One of the hardest things about running websites is figuring out exactly how people interact with it. Where did they come from? What part of the site brought them to it? What did they click on when they saw the page? What did they read? Did they like the site? What could have made their visit better? The questions never end sometimes. Lucky for us there are a bunch of programmers out there that like making tools to help figure out the answers to these questions. Google Analytics is a wonderful tool for answering most of them. It can tell you how many visitors, where they came from, what keywords they searched, how many page views, how many were new visitors vs return visitors, etc. It will even put an overlay on your site to show you how many times different links were clicked. But it doesn’t do nearly as good of a job as CrazyEgg.
CrazyEgg is an online tool for click tracking, plain and simple. All it takes to implement is pasting a single line of code onto the page you are tracking. I had my first test up and running in under 5 minutes. It will track based on a time period or number of clicks in order to produce a test. I ran two tests, one on sk3themes.com and one on hiptop3.com just to get an idea of how things worked. Sk3themes is a very busy site, averaging 13,000+ visitors and over 100,000 page views on a normal day. I gathered enough stats in no team to be able to see where people are clicking, but hiptop3 will have to run for another few hours before it has a meaningful sample. How is this information useful? Well, I could tell right off the bat that new links I added to the site early tonight were already being clicked on. I could also tell that a lot of people were increasing the number of themes displayed per page right off the bat as well as downloading the first theme listed on the page more than any other one. I plan on sitting down and rearranging certain parts of the site to see what sort of impact it might have both on navigation as well as ad-clicks. By running individual tests, taking a small sample before and after I’ll be able to directly compare the results without having to wade through mountains of web logs and statistics.
The coolest feature of CrazyEgg is the way that you can display data. You have a choice between overlay (small icon next to link that shows count when clicked), List (a listing of everything clicked on), and my personal favorite, the Heatmap. Below is a screenshot of one of the tests I ran on sk3themes.com:
It’s wonderful for getting a quick overview of how people are using your sites. I can’t wait to run it on some of my other ones.
Even better, CrazyEgg is free if you only need to track 5,000 visits and 4 pages and don’t mind not having the live reporting. I went ahead and shelled out $19 for 25,000 visits, 20 pages, and the live reporting because I’m impatient and I have high traffic sites to learn more about. So far I’m happy, I may keep it going month to month, or I may just check in and upgrade to a paid account when I’m evaluating major site redesigns. Go check it out for free.