Hotjar is a really powerful website analytics and feedback tool that reveals exactly what your visitors think of your website, including the most common issues they have, and what they like the most about it.
Although Hotjar is useful for improving website conversion rates and increasing sales, most people don’t really know how to get the most from it. Often they set it up quickly, and can be disappointed with what they find, or don’t know its true potential.
That’s why I’ve created this in-depth guide to help you maximize the true potential of this tool and boost sales on your website.
This guide will help you understand the most important part of conversion rate optimization—conversion research—and how you can use it to improve any kind of site, from ecommerce to startup websites.
Why Use Hotjar to Improve Your Website’s CRO?
Hotjar is a web analytics and feedback tool that measures how visitors behave when they’re on your website and helps gain feedback from them.
It is used alongside traditional web analytics tools like Google Analytics to create a powerful tool to help you drive more sales.
These are the best features that Hotjar has to help improve your website conversion rate and sales:
- Session recordings: These are representations of real-life actions visitors take while they browse your website. The recordings capture mouse movement, scrolling, and clicks across multiple web pages and devices. This can be used to see where users may be having difficulty and their most common paths through your website.
- Surveys: This feature allows you to create on-site surveys to gain a better understanding of how visitors experience your website. Based on the answers in the surveys, you’ll be able to spot patterns and see where you might need to improve your site.
- Heat maps: This feature allows you to visualize user behavior by generating representations of where users click, move, and scroll on your website. It helps you to learn which elements get ignored and which features are most popular. This is useful for adding or removing features on your site that may be more or less valuable to users to increase conversion rates and sales.
They also have a ‘feedback’ tool that shows a feedback widget on your website, but that generally doesn’t get much usage by website visitors and gives limited feedback, with many user responses wanting feedback from your customer support.
How to Optimize Conversion Rates with Hotjar
Now that you have a broad overview of what Hotjar is and some of the key features it offers, let’s take a look at how exactly to use them.
Part 1: Collect website feedback and data using Hotjar
Time required for this part: You will need a few hours to setup surveys and then several days to get responses, and also you will need at least 7 days of data from heatmaps and session recordings to analyze (depending on how much traffic you have).
If you are a new user you will need to create a Hotjar account. They offer a free basic plan, so I suggest you try that first. Then you need to add the tracking code to your website – simply use the install guide Hotjar provides for each website platform to help you with this.
You can install Hotjar via Google Tag Manager, Shopify, WordPress, or any other major website creation tool.
1: Create a full-page survey for visitor feedback
Hotjar’s survey tool is excellent for gaining insights from your website visitors, and discovering their biggest issues, doubts, frustrations or needs are for your website and what you are offering.
Rather than just using their pop-over surveys (their name for polls) which are better suited for asking single questions, you need to use a full page survey with a link to get detailed feedback. To do this you need to choose the survey type called ‘Link’ (see image below).
You also need to use the option for ‘on-site invitation’ with a message that pops up asking users to give their feedback. I suggest offering an incentive to increase the amount of responses you get, like a discount to what you are offering.
Then choose the ‘invitation targeting’ option and the for the ‘behaviour’ option choose to pop up the invite after they have been on your website for 90 seconds. Popups that show up earlier will be too early for visitors to give any meaningful feedback, and it may annoy them.
Creating about 5-10 questions is ideal. Any more and you will get lower completion rates. You will need at least 50 responses to analyze in the second phase of this guide for how to use Hotjar.
I recommend using these questions for getting the most useful feedback for improving your website:
- What were your first impressions of this website?
This simple question is important to ask because visitors often judge whole websites very quickly based on what they first see.
- Do you have any doubts or hesitations about our website or products?
Asking this is good for understanding if there are any trust or credibility issues in particular.
- Is there anything stopping you from purchasing right now?
This is one of the most important questions to gain insights from, and is good for using on pricing, product or service pages.
- What would increase the chances of you purchasing, other than lower prices?
Asking this will help you understand if there is anything you could be offering or improving, and is very important for ecommerce sites.
- What are the key factors that influence your purchase decision?
When you find out what these key factors are you can improve your website and offerings to better influence your visitors.
Avoid asking questions that only focus on your product/service and visitor demographics.
2: Create a similar survey to send to your customers
Now you need to a similar survey just for customers, as it is important to discover what nearly stopped them from purchasing, what issues they experience, and to gain improvement ideas.
Simply use the same set up for the visitor survey, but you don’t need to use the on-site invitation option.
Instead, you will need to create an email that invites customers to take this survey using the link, with a good incentive.
You just need to ask slightly different questions that relate to your customers instead of visitors
I suggest using these ones to get the most useful feedback and ideas to improve your website:
- Was there anything that nearly stopped you from purchasing?
This is one of the most revealing questions you can ask, and the answers will help you improve your website to fix issues for potential customers.
- What did you think of your experience on our website?
A good open ended question that can reveal insights about many things.
- Was it easy to order our product? How easy was the checkout process?
This question is essential for finding insights about improving your checkout or signup pages — and quickly fixing these.
- Was there any missing information that would have been helpful to know before you purchased?
Maybe you aren’t making key things very clear or prominent on your website. This question helps you discover what information needs adding.
- What were the key factors that influenced your purchase decision for this type of product?
This question will help you understand what details your potential customers will want to see most prominently on your website.
- Did you consider using any other websites before purchasing from us? Did you prefer anything about them?
This is question is great for gaining insights from competitor websites.
Asking about 10 questions is a good amount of questions. If you ask more than that, you will get lower response rates.
3: Wait 7 days to gather enough data from session recordings and heatmaps
You will then need to wait at least 7 days for Hotjar to gather heatmap data and session recordings on your website, but that ultimately depends on how much traffic you get per day. This is what you need to gather before you can review and look for insights:
- For heatmaps you need at least 500 sessions for each of your key pages (ideally on mobile and desktop).
- For session recordings you need at least 1000 sessions to be able to filter and find good insights.
If you have a very high traffic website, with over 10K users per day, you may get this within a few days.
Part 2: Look for insights from Hotjar findings
Time required for this part: This is the most important part, and you ideally need to spend at least 5 hours reviewing the results from your surveys, and the data from your heatmaps and session recordings.
In this essential part you gather insights and website improvement ideas. This is a key part of conversion research, and doing this leads to better understanding of your visitors and their issues and needs, and therefore better website improvement ideas.
If you don’t spend adequate time reviewing findings and creating insights then you won’t get very good website improvement ideas. Here are the main insights to look for when analyzing your findings.
1: Review heatmaps for user insights
First you need to gain good insights from a heat maps of each of your key pages. This will help you create ideas to improve them.
The goal is to generate at least 10 heat or scroll maps that you can use to increase your sales and make your website better.
Here are some key things to consider when reviewing heatmaps for each of your key pages:
- Are visitors clicking or looking at parts of a specific page that you would expect?
- Are any elements being ignored that are important to your goals and need promoting better?
- What links in the navigation are clicked most or least? This gives you a great idea of visitor intent and for optimizing menu contents.
- Is anything being clicked on more than your main CTA buttons? This may indicate confusion or non engaging CTA wording.
- Are visitors not scrolling veryfar down your pages and often not seeing key content?
2: Review session recordings for issues and bugs
Next you need to start watching recordings of your visitors on your website. But to get the most insights from them you have to know what to look for – and not just watch them all as this can be very time consuming. Here are some best practices to help you:
- Review recordings from your most important pages first – your homepage, your product or service pages, and your signup/checkout flow. You can setup filters to only see these.
- Use the filter option to look for ‘rage clicks’ which are when a user repeatedly clicks on the same thing, which usually indicates confusion or that something is broken. See rage click example in the video below.
- Watch at least 10 videos for each key page to get a feel for how users interact with each of them.
- Look for which parts of the pages visitors seem to get stuck on or don’t seem to notice.
- Look for any small errors or usability issues that you may not have noticed before.
- Review recordings on mobile devices too – these are really important for gaining insights into your mobile visitors and their challenges.
- When reviewing each video, use the tag feature for recordings using words that help you summarize what happens (checkout issue, confused, purchaser etc).
Using these tips be sure to create at least 10 insights as you review your visitor session recordings.
3: Review survey responses for issues, doubts, frustrations and needs
After you have got enough responses to each of your surveys you need to start looking for insights from the feedback you have received. Here are the most important things to do to maximize your insights:
- Understand which parts of your website they think need improving the most.
- Understand purchase motivations of your visitors – do you give them enough information to purchase?
- Discover major issues of visitors using your website, and what they had most trouble finding or doing.
- Learn which competitors they like using, and reasons why. What is lacking on your website in comparison to them?
- For your multiple choice questions, see which responses are most common. The results graph lets you quickly see the most common responses.
- When reviewing your responses, use a spreadsheet to list each insight you find, how often each is mentioned, along with the page it relates to. See below for an example spreadsheet I created.
The goal is to create at least 10 website improvement insights based on feedback from your surveys.
Part 3: Create and launch high-impact improvement ideas
Time required for this part: You should spend at least 3 hours creating ideas based on insights, ideally brainstorming with other team members.
This is where things get exciting and you start to launch website improvements based on the insights you have gathered using Hotjar. But to ensure greatest chances of increasing your website sales, you need to know how to best turn the insights into ideas, and know what to launch first for biggest impact.
1: Turn your insights into improvement ideas
Now that you have created some excellent insights from your findings in part 2, next you need to turn them into website improvement ideas. To help you do this, you need to create a spreadsheet and add the following things for each idea:
- A short descriptive name for your improvement idea.
- A hypothesis for each idea (the reason why you think it will have a good impact).
- The insights used to create each idea (for example insights from Hotjar or web analytics).
- Estimate the likely impact the idea would have on increasing conversions and sales (ranked 1 to 10, with 10 being highest potential).
- List how much traffic each page gets relating to each idea – the more the better (ranked 1 to 10, with 10 being highest traffic).
- Estimate how easy the idea would be to launch in terms of design and development (rank 1 to 10, with 10 being easiest).
Here is a sample of the tool I use to list and prioritize website improvement ideas, which you can download for free in my toolbox:
2: Prioritize the improvement ideas based on highest impact
Rather than guess at what improvement or test idea to launch first on your website (which can lead to varying success), with the information you listed for each idea you can now prioritize and determine the ones that will have a better chance of increasing your website sales.
To do this prioritization, on your ideas spreadsheet simply sort the likely impact column to show highest rated ones first. Then look for the ideas towards the top that have the highest ease of launch rating – these are going to give you the quickest and biggest impact on improving your website. These are known as low hanging fruit, and typically will involve changing simple things on key pages like headlines, imagery and call-to-action buttons.
3: Start launching highest potential ideas first, and progress through all ideas
Once you have determined the improvement ideas that will likely have biggest impact and easiest to implement, start launching the ideas one at time. You will need to get your website designer and developer to help create the visuals and code. Don’t forget to get help from the marketing team to help you writing better headlines, wording and call-to-actions too.
For each improvement you launch, monitor the impact on your key metrics in your Google Analytics reports, both for the page you are trying to improve (e.g. lower exit rate and higher conversion rate) and for your website as a whole (e.g. increased website conversion rate and improved shopping cart abandonment rate).
Ideally you should A/B test a few variations for each improvement idea as this helps you experiment and find the best performing variation for your ideas. For low traffic pages this A/B testing may not be possible though – this guide will help you if you low traffic.
After you have launched about 5 improvements to your website, you should start to see some great impact on increased conversion rates and sales. Don’t stop there though, keep working through the list until you have launched all of the ideas you created.
Optimize Your Website with the Help of a CRO Expert
This guide will help you make the most out of the Hotjar tool to improve your website sales.
Ideally, you should repeat this process at least once a year on your website, and definitely when you have just changed major elements on it.
To get best results from using Hotjar and increasing your conversion rates, reach out to me today and get a free consultation and CRO teardown. I use Hotjar with all of my clients with high-impact results, and have 15 years experience in CRO.