How Many Hits Does Your Website Get Per Day?

Dinner Party Statistics

I was at a friend’s house the other night and a guy there was telling us about the number of hits he gets each day on his web site. He said, “I get hundreds of hits every day”. His website sounded like a huge success.

Hit Counters

You know those web hit counters that you used to see on practically every web site in the 1990s, but now you only see them on sites that look as if they were written in the 1990s? Look – I’ve put one here on this blog post.


If you refresh the page, the hit counter will add one to the total with each hit of the refresh button. That should tell you that this hit counter and others like it are pretty useless.

The owner of a site with a hit counter on it can make the hit counter’s value increase just by refreshing the page a few hundred times each day, (or by using a program to do it automatically). He can even set the hit counter to start at a certain number rather then zero. For example, I started the hit counter above at 55,000 to make the casual observer think that over 55,000 people have visited this page.

What’s The Difference Between Page Views, Hits and Unique Visitors

This is all obvious if you know it, but it is surprising how any people don’t. Ask people you think should know the difference – this is a good question to ask a web designer you are considering hiring. If they get it wrong, I suggest you find another one.

Unique Visitors

A visitor, or rather a unique visitor is defined as a single person who visits your web site in a single session. So, if you visit a site and you spend say 15 minutes browsing various pages on it – say you visit a total of 25 different pages in that time, that would count as a single visit.

Page Views

The page view count is the actual number of pages that are made in the timeframe. So if you have 400 page views say, on a single day, that would mean that all your visitors together, viewed pages a total of 400 times. In the example we used earlier we would say that the single visitor who visited 25 pages, would have contributed at least 25 page views. This is because I said he visited 25 different pages, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t visit some of them more than once. In other words he may have contributed maybe 30 or 40 page views.

And Finally, Hits . . .

So what are these famous hits? Hits are not really of any use to you. But I’ll tell you what they are. Imagine there is a webpage called dogs.html, and on that page is some text and 10 images of dogs. Let’s also say that dogs.html uses a separate CSS file called dogs.css. If you go and view that page, you will incur 12 hits just by viewing that page once. That is because dogs.html counts as one hit, the 10 images count as a further 10 hits and the CSS file counts as one hit, giving a total of 12 hits. Now say you refresh the page. You will incur another 12 hits. You will add 12 hits to the hit count every time you hit refresh.

If 5 people visit the page once, that would make 60 hits. Can you see how hits have no meaningful relationship to unique visitor numbers? Now imagine the page dogs.html had 100 thumbnail images on it. This would mean that every time the page was viewed it would cause 102 hits to be added to the hit count. No wonder the guy at the dinner party thought he was getting a lot of visitors because he had a lot of hits. It is likely he thought hits were visitors.

. . . And Back to Hit Counters

The Hit Counter above does not count ‘hits’ as defined here. It counts pageviews for the page on which it is located – in this case, this page. So Hit counters like the one shown above should really be called Page View counters.

Robots And Visitors

There are some other things to consider whilst on this subject, but I’ll leave that for another day.

Suffice to say your stats package needs to be a bit more sophisticated than that hit counter up top here. Also, ask yourself ‘what constitutes a visit‘. Stats packages may decide that a break of 10 or 20 minutes in your viewing of a web site constitutes two visits. And also note that some stats packages can mix up robot visits with human visits so all those hits you are getting could be due to a single robot with a crush on your site.

Comments

  1. Hi Shwata

    You should never pay anyone to get your site listed in a search engine. It isn’t necessary. Just get yourself an XML site map and submit that to your Google Webmaster Tools account. You would also be better off using WordPress as your site CMS.

    Liz

  2. I just recently launched this website. I dont know much about getting people to view it. My web design company is charging me approx $200 to put it on the 12 most frequently used search engines. I dont have that kind of money right now to do this. Is there another way that I get people to view my website??
    I’d appreciate any feedback you could give me.
    Thanks \Shwata.

  3. hits don’t matter; readers do!

  4. liz
    if you can tell me how can i calculate the percentage for visitor how many page view for example for one visitor 30 page view !! how can i know that percentage, in my way i divide the page view onto the visitor

  5. Liz Jamieson says:

    I think the short answer is you can’t. You will either need access the sites log files (and then you’d need some software to process the data anyway to make sense of the data). Log files are system files, that only the owner of the site can get to.

    Or you’d have to have some code somewhere on the site to capture the data as it happened and the report back to you. There has to be some code intervention or you can’t see anything about the site that the ordinary visitor cannot see.

    You question is slightly cryptic so I’m not sure what you are getting at. Is this someone else’s site? If it is yours there are many simple ways to count visitor numbers and pages views but they do require site owner username and password access and/or coding.

    Liz

  6. thanks liz

    but i don`t have permission to put the the code i just ask if there is sample way to know the average of page view for every visitor also how many visits without coding i found many website give these service for free but all of them must use the code

    anyone can advise please

  7. Liz Jamieson says:

    Hi Fasial

    Just sign up for a Google Account then get a Google Web Master Tools account, then a Google Analytics account. You are given code to past into the footer of your pages and from there, Google Analytics will give you all the stats you need.
    Liz

  8. thanks for these informations , i want ask about the best program or website can calculate page view also the visitors without code

    best regard

  9. Thank you,
    The information was so helpful for my SEO campaign!
    Maria

  10. Liz Jamieson says:

    Thanks Melika – glad to have helped.

  11. Liz Jamieson says:

    Hi Dmitri. None of them are particularly accurate – they are relative guides to what is going on. Glad Adsense is what you like – it is not for everyone.

  12. ur article was really good πŸ™‚
    it was a question of mine for a long time and finally now i found the answer right here!

  13. I don’t think StatPress is particularly accurate, but I don’t care. The only ‘accurate’ counter I worry about is the one that’s used on AdSense πŸ™‚

  14. Liz Jamieson says:

    Thank you NEB. I wouldn’t have mentioned it, but I am literally tearing my hair out over it right now, and well, you did say the trigger word. Vernacular.

  15. Thanks for your informative feedback. Best of luck with your beautiful property, by the way.

  16. Liz Jamieson says:

    Hi NEB – It’s all I can do to keep up let alone influence a vernacular πŸ™‚ (Speaking of vernaculars the only one I would like to influence is here – I am having serious problems with the local planning authorities in getting my house extended. They keep using the word vernacular on me in the most unpleasant ways.)

    I don’t think it’s worth it to spend too much time chasing accurate visitor counts. As the internet is stateless, the definition of a visitor is subjective. Do you wait 20 minutes and count all page views within that timeframe by the same cookie as one visit? Or do you wait 35 minutes? Or do you only wait 10 minutes?

    The important thing to note I think, is that visitor stats are relative tools. So if you use tool A (e.g. Statpress) consistently, you can say well on day 1 Statpress said I had 3 visitors and on day 20 Statpress said I had 50 visitors and on day 99 Statpress said I had 300 visitors. And unless you changed the options in Statpress in between (so it counts different types of visit as a visit), you can say your visitor count has improved.

    I also use the WordPress Plugin All In One SEO Pack. That places Google Analytics easily onto your WordPress blog. So you get a more informed view of your stats, albeit with a time delay.

    Lizzy

  17. Hello,

    Thanks a lot for the clarification. I’m using StatPress in WordPress for my game development blog. From your sidebar, I see that you also use StatPress. Have you found the StatPress plugin to provide accurate Visitor and PageView counts?

    By the way, since a single person who visits in multiple sessions counts as multiple “visitors,” this statistic should really be called “visitations.” Can you please change the Internet vernacular on this? Thanks!

    — NEB

  18. Hi,

    Very useful information on the number of visitors\page views. As a person managing my own blog I find your post very informative. Thanks.

    – Anitha

  19. Liz Jamieson says:

    Tony

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. Even if you visit via an ISP who uses a differnet IP address every time you visit, a visitor cannot normally be determined via IP address. If they were, then people on shared IP addresses would always count as the same visitor and make a nonsense of any form of visitor count.

    Really, counting instances of IP address only determines one thing and that is how many IP addresses were used to visit a site. This is only interesting if IP address is what interests you. And sometimes it does – like when trying to determine which countries people come from (although this is not always very reliable).

    Visits are quite different. They are normally defined as a number of page views from the same source (computer) in a given time period – usually around 20 minutes. This is determined by cookie and so has nothing whatsoever to do with IP address.

    Liz

  20. Hi – how can unique visitors be determined when many ISP’s have variable IP addresses – for example if I am using AOL as an ISP then every time I visit a given website it will LOOK as if I am a different person but it is only the IP address thats different – its the same me.

    This is often one of the most missunderstood components of internet statistics and makes a complete falshood of anyone claiming to know how many unique VISITORS that their website receives.

    Best regards

    Tony……

  21. Thanks – this was very helpful, though my head is spinning just a bit… It’s the “hits”… I still have trouble wrapping my mind around that whole thing, but I’m getting it… πŸ™‚

  22. Liz Jamieson says:

    Hi Paula

    To get proper information you need a stats package that measures everything – page views, visitors etc and tells you the criteria it uses for determining a visitor. Some stats packages by their very nature filter out robot visitors.

    Google Analytics is one of these and is a great free package that is easy to install on your blog. But you do (at least at the time of writing) need to have a self-hosted WordPress blog to install Google Analytics on it.

    If you have a centrally hosted blog at WordPress.com, you have the stats package provided by WordPress. I don’t believe the WordPress stats package measures visits from robots – so your stats won’t include the robots. It also does not measure individual page views.

    So if someone spends ages on a site and reads say 50 pages, it’ll be 1 visitor viewing 50 pages, not 50 visitors doing whatever. The limitations/features of the WordPress stats package are described here : http://faq.wordpress.com/2006/02/09/questions-about-stats/

    As for my remark about robots having a crush on a site, it was just my way of expressing how some robots (Google’s , Yahoo’s, Alexa’s and even Site Build It Robots – there are hundreds of them), cruise the internet so that they can collect information for their indices on all the sites out there.

    Some very zealous robots can visit too often and even overpower a server. Hence my analogy of the robot having a crush – basically following your site around until it and you are sick of the sight of it.

    You won’t have this problem with wordpress.com as they are taking care of it for you. But for normal sites, this can be a problem and some stats packages can count the all hits the love sick robots contribute to the totals, further confusing the stats unless you know to look out for them.

  23. So Lizzie how do we know what’s happening? And if our hits appear to go up is this for real or just a crushed robot?
    By the way how does a robot get a crush on you?

    Thanks though – all interesting stuff and something we weren’t taught at school.

  24. Thanks for this info Liz. You’re so right. Hits are definitely a case of vanity rather than sanity in the online world. Much like Alexa ranking.

Trackbacks

  1. […] work out how to check her website statistics. Her stats appear to indicate the site's getting 500 hits per day. Although she's not sure, Jane thinks five hundred visitors seems quite a lot, so she […]

  2. […] by a comment someone made on another Fridge Friday post. I “met” Liz when I visited this post of hers. It’s a great post – it’s about hit counters and page views.. and such… Β Anyway […]