Website heatmaps and analytics for start-ups: 6 tips

Sales tell start-ups if the product or service is selling. But it can’t explain anything other than amount.

Website heatmaps and analytics, on the other hand, answer the “why’s”: providing insight into what’s working, what’s not, and most importantly, why.

Image Credit: WPCurve
Image Credit: WPCurve

In a study by Baynote, online merchants listed analysis as the highest priority for customer retention.

The entire purpose of website heatmaps and analytic metrics are for the sole purpose of increasing your bottom line, and start-ups specifically, although they may lack the resources for it, benefit greatly from understanding what areas can be improved.

In previous years, start-ups would never be able to afford the big time data analytics software, but today, there are affordable, self-service analytical tools and heatmaps technology.

However, getting the data is just one part of the equation. Making sense of it is the other. Here are six expert tips around heatmaps and analytics, specifically for start-ups who have limited resources and tight budgets.

Tip #1: How you use the data is what’s important

Getting insightful data is no longer a problem, nor is it costly. Hotjar, for example, offers a free trial period for their website heatmaps analytics which provide detail around the behaviour of website visitors. This insight helps start-ups identify what gets the most attention, areas that can be improved, where to place certain elements, etc., all for the purpose of achieving your marketing purposes.

Image Credit: Hotjar
Image Credit: Hotjar

Website heatmaps show what’s getting the most attention.

The most challenging part of analytics for start-ups especially, is deciding what factors you need to consistently track and then how to translate that data into a format that can be used easily. The analytics tool itself will not improve your bottom line; but rather, how you use the information the tool provides in order to make improvements, is what makes the data meaningful.

In addition, analytics requires a disciplined routine, and actions that are driven by findings.

Tip #2: Outsource analytics

While start-up owners may understand the importance of analytics, it may prove difficult dedicating resources to generating, translating and using the results of the data.

The best solution may be to outsource the analysis and then drive the improvements internally.

But it still means your business will need to be consistently disciplined to implement the necessary actions.

Tip #3: First focus on your core product/service

While you may have the data at your disposal, as a start-up, it’s best to focus and master one area before moving on to others.

If you have less than 20 employees, your first focus area should be your core product or service metrics.

Metrics to define include:

Intent-to-use (what actions do customers take that tell the business they intend to use the product or service).
Activation (the first point where customers get value from the product or service).
Engagement (metrics that show how much value the customer gets from the product or service over time).

Tip #4: Don’t be fancy; stay focused

When you’re a start-up, you have to be very realistic because not only must cost be kept to a minimum, but you’ll probably lack the resources.

It’s essential to first have a plan, then find the right tools at the right prices, because it’s all too easy to get sucked into fancy, expensive tools that waste your money.

First come up with what exactly you want to analyse and why, and what you plan to do with the data, and then and only then, go shopping.

An excel spreadsheet may work just fine for your needs instead of a fancier, more expensive in the cloud alternative.

Don’t get side-tracked by sales reps who want to sell you all the bells and whistles you won’t need for a good few years still.

Firstround offers guidance as to what type of tools early start-ups should consider.

Tip #5: Why, why, why

Metrics are all very well and good for reporting purposes, but most start-ups won’t know what to do with the data so that it actually adds value to the business.

A simple method to find value in the data, is by asking, “why”?

Why are customers clicking there and not here on your website?
Why are customers abandoning their shopping carts?
Why is your product page’s bounce rate so high?
Why are customers not opening the emails you send them?

Tip #6: Automate data processing

As a start-up with limited resources, you’ll find it easier to maintain analysis consistently, if you spend some time initially setting up data processing so that it is easy for staff to run reports when needed, and not require heavy technical skills.

This may mean setting up processes that make things easier in the long run. For example, an employee can simply click one button to get the data and generate a report instead of always calling the one technical guy in the company.

In the long run, it will save time and cost because reports are generated faster and easier in order to be analysed.

You may want to hire a freelance data pro to set up your reporting for you.


Website heatmaps and analytics are essential for any online business, but start-ups specifically benefit greatly in the early days by seeing what’s working and what’s not and quickly making adjustments.

To make the most of your efforts, remember these tips:

1. How you use the data is what matters
2. Consider outsourced help
3. Focus on one area first, and the most important one
4. Avoid fancy
5. The “why” of the data is what makes it valuable
6. Automate as much as possible

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