The ClickHeat Web Site Service - A Heated Review

The ClickHeat Web Site Service - A Heated Review

ClickHeat Screen ShotClickHeat Screen Shot

The ClickHeat web site service is one of many out there that allow you to view a 'heat map' of clicks overlaid on any of your web site's pages. The heat map colors areas that get a greater number of clicks with a brighter color. I haven't yet had a chance to compare it with other, similar web site services out there, but out-of-the-box, this one has a lot going for it.

The Pros of the ClickHeat web site service

  1. It's FREE! I wouldn't neccessarily put this at the top of the list if everything else hadn't been pretty easy as well, but installation went fairly smoothly, and the learning curve was mild. So, you're not wasting good, billable time getting it installed.
  2. Few dependancies: The ClickHeat web site service is almost a stand-alone product. It requires PHP and the GD image library, but since it's installed on most hosts by default anyway, it's ready to go out of the box.
  3. Installation Wizard: One thing that's easy to skimp on if you're trying to get a piece of software out the door is a decent installer. The two-step ClickHeat installer is fairly decent (though not perfect), and gets the job done.
  4. Good help: I ran into a couple issues during the process of testing the ClickHeat web site service, but most times there was some kind of link or help message that lead me to the answer of what might be going wrong.
  5. Adaptable for different layout types: If you're a web developer and you're thinking ahead, you might wonder how the software works with different types of layouts. Every web site is a little different and handles different browsers and browser window sizes differently. ClickHeat lets you set what kind of layout your site has, whether it's fluid, fixed, or has fixed columns. Most web sites should fit into it's 7 different options.

The Cons of the ClickHeat web site service

I'm sure I'll have more to say about the cons Clickheat as I try a few more heat map services on my web site, but here's what I have so far:

  1. Not a lot of analysis available: You get to see the heat map based on clicks, but you don't get any additional features, like following a particular user through their clicks, or seeing additional details about a click when hovering. I suspect paid web analytics programs employ more powerful analysis services for web sites, but this is fairly simple.
  2. Not enough description for the admin options: I ran into a problem after specifying a 'white list' of referrers for the program, which for some reason disabled the clicks I was testing with. I had to head to the ClickHeat FAQs to find the answer. I just assumed that the input was required.
  3. Odd account and password entry: When setting the configuration of the site, you have to supply a username and password as if you were creating a new account, even if you're logged in. This isn't a huge deal, but this could be moved to another page.

All-in-all, ClickHeat seems like a decent, free web site service, especially if you're just trying to optimize a few of your pages. Additional levels of analysis would be nice, but this is an open source program, which means folks can add in some more functionality if they want it.

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