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When picking a niche for your site, one of the first things you should do is to head over to trends.google.com and see how that niche has been trending over various periods of time. This can help you determine whether or not you should look further into the niche.
With that being said, there are times where it might make sense to go into a niche that doesn’t have the best trend line. For example, you might consider going into a seasonal niche, like swimming, that gets good traffic during the warmer months, but very little traffic in the winter.
Although I would typically say to stay away from a niche like swimming, you can sometimes justify it if there seems to be an ample amount of low-competition keywords within the niche. We went into niches that have some seasonality to them for two of our sites for this very reason.
A common thought that comes up when you have a seasonal site is to try to balance the traffic throughout the year in order to avoid the spikes and dips. On the surface, this makes sense, but is this actually a good strategy?
In this post, I’ll tell you why my team and I no longer try to balance the traffic on our seasonal sites and instead double-down on in-season content.
Why Consistent Traffic and Income Matter
Before you start creating off-season content for your seasonal site, you first need to ask yourself why it’s important. For most people, they’re simply used to the idea of getting a consistent paycheck week to week or month to month.
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Is that really that important though? Does it really matter if you make $2,000 every month instead of $3,000 per month in six months and $1,000 per month during the other six months?
This all boils down to money management, which is something that a lot of people struggle with. If you fall into this category, it might make sense to try to balance your traffic and revenue throughout the year.
However, if you’re able to manage your finances based on your expected annual return, there are benefits to doubling down on seasonal content, instead of creating off-season content.
Why I Don’t Try to Balance My Traffic and Income
Before I tell you why I don’t add off-season content to our seasonal sites, let’s first quickly discuss what I mean by off-season content.
Let’s say for example that you have a lawn care site. In this case, you’ll likely have strong traffic during the summer, but low traffic during the spring, fall, and winter.
The first thing that many people would think to do after the site starts gaining traction would be to add posts centered around those other seasons. Maybe topics like snow removal for the winter and leaf cleanup for the spring and fall.
While it seems pretty obvious at first glance to add off-season content to a seasonal site like this, the benefits aren’t as big as they might seem. While yes, you will balance your traffic and revenue throughout the year, you will actually gain less traffic overall than you would if you targeted additional seasonal content. Let me explain.
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Let’s say you add some snow removal articles to your lawn care site. After all, many lawn care companies do snow removal in the winter. You could expect to see those articles bring in traffic for maybe three months per year.
For those leaf cleanup articles, your return would be even smaller. You might be looking at traffic spikes for roughly two months per year.
Now, let’s say that instead of adding off-season content, you add more seasonal content geared toward lawn care. Those posts would spike during the warmer months and bring in traffic for six or more months per year.
This of course would lead to even higher traffic and revenue spikes during the warmer months, so your seasonal swings would be greater. However, if you look at the overall traffic and revenue that your site would generate over the course of a year, it would be significantly higher than it would be if you focused on adding off-season content to your site.
That’s the main reason that we now don’t actively target off-season content on our seasonal sites. That’s not to say that we don’t add some content that’s outside of the seasonal spikes, but it’s not something that we focus on.
The benefits don’t end there though. Again, if you’re doubling down on lawn care content on your lawn care site, you’re going to increase the topical relevancy of your site.
If instead, you added snow removal and leaf cleanup articles to your site, you would be diluting the topical relevancy of your site. This is important as having a site that’s laser focused helps Google better understand your content and rank your site accordingly.
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The Ideal Way to Balance a Seasonal Site
In my opinion, the best way to add some balance to a seasonal site is to counter it with an additional site, one that’s completely separate and built around a different topic.
The second site doesn’t have to necessarily be seasonal with the focus being on the off season either. Instead, try to build a second site that’s topics are not seasonal at all.
While this won’t offset the peaks and valleys from your first site, it will help you to increase your baseline traffic and income levels throughout the year, which will make life a bit easier during those off-season periods.
In our current portfolio of five sites, we have two that peak during the summer, one that peaks during the winter, and two that are not seasonal at all. This provides a nice overall balance for us throughout the year.
When It Makes Sense to Add Off-Season Content
Now, there is one scenario where I would make it a point to add off-season content to a seasonal site. That scenario is when you’ve exhausted all of the seasonal topics and keywords on your site.
Back to the lawn care example, if you were to burn through all of your lawn care topics and keywords, I would recommend expanding your site into other areas, possibly snow removal and leaf cleanup, to allow it to continue growing.
Expanding into other subniches or topics is a big part of our strategy when growing our sites. The general idea is to start with a broad domain name, then over time, attack each subniche or topic within the broader niche, one by one.
If your site is seasonal, start with the topics that have the longest traffic spikes each year, then move onto the others as you run out of keywords. This allows you to grow your site as quickly as possible and keep that growth going as you start to run out of content for your site.
While it might seem obvious that you should add off-season content to your seasonal site to balance the traffic and revenue throughout the year, doing so doesn’t actually provide the best return.
By doubling down on the topics that have the best return throughout the year, you’ll grow your overall traffic and revenue, while increasing your topical relevancy.
Shifting to off-season topics makes sense as you start to run out of keywords for your site, but until then, focusing on in-season content will provide the best value for both you and your visitors.