You might remember hearing about Winning the Web‘s contest wherein one of the top prizes was a paid review on John Chow dot Com. Well, the winner of that review is Ron from dotdriven.com and he’s decided to cash in his review by promoting ClickTale, an online service that records every action of your site’s visitors.
More Than Just Metrics
There are a lot of stats for bloggers and webmasters to keep track of. We want to know where website traffic is coming from, what keywords are driving them our way, how many unique visitors we’re getting, and so forth. All of these numbers are important, of course, but they fail to measure exactly what your site’s visitors are doing while surfing your blog or website. Yes, you can track page views, but you fail to observe their actual surfing patterns.
That’s where ClickTale comes into play. The main service that they offer is the ability to create “movies of visitors’ every mouse movement, every click and every scrolling action.” In a nutshell, you’re shown a video of what a single visitor did while they were on your site, from scrolling down the page to clicking on your affiliate links. It’s actually pretty neat and gives you an “inside look”, as it were, into the minds of your visitors. They are real people, after all, and not just numbers on a graph.
Generating and Implementing the Script
When you start a new project in ClickTale, you will be presented with a simple form to fill. Although it may look like you have more options available to you, the only variable is the percentage of website visitors you would like to record. If you have a relatively low level of traffic, you can probably get away with 100% recording, but if you’ve got John Chow dot Com kind of traffic, you might want to dial it down.
You might be wondering why you wouldn’t want to record 100% of your traffic anyways. Well, that’s because not all of ClickTale’s services are free. There are four pricing plans and only one of which won’t cost you a penny. The free plan gives you 100 recordings each week and a maximum of two domains. The personal, standard, and professional plans are $19, $49, and $99 a month, respectively.
Voyeurism: Dot Com Mogul Style
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m invading on the privacy of my visitors when I watch the videos of their surfing habits, especially since they don’t know that I’m doing it. Even so, the ClickTale movie tool is very useful, because it lets you see what a real visitor is doing on your site. I set up the code for my fighting games blog and learned that visitors typically don’t scroll all the way to the bottom of a page. I guess that makes sense.
There are a handful of options and tidbits of information for you to enjoy about each and every visitor that’s recorded. For starters, you see what country they’re in, how long they stayed, where they came from, what page they arrived at first, and exactly where they clicked on your site (it records left, right, and center mouse button clicks). You can watch the video in real-time or accelerate it up to 10x.
Beyond the Videos
The above-described videos are the main product offered by ClickTale, but there are also ClickTale Heatmaps (included with your account) that show you how much time people spend on each portion of your site. As you collect more data from more visitors, this information becomes a little more accurate and more reliable. Using these two tools in tandem, I can definitely see some value in ClickTale. There’s no harm in giving the free account a whirl. Heck, there’s even an affiliate program!