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clickheat logo Analytics are a great tool to use with any website or blog.  They help you understand where your traffic comes from and some of the ways that traffic behaves.  In the past, MakeUseOf has covered several free traffic analytics tools Free Traffic Analytics Tools you Should Know About Free Traffic Analytics Tools you Should Know About Read More to track all of your site’s statistics. Today, I’m going to tell you more about a free heatmapping analytics tool.

ClickHeat is a free software that lets you see heatmaps of your website and all the pages in it.  In order to make your content and design better, you need to know how your readers currently use your website.  ClickHeat allows you to learn more about the behavior of your readers than basic analytics tools do.

What are heatmaps?

Heatmaps are a visual way of showing you the behavior of your readers.  Think of it like the storm tracker you hear about all the time on the weather report.  The darker areas in the storm tracker mean a much higher concentration of bad weather.  The same rules apply to the view of your website.  The traffic areas on your website will get various colored areas around them to show how many clicks that area receives with the higher traffic areas being denoted by much darker areas.

clickheat pad example

As you can see, the bubbles show where my readers were clicking.  I do wish there was a little more red in the picture, but getting that many visitors will take some time.

Installation

The installation of ClickHeat can be a little challenging, but I’m going to provide you with a few tips that will make it much easier.  The first thing you must do is upload the ClickHeat files to your website.  Once that is complete, you need to go to http://www.yoursite.com/clickheat/index.php and follow the instructions to install ClickHeat.

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Those steps were all fairly easy, but the part that gave me a challenge was applying the HTML code to the different parts of my blog.  I tried to follow the instructions, but I was unable to get the code in the correct place after several tries.  Finally, I just placed the code at the bottom of my pages.  I started seeing results after I placed my code there, so I would recommend that you just start by putting your code there.

ClickHeat Options

One of the first settings you need to check when you install ClickHeat is the layout of your website.  You need to let ClickHeat know if your website is liquid and how it is set up.  Having a liquid website means that your website adjusts to the resolution of the person that is viewing the site.  If your web design options aren’t put in properly, the heatmaps won’t make any sense, because ClickHeat can’t collect the data properly.

ClickHeat gives you several options when it comes to your heatmaps.  You can find out which browser your users used or how people with different screen sizes used your website.  The changing of screen size could be a great source of data if your website doesn’t display properly for certain resolutions.  You can also change the transparency of the heatmaps in order to get the best view.  Also, you can group your heatmaps by day, week or month.

clickheat stats

Conclusion

ClickHeat won’t replace your traditional analytics tool, but it is a great way to quickly see how users and readers really use your website.  It is easy to get lost in all the numbers of a tool like Google Analytics and not see the big picture.  ClickHeat allows you to step back and look at how people use your site every day.  This knowledge will help you determine better ways to catch readers’ attention or find new ways to display your content.  I definitely think that anyone out there that is serious enough to check out their statistics should give ClickHeat a shot.

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