Should Bloggers Take The Summer Off?

If you’ve been in this game for a while you know that, for most blogs, traffic and revenue go down in the summer.

It sort of parallels the stock market. Many investors think the market peaks in March-April, dips through August, and then starts another upswing in October. So many investors buy from September-January, then reap their harvest from March-April and take the summer off.

While I don’t subscribe to this short term seasonal investing practice, mainly because I think there are still plenty of good stock buys out there in the summer, I am wondering whether there’s any place for seasonal blogging.

If you’re like me, you treat pro-blogging as a full time job and you often work just as hard on a Saturday as a Tuesday. But did you know that the impact of your work on Saturday might not be as substantial as the work you do on a Tuesday?

There are far fewer eyeballs looking at your blog on the weekends, not to mention the summer. So how should a blogger respond to this fact?

Part of the art of blogging is maintaining a certain level of momentum. But do you really lose any momentum by taking the weekend off? What about taking an entire week off? What about posting less frequently in the summer?

Obviously I don’t have answers to these questions, but since the return on investment isn’t very good in the summer, is there a way bloggers can down-shift a bit to avoid the disappointment that less traffic naturaly brings?

16 thoughts on “Should Bloggers Take The Summer Off?

  1. @Hart: Yeah, the EVDO plan can eat into your budget. I only use it for emergencies. But 1/2 – 3/4 day of browsing is 80-120 Mb for me. Or used to be. I think it’s more now. And that’s just browsing. Now that I do a lot of screencast video work/ uploading, I couldn’t afford to not have my regular cable Internet access.

  2. @raj .. Here in WPG the big plan is $90/mo and 500MB trsf. As a first timer, I get $30/off per month for 3 months. I plan to just use this in summer (erm, June-Sept), so I signed up for the big plan and intend to change plan in October to the minimum, which is $45/mo and I believe 80MB trsf. Then, next june put it back to the Max Plan. First time is free, and $25 fee every other time. The savings should cover the fee, and hopefully my blogging earnings will cover the contract minimums.

    I haven’t received my 1st bill yet and don’t know what 500MB usage reflects on a PC. I met another EVDO user who suggested that usage can last longer if you increase your cache and change the browser settings to check for new versions of stored pages to “never” instead of during “every visit”. I’ll know next month how that goes. I don’t want to be forced to be just checking emails and unplugging my card except when I’m publishing .. so I don’t get overcharged.

  3. Don’t forget those 5-6 scientists near the south pole

    Seriously, this was a great point.

  4. Okay, but there seems to be an increasing number of South American bloggers, so Portguese and Spanish could become very important “Southern Hemisphere” languages (speaking purely from number of blogs). However, a Technorati report indicated that Japanese (Northern Hemisphere) is already an important language in the blogosphere. So what am I saying? I have absolutely no idea, but I still say don’t abandon your blog in the summer.

  5. But Raj, much of the Southern Hemisphere reads English. Think Australasia for starters.

  6. Excellent point, Jeff. Anyone who has multilingual skills has an advantage, should they choose to use it.

  7. For half the world June-July-August is winter. There are a lot of people in the Southern Hemisphere reading English-language blogs. Perhaps the Northern Hemisphere summer is a good time for a blogger to see what is happening in the rest of the world, target new traffic sources.

  8. @Brett: Wish I knew.

    @Hart: Hope you’ve got a good plan. I have EVDO on my Palm Treo and I’m charged over Cdn$100/month but my bandwidth is capped at 250 Mb/mth. I use 80-120Mb in a half day of browsing. The provider won’t even let me pay for a bigger plan.

  9. During the summer, my wife takes 3-day weekends and a few weeks off, and we go to the beach – with no internet access. Last year, away for 2 weeks – I had almost 10000 emails. I use fax-to-email and that was the worst. I’d get a call from a client about a fax, and had to wait 24 hours downloading all the emails first. My blog traffic did decline, but for the most part – it was only during the weekends – and as a direct result from the lack of my blogging. When I was blogging .. even with the slowdown on the weekends, people still came back Monday/Tuesday and continued to read (when I posted). The biggest slowdown was Aug/2006 for me .. but it wasn’t that bad overall (some suffered, some became more popular).

    This year – I’ve signed up for EVDO (high speed mobility internet access – where ever you can access a cell phone you can access hi-speed internet) and taking my laptop with me to the beach. I hope to be blogging on the weekends away at the beach and on my vacation unless I get too sunburnt I’m quite excited to see if it helps stop the summer slowdown. It gets frustrating trying to ‘rebuild’ my sites every fall after the slowdown .. instead of ‘building-up’ my sites to new levels.

  10. Ahmed: I’m at a loss. Adsense has been a bomb for my own sites, and while TLA has been good, will it last? I’m trying to think of HOW I’ll earn money (aside from being for hire), not how to make more. I don’t have an answer yet. I’m trying a few things.

  11. while you guys are at it, find me a football blogger, will you? some niches require extra work in the summer, and are hot all year long 😛

    on a more serious note – you can take breaks if you wish but I would personally keep the ‘vacation’ independent of seasonal swings and instead use this type of down time for long-term planning and implementation – stuff like rebooting your blogs, putting up forums and gradually settling them in, preparing for the christmas rush, etc etc.

    Instead of hibernating, plan how to make more money next year – unless you’ve hired people for that, in which case why the hell are you reading this?

  12. I definitely see a decrease in traffic come the weekend, and I imagine I will notice it over the summer as well. But I happen to be a 29-year-old mother of three young children writing to an audience of parents in similar situations. I expect the weekend to be family time for most of my demographic, so the slow down doesn’t bother me much. I still get my regulars. I usually post shorter articles that don’t consumer much of my time. And as I write a lot of reviews, I make sure I save those for early on in the week when I know most of my readers will be checking in.

  13. Ryan, radical idea: vacation But in light of big G’s algorithm changes (and Technorati too?), it may be hazardous to stop blogging. No posts at all on your blog may mean a drop in fresh backlinks. That may mean a drop in Technorati rank, a drop in Feedburner subs (if you use it), etc., etc. I think you should post at least once per week while on vacation. Either use the post-date/ timestamp feature if you can’t find a guest writer.

    Why don’t we start a Performancing Guest Writer service where we match bloggers up? Brett has successfully cloned himself in triplicate and probably is already doing this, but just in case he isn’t, why not start up a Perf forum where you can ask/ beg for a guest writer. Granted, if you’re below PR4, you may have a hard time finding willing guests, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

    This would be the ideal time of year for a service like this, and at least two of Brett’s clones could probably help, since he’s sitting by the dock of tbe bay, wasting time. [And surely there’s monetization potential in an idea like this.]

    What do you guys think?

  14. Brett, that’s great that you’re not seeing the slowdown. That either means your growth or your niche is buffering against the summer slowdown. I could imagine that if your niche is blogging, or focused towards online junkies, you wouldn’t see as much of a slowdown, but if your niche is targeted towards 40 something women who love spending time at the beach after a long year of teaching immature brats, you’re going to get nailed;-)

  15. This is only my second year blogging. That caveat said, last summer I spent the first half of the summer doing a lot of consulting and the second half of the summer doing mostly blogging (probably 60/40 consulting /blogging overall).

    As I’m going into this summer, I am a stronger blogger and have been primarily blogging and marketing my blogging services. I have not seen a slow down yet, in fact I have seen an increase in business so far(feedburner numbers are haywire so I’m not counting that).

    If I did see this type of seasonal trend, I suspect I’d flow towards more consulting work. Alternatively, I’d sandbag some longer more in depth pieces for publication next fall possibly. I am also working on a couple different book concepts this summer as well, so that might be another alternative.

    I could also use the time to strengthen things on an SEO perspective to prepare for the ‘rush’ next fall.

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