The Numbers Game: Hits vs Visitors

As I was walking a blog client through her “webalizer” stats program last week and the subject came up of “hits” vs “visits“.

web site trafficDuring the EARLY days of the internet, we loved us our hit counters! My early sites ALL contained a nice little hit counter at the bottom of the page. Those hit counters would measure every time the browser would “hit” the server and ask to have that image file delivered. It was definitely a “feel good” kind of thing to have. Feeling ignored on the internet? Check your hit counter. Fortunately, in those days, it would measure and count the web master’s visits as well! Want to goose your “hit count”? Click “reload” a few (hundred) times.

The same principle is in effect today. A single page may “hit” the server many times during a page load. So the client who looks at his/her 40, 000 hits may be surprised to learn that there were only a few hundred visitors generating all those “hits”. has a GREAT post outlining hits vs unique visitors in great detail. (Reason #1021 why I love blogging. I can link to his post instead of reinventing the wheel here!)

A few days later, I was searching for the origins of the quote, “A billion here, a billion there… before you know it, you’re talking about REAL money”. (Turns out, according to the Washington Post, the quote is attributed to late Sen. Everett Dirksen, who claims he was misquoted and liked it so much, he never bothered to deny it.)

cash flowDuring that search, (which I originally thought was MILLIONS not BILLIONS) I stumbled across this forum post: 2 million hits/ month and no real money

In that forum discussion the posting web master, who as it turns out had 11,000 VISITORS creating those 2,000,000 hits on his server, learned that 11,000 unique visitors each month is a $50 per month proposition.

I recently had THAT kind of conversation with another client as well.

Client: “Oh, by the way, I’m going to monetize my blog with Adsense!”

Me: “Wha, wha, WHAT?” (We’d just picked and “customized” a theme template… one that DIDN’T support Adsense! Reason #22 why I encourage new bloggers to go with a pre-made template for starters.)

I recovered with, “Let’s wait until you hit 10K visitors per month before you launch Adsense.” That seemed to satisfy him.

The numbers of potential web visitors is HUGE. Most of my clients’ are AMAZED at the sheer NUMBER of visitors a moderately successful web site generates. Which is why I encourage my people to begin by fishing in “small” ponds, a.k.a. to TIGHTLY target their niche! Because who wants to work hard enough to attract over 10,000 visitors to only earn $50 for your efforts!