Monday, May 21, 2007

What Hit Counters are Really For

Lots of webmasters claim that a hit counter's purpose is to let them see how much traffic they're getting. This ain't exactly so. There are plenty of ways to do that without using a hit counter. The real reason people use hit counters is not so they can see how much traffic they get, but rather so everyone else can see how much traffic they get.

So really, hit counters are for showing off traffic.

That said, there are a few nice stat services available. I'm going to look at two of them, StatCounter and Google Analytics.


This is a nice stat service, but gross graphical interfaces make it look less than professional. All the standard services are offered and nothing more (this includes IP addresses, locations, ISPs, browser versions, OS versions, screen resolutions, etc.)

Google Analytics

Aha! Google strikes gold with this one. Everything StatCounter offers is available here, plus lots of cool things like seeing what keywords people searched for to find your site, and plotting hits on a map. Unfortunately, no hit counter code is available.

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