Look Over Your Web Site Visitors' Shoulders

Want to learn more about how visitors interact with your site? Learn how you can get a better window into their experience with heat maps and real-time visuals of clicks and mouse movements.

September 27, 2011

Ever wonder exactly what prospects do when they visit your Web site? What if you had the ability to “stand over their shoulders” and see exactly what they clicked on (whether actually clickable or not), the path their mouse took, and other ways they interact with it? With this kind of insight, chances are you would have a much better idea as to what’s working on your site, what’s not and what to do about it.

Seem too good to be true? It was, until now…

Measuring Your Visitor Behavior

Web site analytics systems provide extensive statistical data about where site visitors came from, how long they stayed, links they clicked on, and so on. While a powerful and necessary tool for any Web marketer, it’s not enough to give you the whole picture of site performance. Since most Web sites aren’t static, it’s crucial that you also see how visitors react to and interact with your site.

This is called “behavioral metrics,” and there are now a number of easy to use (and inexpensive) tools that provide detailed insights on how visitors behave on your site.

In one of my previous articles, I mentioned an online service called CrazyEgg that provides heat maps of your site based on what your visitors view and click on in aggregate. (See an example of a heat map below — the brighter the spot, the more people clicked).

While very useful, another recent startup company, LuckyOrange, has taken behavioral metrics to a whole new level. In addition to heat maps, this new service gives you the ability to record (like a video) what visitors do on your Web site, including how they move their mouse, where they scroll, and what they click on. It even lets you “spy” on visitors in real time as they interact with your site.

This might seem like an invasion of privacy, but it’s not. You don’t actually know who they are, just that they’re a visitor. Also, they’re visiting your site, so you have the right to know how people are using it.

There is one thing to be aware of, however: If they start filling out a form on your Web site and then decide not to hit the “Submit” button, LuckyOrange will record what they typed into the fields, whether or not they decided to follow through.

The only way to really get a feel for the full scope of what is possible with LuckyOrange is to visit their site and click the “Watch the Live Demo” button near the top. Be ready to have your mind blown as you watch recordings of actual Web site visitors move their mouse, scroll, click, and fill out forms.

Best Practices

Like any kind of tool, LuckyOrange has no value unless used and used properly. With this in mind, here are some best practices to help you get the most out of this service:

· Don’t Initiate Chat: While in real-time “spy” mode, you have the ability to initiate a chat session with your visitor, ostensibly for the purpose of helping them find what they are looking for. Avoid that temptation unless you want to scare them away from your site.

· Watch What They Click on (and Don’t): Use the heat map feature to determine what most visitors find attractive as they vote with their mouse clicks. If they are not clicking on various parts of your site consider changing them to something more compelling.

· Watch Their Mouse Movements: By viewing the recordings of individual visitors you will gain insight as to how engaged — or not — they are with your Web site. You will find that most people move their mouse as they read, almost like using a finger to underline text as a book is read. Do they appear to be focused and engaged, or distracted? You may need to change some of your site copy to keep them interested.

· Watch for Any Hesitancy in When Completing Forms: You may consider redesigning your forms and adding privacy language if your LuckyOrange recordings show hesitancy to complete your all-important Web site forms. Abandoned forms cost you immediate business.

As of this writing, you can try this service for two weeks free. After that, it is $7 a month for each Web site. To get started, you (or your Webmaster) simply put a bit of code on each page you want to record. After that, it’s just a matter of visiting your own site and pressing CTRL + SHIFT + 1 on your keyboard to bring up your site’s LuckyOrange dashboard (after entering your e-mail address and password one time).

The more you understand your Web site visitors’ behavior, the better you will be able to tweak your site to help convert them into closed transactions.

NOTE: Mr. Internet®, RUSSER Communications, its staff and officers receive no compensation whatsoever from any third party vendors (unless he/they are directly involved with the creation and/or improvement of a vendor service or product), and make no recommendations as to the suitability of the products or services mentioned in this article. Always thoroughly investigate any product or service before trying or purchasing.

Michael Russer, a.k.a. Mr. Internet®, is CEO of Russer Communications. He is a leading speaker and author in the real estate industry and has been writing about Internet marketing and virtual outsourcing since the dawn of the commercial Internet.