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Targeted Web Site Traffic - Is All Traffic Created Equal?

The truth about web site traffic?

This is one of my favorite subjects...

Anyone trying to sell anything online knows about targeted web site traffic - or do they?

You constantly hear web site owners bragging about hits. As in, 'my site gets 500 hits a day' or 'my site gets thousands of hits'. Sounds like a lot of web site traffic - right?


First things first, - what exactly is a hit? A 'hit' simply means a file request from a server. Let's start by breaking down the world wide web from a new web site owner's viewpoint.

You have a web site, that web site has to live somewhere. It lives on your web hosts server and the street address is the URL that identifies your site.

So is the URL (street address) in the internet town, Best Web Hosts (your web hosting service). The pages that make up your web site are each made up of a number of files. Think of it like the rooms in a house - each page is a room, each room contains furniture (the files).

So a surfer or visitor lands on your web site and by doing so requests the files for that page from your web hosts server. They have to do this in order to look at or view the contents of that page (the furniture).

The HTML code used to create the web page is counted as one file or hit. Each graphic or picture on that page is counted as one hit. If the page has 5 images and the HTML source code, then the visitor is requesting 6 hits or files.

This is why counting a site's traffic by the number of hits is so misleading.

If, for example, a web page has 20 graphics or pictures then the page counts as 21 hits or file requests. If a visitor spends time on say 5 pages of your site that are similar in format and content then just one visitor requests 105 files - or 105 hits.

So now you can see why hits are not a good measure of site traffic. If your web site had interesting content and dozens of pages that one visitor could account for hundreds of hits or file requests.

The true measure of web site traffic is the number of Unique Visitors sometimes referred to as Sessions in some Web Site Statistics ( Stats ) programs.

This figure gives you a much clearer picture of the actual number of people that have visited your site. That figure can then be used to determine the Return On Investment ( ROI ) for your marketing or promotional campaigns. ie. Units Sold divided by Number of Visitors = Conversion Rate in %

In other words, if you know that 100 people have visited your site as a direct result of a particular marketing campaign and you sold 5 units then your Sales Conversion ratio is 5%. This would be impossible to determine by using the number of 'hits' your site gets.

Thanks for the chance to share with you this brief look at the subject of targeted web site traffic. Email if you have any questions.