Yesterday while sitting in my dentist’s office, a gentleman was talking to one of the office managers about their online presence and how his company could help them market their business better, especially online. He kept emphasizing that can really help get the hits online and one of his key points that he kept repeating was:
“we get over 21 million hits a month to our directory, don’t you want some of those hits on your site too? We can send them there!”
I just couldn’t bring myself to break it to him that the number of hits your website gets has absolutely no real value.
In the early 90’s, when the WWW was just in it’s infancy, hitcounters and counting the number of hits your site got was all the rage and hit counters like these:
were found on almost every single website out there. What these little scripts did was each time the image was called it would increment and that would be used as a way to show the number of visitors your site received. So when your boss asked “Well, we’re spending all this money on a website, what’s it doing for our business” you could say “look at all the hits we got this month”.
Why Counting Hits is a Waste of Time.
There’s really three definitions we need to make:
- Visitors – Visitors is the number of people that come to your site. You can break this down further into the number of new visitors and the number of returning visitors.
- Pageviews – A Pageview is each time a page on your site loaded. If you want to www.appliedi.net/default.asp that would be one pageview, when you click on asp.net hosting and are taken to a new page, that would be another page.
So by just loading our homepage, www.appliedi.net, you generated 49 hits! But you were just 1 visitor (either you were 1 new visitor or 1 returning visitor) and you created 1 pageview. So as you can see the number of hits a website receives really provides no real data. What you really want to know is how many visitors your site had and then how many pageviews (generally each visitor will load more than just one page so pageviews should be higher).
Web Analytics Evolved
So because website owners like you want more realistic data, web analytics has evolved and provides far more data and ofcourse Applied Innovations provides one of the best web analytics applications, SmarterStats. SmarterStats key features are:
- Track your website’s growth and forecast Internet trends
- Features over 130 report items, plus Geographic Reporting
- Log compression saving 90% of your disk space
- Email Reports
- Enhanced data mining available
And ofcourse you can view your Visitors, PageViews and if you really want it, your hits!
A picture is worth a thousand words so here’s a few screenshots from the SmarterStats reports for http://jesscoburn.com (Jess’s personal blog)
Visitor and Page View Trends
Search Engine Stats
I know that’s a lot of pretty pictures and since this is a personal blog site, it doesn’t get alot of traffic, but this should provide a pretty good idea of the reports available in your smarterstats accounts.
How do I get SmarterStats for Free?
So now that you’ve had a taste of smarterstats you’re probably wondering how you can get it right? The good news is, it’s included for FREE with 75% of our shared hosting accounts and available as an add-on for a small monthly fee for those accounts it’s not included in (mainly the valueplus and reseller accounts). If you order a new windows dedicated server or Windows VPS Server, you’ll get a free SmarterTools bundle which includes SmarterStats, SmarterMail and SmarterTicket licenses for free!
If you want to learn more about smarterstats, I recommend you log into your shared hosting control panel and click on ‘advanced analytics’ or you can visit SmarterTools.