My current obsession has been reporting. Everyone could benefit from paying more attention to it. Five years, countless ciders, and too many conferences into my career, I finally spent some time on it.
Bad reporting soaks up just as much time as pointless meetings. Analysts spend hours creating reports that no one will read, or making dashboards that never get looked it. Bad reporting means people either focus on the wrong goals, or they pick the right goals, but choose the wrong way to measure them. Either way, you end up in the same place.
So I thought I'd share what I’ve learned.
We’re going to split this into:
- What is the goal of a report and a dashboard? (And how are they different?)
- Who is the data for?
- How to create a good dashboard
- How to create a good report
- How to create useful graphs
- Useful tools
(We’ll lean on SEO examples — we’re on Moz! — however, for those non-SEO folks, the principles are the same.)
What is the goal of a report versus a dashboard?
- Measure a goal(s) over time
- Be easily digestible at a glance
The action you take off a dashboard should be:
- Let’s go look into this.
Example questions a dashboard would answer:
- How are we performing organically?
- How fast does our site load?
The action you take off a report should be:
Example questions a report would answer:
- Are our product changes hurting organic search?
- What are the biggest elements slowing our website?
Who is this data for?