When checking your web traffic, you may have noticed the number of sessions reported.

What does this mean, exactly?

Your number of sessions counts the number of times users paid distinct visits to your website.

If someone visits multiple pages on your site in a short time, it counts as the same session. If they visit it again a few hours later, it counts as a new session.

In technical terms, a single session includes all the visits from one IP address (e.g., the visitor’s home computer) within a certain time frame (30 minutes is a standard default).

Even more broadly, “session” is the term for a limited time frame of interaction between two systems, such as when you log in to your bank account, or your operating system checks for updates.

Sessions are a nice way to track user behavior more usefully, since a single person viewing multiple pages in a short time frame is probably just looking for one overall interaction (purchase, share, etc.). If they come back next week, though, they might buy something new!

By Sharon Campbell