I’m a big fan of the web-stats package, Mint. But after a little conversation over in the Mint forums with Shaun Inman (creator of Mint), I realized that I’ve been misreading it this whole time, and I thought I would pass this on incase someone else was reading it the same way I was.
The “Visits” pane in Mint gives two numbers… Total, and Unique. I had thought that Total referred to the total number of visitors in a given timeframe, and that you could subtract the Unique number to determine how many repeat visitors you have. I was wrong.
Shaun Inman said:
“In Mint, Visits are page views, and Uniques are unique visitors.”
As it turns out, Mint doesn’t really track visitors… it only tracks unique visitors. The Total number is page views (how many pages were viewed), which is totally different. For instance, if 1 person comes to your site, and they look at 10 pages… what would you call that? I would call it 1 visit, or I would call it 10 page views… but Mint calls it 10 visits.
I personally think that this language is confusing, and misleading. Why does Mint refer to page views as visits? Why doesn’t it just call them page views, so there is no confusion?
I’m still a big fan of Mint, but I am a little disappointed that there is apparently no way to actually know how many visitors you have. Knowing how many unique visitors you have is great, but I want to know how many people come back after they find my site. It would be great if future versions of Mint could either track total visits, or at very least rename the current visits column to “Page Views” to avoid confusion.
UPDATE: Apparently I was wrong about the definition of unique also. When you visit this site, Mint leaves a cookie in your browser so it knows that you’ve been here before, the next time you come by. I thought a Unique visitor was someone with no cookie at all… a completely new visitor. While that is true, a visitor with a cookie (repeat visitor) may also be counted as unique… because there are levels of unique… hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly. If you have an interest in this, check out davidjaymz’s comment on the original Mint forum thread for more information.