(Another obscure topic here… yay!)
One day not too long ago I remembered the “website heatmap” buzz (not so popular anymore now) and wondered whether I could/should create a software that could generate heatmaps for any particular website. Note that originally the phrase “website heatmap” was used to refer to an overlay image showing where visitors look. Now there’s also the “click heatmap”, analyzing where people click. Most often you won’t be able to find out what your visitors are looking at, but you can easily build the click heatmap with the appropriate tools (some listed below).
After some research I realized there are already some usable solutions available. Below is a compilation of interesing sites I came across during my exploration.
Things to Read / Articles and Research
A Simplified AdSense Heatmap – presented by Google, for people wondering where to place AdSense ads.
The (famous?) Google’s “Golden Triangle” eyetracking heatmap – I think this was the first popular image seen related to website heatmaps.
Things to Use / Tools and Scripts
The Definitive Heatmap – A Do-It-Yourself script collection to create a clickmap for your site(s).
Feng-GUI ViewFinder – Automatically generates a heatmap for any URL you enter. I tried entering this site’s address and found out that supposedly most of my visitors would be looking just at the header box. The output was similar for one of my other sites. Obviously the script only takes in account visual “saliency” and doesn’t know that many pages have “nice” header graphics or top banners on them that most visitors tend to ignore. This is an interesting tool to try anyway.
Labsmedia ClickHeat – ClickHeat is a visual heatmap of clicks on a HTML page, showing hot and cold click zones. Free.
Crazy Egg – provides advanced heatmaps, has a nice interface, stores individual stats for all HTML elements, has a live reporting feature, etc. Commercial, with a free demo (limited features, track only 4 pages & 5000 visits per month).
clickdensity – Retired/discontinued.
Promises detailed reports and has an additional feature – A/B tests for individual page elements. Again, a commercial service with a free trial.
FuseStats Web Analytics [site down as of 25.02.2009] – a commercial service yet again, and with a free trial, too. This one has AdSense/YPN tracking (lets you find out which domain names are clicked the most in the AdSense ads on your site – and if you find out those ads pay very little per click, you can filter them out), GeoMapping, traffic reporting, conversion reporting and so on (the list is quite long). I suspect many of these functions are already available in your webhosts control panel though.
They also offer to track conversion stats for Content Network traffic (this one’s for AdWords advertisers) which is redundant because Google introduced the same thing yesterday.