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By Bob McElwain
Posted Friday, June 18, 2004

So you know what hits mean. Unique hits or user sessions,
I mean. And you know what CR means. Right? If so, you're in
great shape, for many people don't. They think they do. But
they've got it wrong.

You see a single hit is invaluable. It may have come from
the first visit to your site by one who will return to buy
repeatedly. One who shares your name with others who do the

The catch is you can't say which hit matters. Thus you need
to assume every single one is crucial. Else you can strike out
on the ones that matter most.

So What Is A Hit, Really?

A hit is generated when someone visits your site. You don't
really want off-target hits. If you get mention in a prominent
newspaper, you might draw 10,000 visitors simply because of a
delightful comment you made about cats. But where's the gain,
if you're selling water skis?

Maybe 1 in that 10,000 might coincidentally have an interest
in water skis. The others are not potential customers. They
only waste your bandwidth and often even your time with
off-topic questions. And what happens if each is determined
to share their favorite cat story?

You want only targeted hits. And you want these visitors to
arrive with their interest front and center. This is why search
engines listings, ads, and such, matter so. You want to draw
only visitors interested in what you offer. A misleading ad is
a waste of money, for hits generated are off-target.

CR: Conversion Ratio

CR is tossed about casually with a knowing nod of the head.
But many who use the term don't really know what it means. It
means different things to different sites, and in differing

Briefly it is the percentage of visitors who buy, or take
some other action you want them to. In general, a 2% CR is
considered good. That is, if 2 in 100 visitors buy your
product, you may figure this is fine.

But such models are so crude they often mislead when applied
to your site. A CR of 2% may be nifty (or a disaster, if more
was expected). However good it is, it is still only an average.
It gives a useful picture only over the long term. It says
nothing about today. Or right now. Or about what your next
visitor will do.

Turn this the other end to. Given a CR of 2%, how many
sales can you count on in your next 100 visitors? 2? No. I
said, "count on," and the answer is none.

Say you make 20 sales on your first 100 visitors today. But
not a one off the next 900. Still, 20 sales in 1000 hits is a
CR of 2%.

There is no way you can say your next visitor will buy.
Or will not. Come up with a way to do so, and you'll be a
millionaire right quick.

You simply do not know what your next visitor will do.
But you probably hope he or she ...

Buys - Terrific

Returns to buy - Great news

Returns to buy again - The key to success

Tells a friend who visits - Very nice

Your list will differ. And there are other actions you
may want your visitors to take. For example, sign up for free
information of interest, delivered by an autoresponder over
time. This often brings people back to buy. And if you can
get them to set a bookmark, this may do the same.

The Secret To Improving Your Business

You can not afford to risk losing even a single visitor.
Period. The big boys counting sales in the millions and hits
in the billions can safely ignore a bunch. You can not.

Accept the potential value of every single hit as unlimited.
Then act in every way to draw them. And never ever turn even
one aside.

Obvious, don't you think? But look about on the Web and
you'll often see visitors not encouraged or even turned away.
Then, of course, look to your own site and be certain you are
not making such blunders.

About the Author
Bob McElwain, author of "Your Path To Success" and
"Secrets To A Really Successful Website." For
info, see

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