Why site hits don’t matter

It’s good practice to track your web stats to monitor the performance of your website. Although the most important measure is the number of visitors it converts into customers, you can use the information to redesign the site and make it more effective.

In the early days of web design, many people added a visible hit counter to their websites and got all excited to watch the numbers mount up. Some sites still have them, and it strikes me as amateur.

There are a couple of reasons why. One is that visitors to the site who see a low number of site hits think it’s a measure of low popularity and are inclined to click away. And the other is that hits don’t tell you how many people are viewing your web pages.

Every file sent to a browser by a web server counts as an individual ‘hit’. So if a web page includes 19 items including text and images, it counts as 20 hits (including one for the HTML file).

It is more useful to monitor ‘page views’, that is each time a visitor views a page on your site (a ‘visitor’ is the browser of a human being).

You may also look at ‘site visits’ to tell you when someone or something (such as a search engine robot) visits your site. This number comprises one or more page views/hits. One visitor can have many visits to your site.

Google Analytics is free, and a great way of measuring your webstats.

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