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What Are Your Site Visitors Looking At?

Knowing what site visitors see can help you attract their attention.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the November 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Just how much of your e-newsletter do your subscribers really read? Where's the best spot to put ads on your blog? How can your landing page invite more sales? By knowing what your prospects are not seeing, you can configure your online marketing campaigns for optimal viewing.

This isn't solely about conversion tracking, where you track an action, like a newsletter sign-up or an online sale. The problem is that you have an unlimited number of variables to test. For example, which exact words on your landing page are costing you customers? Tackling that potential problem seems impossible. Eye tracking to the rescue!

You can actually track the eye movements of your web page, blog or e-mail readers. Eye-tracking service providers--including Auragen Communications, Eyetools, EyeTracking and Nielson Norman Group--can use focus groups to reveal what people are and aren't seeing. You may get a heat map, which uses colors to indicate the most and least viewed areas of your web page. Or you may get an eye-flow report, which models individuals' visual paths across your web page.

Based on his company's analysis of more than 1,000 web pages, Eyetools CTO Greg Edwards debunks several online marketing myths.

Myth #1: More copy is better. People stop reading as soon as words lose value, so don't bury your selling points and assume readers will get to them.

Myth #2: Push your brand. Using your company logo and sprinkling your company name into your copy is fine. Starting most sentences or paragraphs with your company name is overkill.

Myth #3: Put everything above the fold. According to Edwards, a well-designed web page encourages scrolling. Unfortunately, many marketers jam too much information above the fold, which actually decreases reading.

When it comes to your online marketing campaigns, there are no one-size-fits-all rules for catching more customers. Don't try to guess what prospects see--let eye tracking show you.

Catherine Seda is a leading internet and search marketing expert. She's dean of internet marketing for LA College International and creator of the new Search Marketing MasteryT Pay-Per-Click training course and free lessons.

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