We’re going into the holiday season and for publishers that means opportunity. The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year because it’s when you get the most traffic, it’s when ad providers spend the majority of their budgets for the best ads. It really is the most wonderful time of the year and it’s when you can make the most money on your blog. The trick is getting the most value from each person who comes to your site.
One of the most important things that you can do is make your site “sticky”. People are going to come and visit your site, how will you keep them there and have them click around your site for a while? We spoke with Camille of the Six Sisters Stuff to see what publishers should do right now to prepare for blogging’s busiest season.
We’ve put together 7 ways you can prepare your site for the holidays so that you can focus on doing a little bit each day. This way it won’t get too overwhelming and you’ll be ready for the extra traffic and higher eCPM’s coming to you during the holidays! Here are 7 days of blog tasks!
Day 1: Highlight your best and new content.
Feature your most popular posts. In our sidebar, we have our most popular posts listed- it’s an easy plug-in/widget that you can find on both Blogger and WordPress. We hope that people will see something that they like and click on it. There’s also social proof–it shows what other people love on the site.
Feature your recent posts. There are many widgets and plug-ins that you can add to your blog that have links to your most recent posts. I always like to see what people have recently added. Someone might have found your site from a really old post and so they may be interested in what new content you have added.
Feature related posts. At the bottom of each post, we have added a LinkedIn widget that automatically generates other posts that the reader might like. It includes the title of the post and also a small thumbnail picture of the post. We see a lot of traffic from this every day- it’s definitely in our top 10 sources of traffic.
We use the Linkwithin plugin
Day 2: Link to past posts.
On each post, refer to past posts with links to related content. For example, if I make a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, I will link to other recipes that use that same chocolate frosting. We try to include these links throughout each post and sometimes we will even list similar posts (especially recipes) that we think the reader might want to read. This is also a good way to introduce your reader to some of your older posts that can get lost. Chances are people didn’t see many of your first posts. We do this manually.
Day 3: Make sure the right content is at the top of every page.
Include a search box. If people are looking for something specific, they can use the search box to quickly find it.
Utilize tabs or links along the top of your blog, including an “About Me”. Always include an “About Me” page on your blog. People are usually intrigued by other’s stories and when you share things about yourself, it gives people a way to connect with you personally. It’s fun to read about the person behind the blog, how/why they started this site, and where they plan on going with their site.
Put a picture of yourself at the top part of the page. People want to know the person behind the blog. If they can put a face with a site, they will automatically feel more connected.
Have a clear place where readers can subscribe to your website and follow you on social media. It is important to have these high on your page, above the fold! Even if they are only on your site for a couple of seconds and like what they see, they may become a lifelong reader if they see that they can follow you on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or other platforms.
We use Hello Bar plugin at the top of our site to get new subscribers.
Day 4: Help newcomers find their way.
Provide “pathway pages” that can help readers know where to go next. I have been to a couple of sites that have a tab that states, “Start here if you are new.” If it’s my first time on their site, I usually click on it to see what it’s all about!
Day 5: Make your blog easy to read.
Is your site easy on the eyes? Too cluttered? Organized? One of the best investments that you will make is having a professional help you with the design of your blog. It’s amazing what a blog facelift will do for your traffic! If it’s easy to maneuver around your site, people will. Try to get this all taken care of before Q4 starts so you can work out any bugs!
Day 6: Capitalize on viral posts.
If you see a spike in your traffic from a specific post (such as when a larger website pins/features us or someone with a large following pins us on Pinterest), be sure to grease the wheels a bit. Follow up with another post ASAP to give people something to read and keep that momentum going. Also, add invitations to that popular post and invite people to subscribe and follow your blog. Even adding something such as, “Like what you are reading? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all our latest posts!” to the top or bottom (or both!) of your post will increase your following even more.
Day 7: Be Responsive to your readers.
Be interactive with readers on your site. Reply to comments left on posts, hold competitions, have polls with questions for your readers to respond to, etc.
Show off your readers too. There are a couple of sites who show just how many Facebook, Twitter, and Feedburner followers they have and because their numbers were so high, I figured that it must be an amazing site and I had to follow it (i.e. “Join 55,000 other newsletter subscribers!”).
Here’s an example of this for Twitter (notice she puts 134,000 followers, which instantly lends credibility and makes you want to follow her).
Example from Penelope Trunk’s blog.
Add a video that introduces yourself and your blog. The time that people spend on your site will increase immensely if you have a little video that engages them.
We hope this helps you get your blog into shape before the holidays so you can maximize the traffic you get. Did we miss anything?
Let us know in the comments. Learn more about Monumetric here.