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What Is A Heatmap? (And How It Can Help Your Site)

May 25, 2024


Wouldn’t it be useful if you knew the reason why your website visitors engage with a particular call to action and not the other?


Or maybe you’d also find it helpful if you could evaluate the way they behave so you can more effectively identify design faults or other problems?



Well, seeing information in a new light is always beneficial, and data visualization has been around for decades.


So today, we’ll be introducing you to the power of heatmaps and how they can bring your website to the next level.


What Is A Website Heatmap?


In essence, a heatmap is a tool for data visualization that uses color to show you which parts of your website are receiving the most interest and engagement. These maps assist you in visually tracking and understanding how people interact with your site, allowing you to see:


  1. How far down visitors scroll on particular sections of your website
  2. What portions of your content are the most popular
  3. Where viewers usually click or look


heatmap level indicator

Blue typically means cool while red means warm. (Source: Cocoweb)


You’ll find that these maps make use of a cool to warm color range. The colder end of the range indicates less activity, while the warmer end shows a lot of activity.


And, because heatmaps provide an excellent visualization of how people engage and interact on your website, you can take advantage of this by putting the most important content on your page in locations where your web visitors are the most.


So, by now it should be clear that heatmaps are a wonderful tool for evaluating how users browse (or fail to browse) your pages. By understanding and seeing how people think and behave, you’ll be several steps closer to your goals!



What Are The Different Types Of Heatmaps?


Now that you know what heatmaps are, let’s take a look at the three major types.


1. Scroll Maps


scroll heatmaps

Scroll heatmaps explain where users usually spend time on a website. (Source: Hotjar)


Scroll maps display how far down users have traveled on a webpage, and the areas where they stopped and engaged in the most.


These types of heatmaps are crucial for instances where you’d like to determine how consumers engage on long-form sites or lengthier landing pages. And, by finding out where most people spend time on your website, you can strategically place your CTAs there to get those extra conversions.


2. Mouse Tracking Maps


mouse tracking heatmaps

Mouse tracking heatmaps show where people usually put their mouse while viewing your website. (Source: VWO)


The greatest approach to figuring out how visitors move around and interact with your website is through mouse tracking heatmaps. Basically, it shows you how people navigate your website with their mouse cursors. It displays which designs, messages, and contents received the most hovers.


Although this heatmap type gets used a lot, it’s pretty difficult to assume how people behave through mouse movements alone since some people park their mouse in one area even when they glance elsewhere.


Luckily, you can still take advantage of this by identifying which parts visitors stick around most often and then add key details, important CTA, necessary adverts, and more in those sections.


3. Click Maps


click heatmaps

Click heatmaps reveal where web visitors usually click on your website. (Source: Hotjar)


The easiest approach to understanding how people interact with your web page is through the use of click heatmaps. This heatmap will show you the different items on your website that people click on—even non-interactive elements! You’ll be able to see how many clicks an element got and which ones are more popular than others.


So, for those running eCommerce stores, this heatmap is usually the ideal one to use. It’ll help you understand which products piqued people’s interest and which one’s didn’t.



How To Create A Website Heatmap


So, now that you understand what heatmaps are, you’re probably itching to know how to create one for your website. Fortunately, you’ll find that there’s a plethora of tools that can help you, and a lot of them are super easy to use.


For our example, we’ll be using Zyro’s heatmap tool. Although this website builder’s tool is very simple and straightforward, it already shows a lot about the information you need for a heatmap.


Now, let’s get started.


  1. First thing’s first, you need to visit the heatmap tool on Zyro’s website.
  2. Once you’re there, the page will ask you to upload a screenshot of your website that you want to see a heatmap analysis of. You can do this by clicking on “UPLOAD IMAGE” or by simply dragging an image onto the webpage.
    Zyro homepage

    You can upload your image using one of two ways.
  3. Then, simply wait for the tool to generate a heatmap analysis of the image you just uploaded.
  4. When it’s done, you’ll be greeted with the heatmap analysis of your website!
    Bitcatcha website heatmap

    An example of Bitcatcha’s website heatmap.


That’s it! Thanks to Zyro’s easy-to-use tool, you were able to easily create a heatmap for your website.


By the way, Zyro is owned by one of the best web hosts on the market, Hostinger. If you’re looking to get set up on a fast and speedy web host, Hostinger is one of our top picks to look into.



Some Limitations To Heatmaps


Though heatmaps are capable of offering insightful data, some case studies reveal just how heatmaps can be deceiving or misused. So, before you interpret one, there are a few drawbacks you should remember. Let’s quickly tackle some of them below:


  • Mouse tracking is not an accurate measurement of user behavior
    According to Google research, there is only a slight link between how one moves their mouse and how they move their eyes. The study showed that only 6% of users follow the mouse with their eyes up and down, and only 19% follow the mouse from side to side. In other words, mouse tracking is a pretty inconsistent way of determining how people behave, and the factors determining it are somewhat random.
  • Real-time data is not represented by heatmaps
    Heatmaps function by acquiring data from people over time. The more information you collect, the more comprehensive your heatmap gets. But, there’s one main problem: people behave differently and you can never tell when a sudden change in user behavior will happen. And, when it does happen, your heatmap won’t be able to represent it quickly as compared to straightforward website metrics.
  • Heatmaps don’t provide enough information on their own
    Although a heatmap is an excellent tool for visualizing complicated data, it must still be analyzed even further. For example, if you recently found out that nobody is clicking on your CTA, then you need more information on why that is the case. Luckily, heatmaps function well with external analytic tools such as Google Analytics and can provide context for the data displayed on a heatmap.


With that said, heatmaps are super easy to understand. But, if you try to analyze one without understanding its limitations, it won’t be as useful and might bring you more harm than good.



Use Heatmaps To Improve Your Website


Building a strategy that encourages people to hang around, read a blog, and eventually convert, usually involves understanding how people engage with the content, structure, and on-page components of your site.


Fortunately, heatmaps are a great place to start. It’ll help you spot general issues that cause inconvenience as well as fresh ways to increase traffic and conversions. Giving people what they want, such as more website accessibility, more engaging content, and overall just a better customer experience, will give you the boost that you’ve been looking for.


So, as you start your journey of improving your website, a heatmap along with other analytics tools will give you an upper hand over your competitors.


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