Hits, Unique Visitors and Page Views - Studying Web Traffic.
When studying your web site traffic, it is important to be able to differentiate above terms. A question that webmasters are often asked is "how many hits does your site get?". You then need to ask "do you mean hits, unique visitors or page views?". Many hit counters, such as FrontPage 2000 component can be a little misleading. This particular hit counter only measures page views and if you sit on a page clicking "refresh" button, it will increment. In order to get an accurate picture of your web site traffic flow; you'll probably want a more detailed reporting tool than this.
A hit is result of a file being requested and served from your web site. This can be a html document, an image file, an audio track etc. etc. Web pages that contain a large number of elements will return high hit scores. Hits are of very little consequence when analysing your visitor demographics.
A page view means just that. Once again, it is not a true indication of how many different people are visiting your web site, but it is a good way to judge how "sticky" (the ability to retain interest of visitors) your web site is and is an important consideration regarding possibility of attracting high paying advertising.
A unique visitor is where stats really count. It is someone with a unique IP address (when you log onto Internet, you are assigned a unique IP address, or if you are a cable modem user your IP address is usually "static", it never changes) who is entering a Web site for first time that day (or some other specified period). Your IP address is an identifier, while you are using it, no else on Internet can utilise that particular set of numbers. Your number is counted once, usually for a 2-24 hour period, dependent up tracking software. So no matter how many times a visitor refreshes or navigates through your web site, they will only be counted once for specified time period. This is by far more accurate way of analysing web site performance.