Website statistics: what do the numbers mean?

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Often you hear people talking impressively about websites with 30,000 hits a month. Sounds like a lot doesn’t it, but is it?

In order to get an idea about how your website and others are actually performing statistically and make judgments based on this information, you need a grasp on what the different terms such as hits and visitors actually mean.

Let’s just keep things simple today by just talking about hits and visitors. Simply, Hits measure every request for any file on your server while Visitors are unique, based on IP address.

Hits

Every time a visitor types in your website address, their browser “hits” your website hosting server for access to instructions on how to display your website. Your web pages are instruction documents that tell a visitor’s browser what and how to display your website. What happens next is that the visitors browser starts “hitting” the “hosting server” for all the elements needed to create that web page such as images, movies etc. For example, your company logo will represent one hit and so on. Therefore, the number of hits will be very high in comparison to the number of actual people visiting your website, especially if your web pages are comprised of a lot of different elements other than text.

Unique Visitors

Your computers connection to the Internet is represented by a unique identifier called an IP address. Most computers (people) are assigned a different IP address every time they log onto the Internet or connect to their internet service provider.

So every time a specific IP address connects to your server and accesses your website it is logged as a unique visit for that day. Even if the visitor comes back multiple times it is counted as just a visit from a specific IP address and doesn’t accumulate the number of visits from that person or computer for that day. Therefore, if you see that you had 10 visits on Sunday is likely means you had 10 different computers and people looking at your website.

Now with your new found knowledge, forget about the horror of School statistics classes and take a look at how many hits and visits you are receiving. It may be time to invest, advertise, or bask in the glory of your own websites growing Media Empire.

By Hayden Breese

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