KEEP IN MIND the old version on the right has five times the number of visits as the one on the left, so it shows more clicks.
This makes comparing two landing page designs, calls to actions or whatever else pretty easy, once they both have the same amount of visitors to make it an even comparison. But until you have that even comparison, you'd be better off looking at “percentage of clicks” which is not available in the heatmap section.
“The scrollmap is based on the amount of time that is spent viewing each section of the page. The brightest areas have been viewed for the longest period of time, and the darker areas have been viewed for the least amount of time. There is a legend at the bottom which shows what percentages the different colors represent.”
This is a pretty cool feature because you know where to put the emphasis on your calls to action. Basically, it puts a color sheen over the page to show you the parts of the page that people spend the most time looking at – in theory – because they're spent the longest amount of time visible in the browser screen. The lighter the color (it goes from dark blue to almost white) the more that section of the site is seen.
On the new Sugarrae site, the whitest section is the area where my subscribe box and latest posts are – which is where I want the focus to be. My scrollmap also tells me that as soon as people find my blog categories, the content below it gets very little action.
Since all my social buttons are down there (on the homepage anyway) you may see me experiment with adding them in an additional location to test if it increases their reach. It doesn't matter what the call to action is – if 50% of users never see it because they don't scroll to the section of the site where the CTA resides, you're going to get shitty conversions on that specific CTA.
You can also side by side compare two snapshots in the scrollmap section like you can in the heatmap section.
“The confetti report pinpoints exactly where a person clicks. The dots are color coded to show you more info about the visitor. The default view is Referrer, click on the drop down to change to different views such as Search Term, Search Engine, Browser, ect.”
This section is awesome because you can tell which referrers spark clicks in which sections of your site. For instance, people coming from the search engines may be more likely to click on one section while people coming from an internal page might be more likely to click on another.
In the picture above, the Confetti data is limited to only show me clicks that were generated by people who visited my site as a result of clicking a link to me from the DIY Themes website (the creator of Thesis). And unlike the heatmap section, I can see everything that users clicked on, whether it is a link or not (I'm always amazed at how many people click the little boxes between the “sexy eyes” chick and the PushFire CTA).
Clicking the dropdown on the box at the top left gives you a TON more options. You can view clicks by search engines, referral keywords from the engines, returning visitors, a day of the week, a time of day and a ton more.
I love using this to gauge what sites I guest post on or column at bring me the KIND of clicks I want. If I guest post on a site, and it sends me tons of traffic – I'll compare it to the confetti view to make sure that traffic is clicking (and on what I want them to) and not simply viewing. It helps me know which outside content marketing I do works in regards to more than simply generating traffic.
“The overlay will show the specific number of clicks that each link receives.
The plus sign markers are color coded from blues indicating the least clicks to reds indicating the most clicks. Clicking on the plus markers will expand open more info about the clicks on that specific link. Use the gear icon (to the left of the heatmap) to see more functions of the markers.”
The Overlay view is my personal favorite. This section allows you to click on any links being clicked and get detailed information. The number of clicks to each link – which I hid in the screenshot below, sorry, gotta keep some things to myself ;) – and the percentage of overall clicks each link receives.
Clicking the “more” at the top right of each box allows you to see detailed data. For instance, if I click the “more” tab on my “About” page link and change the topic to “referrer” I can see the referring sites that generated what portion of those clicks in detail. It has a ton of options for you to breakdown the clicks by. You can also toggle to see clicks on live links, non live links (meaning people clicked something non clickable) or both.
“The list report makes it very easy to see all the elements that got clicks. The element name and type are taken directly from the code of your page, so you can easily identify the items.”
The list view is simply that – a list of the links (or non links if you'd like) clicked on and the anchor they have. It makes it easy to see what the most popular items are without having to scroll.
However, if you repeat anchor text, there's no way to know WHICH of the links is getting the clicks. I.e. if you use the “more” function in WordPress, you'll see a lot of “read more” in the list view, but you have no way to determine which “read more” received the most clicks.
The pricing plans are pretty self explanatory. An individual blogger will do fine with the basic plan – but it is billed ANNUALLY, so you can't sign up for a month, test and then cancel the service.
Note that Crazy Egg takes the “picture” of the page you're tracking when you launch the test. So, if you're posting frequently, the data is going to be “off” for the individual posts. As the posts move, the data isn't “connected” to the post itself – only the SPOT the posts are in during the test.
For instance, when I started the test on the new Sugarrae design, it was the day we launched, so the snapshot shows the “Announcing PushFire” post as being the most clicked. What is ACTUALLY the most clicked is the top blog post in that column, which has changed throughout the test. So, remember that the clicks are based on the SPOT any moving elements are in and not on which specific element it is.
How I Use Crazy Egg To Increase Revenue
Finding What “Should” Be Clickable
I own a ton of review sites. They all have legit content and legit reviews and a legit following. But by utilizing Crazy Egg, we were able to increase site revenue by 9% across the board by making one simple change to our standard layout.
We implemented the Crazy Egg service to track several pages and what we found was that a good portion of visitors were consistently clicking on an image that was in the general layout of each page that was NOT CLICKABLE. But visitors were trying to click this image consistently. Every review site I own features both companies we affiliate for and companies we don't. So, on pages where we have affiliate relationships, we made the image clickable to the merchant with an SID code to track sales increases (if any). On pages where we didn't have affiliate relationships, we didn't make the image clickable.
What we found by tracking the SID code was that the newly clickable image generated sales. Now, it could be argued that the visitors may have eventually clicked another link once they were unable to click the image, but the overall increase in sales on the same traffic was undeniable. Internally, we never thought to make that image clickable. Crazy Egg showed us our users WANTED it to be clickable.
Finding Which Standard Pages Should Have Time Spent On Them
Most sites have the “standard” pages – “About” “Blog” – think your top (or most visible) navigation. For instance, on the old Sugarrae blog layout (the blog was the homepage, unlike now where there is a static homepage), 3.8% of the clicks from the homepage were to the “About” page. 2.6% of the clicks were to my “SEO Consulting” page. So of the 100+ possible links people could click to on the (then) homepage, over 6% of them went to those two pages. That means that they're pages that deserve some love in regards to content, updating, etc. And over 55% of the people clicking on both of those pages were new visitors – meaning those pages needed to make an impression.
When I put more effort and a redesign into those two pages (prior to the newest redesign), I saw not only an increase in consulting leads, but I also saw an increase in overall sales – I think it was because the revamped “About” page made people feel comfortable about other recommendations they found on the site. Additionally, newsletter subscribers overall saw an increase.
Figuring Out Which Ads Are Working – And Which Aren't
I have one site that is totally niche – meaning it has a different layout then any other site that I own. It also does lead generation versus CPS, which is my typical style. On the top of the right sidebar, there were three offers. Only two of the three were above the fold on most resolutions at the time. What we found was that the TOP offer received the LEAST amount of clicks. Even though it was the first offer visitors saw, they simply weren't interested. The offer BELOW the fold actually received the MOST clicks. So we moved the third offer to the top slot. Then we changed the old first offer completely, placed it in the second slot and moved the old second slot offer to the third slot.
What we found was that the old third offer (which was now the new first ad) suddenly received 80% more clicks (and obviously generated significantly more leads) than it did prior to the move. That was the offer that people found interesting. That was the offer they wanted. And Crazy Egg let us know.
Finding Out The Positive (Or Negative) Impact Of New Site Designs
If you're a long time reader of Sugarrae, then you know I recently switched designs (I still use and love the Thesis Theme – I just gave it a new skin and layout). I had Crazy Egg running on the old design for a long time and also have been running it on the new design since its launch.
Remember how I said on my old site that 3.8% of the clicks from the homepage were to the “About” page and 2.6% of the clicks were to my “SEO Consulting” page? And that it increased not only consulting leads but also affiliate sales (which I think were from people feeling comfortable?)… well, on the new homepage, a whopping 11.7% of the clicks from the homepage are to my “About” page while the clicks to my “SEO Consulting” page (which now goes to PushFire) increased to 4%.
Meanwhile, the links in the PushFire ad at the top sends an additional combined 5.1% of clicks TO PushFire… which means the overall clicks to my consulting services from the homepage is now 9.1%. WOW. And the number of leads? Follow suit to the CTR increase.
So 20% of my overall homepage traffic either goes to a page that tells people why I'm not full of shit or goes to a site that tells people about my consulting services.
Finding Out What CONTENT People Want
Keeping with the Sugarrae redesign for a moment… when I redesigned the site, I added a category called “Thesis Tutorials” to properly categorize all my Thesis Theme tutorials which had up until then been categorized as “Blogging Advice“. The Thesis Tutorials Category is the second most clicked category on my new homepage (at 3.6% with 60.5% of those being new visitors) and the MOST clicked category on my new “All Blog Posts” page (with 3.2% of the clicks with 83.3% of them being RETURNING visitors). That says to me that people who visit Sugarrae? Want more Thesis content.
Additionally, I've always been worried about the number of reviews that I post here in the “Reviews” category. I've tried to keep the ratio 5:1 – meaning 5 posts that have nothing to do with reviews for every 1 post I do that is a review.
According to CrazyEgg, the “Reviews” category is the third most visited from the homepage of my site, garnering 3.9% of the visitors to my homepage with 65.1% of them being NEW visitors. Now, I've always done a different style review than most affiliate type blogs…
- I actually use the products or I don't review them
- That's obvious because my reviews aren't regurgitated synopsizes with generic screenshots and ad copy
- My reviews are thorough as hell even if I do say so myself ;-)
And sales say not only are more people visiting the reviews, but more people are purchasing based on them (if I actually like the product). I think that also ties into the above effort on my “Which Pages Should Have Time Spent On Them” section. Based on the Crazy Egg data, I plan to move to a 3:1 ratio when it comes to reviews and see what happens. :)
Back To What “Should” Be Clickable
I also found with the new Sugarrae redesign that 4.7% of visitors to the homepage are TRYING TO CLICK on my “sexy eyes” chick that has the text “BE SEEN ON THE WEB & get insight into affiliate marketing” (which is currently not clickable) and 61.6% of these folks are NEW VISITORS. I assure you that image will be clickable soon. :)
This is only a small amount of the specific revenue increasing “AHA!” moments that I've gotten from Crazy Egg. But at $9 per month (billed annually though, so $108 for the year) you can't afford NOT to use Crazy Egg if you have a profit producing blog or website. AND they have a FREE trial for 30 days.
And for the record? Crazy Egg has no affiliate program (not that someone having an affiliate program ever changes my opinion on them), so I make nothing off recommending them. Other than you finding out they're awesome.
P.S. If you're using the Thesis Theme, you'll find the code to add Crazy Egg to the various sections of the Thesis Theme here. :)