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31 Days to a Better Blog--Days 16 & 17: Heatmaps and Stumble Ads

Buildingabetterblog2Day 16 of the 31 Day Challenge: Create a Heatmap of Where Users Click on Your Blog--OK, this challenge is starting to kick my butt. It's like the day in your new exercise plan when you SERIOUSLY reconsider your whole commitment to getting fit.

Anyway. . .  for Day 16 I'm creating a heatmap. The goal of a heatmap is to see exactly where on a page your users click. This can tell you a lot about how they're navigating through your site. Darren suggests a product called CrazyEgg, which, according to its site will help you:

  • Test different versions of a page to see which works better
  • Discover which ad placement gives the best results
  • Find out which design encourages visitors to click deeper
  • Learn which content leads to improved sales

I used something similar to Crazy Egg--the Site Overlay tool in Google Analytics--to see what people were clicking in my sidebars when I started to declutter them last week. It was a great way to see what people were really using on my site. The advantage of Crazy Egg is that it is very visual, using color to show you immediately where the "hot spots" are on a page. Another view called "Confetti" will show you individual clicks and their referring sources. Colorful.

To use Crazy Egg, you sign up for an account and set up a test. You also select how long you want the test to run--either for a certain time period or for a certain number of user visits. You're then given a snippet of code to embed in your blog to do the tracking.

I went ahead and set up my account and embedded the code, just to see if it's more useful than Google Analytics. It will be a few days before I'm going to see much, so I'll have to report back on this one..

Day 17--Run a StumbleUpon Ad Campaign
Although I don't talk much about it, my husband and I are StumbleUpon addicts. We'll actually sit next to each other in the living room on our individual laptops, "stumbling" and then showing each other what we find. If you haven't checked it out, you really should sign up.

So, the challenge task is to run a StumbleUpon ad campaign, which will cost me $5, but could gain me new readers, especially if I optimize my pages for it.  The problem with StumbleUpon visitors, though,  is that they're going to be harder to grab than other people. They've essentially arrived at your site randomly--not through a referring link or a search--and they have their fingers poised on the mouse button to click to the next random site if you don't grab them NOW. With that kind of visitor, you really have to make your page sticky to hold onto them.

I thought long and hard about doing this, but ended up deciding that for now, it's not for me. My observation with StumbleUpon is that a lot of those people are looking to be entertained, not educated--at least not on the types of things I write about. If I had funny videos or awesome photography, then I'd do it, but my topic area isn't really designed for StumbleUpon users.
Challenge Update--
The rest of the bloggers in the challenge are holding on, but based on comments and posts, I think they're in that dip in the project that I am. If you've been following along, we could use some words of encouragement I think. Drop by one of their blogs and leave a comment. Remember--there's chocolate in it for you.


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