|Welcome to the mysterious
world of counters. Which one is right for you? I've used just
about everyone out there worth trying and I've narrowed it down to three
pretty good ones that I currently use.
First and foremost I think
a hit counter should be as private as the amount of cash in your wallet.
I think it's absurd to settle for a digital counter, you know the one you
start at 3000 something plus 22. Why would you want others to know
the amount of traffic you receive...these type of counters are out there
everywhere...bravenet.com and beseen.com
are 2 good places you will find these and they are free.
Second, you need a counter
that can distinguish between unique hits and page views. Unique hits
are the number of actual different people going to your site, and page
views are the number of times these people go back and forth to your home
page. For example, I go to your home page, then go to another page on your
website and finally go back to the home page again. That's 1 unique and
2 page views.
A counter should also be able
to report where your hits are coming from, usually called referrals.
Plus being able to identify who your visitors are, time zone, country,
and time of day is a bonus. When you put all this info together you
get a pretty good idea who your web page is attracting.
So which one is the best?
I use HitBox and SiteStatz on my home
page and SiteMeter on the art map
page. The best one in my opinion is HitBox,
it has the most detailed reports and it's free. The reports from
HitBox cannot be touched by the other two, but I think it does slow down
loading of the page by a few seconds and it uses a "cookie" to gather information.
So unless it can fully load then drop the cookie it does not count that
hit. (this is why most counters tell you to put counter near top of page)
Another drawback to HitBox, it's a little slow when you go fetch reports
and data. SiteStatz,
is a dynamite little counter...it's private, fast, and reports are adequate.
Fetching reports is simple and quick, fastest of all three. The only
drawback is the reporting of pageviews. While it will give you daily,
weekly, monthly and yearly reports on uniques, pageviews can only be accounted
as a running total. SiteMeter
is a combination of both but does not have the strengths of either.
It has everything I'm looking for,
daily reporting of uniques, page views and referrals, it lacks a little
when it comes to monthly and yearly reports, and they use senseless graphics
where plain old numbers would work better. SiteMeter can also email
your reports daily. Sitemeter would be the one I would use if I had
to make a choice!!!
Take your pick all three are password
protected, great to good reporting and free.