Pageviews Impressions HITS and Unique Visitors

I was chatting with someone the other day, a local plumber, who was bragging his site got 100,000  hits  per month. And he was so proud!  And I asked how many unique visitors he was getting, and he said  100,000!   

WRONG.  Hits  do not =  Visitors. 

A hit is generated when a file is requested and served on your website . The file can be an ordinary HTML document, a video , an image file and so on. An HTML document with 5 image files on it will register 11 hits (1 HTML file + 5 image file) when the page is once viewed .

Therefore, a page containing 100 images will register 101 hits when viewed by a single visitor. The same visitor may reload the same page 10 times to register 1010 hits instantly. Obviously, that doesn’t mean there are 1010 people visiting your site. 

Sorry to burst your bubble. 

Page impression, also known as page view is just that. It shows how many times the page is viewed. For example, when you click a link and the page is loaded, that request is counted as one page view. When you click the back button on your web browser to return to the previous page, another page view is registered.

As you can see, there may therefore be many hits per page view.

Page impression can be used to gauge the ability of your pages to retain the visitors’ interest, sometimes called the stickiness of your website. High number of page view per visitor means your visitors may be browsing several pages during their visits. This can be a good thing to mention if you are selling advertising on your site.

A unique visitor means a visit from a person to a site,  at least once, typically within a 24 hour period.

Several visits from the same person to that  site within a 24 hour period are only counted once. The person is identified by his or her IP address and sometimes through cookies, which acts like an online fingerprint.

So, if a blog gets 1000 unique visitors per day, it means that 1000 different individuals have visited the blog within the 24 hours period. While several individual may have visited the blog several times during the period to read new posts or comments, each visit would be counted once only.

Next time if you’d like to talk about how popular your blog is, tell people how many unique visitors you have instead of hits.

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