My current favorite analytics report

I’m really on a first impressions kick when it comes to website analytics. I love seeing a huge number of new visits coming to my site, but not when it starts to overshadow the number of my loyal returning peeps. Lots of new visits shows people are searching for (or stumbling into) me but if they’re not giving me the chance for a second date, my feelings just plain get hurt. It’s like high school all over again.

In other words, one night stands might be great on TV sitcoms, but not for my website.

So right now I’m keeping my eye on new visitors. I like to check on them to see if they’re checking me out and if they really want to stick around or just look for the next hook-up.

How do I do this? Well, for starters, I access my New vs. Returning report to see how many people are giving me the once over:

Holy smokes! The number of first dates outnumbers the second (third or fourth, etc.) by a ton. Some people might jump for joy, but I’m not comfortable being a player. I want good, quality relationships that turn into multiple dates so these numbers make me very uncomfortable.

But what else doe this tell me besides that my site is good for window shopping? Nothing! Let’s dig deeper.

I want to know if any of those first dates represents the opportunity for a second. So I click on the new visitors to drill down a little further:

OK, this is good and all but still not quite what I’m looking for. What I really care about is this new person got my name and number, so I select “Keyword” from the Dimension drop-down menu and get a full list of the search words people used to find me. Finally, some real information!

But I’m still not happy. I know that people are looking at me and I know how they found me, but I still have no idea whether they stuck around for a good look or gave me the MTV, “Next!

That’s when I change my key stat from visits to bounce rate. Now I know whether I was a one page wonder or was enticing enough to get looked at from multiple angels:

From here, I can get a list of all the keywords that produced 100% bounces and work to make my content more relevant to those searches. That is, if I really care about people who check me out based on those words. Either way, people are ending up on my site for the first time searching with particular words and now I know whether or not they are sticking around. If they’re sticking around and visiting other pages on the site, great! If not, I know there’s an issue and I have to tweak some content to make sure I’m meeting the needs of those people as well.

Actionable insight, baby!

There is still one issue with this report that I have not been able to figure out in Google Analytics yet which is drilling it down even further to see what landing page the new visitor hit using a particular keyword. I know I can pair keywords with landing pages on a global level, but parsing the new visitors out would go a long way to figuring out exactly which content needs to be tweaked to maintain repeat visits.

Any ideas? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

✏️ Handwritten by Geoff Graham on October 9, 2009

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