summer-fun

There is structural growth and then there is seasonal (cyclical) growth to traffic. Structural growth happens when you are doing things to affect growth e.g. you create a new product, more content, host a giveaway etc. Seasonal growth is the natural ebb and flow of online traffic throughout the year.

Based on analysis of millions of pageviews a year of data for the past couple year I’ve come up with the following high and low season layout. The data pertains to not only personal finance blogs. The traffic differential between low season to high season usually varies between 10%-25% all else being equal. Of course, nothing is always equal with the constant changes in search algorithms, competition, news, and promotional activities.

High Season

January: All those new year’s resolution folks.

March-May: People looking for tax help.

September – November: Catching up with all the things people should have done while on summer vacation.

Low Season

June – August: Summer vacation.

December: Winter vacation, but gearing up towards the new year again.

SUMMER: THE MOST DANGEROUS SEASON OF ALL

Summer to the year is like Saturday to the week. Traffic levels fade and so does the motivation to work hard as a result. Saturday traffic can easily be 50% of Monday’s traffic for those take count on search to bring the majority of traffic. Summer compared to other peak months is generally 10-20% lower for steady state blogs.

Because I found myself slacking off over the weekend, I decided to regularly post on Saturdays or Sundays to keep myself engaged. It’s not like the post disappears if published on a weekend. In fact, many of my weekend posts help provide an extra boost to the week once everybody comes back on Monday.

The herd mentality is very strong in almost every aspect of our lives: stock market panic and frenzy, housing market panic and frenzy, eating at 12noon, leaving work at 5pm, and not posting on the weekends. The goal is to try and zig while others are zagging. In blogging, posting on a weekend where you get tremendous more attention due to the lack of other posts is one way to act differently.

Summer is also a dangerous season due to its length. It’s OK to not do anything over the weekend and come out swinging on a Monday. But if you lower your effort levels for three months in a row you may very well kill your entire year’s momentum. Not only that, you may kill your entire goal of creating a revenue significant blog. I’ve seen this happen time and time again over the years where everything was going so well and then *BAM* summer malaise hits.

The good times won’t last forever online no matter how much you think they will!

DO AT LEAST ONE THING EXTRA OVER THE SUMMER

One great recommendation I read was having a 30, 60, and 90 day action plan during the summer. I personally think that’s a little too ambitious when the sun is always shining, especially for folks who live in areas that freeze for six months of the year. They go all out during the summer because they know that short days and long nights are just around the corner. There’s not as much to worry about with friends who live in more temperate climates. Studying content production and productivity throughout the year between those who live in moderate vs. difficult temperature locations would be a great study!

Instead of doing three things over three months, just do one thing while keeping everything else status quo. The one thing I chose to do this summer was launch the Financial Samurai Forum (FS) that focuses exclusively on personal finance and not blogging. I’ve been thinking about starting a forum for a year, but sort of dreaded it because of how much time it takes to moderate the Yakezie Forum.

I’m pleasantly surprised with how much easier it is to manage a forum focused on building wealth instead of blogging. Now that the forum is launched, all I’ve got to do is make sure things are running and check the applications once a day for the month to slowly build a user base. In effect, I’m using the summer time frame to pace out a project in order to slingshot into the Fall.

SMALL THINGS ADD UP OVER TIME

Don’t let the low season get you down. Traffic will inevitably rebound during the high months if you continue to produce new content.

I truly think many of us fail when we decide to do too much, too quickly. Even thinking about launching one new thing a quarter sounds too daunting to me. I never want to get to the point where blogging feels like work. At the same time, it’s important to take your platform seriously if you want to earn a viable income stream online.

Use the summer months not as a time to unwind, but as a great time period to stay the course and launch one thing. Although less people might not notice your efforts, they will eventually because search engines are blind to seasons. The internet thrives on new content and new product offerings.

START A MONEY MAKING BLOG

It’s been around six years since I started Financial Samurai and Yakezie and I’m actually earning a good passive and active income stream online now. The online income stream has allowed me to pursue other more interesting things, such as consulting for various financial tech startups, traveling around the world, and spending more time with family.

I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, creating, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, see how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes just like this one. You never know where the journey will take you in 2017 and beyond!

Regards,

Sam