What's the deal with blog traffic during the holidays? You might be surprised.
The end of the year is a hectic time in many respects, from companies wrapping up projects before the holiday to figuring out how to politely decline going to three family dinners on the same day. The other major question is whether anyone will read your blog during the holidays. You see mixed opinions on popular Internet-marketing and business sites, so it's time to take a look at the data to determine the best course of action for your blog.
See also: How to Make Your Holiday Content Stand Out
Factors Influencing Holiday Blog Traffic
One of the biggest factors influencing your holiday blog traffic is whether your blog is tied into a retail or ecommerce business. If you sell products, write reviews or have other resources a holiday shopper is going to find useful, your holiday traffic will likely have an upward trend during the shopping madness that happens at the end of the year.
While people spend more time inside during the holidays, they don't necessarily gain more time to browse your blog from desktop computers. Parents have their kids home all day due to school breaks, family obligations involve significant travel time and party hosting requires planning and pre-event set up.
For blogs not addressing any holiday shopping topics, mobile browsing is your friend. Seasonal dips during the holidays were common in previous years, with people finishing their shopping, going to family events and spending a great deal of time away from the computer. Mobile penetration improves Internet access even when your blog visitors are out of the house, giving them a welcome respite from their holiday obligations.
Overall, blog traffic trends for nonretail or ecommerce sites still average lower traffic even with mobile access. Your readers have less time to spend on your site because mobile access happens in short bursts when they have a break from conversation or escape to the bathroom for some quiet time.
How to Adjust Your Holiday Blog Content Strategy for Nonretail Sites
Don't get discouraged by your blog traffic dipping down once the holiday shopping season ramps up. Make some of these easy adjustments to your blog content strategy during these slower times of the year, and you can minimize the traffic loss.
Adjust your content formats. You love your long, exhaustive blog posts that are almost ebooks in their own right. Your readers love them too -- most of the time. When they're relying on smartphones to keep them awake after Aunt Martha tells the same story five times in a row, however, they don't have the time to read through long-form content. Plan your content themes with a short and sweet style in mind, or fully focus on mobile optimization once your traffic starts trending down.
See also: How to Measure The ROI of Your Blog Posts
If possible, incorporate holiday-themed content to attract seasonal traffic to your blog. Create relevant holiday gift guides, tie holiday traditions into your primary subject matter or share your holiday shopping strategies. You want to leverage the holiday traffic that's researching gift purchases or dreading heading out to the stores. Doing so helps you boost your traffic and expand your audience reach at the same time.
Consider offering a holiday freebie, such as an informational product, to build your email list and increase social sharing.
How to Prepare Your Retail or Ecommerce Blog for the Holidays
You need to batten down the hatches and get ready for steadily increasing traffic as well as the potential for viral traffic spikes if you get featured on social media or high-traffic sites. While the bulk of your holiday traffic is probably going to your product or store pages, you get spill-over to your blog.
Make sure your site has the technical preparations in place first. You want sufficient bandwidth or a scaling option to prepare for traffic spikes. Fix any lingering technical problems that could lead to big trouble with too much traffic, and use mobile optimized sites for the visitors checking out your site while they're shopping. It's essential that you minimize the chance of your site crashing or becoming unresponsive during the busiest shopping season of the year.
On the content side of the equation, put together gift guides covering different categories you offer in your store, product FAQs and how-to posts to feature on your blog. Your readers can look at your store pages if they just want to know what you have to offer. When they come to your blog, they're looking for more information to finalize their purchase decision, or they need to know how to use your products. Consider creating blog posts summarizing your warranty, the availability of replacement parts and your return policy to help out the post-holiday visitor as well.
The holiday might be more lonely than usual for non-retail blogs, but you don't need to go into hibernation. Adjust your content strategy to meet the needs of your audience during this stressful time of year, and you'll smooth out your winter fluctuations. For retail and ecommerce blogs, prepare yourself for increased traffic with a technical audit of your site and plenty of relevant product and shopping content.
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