As we go about our lives throughout the year, our patterns change. In the summer, we’re more likely to be on vacation, or outside enjoying the sun. In the winter, we’re more likely to spend more time indoors, maybe at the computer. Your occupation might also change dramatically from season to season, whether you’re a student, botanist, hockey player or lifeguard.
So it’s no surprise, then, that the time of year will make a big difference on your web traffic. Of course, any ecommerce or consumer-focused site will notice a lift in the November-December holiday season. But what other factors influence your traffic?
I was just looking through my Google Analytics account when I noticed that one of my sites, Ancient-Mythology.com, had picked up a bit over the past two weeks. I took a step back and looked at the charts for the past two months, and realized that my traffic was coming out of a two-month lull. Curious, I took a look at the past 22 months of data. The answer was obvious.
It doesn’t take a degree in rocket surgery to put this one together. As my clever clip-art inserts demonstrate, my traffic was down every summer and during the Christmas holidays. This is a strong indicator that my mythology site is being used primarily by students, most of whom are probably working on a high school class project, or studying humanities or religion in college.
We tend to look at our stats on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis, but there’s plenty to be learned by looking at the big picture. So take a look at your stats over the past couple of years. Your niche may have an annual pattern — and you might learn who’s really visiting your site, as I did.
Once you’ve figured this out, capitalize on it. Organize your marketing campaigns and major site updates according to these patterns, so your site is at its prime when you have the most visitors. Use this data to determine the needs of your visitors at the time, as well. For example, I might see success if I were to advertise or affiliate with other student resources, or services offering essay-writing help.