Let’s face it – a lot of maps provide some interesting information, but the primary purpose of building a map is to have a user take action. You’re building your map with a strategic purpose in mind, whether it be for business reasons or better user engagement, you’re trying to achieve a specific goal.

Building a goal oriented map requires a different approach than building a map for fun. Consider the following path to boost your map return on investment:

Planning Phase

Structuring your web map with conversions in mind begins before you copy and paste your first line of code. Crafting a web map according to a plan ultimately yields far better results than a map created without a specific goal.

What elements should you plan for when conversion is your goal?

Your audience’s pain points
Planning a web map for conversions starts with the idea at hand. Too many map creators select the subject they find most interesting. Unfortunately, just because a subject interests the map creator doesn’t mean it will engage users. Ultimately, unengaged users equal low conversions.

The best way to find conversion-optimized idea is to consider your audience’s pain points:

  • What problems are they facing?
  • What actions are they trying to take to reach their goal?
  • What do they think is holding them back?
  • What information are they looking for right now?

Obviously you will have some context for your map; a story to tell, but considering how your users think about what you are telling them is a great way to sculpt the map experience. You can learn about what ideas to avoid and which ones to expand using simple metrics. A quick metric to track if viewers are engaging with your map is the bounce rate.

The bounce rate describes the times a user lands on a web map but doesn’t interact with it. High bounce rates and low conversions go hand-in-hand and reveal where your user is pained, frustrated, or unaffected by your web map. Create a map with a focus on pain points and bounce rates will be much lower and conversions higher.

Your industry’s current web maps
The quickest way to increase conversions is to simply build a better map than your competitors. To generate ideas, try using the skyscraper technique. The skyscraper technique is well known in the blogging world. This approach involves finding other content or subjects being published in your industry and publishing better, more interesting content on top of of it. Rehashing the subject matter and by adding new data, new information, or simply changing the way the content is displayed (i.e. infographs, interactive charts or in this case a web map).

Say a competitor publishes a blog post that addresses your viewers pain points. Why not take that content and idea and build an engaging map. This is a technique used by marketers to increase conversions and web traffic. The key is to add more value with data or a better visual representation of the information and not just steal the content.


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Your intended call to action
Now you want to identify the specific conversion goal for which you’re trying to optimize your web map. Remember, conversions aren’t just clicks. They can be any of these metrics:

  • Time spent on map
  • Social shares
  • Booking
  • Collect emails

Your web map can play an important part in generating leads for your business. But focusing on a few specific call to actions will help clarify goals. Try to stick to a single call to action per web map. This will help reduce your development time and creates a specific goal for your audience to take, that can be defined with a metric.

Data assembly
Assembling data for your web map can be tricky especially if not provided with any data sources. Typically googling “open source [insert some description here]” will generate some data that may be open to the public.

Many government agencies also provide open data that can be found on their websites. A great resource for street addresses is OpenAddresses.io and ArcGIS offers a useful portal to open source libraries (http://opendata.arcgis.com/).

If you need to scrape data, try using tools like Import.IO or Kimono to assemble data for your web map.


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