As we hit July 4th which is a holiday here in the United States, it reminds me of when I worked for an ecommerce company managing their web presence and I used to always dread any holiday for the predictable drop in sales and traffic we’d see in our web analytics. We sold a software product that was not something people bought as a gift for any type of holiday, so without fail we’d see a drop in sales and traffic for about a week on either side of the holiday.
The same thing is probably occurring for many of you out there blogging, running content sites, running web applications, or selling products online. Your site visitors just tend to travel, break up their normal web surfing schedule, and spend less time online around the holidays. Now, overall this is probably a good thing for people’s health and family lives, but it’s not that fun when it’s your site suffering through the drop in your statistics.
Instead of dreading the “holiday drop”, I started to think of it as a challenge and something I could take advantage of to actually create an improvement in web analytics during and around a holiday.
There are numerous ways to go about doing this, but here are some quick suggestions:
1. Create content that is themed around the holiday
A great recent example of this is ProBlogger Darren Rowse who posted an article on his Digital Photography School blog about how to photograph fireworks, and then posted on his Problogger blog about the “holiday explosion” he got in traffic. He also followed it up with another post about the traffic sources and what it did for his revenue and newsletter subscriptions. What’s great about this is Darren is in Australia, so he’s taking advantage of a holiday not even celebrated in his own country, now that’s a smart blogger.
This theory can be applied to almost every subject for almost all the holidays. A knitting site could have an article about knitting an American flag sweater for the 4th of July, a video game site could have an article discussing the games with the most firework-like explosions, a dating site could have an article about the best 4th of July date ideas. You just have to be creative.
This post itself is another example of creating holiday content based around your subject, in my case web analytics and web publishing.
2. Create a contest based on the holiday.
It’s pretty easy to put together a contest or giveaway based on the holiday. What if Darren Rowse had a contest on his Digital Photography School blog to pick the best 4th of July firework photo from user submitted photos? He could go a step further and allow users to vote driving traffic up even further.
Additionally an ecommerce site could put together a free giveaway where the winner is revealed on the site during the holiday, and it’d be even better if the prizes people win or the products the site sells are also holiday-themed.
3. Have a holiday sale.
This obviously works best for ecommerce sites, but having a time-limited sale based around the holiday is a good way to make sure sales don’t dip. An easy example is at the software company I worked for we’d do something like 30% off our main product during the itself, but we’d announce this sale in our newsletter and on our website beforehand so we had people who’d come to buy on the holiday. This also got additional word of mouth sales, which helped quite a bit.
If you run an affiliate program you can give your affiliates some incentive by providing them with a special holiday bonus to the affiliate that drives the most sales or traffic on or near the holiday.
Even if you aren’t an ecommerce site, a regular blogger or content publisher could easily make some holiday themed items with Cafepress or other similar sites that relates to your site in some way and sell them for a couple of weeks around the holiday for some extra revenue. Things like this also help build a community, and you could even tie this merchandise into your contest. Darren Rowse could make Digital Photography School t-shirts with a great fireworks picture on it and give those away as prizes in his contest.
Don’t let the holidays drag down your analytics, think creatively and put in a bit of extra work and you’ll not only see a holiday explosion in your stats, but you’ll probably do something memorable for your users that helps you build your community.