Find Out What Visitors Are Doing On Your Official Music Site Or Blog
If you're serious about your music career, then you already have or intend to create an official website. Your host may provide you with analytics such as numbers of visitors and popular pages or you might turn to Google Analytics for a complicated array of information. But until you've checked out your site using tools that allow you to see what your visitors actually did and the way they did it, you won't fully understand if your site is supporting your career or not.
The most popular choice for website analytics is likely to be Google Analytics. It's free and offers quite a bit of information though it can take a while to sort out the options and figure out the details.
Google Analytics does include a visualization feature called In-Site Analytics that shows you how many times each link was clicked on your pages. But it's a bit misleading cause it doesn't really tell you which link was actually clicked.
For example, if you're on the homepage of your blog and the sidebar has recent posts, the same number will appear by the headline of a particular post and in the sidebar by the same headline. So it doesn't really give you a sense of what visitors are doing on the page.
Inspectlet: See What Your Site Visitors Are Doing
This week I checked out Inspectlet, one of a number of services that offer such features as heatmaps that give you a sense of what parts of your pages were seen and where people moved their cursor, a rough approximation of where the user is looking.
Inspectlet does have a limited free version that will allow you to test it out on your site but, after seeing the initial data, I was easily convinced that a paid plan would be worthwhile.
The primary features that interested me included 3 types of heatmaps:
Eye-tracking – following cursor movement as a proxy for eye movement.
Click – showing you which clicks got the most action.
Scroll – revealing how far visitors scroll down your pages.
These heatmaps offer views of your site that can be quickly digested while helping you understand what people are actually doing beyond the number of clicks or pageviews.
While I've had a bit of experience with heatmaps, I've never used anything like Inspectlet's screen capture feature. Basically they create a video of what's happening on each page with each visitor, up to the limits of your particular plan, which you can play back at a later date.
The heatmaps gave me information that I needed to know about the site I tested it on in a quick meaningful manner. But the screen captures struck me as something that I could really spend some time with to understand how people experienced my site in real time. So Inspectlet offers different levels of visualization that can be accessed according to your needs.
Why The Heck Would You Want Such A Thing?
There are multiple reasons you might want to examine heatmaps and visualizations related to your site.
For example, let's say you have your newsletter signup form or links to your music for sale at the bottom of each page. You've heard that it's better to have such things "above the fold," i.e. in the section of the page that one can see without scrolling, but you believe that it's the people who are checking out your content fully that are going to be most interested in subscribing to your newsletter and buying your music.
However if you looked at your site via the Scroll Heatmap, you might discover that only a tiny percentage of your visitors ever make it to the bottom of any of the pages on your site including the homepage. At that point you would realize that if you want your visitors to subscribe or shop, you'll have to move those links and forms up into the areas that people regularly check out.
While that's a fairly obvious example, it does show how you can use tools such as Inspectlet to go beyond common knowledge and see what's happening on your site with your visitors. Rather than guessing at why people are or are not responding to particular content or calls to action, you then have more concrete information on which to base your future decisions about your site.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.