Web analytics software, such a Google Analytics, tracks the number of unique visitors to your website. In other words, each visitor is counted only once. This data is determined by using cookies. It also provides a breakdown showing you how many are first time visitors vs the number of returnees over a specified period of time.
Here is a sample chart indicating the percentage of each visitor type.
So… great – now what? Is this good news or bad news?
Well… it all depends on your type of business, website conversion goals and marketing plan.
For example, if you are a real estate agent hunting for prospects and 77.18% of your web visitors are new – this is likely good news. Agents are always looking for new buyers and sellers. Often this high number implies that you are successful at driving traffic to your site.
However, if you are a blogger and these stats applied to you– the news may not be as good. Generally, the primarily purpose of a blog is to build readership (also known as stickiness). Not having a large percentage of repeat visitors is a red flag. It likely reflects lack of engaging site content that would encourage one to come back. This holds true unless the blog has recently been launched – or you are implementing a link building campaign.
This, of course, is just a starting point. Further analysis should include bounce rate, time on site, page views – and reviewing your conversion goals.
New Visitors versus Returning Visitors – what should your web traffic stats reflect?