The Number of Users of This Site
Not a "Hit" Counter: The counter actually records the number of user sessions since 1 May 2000 on this website, where a user session is defined (by Virtual Web Trends) as "A session of activity (all hits) for one user of a web site" - that is, one visit by one person to any one or more pages on the site. The counter goes up by one for each visitor even though that visitor may stay for a long time and hit many pages. So this is not a "hit counter" since it does not simply count the number of hits to this home page. It is truly a count of the number of visitors. To put the difference between user sessions and hits in perspective, the site recorded 184,269 successful hits during just the one month Dec 2004 versus 21,382 user sessions during the same period.
End-of-6-Years Results: The two charts below summarize the statistics for 1 May 2000 - 30 Apr 2006:
Spiders: Some of the users of my site are visiting spiders, mostly from the search companies, like Google. I started Sep 2001 keeping track of the number of visiting spiders. The number of user sessions due to spiders during the period 1 Jan 2005 - 31 Dec 2005 was 9.4%. As the usage goes up the relative spider visits accelerates. During the month Mar 2006, the busiest month ever, the spider percentage hit 26.2%.