And both fanny packs and hit counters have been made a lot of fun of in the years since.
Take fanny packs.
If you saw “The Inlaws” (2003), then you saw Angela Harris ask Albert Brooks, “Is that a fanny pack?” as if it’s a relic from another era.
Or “Malcolm in the Middle” (2000): “Hey, cowboy, your fanny pack‘s ringing.”
Or “Bob & Tom Comedy All-Stars Tour” (2007): “Yeah. You have a fanny pack on, sir. Unless that’s got chloroform and a rag in it, you’re not having sex.”
Point made, right? Fanny packs are not only bad or at least old fashion, they’re also sorry pocketbooks. Get a backpack, a purse, or a man bag. Whatever. Body luggage that actually carries something.
Web page hit counters (aka, visitor counters, page counters, and stat counters, to name a few) are the same as fanny packs. Outdated. Laughable. Inappropriate. And even damaging.
Fanny packs can be damaging to your reputation. And your ability to attract dates or even friends.
But how is a web page hit counter like a fanny pack?
What is a hit page counter? A counter that adds a digit every time your web page has a visitor. New or not. (They’re not very sophisticated.)
How are page counters damaging?
1. Your visitors’ trust. When users arrive at a web site with a page counter, they automatically view the page as archaic. Counters are so … uh … 15 years ago. Hit counters are like blinking text in the sense that they give the distinct impression that the web site is a scam, or at least not trustworthy.
2. Link spam. Page counters link back to a vendor’s web site that actually tallies the page counts. (In other words, the tallying is not done on the web site itself.) First, and I don’t know how often this happens anymore, link counters used to be a great way for “black hat” search engine scammers to bury links to porn sites and the like. Today, “honest” page counters link back to pages that haven’t been used in many years. So they’re weak in search engine optimization, which means they’re not a healthy link for you to make. Remember, you can’t control your in-bound links, but you can control your out-bound links … and if your outbound links are questionable, Google says, “that’s your bad.”
In short, if you have a page counter and see your hits going south (and you will), ditch them.
The Moral about Fanny Packs and Hit Counters
There are other web site analysis tools much more valuable to you — Google Analytics, for one, and Adobe Marketing Cloud (Omniture reborn), for another. They not only track hits to your web site, they also can tell new visitors from old, and (among many other things) can track your web site’s success over time.
Many web analysis tools are free (such as Google Analytics).
And … these tools come from trusted web sites that are constantly improving them.
You may wonder why I’m spending so much time talking about fanny packs and hit counters. I have a web client whose webmaster seems to like them. He seems to like them so much, in fact, that he completely destroyed the look of my web site with one.