Newfangled works with independent agencies to create lead development web platforms for their clients.

Newfangled works with independent agencies to create lead development web platforms for their clients.

Website Hits Versus Website Sessions

Get out of the habit of referring to "hits."

One of the terms frequently thrown around regarding website traffic is "hits." What most people mean by "hits" is the number of visits the site gets. But technically, the word "hits" actually refers to the total number of files that are requested from the server. Therefore the number of hits to a site is always going to be significantly higher than the actual number of visits to the site. This is because a typical visit to a website will include "hits" on a number of pages. Not only is each page counted as a hit, but all the graphics on every page requested also register as uniquely requested files, a.k.a. "hits." Given the number of graphics on a typical webpage (including the navigation bar, highlight states of graphic menus and so forth), the difference between hits and visits is substantial. It would not be uncommon for a traffic report to show ten or even twenty times as many hits as actual visits.

Look at sessions, page views and average length of visit.

When analyzing your traffic report you can, for the most part, ignore hits and bytes (bytes being the total amount of data sent out from your site). Instead, it's much more helpful to review the trends in sessions, pageviews, and length of stay. Urchin provides both totals and averages for these traffic stats.

Tracking your overall website sessions is the best and most accurate way to determine your site's performance. A session is a unique visit by a singe individual. One session is recorded for each unique site visit whether the visitor looks at one page or every page on the site.

Because every site is different, comparing your site's performance to another's is not very useful. Some sites are designed to attract daily readers. Some are simply used to support other marketing materials. Therefore, comparing overall traffic volume is not a useful effort. Rather than worrying about how many sessions your site receives compared to other sites, it's better to understand how your site adjustments and marketing efforts impact your site's overall traffic patterns. Therefore, tracking session data from month to month is the most fundamental aspect of analyzing your website traffic reports. Hopefully, you will see growth in your overall session traffic over time.


Craig Desmarais | August 13, 2013 1:51 PM
Great post. Do you have any reports on industry averages for things like bounce rate, campaign conversions, ecommerce cart abandonment, etc?
Brad@projecturbanfoodforest | July 14, 2012 11:10 AM
Site stats vary between Cpanel and webstats also finding webmaster tools puts up differing values, which to believe?
Most Expensive | December 9, 2011 4:41 AM
Great ! thanks for given such type of information.
Alex @ Miamionadime | September 7, 2011 5:21 PM
By the way my page view says: 16,881
Alex | September 7, 2011 5:19 PM
I wonder the same thing! My google analytics reports 8600 visitors in 21 days. Is that bad? low? I really don't get the traffic thing yet! Thanks!
Mike Piccirillo | July 25, 2011 6:14 PM
My website has been open for 4 months now and averages 15000 hits a month, average of 30 unique visits a month and over 5000 total visits in 130 days.
Is this good for a new website?

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