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How Visitors Click through Blogs

Just as humans are diverse, they’re also creatures of habit. They do things in similar ways and feel more comfortable when things are a certain way and in a certain order. Certain web and blog designs work because they follow the way most people work through websites.

Many studies show that visitors spend more time looking at the left side of a web page than the right. In fact, one study from Nielsen Norman Group showed that web users spent 69 percent of their viewing time looking at the left half of a page — and because (in this Western culture) people read from left to right, this makes sense.

Due to this convention, you probably notice that many blog designs have a header and navigation menu at the top, a main column of content on the left, and a sidebar on the right.

Many well-designed blogs use other layout types successfully by using attention-grabbing design elements to pull readers to other parts of the blog design.

In addition, website visitors spend about 80 percent of their time on the part of a web page that’s above the fold (what’s viewable on a page before the visitor has to scroll down), according to another study from Nielsen Norman Group.

Although you can stick with conventions like these to help with your blog design, the web’s ever-changing nature means that conventions can change over time. The only sure-fire way to see how visitors behave on your own blog is to track mouse clicks.

You can track mouse clicks using heat maps. A heat map is a visual representation of website traffic that uses color-spot intensity to show how readers click through a website.

For example, you can track a blog’s clicks for a period of time to see what results you get. With a color spectrum where blue means fewer clicks and red means more clicks, notice that the About page tab on the top left of the page and the Twitter icon in the sidebar got the strongest amount of clicks.

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In addition, some of the navigation tabs — Online Course & E-book, Page Critiques, and Find a Designer — were clicked more often than the Advertising and Contact tabs, as denoted by the green spots on those tabs.

If you want to try out heat mapping to see how your blog design performs, you can try

All the preceding websites except Crazy Egg offer a limited, free plan as well as pay versions. With mouse tracking services like these, you can see exactly where visitors click, even when they click an area that isn’t clickable — meaning that you could discover people are clicking a design element that isn’t linking to anywhere but should be.

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