Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

It’s 2014 and yet it seems there are still people use “hits” believing it to be a reilable metric for the success of their website—or web design clients’ websites. Why is this a problem? Well, it’s because it is often used interchangeably with “visits” to give the impression that a website is far more successful and popular than it actually is.

First of all, let me explain the differences between the two terms. “Visits” is the number of times an individual has visited your site, regardless of how many pages they have viewed during that visit. “Hits” is the count of the number of times a single resource has been requested, for example an image.

A single page is made up of potentially dozens of files which could include javascript and css files, and images so just viewing a single page could result in dozens of hits. Viewing a few dozen similar pages could result in a single visitor adding hundreds if not thousands to your hit count.

A high hit count will correlate with a high visitor number so what’s the big deal? It’s all good, right? Well, not if you believe that they are both the same. You might make decisions with regards to your website that are totally inappropriate, believing your website to be a runaway success in attracting visitors whereas in reality you’re only receiving a trickle of visitors.

Hire a professional

Analysing your website statistics properly is not a straightforward task but it’s vitally important to the success of your site. Not only can you track the number of times your site is visited and where they’ve come from, but also which pages are most popular and how the site is being used.

These are all vital pieces of information which will inform any changes which may need to be done to your site to improve the ultimate end goal of any site, be it increasing sales, membership or whatever.

Don’t make any decisions blindly, analyse your statistics thoroughly or get a professional (e.g. me!) to do so. Question everything, do you honestly think that Betty’s tea shop gets 100,000 people viewing their website every month? Your business is far too important to leave it to chance.

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