Hits are regularly touted as a good way to measure how well your website is doing.
The opposite is true—it’s generally a terrible metric to use in this regard!
Most people misunderstand what a “hit” in your website statistics really means. Quite simply, anytime a file is served up to a visitor, it’s a hit.
If you have a simple, one page website, here’s how the “hits” might be calculated by your webstats package. Let’s say it’s called “britney.html”, and contains a nice big header image, and six photos of Ms. Spears doing what she does best (whatever you imagine that to be).
The .html file itself is used, so that’s one hit. The header image is called up, that’s another. Add six photos and you’ve got eight hits right there. From one page loading.
Now let’s think of a slightly more realistic website, much like the one you’re looking at now. Even this single page you’re looking at references over 40 other files—think of that over the course of the entire website and a single person visiting my site would easily report hits in the hundreds.
There are web developers out there who try to “wow” their client’s by telling them they’ve had millions of hits, when really they might have had a few thousand users.
It’s also true that some people just misunderstand the terminology, they say, “hits” when they mean “visits”. And that’s generally the more useful metric.
Most of the time you’re going to want to know how many people looked at your site, or perhaps how many pages were looked at, rather than how many files were involved.
“Hit me baby one more time.” – Britney Spears