You've seen 'em. Many web sites use them.
Some web sites have to use them because they have no other way to track their numbers. And
some web sites use them, but hide the results.
are they even there? For any number of reasons...
- To check the popularity of a particular page/subject
- To illustrate popularity of a topic/band/ etc.
- For advertising purposes (much the same way as a newspaper
prints it's circulation), etc.
Why don't all web sites use them? These reason vary,
- They take extra time to load to the page (really, a
miniscule amount of time.)
- They aren't always reliable (see more info below)
- To a lot of visitors it doesn't make a difference,
("they're there, because they're there")
- They use a different tracking method, etc.
- Many consider that information to be private
- In most developement circles, these days, they are
The Henry County Web uses two methods of evaluating its
number of visitors:
- We use Web Reports generated by the server. By far the most
reliable, these reports also provide other demographics, anonymously, such as the country
of origin, whether those accessing the site use a particular ISP (Internet Service
Provider) and how many minutes they spent visiting. (As currently set, it DOES NOT tell me
anyone's screen name or email address. We're not that intrusive. We recognize that if you
wanted us to know all that information, you would provide it voluntarily.)
For example, one of the things we know from our web
reports is that on any given day or month, 50-80% of you don't enter through the main
page. You have your favorite pages and enter them directly. (You should visit the main
page though, some of the most current information and additions can be found there and
here, in "What's New".)
- We also consider your feedback. Not all visitors have time
to write us, but we do hear from many of you and we enjoy that best of all!
Counters can record "visitors" or
"hits." Many folks don't know what the difference is; even some web site owners
don't understand the difference. A "visitor" is an actual individual, recognized
by their ISP address (and our web reports). A single visitor can visit several times in a
24-hour period and they are still a single visitor. They can visit 1 page or 50 pages, but
they are the same visitor. A "hit" is any page and/or it's elements that are
downloaded to a visitor's computer (a single page with 10 graphics or other
"elements" would equal 11 "hits"). In many cases, if a page is
"reloaded" or re-visited those "hits" repeat--so 11 can quickly become
22, 33, 44, and so on...even if it's one person "hits" and byte transfers* can soar into the thousands.
Here's one more thing FYI regarding counters. Through
various programs it is possible for a web site designer/CGI program author to preset the
counter with a self-determined starting number--2,000; 20,000; etc. Sometimes these are
deliberately fictitious; sometimes it's done to add previous month's numbers when a
counter is restarted. It is also possible in some cases to program a counter to trip 4
numbers or more for a single visitor or hit. This doesn't happen very often, but it does
(By the way, *Bytes
Transferred has to do with the size of files, nothing to do with visitor numbers.)
Visit a site because you like it, not because a counter
implies that it's "hot."