A website counter and/or a web tracker is a good tool for measuring some important statistics of your website. not all counters provide statistics but those that do a counter can measure the number of unique visitors to your site or even the number of page loads or the number of times your website is visited.
There are free hit counters available on the Internet and all you have to do is to register for a free account. The webmaster can also configure these counters to match his requirements but free web trackers usually have limited features.
Many times, free counters only post the number of website hits in real-time. Professional accounts come with web log analyzers that provide added information that aid in the management of the website.
Some free website counters also come with ads and will allow only very limited reporting. The webmaster must sign up for a professional version to get the complete suite of services and features. Some added features of professional web tools and softwares include:
the complete breakdown of visitor hits (unique visitors, average hits per hour, page views, etc.), the origin of traffic (sites that link to you, country of origin, etc.), search engine ranking, bench marking, server reports, what browsers visitors use and so much more.
Professional counters also allow the webmaster to completely change the skin of the counter so that it blends perfectly with the rest of the website.
Website counters are essential in running a professional website because they do not let webmasters work blindly on their websites. As with all other aspects of a business, having up-to-date and valid information is important.