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Deciphering Site Statistics

We hear this one over and over again.  What’s the difference between “Hits” and “Visits” ? Is my site doing good? 

Well, almost all credible web hosts have some kind of site statistics available. Here’s a little guide to help guide you through the maze.

  • Hits represent the total number of requests made to the server during the given time period.  While this shows activity its pretty much a worthless number to the average web master. Many web masters use this number to help convince people that a website is doing much more then it really is. Example: “My web site averages over 1000 Hits per day !” While it sounds impressive, it’s actually the amount of actual visitors that count.   
  • Files represent the total number of hits  that actually resulted in something being sent back to the user.
  • Visits occur when some remote site makes a request for a page on your server. In other words how many people came to your site.  This is the one we like to watch, the more the merrier.
  • Pages are those URLs that would be considered the actual page being requested, and not all of the individual items that make it up. You can use this to figure out the busiest sections of your web site.
  • Referrers are those URLs that lead a user to your site or caused the browser to request something from your server. You want a lot of these !!! The more referrers that a site has the more likely it will succeed. It is not uncommon for a busy web site to have 500 or more referrers. 
  • Search Strings are obtained from various search engines as they refer people to your web site.
  • Entry/Exit pages are those pages that were the first requested in a visit (Entry), and the last requested (Exit).  When a visit is first triggered, the requested page is counted as an Entry page, and whatever the last requested URL was, is counted as an Exit page. Your “Index or Home” page will almost always be number 1 on this list. Depending upon search engines and other Referrers  the more popular pages should appear in the “Entry” section.
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