by Stephen O
Each of us visits hundreds of websites each week, thousands in a month and an unknown amount each year. Each website can expect a certain amount of traffic if it is advertised right, but now what? You have a website that is being visited but you want to know just what areas of your website your visitors are clicking on. Let us face it Web Page space is valuable real state. Areas that are often clicked on valuable for many reasons, but you need a way to determine how to track this, fortunately for us there are click analytical tools. There a couple worth mentioning, Google Analytics’ In-Page Analytics, ClickHeat, and Crazy Egg. Google Analytics is probably the one everyone is familiar with. Google Analytics is a free service, and since it enjoys such recognition, it is by far the most widely used. It tracks visitors from any referrer so it is versatile in that aspect. Its lacks the ability to actually give a detailed information on where the user is actually clicking. For that, ClickHeat by Labsmedia is your tool. It is an open source, it works by visually displaying where visitor clicks on a website. It uses a color map overlay that displays areas that are “warmer” due visitor clicks. It is incredibly useful if you want to know where to place things, but it is not exactly as user friendly as Google Analytics. It requires both knowledge of MySql and PHP to use so it is not for everyone. It is other potential drawback that it only tracks clicks, it has no ability to track web analytics metrics. Crazy egg unlike the other two is not free, and is not open source, it is a commercial product. It is a subscription product with varying packages. Crazy Egg works off something called Snap Shots, these are the websites being tracked. What it does with these snapshots is truly amazing, “The snapshots convert the click data into three different click analytic reports: heat map, site overlay, and something called “confetti view.” Crazy Egg’s heat map report is comparable to ClickHeat’s heat map; they both use intensity of colors to show high areas of clicks on a webpage. Crazy Egg’s site overlay is similar to In-Page Analytics in that they both display the number of clicks a link receives (see figure 5). Unlike In-Page Analytics, Crazy Egg tracks all clicks including outbound links as well as nonlinked content, such as graphics, if it has received multiple clicks.”(Farney, 2012)
Reflection: So after looking at all three one can see each has its advantages and disadvantages. Google Analytics is free, easy to use and is widely used so there would be plenty of information out there if you have questions. On the other hand, it lacks the heat map the ClickHeat has but ClickHeat has its own limitations. Then there is Crazy Egg that seems to do what both Google Analytics and ClickHeat does but at a hefty price.
I picked this because it was something the professor has mentioned more than once in her lectures, and with our own website projects we can see just how important it is to know where your customers click, what links they often follow and who is referring them to your website. All very important things to consider when you have a SAAS website. I liked the article because it offers you three choices each have their strengths and weakness and would require one to make an educated choice in what would be best for them.
Farney T. Click Analytics: Visualizing Website Use Data. Information Technology & Libraries [serial online]. September 2011;30(3):141-148. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed March 12, 2012.