The holiday season is upon us. From now through the new year, everyone will be thinking about gifts, get-togethers, and good times. This is the perfect time for you to bring in more traffic to your blog. After all, the holiday season is one of the busiest times on the Internet.
However, some bloggers notice a sharp decline in traffic during this time of the year. This is especially true if you don’t sell products or services that could be gifted to others.
But never fear! There is a way to bring in even more traffic to your blog during the holidays, and we’re sharing exactly how to do that in this post.
And with the holidays quickly approaching, it’s important for you to prepare now instead of later. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Set Goals
What’s the very first thing you should do if you’d like to drive traffic to your blog? Set goals. But not just any goals—S.M.A.R.T. goals.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-based. To be successful, any blog-related goal you make should be S.M.A.R.T.
Here are a few common blogging goals and how to make them S.M.A.R.T.:
- Goal #1: Attract more visitors
- Goal #2: Build your email list
- Goal #3: Make more affiliate sales
- Goal #4: Publish more relevant long-form content
- Goal #5: Refresh your blog for the new year
While all of the above goals are common and admirable, they won’t work unless you implement a plan. That’s where the S.M.A.R.T. strategy comes in.
Let’s take the first goal, which happily coincides with the topic of this article: Attract more visitors. How will you reach this goal?
Get specific: Exactly how many visitors do you want to attract? Set a specific number.
Make it measurable: How will you track your goal? To do this, you’ll need to know how many visitors you attract now and then use tools to evaluate your traffic over the holidays.
Create an action plan: What will you do to generate more traffic? We’ll discuss what to include in your action plan in this guide.
Be realistic: Can your plan actually work, given your current resources? You may want to go viral, but that’s not an actionable goal. And it’s not specific, either. Instead, you can look at your blog’s current trends and make reasonable projections for the future.
Give it a timeline: What’s the deadline to hit your goal? Since we’re focused on the holidays in this post, a reasonable deadline may be at the end of December or January. By this time, you should have met your goal.
In this example, we only focused on one goal. But you can apply the S.M.A.R.T. strategy to any goal for your blog. This type of goal setting is much more effective than a vague declaration to drive more traffic to your blog. It helps you focus on what you need to do to make your goal a reality.
Also, keep in mind that the fourth quarter of the year can make or break your annual business goals, so start planning how you’ll drive holiday traffic to your blog as soon as possible.
2. Improve Your Website
The next step to increasing holiday traffic is to improve your website.
Yes, website maintenance may be tedious, but it’s necessary for driving more traffic to your blog, and here’s why:
Google and other search engines decide where to rank your website in the search engine results based on an array of factors, commonly known as search engine optimization (or SEO for short). When someone searches on Google for a topic you’ve blogged about, you want them to see your post in the top 10 results. That’s because most people never click beyond page one of the results. And to show up on the first page of results, you’ll need to improve your website so that search engines feel confident that your site is worthy of their recommendation and ranking.
The good news is that search engines are after the same thing that you’re after – delivering an excellent experience for your visitors. If you want to improve your search engine ranking and become more visible to search engine users, you need to tweak how your website looks and functions.
Here’s a quick checklist of things you can improve right away to improve your blog’s search engine ranking and boost traffic to your site:
One: Add valuable holiday-focused content to your blog.
The following section will break out all the details you need for this step.
Two: Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.
Does your website look good on mobile devices? Click here to test the mobile-friendliness of your website quickly.
Three: Make sure that your website loads quickly.
Speed is a huge SEO factor. Take the test to determine if your website is loading slowly.
If your website is slow, you can improve your site speed in one afternoon by following these tips:
- Sign up for our managed WordPress hosting. Our managed WordPress hosting service provides top speeds, maximum security, and best-in-class hosting.
- Get rid of plugins that you no longer use because these installed plugins, even when inactive, may be slowing down your site. Here’s how to uninstall plugins on your WordPress site.
- Install plugins that boost your website speed, such as those that compress and optimize large images. Here’s a refresher on how to install plugins on a WordPress site.
3. Deliver More Holiday-Focused Content
‘Tis the season to write more holiday-focused content.
While many blogs experience a traffic slump during this time of year, that’s not because people have suddenly abandoned the Internet. Your readers have simply shifted their focus to content related to the season’s activities.
During the holiday season, they’re thinking about holiday-related things, such as family gatherings, travel, gift-giving, food, decor, etc.
Instead of shutting down your blog for the holiday season, fully lean into it. Give your readers precisely what they are looking for.
Here are two types of content you can create to drive traffic to your blog during the holidays:
Holiday-Themed Posts – This might include topics such as:
- Your readers’ favorite holiday recipes. How can you know what those are? Ask them! Create a form for your readers to share their fave seasonal recipe with you, then write a follow-up post sharing the entire collection with everyone. If you receive too many submissions, just create a post that shares your hand-curated selection instead.
- Things to do to celebrate or participate in holiday activities
- Places to visit that fully embrace the holiday season
- Gifts to buy for people who resonate with your blog’s focus
- Common seasonal issues such as depression and social anxiety
To save time, you can also update or repurpose last year’s seasonal content, such as gift guides. This allows you to add more content without much additional work.
Year-End Content – Typical topics might be:
- A round-up of your top posts for the year
- A prediction of next year’s trends
- A list of your favorite articles from other blogs
- A reflection or look-back on the top news in your niche
- A highlight of the key milestones you’ve met this past year
- A post that shares your goals for the upcoming year
- An exploration of the lessons you’ve learned
Long story short, people love “list” posts, especially at the end of the year because lists are easy-to-digest content. This leads us to our next tip.
4. Write Shorter Posts
Although mammoth 3,000+ word posts may perform well occasionally, the holiday season isn’t the time for lengthy blog posts. During this season, your reader is more action-focused and less interested in reading content that will take them days to finish.
So give them what they want.
Create a series of short and sweet posts that prompt your reader to return for the next installment. A special, holiday-themed series can drive a steady stream of traffic to your blog throughout the next few months. And you can tease your upcoming post at the end of each article. Be sure to return to the former post and add an internal link after you’ve published your next installment.
Remember that your audience is more likely to read your posts from their mobile devices during this time of the year (especially if they’re stuck at a dinner table with Uncle Sal and looking for a way to avoid political chit chat). So make your posts scannable by creating subheadings, bullet points, and shorter paragraphs.
Also, add more images to your blog posts. A lot more. According to this research, you’ll be more likely to meet your goals when adding 10 or more images to your post.
Check out these additional resources:
- Tips on how to find excellent stock images for your blog
- How to customize stock images and make them less generic
- Tips for optimizing those images in WordPress. This is especially important when using many images.
5. Create Gift Guides
Gift guides are one of the most popular types of seasonal content you can create. Your readers are searching for ideas on which gifts to buy their friends, family, and co-workers, so your gift guide will be a valuable read.
In addition to driving traffic to your blog, your gift guide can also bring in extra money. You can earn a commission from each sale by using affiliate links on any products you recommend in your posts. Major retailers, like Amazon and Target, have affiliate programs that you can join. Also, check before linking to smaller companies. They may have their own affiliate programs. Learn more about affiliate marketing and how it can help your small business here.
Pro Tip: When creating gift guides, be sure to add seasonal keywords to your post’s title, like “Top Tech Gifts Under $100 for 2021.”
Want to make your gift guide even more valuable? Add a personal review or compare the products you list. Of course, keep the extra information short and punchy, highlighting only the main points that your readers will want to know.
6. Give a Gift
It’s the giving season, so why not participate in the giving? Create your own seasonal gifts, such as:
- An In-Depth Gift Guide – That short and punchy gift guide we just recommended? Here’s the big sister version. Add a post to your site where you list your top 10, 25, or even 100 products/ services, and explain why you recommend them. You can also add video reviews for each product/ service to make this gift guide even more valuable to your audience.
- A Holiday-Themed Email Series – Imagine publishing a series of newsletters such as “The 12 days of [your blog’s niche]”. Create an email pop-up form that encourages visitors to sign up for your newsletter. If you’re using WordPress, you can set this up through MailPoet. You can also use MailPoet to create an email series that sends automatically to your subscribers. In this email series, you can share a multi-step tutorial or simply provide interesting tips in each newsletter. There really is no limit in how you approach this. Just remember to provide your subscribers with information they’ll love and relate it in some way back to the holidays.
- Your Top Holiday Recipes – Create a short, downloadable ebook with your favorite holiday recipes. This idea isn’t limited to food bloggers. You can use this lead magnet for multiple types of audiences. And of course, if you followed our earlier tip and lots of your readers shared their favorites, this would be the ideal way to share them all.
- Coupons and Discounts to Products and Services – Use your social media platform to highlight posts you’ve written that contain time-sensitive content. For example, perhaps you’ve published posts that list coupons or seasonal discounts for either your own products and services or those of related brands. Of course, if you link to other brands, make sure to use affiliate links whenever possible.
One of the best times of the year to drive traffic to your blog is right now. Use the above tips to create the attractive and in-demand content that your audience craves.
For more tips on preparing your website for the upcoming holiday season, look for our next post on this series, coming soon: Tips to Explode Holiday Sales.
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