Why track visits?

Since the early days of website hit counters much of our analytic attention has been focused on overall site visits.  Just about every piece of analytic software you try out will start you out with that metric showing you, day-by-day, how many people have visited your site.  But is it really all that important?

Say you run an evaluation business and want more clients.  Do you put a sign out on the street offering people free ice cream.  Chances are you’ll see a bump in office visits, but would that matter?

We’re all specialists, in some way or another, and the web is helping us become even more specialized.  Academics have much easier access to small pockets of geographically dispersed colleagues that share specific interests.  Non-profits can reach those that care about their work, not just the ones who live in their area.

What I’m getting at is that often, website visits mean very little.  Having a lot of traffic could just require you to pay more for increased site bandwidth.  Reaching your audience, whether 10 people or 10,000 people, is the key.  There are many other focal points from which to choose and concentrating on site visits will only distract you from more important things.  Chances are, you have enough distractions.