Here's a quick test for you: what's a "hit"? For instance, when
a company says, "we get a million hits a month," what does that
really mean? Does it mean:
- a million
- a million
pages transferred to visitors.
means neither, despite the fact that many companies are implying
that it means one or the other. A hit is simply the transfer of
a piece of information. It might be one of these things:
- a web page
- a banner
or picture in a web page
- an error
message caused by a link to a banner or image that the web server
- any kind
of object embedded into the web page: a Java applet, sound, or
video, for instance.
So what does
a "hit" tell you? It's completely meaningless to anyone but the
website administrator. Unless you know what's in the web pages,
you have no way of knowing what a hit number represents. Is the
site really getting a lot of traffic? Or does the site contain a
lot of pages that have scores of tiny images in them? Or are there
lots of broken links on the pages?
some junk e-mail the other day that said this:
award-winning mall gets an average of 1.5 million hits a month."
So what? What
can this possibly mean to someone who doesn't know what a hit really
is? 1.5 million visitors? Pages transferred? Why are they telling
us how many hits they get if not to create some kind of impression
of traffic? Yet there's no way for us to know what this number means
... mentioning this number does nothing but mislead, and I'm sure
that many people are confusing hits with visits.
A few months
ago I emailed a few people who had sites at a large web mall, asking
them about their experiences. This mall claims to have 11 million
hits a month. "What's a hit?" I asked one of the people
with a site at the mall. "Hits are classified as people that actually
came to my web site," he said. He's completely wrong, but it's an
impression that many companies -- particularly malls and hosting
companies -- are happy to create.
Worse, I believe
that some companies are using -- intentionally or unintentionally
-- the word "visitor" when they should really be saying "hit." So
when someone tells you a hit count -- just ignore it. It has absolutely