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25 April 2014

What are ‘hits’? (web analytics and statistics)

In your web visitor statistics or analytics package you may see data referred to as 'Hits'. These are often quite excitingly high numbers but do not necessarily relate to the number of actual visitors to your site and for the most part – should be ignored.

Confused? Let's work out how a 'Hit' occurs….

Hits are a technical statistic typically used to calculate or report on web server load. They are not something that would typically be used in marketing or sales, even though many do as the numbers are big and it sounds good.

When a web page is loaded into the browser, first the 'page' is loaded (one hit) then its code (one or more hits) and style information (one or more hits), then images (one hit each) until the whole page is rendered. In short, one visit or page view can produce many hits.

For marketing and sales purposes, the only basic / core statistics typically of interest are Unique Visits and Pages (sometimes called page views or impressions).

Once I saw an episode of Dragon's Den in which the guy being grilled impressed the 'Dens by declaring his new site was getting 10,000 hits a day. Now, if I built a single page website with 10,000 images on it (perfectly possible) and then got one person to visit it – I could easily claim the same thing. The moral of the story? Ignore hits!

Here is a bit more info on Wikipedia:

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