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These tools can help you improve your company’s website

Visualizing what users do on your site can help with improvement analysis

Hotjar’s heat map feature can isolate where users are pointing their mice and clicking on upon visiting your website.

Hotjar’s heat map feature can isolate where users are pointing their mice and clicking on upon visiting your website.

Yes, people are visiting your company’s website.

Yes, they’re clicking around and sometimes emailing, calling, or asking questions about your services.

But what are they doing when they get to your website? For years, analytics packages have been telling you how many unique computers visited a website in a given day, what links they clicked on, how long they were on the site for, what countries they visited from, and not much else. More specific data has been thin on the ground, leaving companies to guess as to what’s working, what needs to be changed, and having complete data to back up whether a site change has been effective or is merely preferred by employees.

Enter Hotjar (www.hotjar.com), which has become the big fish in the sea of user tracking and data interpretation for web site traffic. Hotjar, which is generally free for basic use, but also has different plans available at different price points, allows for users to track website data, usage patterns, as well as replays of users’ click patterns, cursor movements, and scrolling heatmaps. Companies can also incorporate feedback polls or send out surveys and forms that can be triggered when users enter certain sections of the website, as well as track when a visitor has abandoned the page and establish how much time and scrolling has elapsed before this happened. All of that information helps companies understand how visitors interact with their websites.

Hotjar is relatively easy to install, with a good tech support staff available on hand and tutorials available through the website. Once the Hotjar code has been installed into your website, users can open the dashboard to view reports, behaviors, and customize their Hotjar settings to yield better data feedback.

While Hotjar enjoys its status as top dog in this field, there are a considerable number of other tools you can look into that can pick up where Hotjar falls short, especially where feedback analysis and reporting are concerned:

Mopinion allows users to quickly submit comments and feedback to your company’s website.

Mopinion allows users to quickly submit comments and feedback to your company’s website.

Mopinion (www.mopinion.com): Where Hotjar falls short on user feedback and analysis, Mopinion offers these features in real-time. Companies can build custom user feedback forms in multiple languages as well as create feedback forms for demographics they might be struggling to convert. A series of smart alerts can also warn companies when quick action is needed to address user complaints or concerns from their end. Mopinion is available for free for a two-week trial period, and starts at $229 a month for its introductory plan.

Usersnap allows for visitors to make quick suggestions as to improvements to make to your website.

Usersnap allows for visitors to make quick suggestions as to improvements to make to your website.

Usersnap (www.usersnap.com): It’s unconventional and more of a development tool geared towards web designers, but it’s neat. Usersnap allows users to offer live comments and feedback as to a website’s design. Through a feedback button, users can make notes, add comments, and circle elements of the website they like or dislike. This feedback is then sent along as a screenshot, which can be extremely handy when working out a new site design. Usersnap begins at $29 per month for a basic package with prices and features scaling upwards from there.

SessionCam shows which areas of your website appear to be receiving the most mouse interactivity/attention with each visit.

SessionCam shows which areas of your website appear to be receiving the most mouse interactivity/attention with each visit.

SessionCam (www.sessioncam.com): If you’re looking to gauge where your company’s website is succeeding and where it’s falling short, there’s nothing better than video replays of site visits. SessionCam allows users to watch recordings of website visits, which can then be used to focus on where customers might be abandoning the website by closing the browser tab. Another nifty feature is that SessionCam uses a custom algorithm to detect struggle, creating a Customer Struggle Score for each recording that focuses on where a user might be frustrated with their website experience, which could provide honest, useful feedback that might not be available elsewhere. SessionCam is available as a free trial, with subscription services starting at $79 per month.

Hotjar’s heat map feature can isolate where users are pointing their mice and clicking on upon visiting your website.

Hotjar’s heat map feature can isolate where users are pointing their mice and clicking on upon visiting your website.

ClickTale (www.clicktale.com): Finally, ClickTale functions as a catch-all utility to help you study website traffic. The software collects visitor data from website sessions, and can filter them by user environment, demographics, mouse movements, traffic sources, in-page behavior and other criteria. Additional features include heatmapping, conversion funnels and form analytics for further data analysis after the fact. ClickTale is available for $99 a month for the basic plan, with a free trial available as well.

No one said having a website would be easy, and the Internet and its users can be extremely fickle at the best of times. Still, with tools like Hotjar and others, you can do better at spotting patterns, seeing what’s working and what isn’t, and listening to your audience.

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