Many company owners boost of the number of ‘hits’ they have received. It is often quoted as this is the largest number in the stats they read. Unfortunely it is also the most inaccurate and misleading. We explain here what is the difference between hits and visits.
Web states are a imprecise science that have many factors that affect the real numbers. Real numbers are extremely difficult to pin down. No two analitic devices will ever give the same conclusion on the same web site. So just what is the difference between a Hit and a Visit?
A “hit” is not a visitor to the web site, but a hit on the web server. A hit on the web server includes all the graphics on that page – pictures, java applet, the html file, etc. So, if a site has 30 small graphics on the page,
every visit to the site registers as 31 hits on the server (30 graphics plus the html file). As you can see this every visit will give you 31 hits, 2 visits 62 hits etc.
The number of hits to a web site is therefore irrelevant and to some extent pointless. What we need to know are the number of visitors to our site. More importantly we want to know are the number of unique visitors. This information is far more useful. Knowing how many people have visited, how many pages they looked at, start- and end-pages of each visit can be especially interesting because they emphasise what the visitors were looking for and what they did or did not find. Knowing where visitors spend their time on your site can help you improve the effectiveness of content or advertising or can indicate problems.
Hits v Visits
Visits represent the number of times your website had someone access it. Visits are independent of the actual number of pages viewed, the length of time the person stayed on your site, and does NOT represent the total number of unique visitors.
This number, often used by companies to tout the popularity of their website, represents the number of ‘requests’ for web page elements your website fulfilled and is not a true representation of how popular your web site is.
Sometimes called visit by cookie. Unique visitors refers to the number of distinct individuals requesting pages from the website during a given period, regardless of how often they visit. The website can track this as unique by the IP address of the computer. The number of unique visits will be far less that visits because a unique visit is only tracked if cookies are enabled on the visitors computer
Viewed per visit
This is also called Impression. Shows how sticky/interesting your website is. Each time a visitor views a page, this number is increased. Its important to note that this number is not limited only to unique visitors, but by all visits – including return visitors.
There may be better ways to measure web site performance. Using Cookies and other technology you give a more accurate figures. Possibly can also try subscriptions to your newsletter, number of signs up, number of sales, or bookmarks, number of emails you receive from the site or the number of guest book sign ups – problem is collation.
It is also very impotent to remember that not every page view is an actual read by a human being. Most page hits are from search engine spiders, email harvesters, page change checkers, and other automated services. These also add to the distortion.