Hits vs Unique Visitors...
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The word "hit" is one of the most ambiguous terms in all the World Wide Web lexicon, and thus there are unfortunately a LOT of people who are totally unaware of the true status of their website visitor traffic.
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According to Webopedia, here is the definition of a "hit":
"The retrieval of any item, like a page or a graphic, from a Web server. For example, when a visitor calls up a Web page with four graphics, that's five hits, one for the page and four for the graphics. For this reason, hits often aren't a good indication of Web traffic."
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As you see, if a person has 10 pages on their site with 9 graphics per page, then one visitor going through every page could generate 100 "hits". So the next time you hear someone say they are getting "a thousand hits a day", be aware that it may mean a total of 10 people. This is one reason why old fashioned simple "hit counters" are almost totally meaningless.
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In our estimation, the most important stat is "unique visitors" -- here is the definition, once again provided by Webopedia:
"Unique visitors are measured according to their unique IP addresses, which are like online fingerprints, and unique visitors are counted only once no matter how many times they visit the site."
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So as you can see, the goal is to generate a healthy number of "unique visitors" every day. Sophisticated tracking programs will distinquish between "hits", "unique visitors", "page views", and other aspects of visitor traffic -- all of which can provide very useful information as you assess the success of your site's performance.
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