You’ve all seen my profile picture.

Therefore, it’s a fair assessment to say, that I already know what you’re thinking.

Even without a vodka martini in hand, or me brandishing a Walther PPK you are probably thinking…

That man looks exactly like James Bond!

It’s okay…

It’s the English thing.

You may even think it’s hilarious, the way people are always stopping me on the street to comment on how much my rakish good looks, remind them of the fictitious suave secret agent, however, at times I find it rather more than a bit embarrassing!

I do find it odd that somehow they never seem to agree on which “actual actor” that played James Bond, I most resemble. Alas, the only solace in this predicament is that by virtue of my “natural manly swagger”, I have never been compared to Pierce Bronson.

Chalk it up to vanity if you will, but the strange fact is – that I do often feel like 007, although I have never shopped at jamesbondlifestyle.com. Perhaps it’s the internet technology, at my fingertips, that makes me feel this way.

You see, I appreciate the fact that much of what I use on a daily basis would stymie the likes of “Q” during the “Shawn Connery” era.

In all actuality, my guess is that my daily reality would dumfound any screenwriter attempting to create new fiction that outpaces, or is “wilder” than the covert tools at my desktop’s disposal.

Of course, at the moment, I’m thinking about Heat Map technology.

Among the other services like SpyFu.com, which we have mentioned before, Heat Maps is yet another “must-have tech-tool” for conducting advanced, high stakes, covert Internet espionage for profit!

Heat Maps are especially useful. They work in much the same way, as installing tiny micro cameras into the private rooms of people visiting your website, only better.

For instance, there is no need to rappel onto their balcony from the roof and remove the cover of their ventilation systems, to install it.

In most cases, you can perform your covert surveillance by simply adding a snippet of code to your website while you are making other routine changes. Once it is set up, you can log into your control panel and watch your users in real time, even from a monitor in the dash of your Austin Martin – if it is “web enabled”.

If you are not familiar with Heat Maps, or how to use them, then this post will open your eyes.

In fact, I believe that by the end of this post you will be both visibly “shaken” and emotionally “stirred”!

You may even want a Vodka Martini yourself, as you read on…

To begin, I should note that there is a plethora of heat maps that you can access online, (some are even open source versions), which you can use freely in perpetuity.

Labs Media for example, at http://www.labsmedia.com/clickheat/index.html offers a popular self hosted open source and free version, which you can install on your website, provided your webhost meets all of the software’s specifications.

You can visit their website and use the demo to see how it displays data collected from users who visit the web page, where they offer the free download.

The Labs Media’s version is, as with most open source options, not as robust or intuitive as many of the other “for profit” online services.

Therefore, considering how difficult it is to install an open source heat map software package to your website, and configure it for data collection, plus factoring in the amount of resources a configuration like this would require of a small business hosting package – we recommend that you go with one of the “for profit” options you have available.

However, this is not to say that you need to spend money!

Click Tale at http://www.clicktale.com/ is a paid solution, however; it has a free entry level, which will be more than sufficient, for most of your needs.

Many other similar for profit services, (including the popular crazyegg.com) have similar features. However, I’d like to concentrate on what you can accomplish with the free level of Click Tales, so that you can understand how and why heat maps work.

Before I do, I should mention that although this service collects and then gives you access to an incredible amount of visitor data, you are in no way are installing any sort of malware onto your website, or on your users computers.

To gain access to this service requires that you only sign up for, and install a small snippet of code to add to your web page. You can remove this code at any time you want Click Tales to stop collecting data.

All of the data collection is stored on the Click Tale’s web servers, therefore your own site will not suffer in loading speed and your websites visitor’s user experience will be remain seamless. Your visitor will never know that every action they take while on your site is being captured, logged, and graphed for you to study.

All you need to do from now on, is log into Click Tales with your username and password and you can see statistics on: where your visitors are from, what kind of operating system they use, which browser they are seeing your site through, what their screen resolution is, which links your visitors are clicking on to navigate around your site, which areas they are hovering over with their mouse, and securitizing which portions of your website they are scrolling down to look at, and how long they spend staring while looking at each individual section of your web page …and more!

This is all powerful, real-world information that you can put to use tweaking your pages so that you can pull the desired response out of your visitors.

For instance, your site may show a high percentage of people clicking thru to the next step of your offer from a link on the top of your page; however, profitable conversions are not taking place. From the heat map data you may see that your visitors have never scrolled down to the “meat” of your sales copy. From this data you may infer the cause for the dismal sales numbers, and this may spark your imagination into coming up with what needs to be done to rectify this situation.

Other times you may find that you receive high bounce rates on certain links. This may alert you to the fact that the information on those specific pages needs to be addressed, to achieve maximum conversions.

You can even use heat maps to split test the colors of certain buttons and link text, for tweaking your pages even further.

With heat maps, you can instantly gather more data about your shopper’s habits than you could by watching hours of department store video tapes with a trained psychologist and a marketing human behaviorist expert.

If you’re not already doing so, then the next time you’re in the office, ask Mrs, Moneypenny to set you up with an account at Clicktales.com.

Remember, the world is not enough!

Last 5 posts by Simon