Hit counters help improve your site
I  N  T  E  R  A  C  T  I  V  E    D  E  S  I  G  N    F  O  R  U  M 
Issue 6   |   December 1999 





1, 2, 3...
You've seen counters (small odometer-type graphics) on many websites. You may have one on your own. What's the point?

1) Simple curiosity (how many hits is my site getting?)
2) Marketing (look at all the hits my site is getting!)
3) Marketing (how can I get more hits?)

If you answered #1 or #2, even the most basic counter will do the job, with one qualification. If you want show how well your site is doing, the numbers on the counter better be high. Otherwise you look silly. The time-honored way to fix this is to tinker with the odometer: some counters can be preset to any number. So when you see one that reads 2000005...

Answer #3 is the best argument for including a counter, but takes one with more power behind it. Fortunately they are readily available, some for free. I've tried 5 different counters and the one I really like is from More about that below.

What are your visitors seeing?
One of the biggest challenges of web design is that the user's computer & software can dramatically affect how your site looks to them. Screen size & resolution, browser type & version, and OS (operating system) help determine what each user sees. Installing a counter that tracks this information helps you design a site that works.

You don't have to guess or chide visitors about their screen size ("Best if viewed at 800x600"), take part in the browser wars ("Best if viewed with Netscape"), or wonder if you should optimize images for the brighter Mac screen or the darker PC. Look at the numbers and design for your audience.

Ignore these numbers at your own risk.

Counting visitors | Sample statistics | The best counter | Beyond counters


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