Using heatmaps and surveys to drive content production

No coding in this video! It's about how I used heatmaps and then surveys to help grow Alchemist Camp back when it only had a few visitors per day.

At that tiny scale, Google Analytics couldn't tell me much in terms of what my few existing readers wanted. So I used Hotjar's free tools, to dig a bit deeper.

Step 1: Heatmaps

The first thing I did was to start recording heatmaps. As you can see in the video for this episode, people were clicking on all kinds of text that wasn't even a link to anything!

This was super useful because it was a strong indication that the visitors were interested in the topics they were trying to click on. I continued putting text on the page and continued looked at what people were engaged with.

In a few cases, it was pretty clear that there was demand for a topic and so I immediately started creating lessons to meet that demand. There were a lot of other clicks I wasn't sure how to rank-order into a list of lessons to create so I had to go deeper.

Step 2: Surveys

Next I created a survey to directly ask people what they wanted to learn. Most people don't answer surveys, so I did two things to give myself a reasonable chance of getting meaningful feedback.

  1. The surveys were brief enough to do in seconds. They just had 2 multiple choice questions and an optional free-form text input.
  2. I made an entire video asking my YouTube viewers to answer the survey.

Keep in mind, my YouTube channel was also tiny. A total of 60 people ever saw that video... but about 20 did fill out the survey and what they said gave me a clear direction—both in what topics to teach and what features to start building into the site. In the three months since then, it's grown to 25 registered members, hundreds of visitors and about 500 hundred YouTube subscribers.

I won't say it's a huge success in terms of traffic or that someone with the right skills couldn't get more traffic just by focusing on SEO or social media marketing, but I've found heatmaps and surveys to be a clear win when it comes to making content people want.

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