Hotjar: easily create heatmaps and user recordings (free)

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On the Joomladay Netherlands 2015 I visited a presentation by conversion specialist Theo van der Zee about optimizing conversion. One of his tips was a relatively new tool called Hotjar.com. It is designed for tracking the behaviour of the users on your websites with heatmaps and other means of tracking user behaviour. A heatmap is a visual way of displaying where users mostly click on, so that you can see whether they actually click on the buttons you want them to click. Also the tools offers user-recordings and tracking conversion funnels and forms. Actually this tool is pretty amazing!

Trying out is easy, because you can check one website with a free account. A free account entitles you to 3 heatmaps, record 200 visitors and more. Even a free account already gives you tons of information. After signing up for an account you first have to add some Javascript to your pages, similar to the code you use for Google Analytics. Once the code is verified you are ready to go. Let's go through the major options

Heatmaps

Setting up heatmaps is really easy: You simply enter the URL you want to monitor and that's it. If you have the Pro-version you can indicate for how many users the heatmap is generated, in the free version it is set to 1000, which is good enough. Then simply wait a while for your visiors to be tracked and depending on how many visitors you have your heatmap should be finished in a few days / weeks. However, before that you can already see the first users heating up. This is what you could get in the end:

hotjar heatmap

What you see here is where the users on this page usually click, and also how the fold is located averagely. If you hover over a specific heatmap, you see the actual number of clicks recorded too, as shown in the blue spot in the image above. You also get recordings per device so that you can distinguish behaviour on desktops, tablets and phones.

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User recording

Even more spectacular is the Recording feature. You can record up to 300 of your users in the free version. You actually see a full-length recording of the entire session on your site of the user, including the mouse-trail, scroll-behaviour and where they click on. In the overview of recordings you can see how long the session took, how many pages they visited, which browser they used, from which country they are, device, OS, etcetera:

hotjar user recording overview

Then simply choose one, or first use the extensive filter options you have. A video will be played for you with the entire session. This is an example screenshot of a video:

hotjar user recording

Very nice, right?

Funnels

The third feature I want to discuss is the conversion funnel. This allows you to set up an expected trail of URL's that you want to trace, like the checkout of a webshop or the path from your homepage to an newsletter subscription form. After setting up the URL's in the funnel, you might get someting like this:

hotjar conversion funnel

You can easily see where users drop off and the Watch button below each step allows you to search for users that dropped off on this page, allowing you to monitor their behaviour and possibly learning why they dropped off.

The rest

There is still a lot more in the tool. You can set up forms that you want to monitor to ind the handicaps user encounter while filling it in, but you even can set-up polls and surveys for users that leave your site. Of course you will have to think about whether your users will appreciate this, but it's all possible.

All together, I think even a free account gives you extremely valuable information. You can sign up for free here. If you like it enough and what to use it on all your sites, you can get a Hotjar Pro-account for €29,- per month (downgradable at any time), which is still not expensive.

About this site

Joomlaseo.com is fully built and written by Simon Kloostra, SEO Specialist and Webdesigner from the Netherlands. I have also published a book and blogs for companies like OStraining, TemplateMonster, SEMrush and others.