Saturday, January 26, 2013

One million Hits!

That’s What Everybody Would Like to Get on Their Web Site…

Well, not really. Hits are not a good way of measuring the usage of a Website, but are often mentioned in conversation about Web site traffic or popularity.
Hits are the most misleading stat of them all.(1) Every time a user reaches a web site, each file downloaded by the browser is counted as one hit. 20 images in the web page plus the html file equals 21 files or hits. If we get 50K users accessing our web site, we’re talking about one million+ hits! 

OK, I get it. But, how do I measure activity on my site?  

It takes a simple change in our mentality. Instead of talking about hits, we’re going to talk about visits and pageviews. 
Each visitor reaching our website leaves a footprint and it’s our mission to find out what’s in that footprint. The behavior of our visitors will tell us more, than simply tracking how many hits or visits we got in a defined period. Software like Google Analytics and Adobe’s Site Catalyst, provide useful information when it comes to track user behavior.

Human vs. Non-humans

There are two types of Web visitors; humans and non-humans. 
Humans use Web browsers to access the internet. Non-humans use scripts, known as Web crawlers, bots or spiders. These scripts are used widely to index and extract information from web pages all over the internet. The problem with these scripts is that they can do bad things to our web sites. Some of these non-human visitors can actually steal code and valuable information from our sites like personal information, emails, addresses and phone numbers; but not all of them are bad. As I mentioned before, these scripts index web sites, providing useful information for future users when performing an online search.


A pageview is a record of each time a visitor views a Web page on your site. This is the foundation to track user behavior in your Web site.(2) Pageviews reveal how popular certain pages or sections of the Web site are. Some hosting companies already provide software that tracks user behavior and pageviews. 

Make it look good

Often overlooked or with too many animations, some Web pages can be pleasant to our brains or nasty eyesores. Keeping our sites clean and organized will attract users, therefore increasing pageviews. Joel Diamond, mentions in his blog how the importance of creating great Web sites or giving our current ones a makeover can make a huge difference in our pageviews and stats. 

We talked about the difference between hits and pageviews. We also cover how the different visitors we get everyday impact our sites and statistics. And finally, we talked about making our sites look good. 

One million pageviews, instead of hits; that’s what we really want from our sites!



  1. Good info. Google Analytics can definitely help in analyzing the stickyness or the bounce rate of a web page. I've never used Catalyst but it is my understanding that it is better.

  2. Excellent post dear Miguelon. You are right, the number of visits is guaranteed not only by the content but also the proper use of positioning tools. I hope you have success with your blog. Best regards.

  3. Nice Post! I'd like 1,000,000 hits on my site too!

  4. Wow! I really liked this post. Very informative and fun to read, as well as well documented (I checked the references!) Most blogs about technology are pretty boring, but the author kept me entertained with great useful information. Good stuff!

  5. Very good post. Are there ways to track return visitors? Having someone come back day after day is much more valuable than someone who hits the page once from Google, never to return. Is there anything in the stats to help show that? Time on page - how does that get calculated and what does it tell us?

  6. Very interesting post, this is very important to have in mind at the moment of manage our websites, good work!!

  7. Miguel, I appreciate your shout out! Thanks for the props! Loved your insights as well. All to often we get caught up in what I call a hobby metric. One individual metric that we like and want to track. So often it can be the wrong metric, or just a metric that isn't telling the correct story.

  8. Great post. It's interesting to see how many people still talk about hits. There really is no metric which is more misleading than hits. It's nice to see that most tools don't even include this anymore, it's that worthless. And I agree that page views and visits are great traffic measurements and offer some great information about who is visiting your site and why. As Avinash references too, even visits and page views can lock us into web analytics 1.0 if we focus too heavily on them. Conversions, and goal completion are the real money metrics and key to a successful analytics 2.0 implementation even inspite of lower visits and page views. Great post!

  9. Great insight, thanks for sharing. I liked the guest speaker the other day who mentioned that it is hard to translate hits or facebook likes into a quantifiable dollar amount. Although, I can see how it is definitely important to differentiate the page view from the hits.