Analytics are great for giving you an idea where people have gone on your site, but creating a heatmap will show you how people arrived to certain pages by tracking where readers of your blog click when surfing on your site.
Since I'm cheaper than a black man at tip time, I'm going to choose and write about the "free alternative." If you've been participating in these daily tasks in order, you should already have installed Google Analytics as I suggested in the post for Day 11: Here Are My Metrics.
If you haven't chronologically followed along, you still NEED to install Google Analytics. NOW!
Google's In-Page Analytics
The In-Page Analytics option is pretty straightforward and can be found under the "Behavior" tab in your Google Analytics dashboard. Knowing where your readers click when browsing your blog is as good as a blowjob from Kate Upton! I can’t emphasize enough how much you’ll learn about your blog and reader by doing this type of analysis. Instead of going through a step-by-step tutorial on HOW to use it, I'm going to explain WHY you should use it.
- Ad Positioning: If you know where someone is clicking, you know where they're looking. Keep move the ads around to "hot" positions and change the design often to keep "ad blindness" at bay.
- Design Testing: Regular users will definitely notice when you make changes to the design of the site. If you're worried your new layout isn't cutting it, this report is a great way to track that.
- Content Development: You can analyze what links are being clicked in your actual articles. It's also pretty interesting to see where people click even though a link may not exist there!
- Reader Analysis: Behavioral science and psychology play a HUGE part in our lives. It influences how we shop at a grocery store, what foods we eat at restaurants, and why you want to beat the horse piss out of that guy in red talking to your girlfriend. Getting a better understanding of the flow of your site from a readers perspective in invaluable.
Good luck, and never stop tracking!