If someone mentions the number of hits a site gets, especially when trying to sell advertising space... run away as fast as you can!

A quick primer to understanding web site statistics

The most accurate and reliable method used to gauge if a website is being seen and read by people is to look at the site's statistics.

The only meaningful statistics for accurately gauging website traffic are the number of visits and the pages viewed.

A visit is the term commonly used to mean one set of eyeballs, or one person. A visitor almost always looks at more than one page on a site, so the pages viewed are usually higher than the number of visits.

A useless statistic that is an inflated, inaccurate gauge of a site's traffic is the number of website hits. Hits are the number of elements that are requested when accessing a webserver. All html files, graphics, css files (stylesheets), javascript, and other files are logged and added to the hit count. There may be hundreds of elements on one page; but for an example let's say there's just 50 elements per page on a site. If ONE visitor comes to the website and looks at only five pages, that would count as 250 hits .

However, that's only one visit, one set of eyeballs, not 250; only ONE person looking at the site.

If only 10 people visited the website per day, no matter how many pages they looked at, that would translate to 300 visits per month.

Those same 10 visitors per day (each looking at 5 pages on the site) would translate to 75,000 hits per month.

All Just 10 Visitors a Day

Visits per month300

Page Views per month1,500

Hits per month75,000

The number of hits -- 75,000 -- makes a site look like it has good traffic, right?

If someone says, "Our site gets 75,000 hits per month", you'd be impressed, right?

If someone said, "Our site gets 10 people per day reading it" -- would you be as impressed?

For the example above, those 75,000 hits are the same as the 10 people per day reading the site.

Is someone trying to sell you ad space on a site, and quoting the number of hits the site gets?

Well, be aware that the number of hits is a misleading, inflated, useless figure in terms of valuable traffic coming to a web site.

And, any time someone brags about a site's hits, especially if they're trying to sell you ad space, red warning flags should go up immediately.

Also, the number of page views aren't really useful unless the number of visitors are mentioned first.

The Myrtle Beach Restaurants Guide that referred you here receives millions of hits each month, but we don't count or publish that statistic because it's meaningless in regards to website traffic.

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