It’s that time of year again when the mercury soars and blog visitor stats tank. Here in the UK we’re still pinching ourselves after weeks of hot, Continental style weather and wondering if making it this far in the World Cup is even real.
Before you consider sitting back with a Sangria and taking your foot of the gas, now is the perfect time for all those blog-related tasks you’ve been putting off.
If you’re looking at your stats and despairing if visitors will ever return again, here’s 13 things you can do to beat the summer slump and prepare your blog for their return (have faith, they will return!)
This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission if you buy a product or service through such a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure for further information.
1. Add affiliate links to old blog posts
If you haven’t embraced affiliate marketing as a revenue stream, now is the time to do it. You could be leaving a valuable – and entirely passive – income stream on the table.
The key to success is to only promote products and services you’ve actually used and believe in. My advice is to stick to a core group of products and services and start with the premise, how does this benefit my audience?
And yes, it’s OK to purchase something with the sole intention of featuring it, so long as the feedback you give is genuine and balanced. Think of it as an investment that benefits your audience and your bottom line.
Dig into your analytics to find your high traffic, evergreen content to find opportunities where a helpful product, service or solution could be mentioned in the post.
Reviews, ‘Listicles’, Guides and ‘How To’s are all ideal types of posts to add relevant, helpful affiliate suggestions for your audience. Next, google the name of your product followed by “affiliate program”. If there is one, sign up and apply!
Affiliate networks/programs to check out are:
If you’re looking for an easy-to-follow, thorough primer on affiliate marketing, Kayla from Fruitful Blogging’s excellent Affiliate Acceleration course is one of the best I’ve come across and at an incredibly budget-friendly price.
2. Speed up your website
I can’t emphasis enough how important it is to do what you can to increase your page speed load time! It really could be the difference between 100 visitors a day and 130. Or one sale a day and three!
Let’s face it, we’re all kinda lazy. I bet you hate waiting around for a web page to load and have clicked away if it takes too long? Stop burying your head in the sand and get onto it today!
My recent post How To Increase Your Website Page Speed by 70% in 4 Easy Steps really does only take about half an hour or so of your time. You’ll be thrilled with the results and so will your visitors!
3. Create a Fall promo funnel!
Maybe you have plans to launch a new product or service? Perhaps there’s a great affiliate product with an offer coming up that you’d love to promote?
Whatever you’re thinking of marketing, now is a great time to create a promo funnel ready for the Autumn up-tick.
If you’re promoting an affiliate offer and you know lots of competitors will be promoting it too, why not create an exclusive, juicy bonus for your readers to claim if they purchase through your link? Printables, guides and exclusive content are all things you can create to tempt people to sign up.
Next it’s time to craft a useful blog post (or mini-series) tackling the very dilemma or problem this product or service can help to solve.
If you’re really looking to drive email sign-ups and sales, consider offering a free opt-in incentive like a PDF checklist or email challenge along with your blog post (GDPR-compliant of course).
Dive deeper into the problem through a sequence of trust-building emails, auto-scheduled to be delivered after the initial freebie. Your final email should re-introduce your offer. After so many value-packed touch points readers will be more likely to bust open their wallets to buy your recommendation.
4. Batch your blog tasks
Batching is such a great idea! Get a chunk of similar tasks out of the way now by chunking them all into a day’s (or week’s) work. Think Youtube videos, a blog series, website photography, printables, freebie downloads etc
If you’ve been a little slack scheduling your social media posts, it’s also the perfect time to sit down and fill your feeds! Buffer is my go-to scheduler (it’s totally free) and now allows you to schedule Insta posts directly without a prompt!
5. Clean up your email list
If you have a sizeable email list and you didn’t react to the GDPR hysteria, there’s a good chance there’s still a lot of dead wood in it that you’re still paying for. (I use ActiveCampaign to manage my email subscriber list. They’re way cheaper than the likes of Convertkit with more powerful reporting and automation tools).
Here’s some ways you can clean up your email list:
- If you haven’t previously obtained a GDPR-compliant consent from your list, you should delete any EU users and not contact them again (most bloggers haven’t, but many are ignoring this and continuing to send marketing mails anyway – don’t be one of them). This post explains how to be GDPR compliant.
- Remove any addresses that have bounced 3 times or more, along with any duplicate addresses
- run a report to check open activity and delete subscribers who aren’t engaged. Determine what’s your ‘low’ open rate based on the frequency at which you send mails. If it’s weekly, you may decide this is subscribers who haven’t clicked in 4 months, if it’s monthly, 8 months etc
Take the time to clean out your personal and business inbox too. Delete all those unread emails, get rid of all unwanted spam and any other things clogging up your inbox.
An email address with a custom domain looks more professional and on-brand. Don’t put this off any longer. You can set this up through your hosting provider, but it’s generally agreed this is a bad idea due to speed, security and band-width issues.
It’s much better to host your business account through a third party. I can’t live without Google G-Suite! The basic plan is super-cheap at around $5 a month.
G-suite allows you to use your own blog domain through your regular G-mail account, along with upgraded storage, a dedicated Admin panel and video calls. Oh and it integrates seamlessly with all your fave Google apps like Google Drive, Docs, Keep etc.
6. Take advantage of all the discounted offers floating around
Now is the time to pay attention to your in-box. Many bloggers and businesses are throwing one offer after another at you, so take advantage!
Whether that’s money off a great course you’ve been meaning to take, a membership site or a product, keep your eyes peeled for all the offers and discounts coming your way!
7. Grab as many freebies as possible!
Similar to the previous tip, it’s freebie time out there in Blogland too! From stock photo bundles to graphics and fonts, the Summer slump contains tons of opportunities to stock up on assets that will see you through the chillier months (or hotter, depending which side of the world you’re situated).
It’s also a good time to sign up to websites and newsletters offering regular freebies, particularly when it comes to fonts and graphic goodies. I particularly love Creative Market and Envato for their amazing, regular freebies!
8. Educate yourself
Blogging is a constant journey of discovery and learning. However, finding the time to actively read and learn isn’t always easy.
Now is the perfect time of year to catch up with all those books and blogging courses you’ve been meaning to read and take!
I recently discovered Audible. For less than $15 / £10 a month you get one credit per month which gives you access to oodles of prime audio books (regardless of price) – many read by the authors themselves.
I’m currently all-ears for Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence (updated for 2018). I wholeheartedly recommend it to any blogger or entrepreneur needing a kick up the tush this summer.
True to form, and thanks to the spontaneous opportunities afforded by this format, Gary repeatedly goes ‘off script’ for a unique and personal insight into how he and dozens of other entrepreneurs are ‘Crushing It’ using social media.
Inspiring, heartfelt encouragement every small biz owner needs to hear. What’s even better? Audible are offering two free books with every free, no-obligation, trial!
So, even if you don’t commit to a membership, you’ve still got two great holiday reads to take away for free. What’s not to love about that? Click here to start your free trial and grab your free audio books.
9. Have a Pinterest overhaul
My subscriber list knows I’m a bit of a broken record when it comes to Pinterest. It’s my #1 source of traffic and very likely yours too, even if you aren’t an analytics junkie and don’t check!
It can be pretty daunting, but with Pinterest shaking things up a little of late, there’s never been a better time to stake your claim in the platform in preparation for a flood of traffic in Autumn.
Here’s my tips for establishing and growing a quick Pinterest presence over the summer:
- Get a Pinterest business account (free)
- Claim your website
- Clean up your boards. Niche down – choose just one clear audience-focused main account topic, then create 10-20 boards dealing with specific sub-topics. Ditch any irrelevant or personal boards (or make them secret).
- Use niche-relevant Keywords in your profile and pin descriptions to attract search interest. Hashtags are allowed!
- Follow lots of relevant people in your niche. Fill your boards with their most re-pinned and shared content. Pay attention to your ‘Following’ feed to find new content.
- Use a scheduler like Tailwind to auto-schedule your content across all boards using the time slots autosuggested based on highest engagement (you’ll get one month free if you sign up with that link!)
- Use Tailwind Tribes to boost traffic! My fave way to kick-start your Pinterest traffic. You can join up to 10 Tribes free. Also another great place to find niche relevant content to fill your boards.
- Join relevant Group boards (can take a while to get accepted but keep at it – Pingroupie is a good place to find groups in your niche). If you can’t find one. Start your own!
- Auto-schedule your own blog content on a looping system to Pinterest (Tailwind is about to launch this feature or you can manually manage it to your own boards and group boards).
- Pay To Play! – Boost followers and website traffic with a short, quick and dirty ‘Promoted Pins’ campaign. Monica at Redefining Mom has some great freebie courses and one of the few comprehensive courses on how to use Promoted Pins to promote your business.
- Optimise your blog posts and images to ensure only the right imagery is shared to Pinterest. This post helps you decide which Pinterest tool is best for your blog.
10. Mine your metrics – set goals and draw up an editorial schedule
If you’ve been blogging for a while, summer is a good time to take stock and see what’s been working over the last six months or so and figure out what you need to do going forward.
Which social media channels are bringing in the most traffic? How engaged are your visitors? What kind of content is resonating most with them? What didn’t work?
Take a deep dive into your data to find the answers. This post will help you understand Google Analytics.
If you haven’t already done so, it also shows you how to set up a custom goal in Google Analytics to track newsletter sign-ups. An essential metric in helping you figure out which platforms and content is converting best.
Once you’ve got a handle on where you are now, it’s time to focus on where you hope to be by the end of the year. Even if it’s a loose plan, put a figure on how many subscribers, income and page-views you’d like to hit.
Consider creating content which highlights the benefits of your own products, offers or fave affiliate promotions. One that moves the needle for your visitors as well as your business goals. This post shows you how to create a stress-free content strategy.
11. Up your content curation game
Sharing is caring. It’s easy to get stuck in a blogging bubble of self-promotion and hustle. Take your summer down-time and use it to get re-acquainted with other blogs to see what’s happening in your niche and those complimentary to it.
Get into the habit of checking in daily or weekly so you gain a broader snapshot of your niche and industry. Don’t be afraid to share the good stuff!
12. Promote your offer
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! If you have a paid product or service, consider discounting it for a limited time over the summer. If not, why not promote someone else’s affiliate offer?! It’s an opportunity to drive fresh traffic and sales during the slump while keeping your list engaged.
13. Get legal
I saved the most tedious till last, but you’ll thank me for it once it’s done! I’ve spoken at length about the dreaded GDPR regulations and how it affects you. Many bloggers I follow have ignored it completely, but I don’t recommend you do that!
Wrapping it up
While everyone deserves a little R&R, the summer slump doesn’t have to mean slacking off completely. Take the traffic dip for what it is and view it as an opportunity to get stuck into the things you’ve previously had little time for.
Even if you only tackle a few points on this list, you’ll be in a much better position to face the new season with renewed confidence and a spring in your step. Are you ready for all that juicy traffic?
Did you find this list helpful? Would your friends and followers benefit from some advice to get them through the next few weeks? If so hit the share buttons below or to the left of this post. A puppy smiles when you do!