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Traffic Reports
Why We Don't Show Hit Counts

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Very simply hit counts are worthless for anything other than measuring server bandwidth functions. They have no value at all that relates to the activity of humans. If you are having a serious traffic report conversation with a knowledgeable person who keeps talking about hits ask then to speak in terms of visits, or visitors. They will most likely be glad to do so. Many speak in terms of hits only because most people are used to that term and they don't want to "over-geek" who they are speaking with.

When you are browsing the Web you click on links and banners to jump from Web site to Web site. Each time you click on a link or banner (banners are only links with images) your browser and computer generate what is called a GET command that runs through the Internet to the Web server that "serves" the Web site you wish to "visit".

Actually several GET commands are created simultaneously. Every image in a Web site is a separate file which receives a GET command. The file that these images are "embedded" in, the actual Web site page, is also a separate file receiving another GET command. If a Web site has 9 image files embedded in the Web site page file, and you click a link to this Web site, there will be 10 different GET commands - 9 for the images and 1 for the page file.

The GET command is frequently called a "hit". Many people and the media talk about "hits" because the numbers are so huge and impressive, and thus all sorts of non-hit events are referred to as hits. However, "hits" are the least useful and the least accurate tracking means in a traffic report for understanding how real people are finding, and using, your Web site.

If you have a 3-page Web site, and each page has 5 images (images are photographs, logos, backgrounds, graphics, videos, etc.), and one person visiting your Web site clicks from the home page, to page two, then to page three, that one person will generate at least 18 hits. Since we are interested in real people counts and real people activity within your site, you can now understand why I do not talk in terms of "hits".

The only time the hit count has any meaning for the small business Web site is if you need to keep track of your Web site server "bandwidth". Think of bandwidth like gallons of water. Some companies charge by bandwidth use each month. If you use 50 gallons of bandwidth you get charged more than if you use 20 gallons of bandwidth. A major component of bandwidth measurement are all the GET commands because GET commands are needed to retreive almost all file types. Thus the hit count is based on GET commands.

These days most companies charge a flat monthly fee up to a certain amount of bandwidth. Usually the amount of bandwidth included in that fee is so high few if any small business will ever meet, or exceed the bandwidth limit. The 2Cooleys sites do exceed monthly bandwidth limits and therefore we do have to pay a little more each month. As a result, yes, I do track hits. But I do not include them in these traffic reports because they mean nothing of value to you.

Gary Cooley August, 2008