Keep in mind that most analyzer programs, such as http-analyze count every file, image, document, etc as a hit. For instance if you had a page with 10 images, the page would count 11 hits each time a person viewed it. (10 for the images, 1 for the page itself) These types of logs also include a page hits stat which is the number of times a page is viewed.
Just putting a counter on the front page still isnt accurate since a viewer can visit the front page any number of times while online.
You can track the number of new visitors by creating a session variable for the IP address of the viewer and log only one hit per IP per session. That way no matter how long a visitor stays on, it will only count one hit until the session expires and they return.
Not to mention you can exclude dup IP's if you're trying to get a number of unique visitors, but dial up users will likely change IP's when they log on, so its impossible to really tell with just a session variable.
The most accurate way I've found is to use a combination of cookies and sessions to log a hit for an IP for a session, and set a cookie. If the cookie exists next time that visitor comes then a hit is not recorded. This gives me the most accurate number of unique visitors I've found because in order for it not to work a viewer would have to have a dynamic IP that changes each time they visit the page, and have cookies disabled.
Lets be honest, most viewers on non-technical web sites dont even know what a cookie is, much less how to disable them
I guess it all depends on how accurate you want to be...