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Decreased traffic doing the weekend and holidays?

Lower traffic doing the weekends is an interesting phenomena. In this article we try to study it further to see if we can do anything about it.

Edited: 2015-12-23 17:16

Something most blog and website owners will recognize is an interesting phenomena happening on the weekends. To be more precise, the phenomena of decreasing website traffic. The traffic from search engines goes considerably down doing weekends and holidays, and likely not just the traffic from search engines, but also referral and direct traffic. The graph below represents our traffic doing November vs that of December, coming just from Google search.

Graph showing traffic from november vs december

The graph clearly shows how our traffic goes down doing the weekends, and it also shows that our traffic has been lower doing december when compared with the previous month. Of course just one test like this won't paint a very adequate picture, but it has been like that in past years as well.

Why even care about traffic?

For those of us who run websites with the aim to make money, traffic is very important – and perhaps we tend to obsess a little over it at times.

Another reason to track what happens with your traffic, and research why it happens, is so that you will not be surprised when it happens. Many website owners and bloggers get worried when they suddenly see their traffic go down doing the holidays, or other times of year, because they do not understand why it happens. Some get worried that their site is loosing ground in the search engines, when in reality the drop in traffic is just due to natural variations in search trends doing certain times of year.

The best example to illustrate this, is the traffic drop that many of us witness doing weekends. We do not think much of it, since we have grown accustomed to it.

How to improve weekend and holiday traffic

You may think that nothing can be done, but that is not entirely true. It depends on what your focus is of course, but clearly there are some things that people tend to seek doing weekends, that they do not seek doing the rest of the week. And likewise, doing the holidays, some things will be highly sought after. The problem is identifying those things.

To identify what works the best doing the holidays, you can use Google Trends. After doing some research into the main categories we are focusing on, it was very easy to establish why the traffic drops on the weekends. It's pretty much obvious. Do to the fact that we focus on topics such as scripting and programming, our traffic naturally drops in the weekends. If we compare this with entertainment related topics, than traffic actually increase doing the weekends. For example, here is a search graph for Netflix:

Graph showing traffic from november vs december

So, judging from this Graph, interest in Netflix drastically increases doing the weekends, beginning midweek (Thursday) and truly kicking in on Friday, reaching its peak at Sunday. If you think about it, this makes sense. People want to have fun in the weekends, not sit and program their computers. So one way to increase weekend traffic, is to focus on entertainment. The increased traffic doing weekends holds true for other fun and entertainment related things, not just movies!

If you want to increase traffic doing the holidays, do your own research! People are likely focusing on Christmas, and what to give their loved ones as gifts. However, this is just a guess, but it is a very good guess.

What we should be doing

1. Bloggers should stop thinking in the short-term when they write new posts. Many bloggers just write opinionated low-quality articles, that are meaningless in the long-term, and meaningless to the broader audience, often only appealing to their existing audience.

2. With the above in mind, do not just write for 1-time consumption. Consider the fact that your article can be relevant to people for years to come, and that it likely will attract visitors from search for a long time, if you put the required time into writing it, and maintaining it (keeping it up-to-date).

3. If you think it useful, consider making content in a broader sense, so that you limit the affect of weekend and holiday trends.

4. Finally, do not stop working on your website just because you get less traffic. You can still write new articles and work on improving old ones. Just because you reach fewer people with an article doing holidays, does not mean that it will not attract visitors further down the road.