PulseMaps Blog

How to Embed the Big Visitor Map on Your Site

March 19, 2012 •

You don’t want your visitors leaving your site by clicking on the PulseMaps widget. Now they don’t have to.

How it’s done

To embed your visitor map on a blog post or a page, simply enter the following text on a page or post:

[pulsemaps]

That’s a WordPress “shortcode”, and the PulseMaps plugin (version 1.6 or newer) replaces it with the visitor map for your site.  This is what the result looks like:

What it looks like

The map automatically fills the available horizontal space, so the size of the map depends on your theme.  It’s possible to set a custom width for the map with something like this:

[pulsemaps width="500"]

What better way to discuss your website’s audience than a blog post or page built around this map?

P.S. If you use this shortcode, it would be nice if you include a link to pulsemaps.com somewhere on that page.  Thanks :)

Heat Map Colors Improved

March 16, 2012 •

Our demo widget on the sidebar of this blog and on the front page at pulsemaps.com tracks all the traffic to our website. Each visit is represented on the widget with the red-yellow-white “heat map” coloring.

At the moment our hit counter is clocking in at close to 190.000 visits, and we started to notice that the heat map wasn’t showing the traffic hot spots as well as it could. In short, the heat map was sort of overexposed. Most areas were shown as white-hot, and it was basically impossible to tell between areas with thousands of visits and areas with only a couple of dozen visits.

Heat map snapshot of our visitors in the US east cost.So we fixed it. Now, the areas with the most traffic are shown white-hot. Areas with some traffic are shown red, and areas with medium traffic are yellow. Note that the limits for “most traffic”, “medium traffic”, and “some traffic” are different for every site. In essence, we find the area with most traffic on your site, and color that area white.  From there on down, areas with moderate traffic get a yellow color and areas with at least some traffic get a red haze.  You can, of course, use other colors if you wish.

This change is being rolled out to widgets and maps in text next few hours.  We hope you like it!

Making the Widget Look Great on Your Site

September 23, 2011 •

The minimal design of the PulseMaps widget allows it to look good on almost any site, without drawing too much of your visitors’ attention.  Most sites simply use the default widget design and colors, which is OK, but spending a couple of minutes tweaking the widget settings could make a world of difference.

We took a critical look at some of the sites using PulseMaps, and ended up wading through quite a few sites.  Soon enough, we started noticing some patterns in how the best looking sites were using the widget.

So, here are things you can try to make the widget look great on your site:

Set an appropriate width

The widget areas (usually headers, footers, and sidebars) almost always have a particular width.  If the widget is much larger than this width it could, in the worst case, mess up the entire layout of your site.  At the very least, the widget will simply go over the allocated area, and that usually doesn’t look too good.  If the widget  is too small it might look odd as well.

Try a transparent background color

A transparent background is often the best choice.  It allows the map to blend in with your site’s background texture. This will greatly reduce the “glued on” feeling the widget might otherwise have.

Pick a foreground color from your theme

Spend some time picking the perfect foreground color for your widget.  White or dark gray are often good choices, but if your theme has a prominent accent color or secondary color, those might be great choices as well.

Examples

Here are examples of some of the best looking widgets we discovered.

This widget on A Blog of ICE fits in perfectly with the theme, by simply using a transparent background color:

The transparent widget works well with a textured background.

 

This widget on Love is Better is not transparent, but the colors have been chosen to perfectly match the theme.  The result looks great:

Matching colors with the theme works wonders on loveisbetter.org.

 

Our last example is earth, wind, and tires where the transparent background again allows the widget to seamlessly blend with the theme:

Transparent widget perfectly blends in with the theme.

 

Got ideas or more examples?

Does your website use the PulseMaps widget in a creative way, or do you think it fits your design particularly well?  Give us a link in the comments section!

Finally, please don’t be offended if you’ve spent a great deal of time to make the widget look great on your site, but it wasn’t mentioned above.  There are simply too many for us to look at all of them!

 

Visitor Map Widget For Any Website

September 3, 2011 •

Our WordPress plugin has been quite popular, and we couldn’t be happier about it! The plugin seamlessly integrates with WordPress, and makes it really easy to use the widget on sites built with WordPress.  However, we’ve been getting an increasing number of questions about the possibility to use the widget on other blogs and websites.

Now you can. Our visitor map widget can now be used on any website!

Head on over to the free widget builder to create a widget and include it on any web page.

We’ve also taken the opportunity to add some new features:

  • You can choose the color for recent hit dots (they used to be just plain white always).
  • You can choose the activity colors, a.k.a. the “heat map” colors (the default is red, yellow, and white).
  • Optional borders.
It might be a bit overwhelming to choose all settings yourself, so we’ve made a bunch of predesigned widgets. Use them as-is or tweak them a bit to perfectly match your website:
Predesigned visitor map widgets
Final note: these new features aren’t available on the WordPress plugin yet.  We’ll publish a new version of the plugin shortly.

Real-time dots and visit count

August 11, 2011 •

Starting right now, all map widgets have two new features enabled.

The first feature is real-time dots. The 20 most recent visits are show on top of the “heat” as tiny dots, with a subtle animation effect to make it look alive. It’s a great way to get a feel of what’s going on right now.

A couple of words on update frequency might be appropriate here. Maps with low traffic have their heat coloring updated immediately for every page view. Maps with moderate traffic are updated every few minutes, and maps with heavy traffic are updated every 30 minutes. This may change in the future, but that’s how it works at the time of writing this. The flashing dots are updated at least once per minute, no matter how much traffic there is.

The second feature is the visit count number and date. For free maps, the date is at most 30 days in the past. If the map is new, or if the map gets a lot of traffic, the date may be more recent than 30 days. For longer history, please upgrade to the VIP plan (wink, wink ;)).

To enable these features on your existing maps you don’t actually need to do anything. We figured most users would welcome these additions, so we made a bold decision to turn them on by default. If you wish to remove the dots or visit count, upgrade to version 1.4 (or greater) of the plugin and check out the PulseMaps settings page.

That’s it for now, we hope you like the new features!