Analyze Visitor Behavior on Your WordPress Site with These Top Visual Tools
Gaining a better understanding of website visitor behavior is crucial for businesses that rely on their websites for customer attraction, conversions to revenue, and retention.
Fortunately for WordPress site owners, this is easier than ever now with a little help from plugins that provide visitor heatmaps and session recordings.
This post introduces several of your top options today.
Last Updated: June 16, 2020
What Are Heatmaps and Session Recordings?
Seeing What Your Website Visitors are Doing
To put it simply, heatmaps and session recordings allow you to visualize what your site visitors are doing while they are on your website.
Then, armed with this knowledge, you can make more informed decisions about how to improve your website for better user experience (UX or CX) and conversions.
The goal is to boost the performance of your site to better meet the objectives of your business or organization.
Heatmaps and session recordings are a form of website visitor analytics. They complement other analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, that deal more heavily in organizing and presenting raw numbers and metrics via data tables and graphs.
(You may also see these features written as ‘heat maps’ and ‘visitor recordings’ in various articles and vendor descriptions.)
How Do They Work?
Heatmaps and session recordings are driven by tracking code snippets installed on the pages of your website. WordPress users can usually place the proper tracking code with a simple plugin offered by the analytics vendor of choice.
Once installed and configured, the tracking code collects visitor session data that enables the visualizations of user activity on the site.
Several Worthy Choices
There are many choices and methods for adding essential visitor stats and analytics to a WordPress website.
But only some of them offer heatmap and session recording features. That makes it easier to narrow down the list of options.
Read on to learn about several of the top contenders for adding heatmap and/or session recording capabilities to your WordPress site.
(Many of these offer additional helpful analytics and conversion optimization features as well.)
A Visual Approach to Visitor Behavior Analytics
Hotjar aims to be ‘the fast and visual way to understand your users’, with a focus on heatmaps and session recordings as the primary measurement tools. They also offer several interesting user feedback tools.
Hotjar’s target market includes marketers, product managers, and UX designers.
Hotjar is multi-platform and works with many website builders and CMS platforms. WordPress users can implement it quickly using the Hotjar WordPress plugin to connect the WP site to a Hotjar customer account.
Hotjar Intro Video
Hotjar Core Features
Hotjar’s main features include:
- Heatmaps – Visualize user clicks, taps, and scrolling behavior
- Visitor Session Recordings – For on-screen visitor behavior analysis, including mouse movements, clicks, taps, etc.
- Conversion Funnels – Identify key points where content and process improvements can boost conversion rates
- Form Analysis – Boost form completion rates by understanding why visitors abandon forms and form pages
- Feedback Polls – Add targeted questions to identify opportunities for website improvements
- Incoming Feedback – Provide an easy way for site and app users to leave quick visual feedback
- User Surveys – A flexible way to collect even more user insights about preferences, objections, and concerns
- Test User Recruiting – Identify and incentivize participants for user research and testing projects
Hotjar organizes product pricing into three categories: Personal, Business, and Agency. Pricing is on a per-website basis, though a single Hotjar account can manage multiple websites.
There are discounts available for non-profits as well.
Basic – A ‘free forever’ plan for up to 2,000 pageviews per day. Limited reports, unlimited team members, and data storage for 365 days.
Plus – $29 per month for data collection on as many as 10,000 pageviews per day. Unlimited reports and team members, data storage for a year, and a free 15-day trial period. Also includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Hotjar’s business plans are all based on how much data collection is happening, based on number of website pageviews per day.
The pricing breakpoints start at 20,000 pageviews per day and can run as high as 2,000,000 or higher pageviews per day.
Business pricing starts at $89 per month for 20K pageviews per day. It increases at logical breakpoints along the way to $989 per month for 800K pageviews per day.
Custom pricing applies to anything higher.
All Hotjar business plans include:
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Unlimited reports
- Unlimited team members
- Data storage for a year
- Removal of Hotjar branding
- Access to advanced features
- 15-day free trial
For agencies and marketing consultants working with client accounts, Hotjar offers discount volume pricing and a few other important goodies:
- Unlimited client sites within a central agency account
- Client access to visitor metrics
- Rebrandable interface for agency branding purposes (‘white label’ approach)
As a website user behavior analytics solution, Hotjar’s more visual emphasis stands apart from other popular tools, such as Google Analytics.
Many website owners use Hotjar in addition to, not instead of, Google Analytics or its alternatives.
Some analytics tools also include some level of heatmap and session recording functionality, so those webmasters will need to see for themselves if adding Hotjar makes sense. (For example, see Matomo and Visitor Analytics further below)
However, Hotjar’s other features, such as feedback polls and user survey tools, may tip the scale toward using Hotjar instead of, or in addition to, other website analytics platforms.
Visitor Snapshots, Heatmaps, and Recordings
Similar in several ways to Hotjar, Crazy Egg is another vendor that provides a highly visual approach to understanding website user behavior.
They provide visual reports such as heatmaps, individual session recordings, A/B testing tools, and a content editor, all designed to help you understand your site visitors’ behavior and then make informed changes and improvements based on these user insights.
Crazy Egg is intended for companies (SMB and enterprise), ecommerce shops (including Shopify), and marketing agencies serving multiple accounts, too.
They’ve been in business since 2005 and claim over 300,000 accounts in service as of June 2020.
Here’s a quick overview video.
Crazy Egg Intro Video
Crazy Egg Core Features
This platform’s main features include:
- Snapshots – Crazy Egg Snapshots include a variety of reports that show visitor activity in different ways based on data collected over a period of time. Report types include static heatmap snapshots, scrollmap reports, confetti snapshots, page overlay click percent reports, and numerical list reports for various web page elements. Some reports have additional filter options based on user segments, etc.
- Recordings – For a more dynamic view of site visitor activity, session recordings can be very useful. Watch users navigate your site and pages. See where they move their mouse or fingers and click on links and action buttons. Visitor recordings can help you identify and remove conversion roadblocks and build better user experiences.
- A/B Testing – Crazy Egg provides tools for simpler A/B testing (or split testing). They make it easier to set up tests and measure results, with no complicated setup or coding required.
Crazy Egg Pricing
Crazy Egg offers a free 30-day trial. Then there are four main paid tiers, ranging from Basic to Pro.
Basic is $24/month based on annual billing. Pro is $249/month.
Their Plus plan is the most popular, at $99/month.
Plans vary in terms of tracked pageviews per month (30,000 minimum), number of recordings per month (100 minimum), recordings storage duration (3 months min), and support levels (priority support at Pro and Custom levels).
All plans offer unlimited A/B tests and edits, and unlimited websites.
Crazy Egg Summary
As a vendor focused on visual behavior analysis, Crazy Egg offers a good bundle of essential tools that starts at under US $300 per year.
For many users, it’s an essential tool on top of other analytics platforms such as Google Analytics.
If your main goal at the moment is to add heatmaps, session recordings, and even A/B testing to your website analytics stack, I think you’d be insane not to give Crazy Egg a good look. 🙂
Heatmaps, Session Recordings, and User Feedback Tools
Lucky Orange is another vendor worth considering for visual analytics insights. Their goal is to offer a complete conversion rate optimization and customer feedback platform.
They’re similar to Hotjar in that they combine visual tools, such as heatmaps, with other features that help collect user feedback (polls, chat, etc.)
Here’s an animated video overview for Lucky Orange.
Lucky Orange Intro Video
Lucky Orange Core Features
Main features include:
- Visitor Dashboard – Lucky Orange includes a nice-looking analytics dashboard with a wide range of analytics widgets available. Metrics can be further enhanced by using Behavior Tags.
- Visitor Recordings – Similar to other session recording tools, Lucky Orange lets you view anonymous recordings of site user sessions. See where people move the mouse or pointer, where they click and scroll, where they might be getting stuck in your desired conversion path, etc. Handles dynamic page elements, as well.
- Heat Maps – Learn what’s popular and not popular on your site’s pages, based on aggregate data from many visitor sessions. Color codings range from hot to cold, as is typical with heatmaps and scrollmaps. Can be further segmented for more meaningful analysis.
- Polls – Use quick and unobtrusive on-site polls to quickly gather user feedback on your most important pages.
- Form Analytics – Understand how your call-to-action forms are performing, where users abandon them, etc.
- Conversion Funnel Analysis – Create multi-step conversion funnels based on behavior tags. Then analyze where people abandon your funnel flow, identify and fix pain points at key steps.
- Support and Sales Chat – For real-time visitor interaction, Lucky Orange offers a two-way chat feature that can be used by support teams, pre-sales, etc. Help visitors get over hurdles and engage further while they’re still on your site.
To make setup easier, Lucky Orange also offers a WordPress plugin here.
Lucky Orange Pricing
Lucky Orange offers a free 7-day trial. Then there are four main paid tiers, ranging from Starter to Large.
(And like other tools, there’s a customizable Enterprise level at the highest end, with TBD pricing.)
The good news is that you can get started with Lucky Orange for as little as US $10 per month! That’s very good and will work for many smaller websites (up to 25,000 pageviews per month).
The Small Business tier is popular at $20/month. The Medium and Large tiers are $50/month and $100/month, respectively.
The pricing tiers offer varying numbers of pageviews per month, and different numbers of sites and admin users.
All plans offer unlimited recordings and heat map data (‘rolling 30 days’)
They also have white label and agency plans. Contact their sales team for more details.
Lucky Orange Summary
Lucky Orange really packs a lot of features and value into a single platform aimed at conversion rate optimization. They go well beyond the usual heatmap and session recording focus.
They are also serious about capturing market share in this segment of website analytics and conversion rate optimization. Their entry pricing is very competitive. They also scale in a logical fashion all the way to medium, large, and custom enterprise bundles.
Visitor Analytics IO
Website Stats, Heatmaps, and More
Positioned as an alternative to Google Analytics, Visitor Analytics IO is also worth a look for its heatmaps and session recording features.
As the screenshot below also shows, the development team is also working to add direct visitor interaction features, such as chat, polls, and survey.
Other features for SEO and advertising are also on the roadmap.
Visitor Analytics IO is a multi-platform app that supports WordPress and many other popular website builders. They have a total of over 2 million installations worldwide.
See their introduction video below.
- Independence from Google Analytics and the GA cloud
- Essential website visitor stats coupled with user behavior analytics
- Session recordings and heatmaps
- Funnel and conversion analysis
- Strong focus on data privacy. Completely GDPR and CCPA compliant
- Instant data processing and real-time visitor stats
- Well-organized metrics dashboard
- Simplified, intuitive interface vs. typical GA-based reports
- Free of advertising
- No data sharing with 3rd parties
- 100% data ownership (you own your data, not Google)
- Chat, polls, surveys, and other customer interaction data (in development)
- SEO tools (in development)
- Whitelabel options for digital marketing agencies
Visitor Analytics offers a limited free option (up to 1000 site visits per month), followed by four paid plans. The pricing tiers vary by number of website visits per month, as well as number of visitor recordings and heatmaps provided.
- Basic – up to 100,000 visits/month with 15 visitor recordings and 1 heatmap for under US $6 monthly
- Advanced – up to 250,000 visits/month with 25,000 visitor recordings and 15 heatmaps for under US $10 monthly
- Pro – up to 500,000 visits/month with 50,000 visitor recordings and 30 heatmaps for under US $20 per month
- Pro Plus – up to 750,000 visits/month with 75,000 visitor recordings and 50 heatmaps for under US $30 per month
The four paid tiers include all the core product features and full online support.
For visual analytics such as heatmaps and recordings, Visitor Analytics IO is a worthy contender with attractive pricing across the board. It may not yet have as much brand recognition as other WordPress plugins in this area, but I expect to see its WP user base grow steadily at these price points.
It’s also a credible alternative to Google Analytics, more generally speaking. It’s very privacy focused and has a solid core feature set that will satisfy the analytics needs of many website owners.
Ecommerce Website Recordings and Heatmaps
Nobody relies on their websites for direct revenue more than ecommerce store owners.
So, it makes sense that WordPress plugins would come along that focus on visual analysis and conversion optimization specifically for online stores.
HumCommerce is one of the more notable plugins in this niche.
Sure, it’s true that other visitor analytics tools can also address at least some ecommerce needs. But it’s nice to see a tool like HumCommerce that is backed by a team with a strong ecommerce background that goes back many years.
Here’s a brief intro video.
HumCommerce Intro Video
HumCommerce Core Features
- Analytics Dashboard – View key user behavior analytics directly within your HumCommerce dashboard.
- Visitor Session Recordings – Replay the essential actions of visitor sessions. View clicks, mouse movements, scrolling, page changes, etc.
- Heatmaps – See color-coded representations of visitor interest areas.
- Conversion Funnels – See where your online shoppers drop off through your entire conversion sequence. View data on entry and exit points, progression to next stages, etc.
- Form Analytics – Track how visitors interact with the forms on your website. Improve form conversions by improving form design and reducing user friction.
- Cart Abandonment Analysis – Find out why shoppers aren’t completing checkouts after adding products to their carts. Boost revenues by improving conversion rates at this key stage of visitor behavior.
- Visitor Analytics – View and analyze core visitor metrics, measure engagement, downloads, external links, etc. Add segments and filters to dive deeper.
- User Surveys – Ask users about features, products, pricing, site changes, and other things that can lead to happier customers and more online revenue.
- Media Analytics – Track engagement stats with your product videos and audio files. See user behavior before and after media plays.
- Multi-Platform Ecommerce Support – HumCommerce supports most popular ecommerce platforms, including WooCommerce, Magento, OpenCart, PrestaShop, X-Cart, and osCommerce.
- Expert Consulting – Get assistance from HumCommerce experts when you need extra help with analysis and data interpretation.
For WordPress users, also be sure to check out the HumCommerce plugin for WordPress.
HumCommerce offers a free 30-day trial that includes all features.
Beyond that, their main premium offer is $99 per month or $999 if paid annually.
HumCommerce Premium includes:
- Up to 20 websites
- 40,000 pageviews per month
- 750 visitor recordings per month
- 6-month data retention
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Want to arrange for a different custom plan? Contact HumCommerce directly to discuss other options.
It’s great to see an ecommerce-specific conversion optimization tool, such as HumCommerce, for WordPress.
They go beyond simple heatmaps and session recordings, bundling a nice range of online revenue-boosting tools that will fill the needs of many ecommerce shops.
Another Good Bundle of Conversion Optimization Tools
Over 165,000 customers rely on Mouseflow for heatmaps, session replays, and other conversion-focused analytics tools to help optimize website performance and business results.
Mouseflow works with WordPress and an impressive range of other platforms.
Here’s a helpful intro video that shows their Live Heatmap capabilities.
Mouseflow Intro Video
Mouseflow Core Features
- Custom Dashboards – Build and customize your own dashboard. Include your favorite and most important reports and then share the dashboard with other team members. Includes multiple filtering options, as well.
- Session Replays – Observe anonymous individual user sessions, after the fact, to gain insight into on-site behavior and potential problem areas.
- Heatmaps – See colorful heatmap page overlays that show the hot, warm, and cold elements of your key site pages. Adjust important page elements, such as call-to-action (CTA) buttons, based on visitor attention data. Mouseflow’s heatmap suite covers clicks, movement, scrolling, user attention, and geography.
- Funnels – Build and analyze conversion funnels to better understand progression through key buyer journey steps. Includes Mouseflow’s ‘Page Friction’ score.
- Form Analytics – Monitor how your site visitors engage with your forms. Measure important metrics such as form drop-offs, refills, blank submissions, and errors. Filter and segment the data for even more granular insights… then make informed changes to fix problem areas.
- User Feedback – Gain immediate user feedback by placing brief and unobtrusive surveys on key pages. Show your visitors, while they’re still on-site, that you truly value their feedback.
Mouseflow offers a 14-day free trial that includes heatmaps, funnels, forms, and feedback tools.
There are three main levels for paid users, at US $24, $79, and $299 monthly costs (when paid on an annual plan). These are the Starter, Growth, and Pro tiers.
The paid levels vary by number of recordings per month, number of websites allowed, and months of storage. Pageviews are unlimited across all plan tiers.
There’s also a high-end Enterprise plan with customizable features and pricing.
There is even a Free Forever plan with limited features and sessions per month. If you start a trial but then don’t move into a paid plan, you’ll simply be downgraded to the Free Forever level.
For a complete breakdown of pricing and features, check out Mouseflow’s pricing page here.
With so many customer accounts overall, including over 5,000 active WordPress installations, Mouseflow deserves serious consideration for any WordPress site in need of heatmaps, session recordings, and related conversion optimization capabilities.
They compare well with other full-featured visitor analytics and CRO platforms, and have an entry price point that won’t break the bank for most organizations serious about making website improvements that drive better business results.
Comprehensive Platform for Visitor Behavior Analysis
Matomo (formerly Piwik) is an open-source analytics platform that is focused on its customers having 100% ownership of their data, along with user privacy protections.
It has options for visitor recordings and heatmaps, and is also a primary alternative to using Google Analytics.
Matomo is used on over 1.4 million websites in over 190 countries. They have cloud-based as well an on-premises options for data storage.
Matomo Intro Video
Matomo Heatmaps and Session Replays
Matomo offers a number of paid add-ons, including visitor recordings and heatmaps. (See pricing details below.)
Here’s a brief video introduction to the heatmaps add-on.
Matomo pricing varies by tier level and also by cloud vs. on-premises hosting plan selected.
Cloud hosting comes at three levels: Essential, Business, and Enterprise. Pricing here ranges from US $19 per month to $TBD (customized) at the Enterprise level.
Cloud-hosted data is stored in Frankfurt, Germany.
WordPress installations are self-hosted (on premises), so everything runs on your WordPress server.
All core features are included for WordPress installations, including WooCommerce analytics.
Premium options include:
- Search Engine Keywords Performance ($79/year)
- Funnels ($99/year)
- Users Flow ($39/year)
- Heatmap and Session Recording ($119/year)
- Paid Advertising Performance ($89/year)
- Custom Reports ($119/year)
- Forms ($89/year)
- Media Analytics ($89/year)
- Multi-Channel Conversion Attribution ($39/year)
- Cohorts ($59/year)
Optional features that are *not* available for WordPress installations include Activity Log, White Label, A/B Testing, Roll-Up Reporting, and the SAML and LDAP integrations.
If you’d like to implement a non-Google analytics platform that also includes very affordable options for heatmaps and visitor session replays, then Matomo is a top option.
With strong data privacy protections, flexible hosting options for WordPress and non-WordPress sites, and a nice range of paid add-ons, Matomo is a comprehensive analytics platform.
It may deliver all the visitor metrics and behavior analysis you need, all together in one integrated package.
Other Heatmap and Session Replay Plugins
Heatmaps and Session Recordings are Easy in WordPress
One of the great things about WordPress is that it’s so incredibly flexible and extensible. There are endless ways to add functionality to a WP website.
In the area of visitor behavior analysis, heatmaps and session recordings for WordPress sites are just two examples of this extensibility.
I hope this article helps to introduce you to a few good options worth considering for your site.
Specifically for B2B firms, there’s also the potential added value of implementing website visitor tracking tools designed specifically to help companies turn website visitor data into B2B sales leads. Some of these offer WordPress plugins as well.
In any case, good luck with your selections and implementation. Please drop a comment below if you have any feedback or other thoughts to add.
Comments and Feedback
Have you implemented any heat mapping analytics for your WordPress site?
How about visitor session recordings and replays?
Which is most helpful for you, and why?
Should I add any other WordPress plugin options to my discussion above?
Feel free to add your thoughts below!
Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing with your social networks.