Millions of Hits

Is millions of hits real -- and
necessary for successful e-commerce?

I recall seeing a television commercial years ago in which the lead actor deplored his fate. He'd failed, you see.

He'd failed to get "millions of hits" because he "forgot to tell the Web guys."

Unfortunately, this type of media hype is all that many people really know about the Web. Where did this "millions of hits" idea come from, what is the truth of it, and what does it mean to you?

Who gets millions of hits on the Web?

Some time ago, statistics were released for the most visited sites on the Web. At that time, Yahoo! was the most popular website on the 'Net, with 17 million hits per month.

Now, if Yahoo!, with its huge promotional budget, is getting "only" 17 million hits per month, what do you suppose the true figures are for other websites? Or are we to suppose Yahoo is funneling them all to one website?

Certainly, there are websites that get huge numbers of visitors, and these fluctuate over the months and years, but let's look at the effect of all this.

Pit the poor office web promoter

I knew of a fellow whose boss had charged him with getting more hits to the company website. He'd managed in a short time to increase the hits and was quite desperately striving for more. As we congratulated him and gave advice about how to increase the number of visitors to his website, we learned what the problem was.

His boss had expected millions of hits. Ouch.

Unfortunately, his boss too had heard the media hype, and believed it.

So what's a "hit"?

It sounds great, doesn't it? Millions of Hits. It just rolls off the tongue.

But when does a "hit" not equal a "hit", or what you might think is a hit? One assumes that a "hit" is a visitor to your website.

One method of counting "hits" is to count every item downloaded from a website as a "hit." In fact, most statistics-counting programs do this. What this means is that, if a web page has two images (logo and product image), that's three hits: page, logo, product image.

Personally, I count page downloads, regardless of the number of graphics. This is a more important statistic, don't you agree?

Increasing your hits

First, let's clarify something. The Web is not a lonely place with three e-commerce websites, each selling different products. It's a worldwide network with zillions of websites vying to offer gazillions of products. Marketing on the Web has its benefits, but let's understand first that it's a terribly competitive marketplace.

In the off-line world, not so much is known about promoting and advertising on the Web. I would guess that most people think that all you have to do is build a website (any old website) and "put it in the search engines".

Notice that there is no consideration here about:

  • what type of website?
  • are people interested in the products and services?
  • does the general public know about your company (your brand)?
  • is the website easy to use?
  • does it download fast?
  • has it been built so that it can be found in search engines?
  • has it been submitted to the search engines?
  • is any other promotion being used to bring people to the website?

These are just a few of the questions that must be addressed in order to plan an Internet marketing campaign and, indeed, the building of a website.

Millions of hits does not necessarily
equate to millions of sales

Don't tell the media, but the fact of the matter is that, depending on what you're selling, it isn't necessary to get millions of hits.

If you are a small shop selling a high-ticket item, ten purchasing customers will be superior any day to ten thousand lookie-loos.

Any day.

That's not to say that you can't increase the number of visitors to your website. It's just that concentration on millions of hits should come after the proper building of the website. This is where hard work, knowledge gained, and patience are virtues.

Diane Vigil founded DianeV Web Design Studio, has served as a consultant to numerous companies, as a moderator and administrator of the JimWorld SearchEngineForums and Cre8asiteforums, on the Site-Report Experts Panel — and has designed and built numerous websites since 1997.

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