Another Blogging Rhythm that it’s useful to be aware of is the yearly rhythm.
Just last week I had an email from a reader asking me to take a look over their blog which they said was ‘in decline’. Ever since June they’d been gradually losing readers even though their Page Rank in search engines hadn’t changed and they were posting at the same rate as normal.
Northern Hemisphere Summer – After looking over their site I made the diagnosis that their blog was probably suffering from a variety of blogging seasonal depression disorder.
Traditionally traffic on the web (it’s not just a blogging thing) slows when the northern hemisphere hits summer. It’s not rocket science really – people take holidays – they go for walks in the sun – they play and watch sport – they’re not online quite as much and as a result traffic goes down.
Holidays – Another time of change in traffic is often holidays. The recent 4th of July weekend illustrated this perfectly and was a slow few days for many bloggers (combined with summer and the London Bombing). Of course some blogs reap the benefits of holidays (perhaps if someone had a fireworks site they might have had a bumper weekend?) but this is usually specifically due to their topic relating to the holiday at hand.
On the other hand some holidays traditionally can be very lucrative to bloggers targeting some topics. Christmas is obviously a very worthwhile time for blogs covering any products or services that make good gifts – other holidays with a commercial spin aspect such as Mothers day, Fathers day, Valentines day, Easter, Thanksgiving all have different opportunities associated with them depending upon the topic that they cover.
Events – Lastly there are events that happen every year that from blog topic to blog topic will bring peaks and troughs in traffic. Trade shows, sporting and political events, movie and book releases etc all have the potential to bring fresh readers to your blog.
So What? – Ok so most blogs have a natural yearly rhythm that from year to year will follow some sort of pattern. On one level it’s just nice to know what is behind some of the fluctuations but can knowing this information actually help improve our blogging?
My theory is that it’s handy not only to be able to explain the fluctuations but that it might also be useful to predict them. Like a surfer watches the horizon to see what waves are building a blogger should always have their eye on the future to see what waves of traffic they could position themselves to catch.
For each of our blogs this will mean something different – for me I’m now starting to think about the oncoming Christmas rush that many of my blogs experience. This means adding appropriate deep linking affiliate links, thinking about keywords that will be searched for and even considering new blogs that are worth experimenting with.
It also means preparing to cover trade shows at different times of the years that relate to my different blogs (ie I clear my diary for the big ones so I can blog around the clock to cover new product releases).
Lastly it also means keeping one’s finger on the pulse of culture and watching for oncoming (both distant and near future) events that are bloggable and trying to predict them.
As I always write (I fear I sound like a broken record sometimes), ask yourself what people will be searching the web for in a few weeks or months time and try to provide useful content for those things. This doesn’t just happen – it takes practice to pick what will work and what won’t and also means putting time aside for watching and listening to the rhythms of culture around you.
What seasonal rhythms impact your blogging and how do you (or do you at all) respond to them?