As an online business owner, you are likely aware of the importance of having a great website that attracts potential customers and drives conversions. But how do you know if your website is performing well? One key metric to track is website sessions, which refers to the number of visits to your website over a specific time period. In this article, we will discuss how to calculate website sessions in BigCommerce, a popular e-commerce platform, and how to use this information to optimize your website's performance and increase your conversion rates.
Understanding Website Sessions
What is a Website Session?
A website session, also known as a visit, is a group of actions taken on your website by a specific user within a defined time frame. This time frame is typically 30 minutes to an hour, although it can be customized in Google Analytics, which we will discuss later in this article. Each time a user visits your website, a new session is created, and the session is terminated after a period of inactivity or after the user closes their browser.
During a website session, a user can perform a variety of actions on your website, such as browsing different pages, adding items to their cart, filling out forms, and making purchases. By tracking website sessions, you can gain valuable insights into user behavior and preferences, which can help you optimize your website for better performance and increased conversions.
Importance of Tracking Website Sessions
Tracking website sessions is important because it provides insight into how users interact with your website. By analyzing this data, you can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions about how to optimize your website for better performance.
For example, if you notice that a large percentage of users are leaving your website after visiting a specific page, you can investigate why this is happening and make changes to improve the user experience on that page. Similarly, if you notice that users are spending a significant amount of time on a particular page, you can analyze the content and layout of that page to identify what is keeping users engaged and replicate those elements on other pages of your website.
By tracking website sessions, you can also gain insights into user demographics, such as age, gender, location, and interests. This information can help you tailor your website content and marketing strategies to better target your ideal audience and increase conversions.
In conclusion, tracking website sessions is an essential part of website analytics that can provide valuable insights into user behavior and preferences. By analyzing this data, you can make data-driven decisions about how to optimize your website for better performance and increased conversions.
Setting Up Google Analytics for BigCommerce
Creating a Google Analytics Account
The first step in tracking website sessions in BigCommerce is to set up a Google Analytics account. Google Analytics is a powerful tool that provides valuable insights into your website's performance. It allows you to track website traffic, user behavior, and much more. If you don't already have an account, you can create one for free at the Google Analytics website. Simply follow the prompts to create an account and provide the necessary information. Once you have created an account, you will be given a tracking ID that you will need to integrate with your BigCommerce store.
It's important to note that Google Analytics has a range of features that can help you optimize your website and improve your online presence. By tracking user behavior, you can identify areas where users are dropping off or struggling to engage with your content. This can help you make informed decisions about how to improve your website and increase conversions.
Integrating Google Analytics with BigCommerce
Integrating Google Analytics with BigCommerce is a straightforward process. Once you have your tracking ID, you can log in to your BigCommerce account and navigate to the "Analytics" section in the left-hand menu. From there, you can click on "Google Analytics" and enter your tracking ID in the provided field. Once you save your changes, Google Analytics will begin tracking data from your BigCommerce store.
It's worth noting that Google Analytics can take up to 24 hours to start collecting data, so don't be alarmed if you don't see any data immediately after setting up your account.
Configuring Google Analytics Settings
Before you can begin analyzing website sessions in Google Analytics, you will need to configure some settings to ensure that you are collecting the data you need. The first step is to set the time zone for your reports. This will ensure that your data is displayed in the correct time zone, making it easier to interpret.
You can also customize the session duration, which is the length of time that a user spends on your website before their session expires. By default, a session lasts for 30 minutes, but you can adjust this to better suit your needs.
If you sell products on your website, you can enable e-commerce tracking in Google Analytics. This will allow you to track sales, revenue, and other e-commerce metrics. You can also set up goals and funnels to track specific user actions, such as completing a purchase or filling out a contact form. This can help you identify areas where users are dropping off and make informed decisions about how to improve your website.
In conclusion, setting up Google Analytics for your BigCommerce store is a simple but important step in optimizing your website and improving your online presence. By tracking user behavior and analyzing website data, you can make informed decisions about how to improve your website and increase conversions.
Analyzing Website Sessions in Google Analytics
Navigating to the Sessions Report
Once you have set up Google Analytics and configured your settings, you can begin analyzing website sessions by navigating to the "Audience" section in the left-hand menu and clicking on "Overview." From there, you can view a variety of metrics related to your website's traffic, including the number of sessions, users, pageviews, and more.
Understanding the Sessions Metrics
The sessions metric is the key data point for tracking website sessions in Google Analytics. This metric represents the total number of sessions during the selected time period. You can also view metrics such as session duration, bounce rate, and pages per session to gain a deeper understanding of how your website is performing.
Filtering and Segmenting Sessions Data
To gain even more insight into your website's performance, you can use Google Analytics to filter and segment your sessions data. For example, you can view sessions data by source/medium to see how users are finding your website, or by device category to see how mobile and desktop users differ in their behavior. You can also create custom segments to analyze specific user groups, such as returning visitors or users who abandoned their shopping carts.
Advanced Session Tracking Techniques
Setting Up Goals and Funnels
Goals and funnels are advanced tracking techniques that allow you to track specific user actions on your website, such as completing a purchase or filling out a contact form. By setting up goals and funnels, you can track how users move through your website and identify areas for improvement in your conversion funnel.
Tracking E-commerce Transactions
If you sell products on your website, you can use Google Analytics to track e-commerce transactions and gain insights into your customers' purchase behavior. By analyzing metrics such as conversion rate, average order value, and revenue per session, you can optimize your website for better sales and revenue.
Analyzing User Behavior with Heatmaps
Heatmaps are a powerful tool for analyzing user behavior on your website. By tracking mouse movements and clicks, you can see where users are spending their time on your website and identify areas for improvement in your layout and design. There are many heatmap tools available, such as Hotjar and Crazy Egg, that integrate with Google Analytics and provide detailed visualizations of user behavior.
Calculating website sessions is an essential part of optimizing your e-commerce website's performance. By setting up Google Analytics and using advanced tracking techniques, you can gain valuable insights into your website's traffic and user behavior and make data-driven decisions about how to improve your conversion rates and increase your revenue.