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Web Page Statistics - "Hits" versus Visitors

"We had 180,000 hits on our web site last month!" - Unsavvy Business Person

Business people and web site owners trumpet the number of "hits" they receive on their web site all the time.  Hits are no longer a viable metric to measure web traffic. Companies that report hits are unintentionally misrepresenting the number of people coming to their web site.

Hits versus Visitors
Most people don't know the difference between hits and visitors.  There is a large difference between 100,000 hits and 2,000 visitors a month.  In some cases, they could be pulled from the same data and mean the same thing.  How you present the data makes a difference.

"Hits" and why they don't accurately portray site performance . . .

Hits are an indication of how many pieces of information load on a single page of your web site.  Specifically, how many individual images(a significant number on each page), Style Sheets, or text files, load on a each page of your site.

If a single visitor loads only your home page, it could register as 2 hits,34 hits, or 90 hits.  With 90 hits per page, a 100 visitors might fetch you 9000 hits or 2000 visitors get you 180,000 hits. Hits aren't a good metric to use.

A more accurate statistic to describe performance of your web site is the number of visitors or unique visitors. Visitors are the number of people coming to your web site.  Unique Visitors measure how many people visited over a set period of time.  "I had 3600 visitors to my web site this month!" The person saying that, knows their stuff!

Here's my anticlimatic close - Ultimately, it's not about Hits or Visitors . . . It's about getting the right traffic to your web site and getting them to take a specific action, regardless if that traffic is 100 or a 1,000,000 visitors per month.

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