Accounting For Website Traffic Seasonality As A Publisher
It’s back to school time. No, it’s not, it’s coming up on Halloween. Or, if you’re a publisher in a niche about toys, it might just be when you start planning for your Christmas efforts. Just about every publisher faces the challenge of adjusting their efforts to match website traffic seasonality, but how well do you manage the task?
Below, I’ll highlight how a lot of publisher account for seasonality. How to measure against it and embrace it.
Taking advantage of traffic seasonality
First off, think of seasonal publishing as an opportunity. It’s not a challenge at all, really, but a huge opportunity to produce content that’s going to have greater than normal engagement with your audience. If you’re a publisher that write about bikes, for example, running articles about best the bikes for college during the summer could yield a measurable uptick in sales. A jewelry blog that isn’t running content tied to both Valentine’s Day and wedding months (almost 25% of weddings occur in June and August) is missing out on significant sales opportunities.
It’s also possible that thinking of your publishing schedule as seasonal misses out on the additional opportunity to publish content based on contemporary events, both cultural and in the news.
For example, President Trump’s speech at the Boy Scout Jamboree has ignited much discussion; a perfect time to write about the Boy Scouts of America (if it makes sense, obviously). But, it’s this kind of contextual news and information you can leverage for some big boosts in traffic.
Hitting this contextual stuff can also tee up opportunities for major media outlets to link to your site. This means really strong helpful backlinks that can help your site with long term referral and organic traffic.
How much does your audience change month to month?
Ultimately, understanding how user behavior shifts can tell you a lot about your audience as well. Visitor intent and engagement can help you understand how your audience might be shifting from season to season.
Looking at the data historically might be able to help you prepare for the upcoming months. For example, during Septemeber of last year, what landing pages saw the highest engagement time and the highest number of engaged pageviews per visit? Research is starting to show us how these metrics positive impact revenue, and why they may worth be paying close attention to.
Website traffic seasonality can be mastered
What’s surprising is how many topics are seasonal, from cooking to fashion, cars to notebooks, computers to cat food. Cat food?
Yes, turns out that there’s a Kitten Season. According to the Humane Society “Kitten season is really three seasons in one, starting in spring, peaking in late spring or early summer, and ending in fall”. If you’re running a Web site for pet food and related subjects, writing content about the superiority of different kitten foods in the peak of Kitten Season is just smart.
Another example: You run a homeschool resource site. There are certainly plenty of homeschoolers around the world and almost all of them are constantly seeking curricula and related materials, but what time of the year do you think is best for writing about math, or biology or physics? In this case, it might not be national or global statistics that inform your schedule as much as good old analytics analysis.
If you ultimately want to see how this might be affecting revenue in broad terms, you can check out the handy Ad Revenue Index Here. It’s a free index that shows how ad earnings fluctuate for thousands of publishers across the web… how you compare?
Pay attention to the trends
One of the best ways to learn about when you should write about specific topics is to pay close attention to your analytics and test, test, test. Write about Intro to Physics on your homeschool site on a monthly basis, then identify which month, or months, garner the most traffic as a percentage of your overall site traffic. Boom! You just identified your prime month for that topic.
I do the same with my Ask Dave Taylor tech blog too, writing about teen-use of computers more in the late summer and early fall, including reviewing more laptops and tablets. That’s when purchase decisions are made and when students – and their parents – are searching for help with their new gear. Christmastime it’s all about gift guides, something that’s easy to produce and can be remarkably popular. Add a number to the title (like “10 Must-Buy Gadgets for Christmas”) and you can’t fail to get great traffic!
Whatever topic you’re focused on, whatever product line, it’s a sure bet that paying attention to the progress of the year, the lives of your target customers and contemporary events can pay off in greater traffic and revenue both. Now go implement!
Tyler is an award-winning digital marketer, SEO veteran, successful start-up founder, and well-known publishing industry speaker. Tyler also serves as the host of Pubtelligence, a publishers-only event hosted at Google offices around the globe. Tyler describes his core competency as learning. He has composed content for some of the world’s top publications and has over a decade of experience building businesses in the digital space. Tyler is currently the Head of Marketing at Ezoic and serves as an SEO and marketing expert for start-up competitions across the U.S.