A Guide to Unlock ‘Not Provided’ Keywords in Google Analytics

Everyone loves a good intrigue. We like to think there’s a hidden agenda behind everything that inconveniences us in some way. That’s certainly how many SEO professionals see the way that Google controls site owners’ access to information. Case in point: the ‘Not Provided’ debate, raging since 2013. For the conspiracy theorists among us, the advent of Google Analytics ‘Not Provided’ keywords was a sign that the platform was out to make the SEO process much more difficult and ruin the world of online marketing. And while it did limit access to keyword data and made analysis more challenging, it certainly…

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A Guide to Unlock ‘Not Provided’ Keywords in Google Analytics

How To Grab Attention With Your Website Homepage Introduction

The window to grab a visitor’s attention on your website is small. If you don’t give them a reason to stay within the first few seconds, you could lose them. That’s because users decide whether to hit the “back button” decision within milliseconds. So your homepage is your chance to make want to stay on your site and learn more about your company and what you have to offer. After all, while only five to ten percent of the average website’s visitors land on the homepage, this still often accounts for up to 50% of the site’s total pageviews. Unfortunately,…

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How To Grab Attention With Your Website Homepage Introduction

How To Grab Attention With Your Website Home Page Introduction

Optimize Home Page Introduction

The window to grab a visitor’s attention on your website is small. If you don’t give them a reason to stay within the first few seconds, you could lose them. That’s because users decide whether to hit the “back button” decision within milliseconds. So your homepage is your chance to make want to stay on your site and learn more about your company and what you have to offer. After all, while only five to ten percent of the average website’s visitors land on the homepage, this still often accounts for up to 50% of the site’s total pageviews. Unfortunately,…

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How To Grab Attention With Your Website Home Page Introduction

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How to Get Quality Backlinks for SEO: 6 Smart Ways

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Link building is one of the oldest and most effective SEO tactics. It’s also one of the most productive ways to grow organic search traffic. But you have to be cautious with how you go about earning them. Links have been a major part of how Google and other search engines determine how trustworthy a website is from the beginning. They viewed each link as a sort of recommendation, so the more links a website had pointing to it, the more credibility it would hold, and the higher it would rank in search results. Unfortunately, some site owners and SEOs attempted to “game” this…

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How to Get Quality Backlinks for SEO: 6 Smart Ways

Understanding Logical Properties And Values

In the past, CSS has tied itself to physical dimensions and directions, physically mapping the placement of elements to the left, right and top and bottom. We float an element left or right, we use the positioning offset properties top, left, bottom and right. We set margins, padding, and borders as margin-top and padding-left. These physical properties and values make sense if you are working in a horizontal, top to bottom, left to right writing mode and direction.

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Understanding Logical Properties And Values

The 59 Second Rule: 3 Reasons Why Users Leave a Website

How long do visitors stay on your website before clicking away? According to the Nielsen Norman Group, most users stick around less than 59 seconds. So, if you don’t capture a user’s attention in less than a minute, you’ve lost them. I’ve dubbed this “the 59 Second Rule.” Basically, if you haven’t generated interest in 59 seconds, then you probably aren’t going to. How do you do that? Let’s take a look at some major reasons why users leave a website and, of course, how you can capture their attention instead. But first, I want to help you understand the…

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The 59 Second Rule: 3 Reasons Why Users Leave a Website

6 Easy Ways To Learn A/B Testing (Number 6 Is Our Favorite)

Have you always wanted to introduce A/B testing into your marketing skill set but are unsure of where to begin?

Do you think A/B testing is for more technical marketers?

If so, you might be worried about nothing. A/B testing, also known as split-testing, is a common feature of almost every marketing tool these days.

Thankfully, many software products with built-in A/B testing functionality have made implementing A/B tests so easy that laypeople can learn to improve their marketing skills by using A/B tests.

To help you get up and running with your first A/B test campaign, here are 6 tools with built-in A/B testing features that are easy to implement for the average nontechnical person.

Let’s take a quick look at what A/B testing is.

What Is A/B Testing?

In this guide to A/B testing from VWO, it is defined as “comparing two versions of a webpage to see which one performs better.”

The reason why you would want to run an A/B test on your website is to improve conversions. For example, you can A/B test the product photos on your e-commerce website to see if models with beards increase conversions compared to models without beards.

As you can see, with A/B testing, you can follow a process to slowly increase the number of website visitors that convert into customers. If done properly, you can be confident that you’ll always get the same results.

So now that you understand what A/B testing is and the potential benefits of doing A/B tests in your marketing, let’s look at 6 tools that make it easy to run your first A/B test.

  1. Google AdWords

Google AdWords may have been the first tool with built-in A/B testing, so it’s likely where most marketers launched their first A/B testing campaign.

As Google gets paid each time someone clicks one of its ads, it’s in Google’s best interests to help improve the quality of its ads. And to help you figure out which ads are the best, you can A/B test your ads by rotating them evenly to see which has a higher click-through rate (CTR).

To get started on A/B testing in AdWords, go to your campaign settings, click to expand the Ad rotation settings, and then select Do not optimize: Rotate ads indefinitely.

If you want Google to pick the winning ad, select the Optimize: Prefer best performing ads radio button. It’s a good idea to have Google rotate the ads indefinitely and then you can manually pick a winner. This would help you make observations about why some ads perform better than others.

top A/B testing tools

Next, make sure that you have at least 2 ads in each ad group, and then start collecting data.

top A/B testing tools

Unfortunately, AdWords won’t tell you if your data is statistically significant, so you’ll need to enter the impressions and clicks each ad received into a tool like VWO’s A/B split test significance calculator to figure out which ad won.

2. Sumo

If you’re not yet collecting email addresses on your website, you should be.

Adding a pop-up to your website is a great way to grow your email list. One of the easiest ways to install a pop-up is with Sumo.com’s suite of free tools.

Its “List Builder” tool makes it easy to strategically add pop-ups to your website to collect email addresses. But what if your pop-ups aren’t converting well?

Fortunately, you can easily A/B test your pop-ups.

To gradually increase the number of email addresses, you can create variations with different text, colors, or calls to action.

Within Sumo, under List Builder,  click the Tests tab, and then create a new form:

top A/B testing tools

top A/B testing tools

Select the form of which you need to create a variation:

After creating the variation, Sumo rotates both versions of the pop-up and collects conversion data, which will be displayed in your dashboard:

top A/B testing tools

Give your A/B test enough time to collect statistically significant data. After getting a clear winner, you can delete the losing pop-up and create a new pop-up to compete against the winner.

3. Drip

Drip.com is marketing automation software that helps you send personalized emails at exactly the right time.

For example, if you want to send an abandoned cart email 30 minutes after your website visitor added a product to the cart but didn’t complete the purchase, you can create an Abandoned Cart campaign within Drip to send the email automatically.

But what happens if your recipient doesn’t open the email? That’s another missed opportunity.

So, to recover such customers, you want to make sure your abandoned cart email stands out in their inbox and gets opened. Fortunately, you can increase the likelihood of that with Drip’s built-in split test feature.

Within Drip, you have the ability to easily split test the subject line, “From” name, and/or delivery time of the emails in your campaign.

In the example below, you can see how easy it is to set up an A/B test of a subject line:

top A/B testing tools

Next, enter an alternate subject line, and then Drip automatically rotates the subject lines in your abandoned cart email campaign:

top A/B testing tools

Drip also tracks how many times the emails associated with each subject line were opened. After gathering a statistically significant amount of data, you can see in your dashboard the confidence level at which you would get the same results if you let the A/B test running.

top A/B testing tools

After you’ve reached a 95% confidence level or higher, you can stop the losing variation and continue with the winning variation, or create a new A/B test to try and beat the winner.

4. Intercom

Next, we’ll look at the ways you can A/B test chat messages. Fortunately, Intercom makes it easy for you to do this.

Chat messages are a great way to engage your website visitors to increase your conversion rate or just get their email address so that you can market to them in the future.

You can think of a chat message the same way as greeting people when they walk into your brick-and-mortar store. It’s their first impression of you and your brand, so the quality of your greeting can be the difference whether they make a purchase or not.

With most chat tools, you can send “proactive messages” to engage your website visitors. Examples of proactive messages are:

  • “Hello, I’m here to answer any questions you may have.”
  • “Can I help you find a product?”
  • “Do you have any questions about shipping?”

If your proactive message isn’t warm or engaging enough, the visitor may not reply and you may lose a chance to convert them into a customer.

With Intercom, you can A/B test your proactive messages to see which ones have a high open rate. Just create your greeting:

top A/B testing toolsThen use the built-in A/B test feature to create a different greeting for your proactive message:

top A/B testing toolsIntercom will then show each greeting 50% of the time and display the results of the A/B test in your message dashboard so that you can see which greeting has the best open rate:

top A/B testing tools

5. Title Experiments

Did you know that 80% of people who read a headline copy won’t read the rest of the blog post? This is why it’s so important to write great blog post titles.

But how do you know what’s considered a good title? Well, you can split-test your blog post titles to find out.

With a WordPress plug-in called Title Experiments, it’s easy to create 2 versions of titles for each of your blog posts.

Every time you publish a new blog post, just click Add New Title, and then you can write a second variation of your blog post title:

top A/B testing tools

Title Experiments automatically A/B tests both variations, and then you can see how well each one is performing until you eventually pick a winner:

top A/B testing tools

6. VWO

So far, I’ve shown you how to run A/B tests within third-party tools, but what about doing actual A/B tests on your website itself?

Increasing conversions by changing your website’s copy, colors, and layout are where the fun begins when it comes to A/B testing.

With VWO, you can create a hypothesis about how to improve website conversions, and then easily create a variant of your webpage by using its WYSIWYG editor to test against your current page (also known as the control.)

The great thing about A/B testing with VWO is that you don’t have to be technical so that you can do it yourself without the need to hire a developer.

Get started by clicking the Create on the A/B Tests page:

top A/B testing tools

Edit the page you want to A/B test by using its WYSIWYG editor to create a variation to test against the control page:

top A/B testing toolsFrom your VWO dashboard, you can view the results of the A/B test. You can see which variation resulted in more conversions and whether the data is statistically significant so that you can be confident of the results.

top A/B testing tools

Just like the other tools mentioned above, VWO tells you when you’ve collected enough data to make a statistically significant decision about the results.

Conclusion

A/B testing isn’t as hard as it seems. It’s pretty easy to give A/B testing a try, thanks to the built-in features found in marketing software these days.

So if you’re ready to take the leap and want to run your first split test campaign, give one of the above-mentioned tools a try. I think you’ll find that it’s easier than you expected!

Over to You

Have you ran A/B tests by using the tools I just shared? Are there other tools with built-in A/B testing features that you think we can talk about?

It would be awesome to hear from you in the comments!

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6 Easy Ways To Learn A/B Testing (Number 6 Is Our Favorite)

UX In Contact Forms: Essentials To Turn Leads Into Conversions

Do you like filling out forms? I thought not. It’s not what we want from a service. All the user wants is to buy a ticket, book a hotel room, make a purchase and so on. Filling in a form is a necessary evil they have to deal with. Does this describe you? So, what actually affects a person’s attitude to submitting a form?
It might be time-consuming. Complicated forms are often hard to understand (or you just don’t feel like filling it in).

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UX In Contact Forms: Essentials To Turn Leads Into Conversions

Building A UX Team

(This is a sponsored article.) In my previous article, I explored the rise of design, in particular focusing on the emergence of design as a business driver. As the spotlight has focused on the potential of design to transform businesses, we’ve seen a growing need for designers — and related team members — across a wider range of specializations. These specializations include:

  • Design Researchers
  • Creative Directors
  • Content Strategists
  • Copywriters
  • Visual Designers
  • UI Designers
  • Marketers

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive and many designers undertake a cross-section of these roles by necessity. One thing is certain, however, as our industry has matured, the number and types of roles have increased and, as UX continues to become a sought-after business differentiator, these roles will continue to diversify.

As design has become recognized as a potential driver for business growth, many companies have begun to bring user experience (UX) design in-house, building their own UX teams. Equally, as UX has grown in importance, many small businesses have been responding to the opportunity by broadening and deepening their teams, thus enabling them to undertake larger and more profitable projects.

In this article, the ninth in my ongoing series exploring user experience design, I’ll outline how to go about building a UX team, identifying the attributes to look out for when hiring team members, defining a number of core disciplines to consider when building a team, and suggesting some avenues you can explore to find team members.

T-Shaped People, FTW!

When I first starting to work on the web in the early to mid-nineties, all that was required was a knowledge of HTML (and life was so much easier!). Over time I added CSS and JavaScript to my mix of skills, keeping a close eye on developments and adding to my skill set as needed.

For some time it felt like you could hold all of the web’s tools in your head; HTML, CSS, and JavaScript were complex, of course, but they were manageable. Fast forward to today and the landscape has evolved considerably, with new tools that we can add to our toolbox developed at an increasingly rapid rate.

As UX has grown up, we’ve started to see an inevitable specialization of roles, reflecting the complexity and diversity of our industry. This shift towards specialization is to be welcomed, it echoes an industry that is not only maturing but is also reflecting on the best way to achieve different outcomes. It’s a shift that is positioning carefully considered teams front and center.

The once fashionable idea of ‘unicorns’ — who know everything there is to know about everything — has, thankfully, been superseded by a focus on building teams, comprised of specialists with a deep understanding of their respective areas, who are able to work as part of a collaborative, multidisciplinary team.

With this shift towards collaborative teams comes a shift in the types of people we need to look for when we start to build a team. To function effectively, team members need to:

  • be skilled in communication, able to express their thinking clearly to others;
  • have an appreciation of the importance of feedback, and be able to facilitate the feedback process;
  • be able to collaborate with others, working as part of a multidisciplinary team;
  • have an understanding of the broad landscape of disciplines that now comprise UX; and
  • be able to articulate and present their thinking to others.

Put simply: soft skills matter. To work in a collaborative environment requires empathy and an ability to work with others. It also requires an awareness and understanding of the various disciplines that come together to form the backbone of user experience design in the 21st century. Enter ‘T-shaped people’.

Tim Brown, the CEO of global design company IDEO, defines T-Shaped people as having two kinds of characteristics: the vertical stroke of the ‘T’ represents their depth of skill in a field; whilst the horizontal stroke of the ‘T’ represents their ability to collaborate across disciplines. Brown identifies two characteristics that T-shaped people have:

First, empathy. It’s important because it allows people to imagine the problem from another perspective – to stand in somebody else’s shoes. Second, they tend to get very enthusiastic about other people’s disciplines, to the point that they may actually start to practice them. T-shaped people have both depth and breadth in their skills.

When building a UX team it’s important to ensure that the candidates you consider possess these characteristics or, if they don’t, have the capability to learn them. By hiring, or working with, team members that possess empathy and perspective you’ll build a stronger, more effective team.

The ability to see problems from others’ perspectives is critical. Seeing a problem from the perspective of another team member underpins collaboration; equally seeing a problem from your user’s perspective is — as I’ve noted in my earlier articles in this series — critical. This ability to see problems from others’ perspectives is crucial when we build multidisciplinary teams.

A Multidisciplinary Approach

Within the field of UX, we are increasingly working with multidisciplinary team members who combine a knowledge and awareness of many branches of learning or fields of expertise. Designers will be a part of that mix, of course, but designers aren’t the only members of a team you need.

When thinking of a team it’s important to widen the frame of reference and look beyond the core strength of design. Take a look at any successful product and behind it you will see a team that is comprised of a wide range of individuals, encompassing: design across a range of aspects; business and strategy; marketing and storytelling; analytics; and many, many other disciplines.

When building a team, it’s important that the team is well-rounded with a cross-section of individuals who are used to looking at design problems in different ways. This becomes increasingly important when we consider the growing rise of digital product design.

In order to build a successful digital product, it’s important to consider:

  • Design Researchers
    The ones who drive a design based on user research and a wider understanding of the benefits of design research.
  • UX Designers
    The ones who afford a high-level view of the design process.
  • Content Strategists
    The ones who lead a website or product’s content focus, starting with content as a skeleton around which a design is built.
  • Copywriters
    The ones who create written content at both a macro- and micro-copy level.
  • Visual Designers
    The ones who create a design’s overall visual approach.
  • UI Designers
    The ones who design the interface between the product and the user, and the various interactions that underpin the design.
  • Front-End Designers and Developers
    The ones who handle the build at varying levels of complexity.

It’s a measure of how complex our industry is that we’re still finding terms to describe many of these roles. It’s also a measure of how complex our industry is that the above list is only scraping the surface.

In addition to the above list (which is broadly design-focused), it’s also important to consider project managers, business strategists, marketing experts — the list goes on. With such a long list of potential team members, it becomes quickly apparent that (good news for us!) there is considerable scope for working in our industry.

To become a lynchpin team member it helps to immerse yourself in as many of these areas as possible. The more you learn about different disciplines and their different ways of working, the more indispensable you become.

Finding Team Members

You might be considering hiring a full-time team member or a freelancer, but you still need to find these people. Where do you start and what should you look for?

First of all, if you’re considering expanding your team — and the roles you’re considering will be long term — it’s important to put some time in. Unless you’re willing to pay a recruitment firm, there’s no substitute for doing some good, old-fashioned research.

The last thing you want to do is hire someone in a hurry, then live to regret it later. Spending time getting to know different individuals and exploring their work in depth pays off in the long run. Doing so helps you to find individuals who are a better fit for your company’s culture.

Unsurprisingly, there are many design-focused communities that you can explore. As you begin your search, look for individuals who are active in those communities. It’s impossible to list every community, but you might like to consider:

  • Behance
    Owned by Adobe, Behance’s mission is to “showcase and discover the latest work from top online portfolios by creative professionals across industries.” The site’s ‘Curated Galleries’ are a great way to discover different designers organized across a range of creative fields.
  • Dribbble
    Although it’s come under fire occasionally, there’s no doubting the fact that Dribbble is a great place to discover designers. It’s known as the place “where designers get inspired and hired,” and is well worth exploring.
  • Product Hunt
    Billed as “the place to discover your next favorite thing,” Product Hunt might look a little out of place on this list, but it’s a great way to discover active participants within the design community.

In addition to the above resources, it’s also worth looking for designers who are actively working on side projects or who are contributing to open-source projects.

When interviewing potential team members, I’ll always ask if they’ve worked on any side projects. Side projects are a good indicator of a person who has a passion for their subject. They’re also a useful beacon, helping you to identify individuals who are actively learning and who have the project management skills to develop their own projects.

However, not everyone wants to undertake a side project. Another attribute that’s worth looking for is an individual’s contribution to other, perhaps open-source, projects. Someone who is actively contributing to an open-source GitHub repository is someone who has passion — and passion is hard to teach.

There are also numerous job boards, that act as a matchmaking service, connecting designers who are looking for work with companies who are interested in hiring. Adobe’s platform, Adobe Talent, offers you that ability to “hire from five million creatives on Behance.” Smashing Magazine has its very own Smashing Jobs, designed to help designers and developers alike to find jobs and connect with great companies.

In Closing

As UX matures as a discipline, so too have the number of different specializations. As the field has grown, so too have the opportunities. Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket and searching for an elusive ‘unicorn’ designer, a better approach is to build a team of individuals who can work well together.

When building a UX team, it’s important to focus on soft skills as well as hard skills. Look for T-shaped people with experience of working in a collaborative environment. And remember, a great team is comprised of individuals who work well together, so don’t forget that personality goes a long way. Building a team takes time, but the effort you put in more than pays off. The more rounded your team is, the more opportunities will present themselves to you.

This article is part of the UX design series sponsored by Adobe. Adobe XD is made for a fast and fluid UX design process, as it lets you go from idea to prototype faster. Design, prototype, and share — all in one app. You can check out more inspiring projects created with Adobe XD on Behance, and also sign up for the Adobe experience design newsletter to stay updated and informed on the latest trends and insights for UX/UI design.

Smashing Editorial
(ra, il)

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Building A UX Team

How To Use Heatmaps To Track Clicks On Your WordPress Website

There are lots of ways to measure the performance of a web page and the most popular one is by far Google Analytics. But knowing exactly what images, words, or elements on your site catch your site visitor’s specific attention is not possible with these tools alone.

Sometimes, you simply want to know what makes your page great in terms of design, layout, content structure (you name it) and what prompts people to take one intentional action instead of another. You will be probably surprised to learn that there’s actually a solution to your question: heatmaps.

Unlike Google Analytics, which works with numbers and statistics, the heatmaps show you the exact spots that receive the most engagement on a given page. Through heatmaps, you will know what are the most clicked areas on a page, what paragraphs people select while scanning your content, and what is the scrolling behavior of your clients (e.g., how many went below the fold or how many reached the bottom of the page).

In this article, we will talk about why heatmaps are so efficient for your marketing goals and how they can be integrated with your WordPress site.

Why Use Heatmaps On Your WordPress Site

Before progressing to the “how to” part, you might want to know why it’s worth it to dedicate valuable time on implementing heatmaps for your WordPress site and what their actual role is.

First off, visual marketing is constantly growing as many more people now respond positively to a modern and user-friendly interface and skip a plain, non-interactive one. If a certain action requires too many steps and a hard to maneuver platform, they eventually give up, and you lose clients.

Of course, great content is still the key, but the way your site is structured and combines various elements will influence the activity of your visitors, which is either convert (engage) or leave.

Marketing experts researched this kind of behavior over time:

But what were heatmaps built for specifically? A heatmap can help you discover valuable and, sometimes, surprising facts about your audience.

If you add one to your WordPress site, you can:

  • Track your visitors’ clicks and become aware of their expectations while browsing through your site. This way, you can adjust your pages and make them catchier and more compelling.

  • Find out what is of interest for people. You’ll know what information they are looking for, so you can put it in the spotlight and use it to your favor.

  • Analyze the scrolling behavior. See how many visitors reached the bottom area of the site and how many left immediately without browsing further through the sections.

  • Keep an eye on the cursor movement and see what pieces of content your audience is hovering over (or selecting) in a text.


Scrolling behavior heatmap


Scrolling behavior heatmap

Again, using heatmaps is not only about tracking clicks for fun, it can have many implications for your business’ growth. They can influence purchases or conversions of any kind (it depends on what you want to achieve with your site).

You will know if your call-to-action buttons get the attention you intended, compared to other elements on the same page. Maybe other design elements you placed on your sales page distract people from clicking the buy button, and this can be seen on the hot spots map. Based on the results, you can change the way they look, their position, their styling, etc., hence sales increase.

Bloggers can also use the heatmaps because this way they will know how to create customer-friendly, appealing layouts for their content. Some layouts generate more traffic than others, and it’s up to you to find out which ones.

If people linger on a certain piece of information, it means it’s valuable for them, and you can use it to your favor by placing a link or a button nearby. Or you can simply create a separate post with even more information on that topic.

How To Add A Heatmap To Your WordPress Site

No matter if we are talking about plugins originally made for WordPress or third-party tools, the integration is not difficult at all. Usually, the most difficult part about heatmaps is the interpretation of the results — the conclusions along with the implications they have on your business and how to use them to your advantage.

When it comes to installing them, you just need to choose one tool and start the tests. Crazy Egg, Heatmap for WordPress, Hotjar Connecticator, Lucky Orange, and SeeVolution are the best and most popular tools that will help you in this direction. Heatmap for WordPress and Hotjar are free, while the other three come in premium plans (they offer free trials, though).

It’s important to mention that all these tools (except for Heatmap for WordPress) work with other website builders as well, not only WordPress. They are universal; it’s just that the WordPress developers found an easy way to integrate them with the latter so that the non-coders won’t struggle much with it. To integrate them with any other website builder, such as Squarespace for instance, you need to play with the code a little bit.

So, how to set up the heatmaps on your site? Let’s use Hotjar because it does a good job overall. It is intuitive, modern, and quick to implement in WordPress.

In this case, let’s take Hotjar Connecticator plugin as an example. After installing and activating it, you need to create an account on hotjar.com, add the URL of the site you want to monitor (you can add more sites later), and copy the provided tracking code to the plugin’s page in your WordPress dashboard (as seen below).



Now, it’s time to create the heatmap, which can be done right from the Hotjar platform (you can’t customize anything on your WordPress dashboard). So, click on Heatmaps, then New Heatmap.

Next, you need to choose your Page Targeting preferences. Do you want to track the hot spots on a single page? Do you test several pages at the same time to compare their results? That works too. If you need the latter, you have some URL formats available, so you can make sure you can target all the pages from a specific category (sorted by type, publishing date, etc.) You can even write the exact words that the links contain and Hotjar starts tracking the pages.

An interesting thing about Hotjar is that it lets you exclude page elements that you don’t want to monitor by adding their CSS selectors. This way, you can avoid being distracted by unneeded things when you compare or analyze the results and can focus only on the ones that you want to test.

After you create the heatmap, the first screenshot with the hot spots will be provided only after the page starts to get visitors and clicks, so don’t expect results right away. The tool tracks all the views you had on that page since the heatmap was created so that you can make reports based on the views and the number of clicks. This kind of reports let you know you how clickable (or not) your content is.

Here’s how the first screenshot provided by Hotjar looks (the testing was done on an uncustomized version of Hestia WordPress theme):



Another awesome thing about this tool is that it provides you the option to create simple and interactive polls to ask your users why they’re leaving your page or what were the things they didn’t enjoy about your page.

Case Study: How We Improved Landing Pages On ThemeIsle And CodeinWP With Heatmaps

The theory sounds captivating, and it’s almost always easier than the practice itself. But does this method really work? Is it efficient? Do you get pertinent results and insights at the end of the day?

The answer is: Yes, if you have patience.

We love heatmaps at ThemeIsle and use them on many of our pages. The pages are mostly related to WordPress themes since the company is an online shop that sells themes and plugins for this particular platform.

One of the most popular pieces of content from CodeinWP blog is related to themes as well. We have a large range of listings, and many of them rank in top three of Google results page. Lately, we have experimented with two types of layouts for the lists: one that has a single screenshot presenting the theme’s homepage and another providing three screenshots: homepage, single post page, and mobile display.

The main thing we noticed after comparing the two versions was that quite the same number of people reached to end of the list, but the clicks distribution was different: the listing with more visuals didn’t get as many clicks in the bottom half as the one with only one screenshot. This means that the list with more visuals is more explanatory because it offers more samples from the theme’s design, which helps people realize faster which ones are appealing to them. Given this fact, there’s no need for extra clicks to see how a theme looks.

In the one-screenshot case, people dig deeper to find more details about a theme, since there’s only the homepage that they can see from the picture. Hence, they will click more to get to the theme’s page and launch its live demo.

So, if you’re looking for advertising opportunities or you’re using affiliate links, the one-picture version will help you more in terms of user engagement and time spent on your site.





Another example of using heatmaps is Hestia theme’s documentation page. During the testing process, we noticed that a significant number of users are interested in upgrading to the premium version after seeing the number of clicks on the word “Upgrade”, which convinced us to move the upgrade button to a more obvious place and improve the destination page that contains the premium features of the theme.

Speaking of premium features, another experiment of ours was to track the cursor movement and see what are the features people are hovering over more when checking the documentation. Based on the results, we used the most popular items on many landing pages that were seeking conversion – which, in this case, was the upgrade to the premium theme by our free users.



We also created a heatmap for our FAQ page to track the less clicked questions, which we replaced subsequently with other relevant ones. The test is still in progress, as we are trying to improve our support services and offer the customers smoother experiences with our products.



The Importance Of A/B Testing

After getting great insights from the heatmaps, you don’t have to stop there. Create alternatives for your pages based on the results and use the A/B testing method to see which ones perform better.

A/B testing is probably the most popular method with which you can compare two or more versions of the same page. The end goal is to find out which one converts better. You should try it because it definitely helps you get closer to your goals and offers you a new perspective on how your content is being consumed by your audience.

So, after using heatmaps for a while and tracking the behavior of your users, start to make a plan on how to improve your site’s usability. Create alternatives, don’t stick with only one. If you have more than one idea, put them all to test and observe people’s reactions. The goal here is to create the most efficient landing page, the one that has the best chances to convert or to receive the expected engagement.

But how does A/B testing work?

Well, there are several plugins built to make this method work on your WordPress site, but Nelio A/B Testing is the most popular based on the reviews it has on WordPress.org directory (and it’s also free). After installing the plugin, you can choose the type of experiment you want to run. It has a large range of options to compare: pages, posts, headlines, widgets, and more.



Now, starting an experiment is really easy, it takes a few minutes. When you create it, you need to add the original page you want to run tests on, the alternative you want to compare it to, and the goal (what you are trying to achieve with the experiment: get page views, clicks, or direct people to an external source). After stopping the experiments, the plugin will show you detailed results that revolve around the goal you set in the first place. So, at the end of the test, you can tell which page performed better, and you can use it on your site… until a new idea comes to your mind and you should start testing again. Because digital marketing is not about assuming and hoping that things will happen, it’s about making things happen. That’s why you should always test, test, and test again.

By the way, with Nelio A/B Testing plugin, you can create heatmaps too, but they are not as sophisticated as the plugins listed earlier and don’t deliver as many insights. But you can try it out if you want to run quick experiments and need some basic information about a page.

Conclusion

If you want to have a successful business or to be the author of a bold project, keep adjusting your strategies. Try new things every day, every week. To be able to adjust, it’s not enough to simply know your audience but to also test its behavior and make the next moves based on that.

Marketing is not about guessing what your customers want; it’s about finding it yourself and offering them that one thing they need. The heatmaps method will help you along the way by sketching people’s behavior on your site and highlighting what they care most about. It’s simple, fast, visual (you don’t need to dig too much into statistics to understand your audience), and fun.

Knowing what your users’ actions are when they land on your web pages could be something truly fascinating, and you can learn a lot from it.

Smashing Editorial
(mc, ra, il)

Credit: 

How To Use Heatmaps To Track Clicks On Your WordPress Website