Keep Your Hunting Website Relevant During the Summer Stagnation

6 May 2009 755 views 5 Comments

Where did everybody go?

Sweet Summer by the Lake

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image credit: Per Ola Wiberg

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The summer months are coming around the US and in most hunting regions this means more time spent outdoors – it definitely means more golfing, boating, grilling, and general outdoor fun for me and my fellow Wisconsinites.

As is expected, as your Website viewers rush to spend their precious time outside, your Website or blog traffic may decrease.

The proof is in this chart from Google Insights:

Google Insights Hunting Cyclical Season

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click for sharper image

Your customers are on the way down into the stagnant times of the year-long hunting season. For them, the hunting season (on the Web) won’t peak until late fall.

I’ve written before that The Hunting Off Season is the Best Time to Improve Your Hunting Business

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, but maintaining a connection with your readers online is important as well.

You should encourage them to get outside and enjoy the summer months, but even though they aren’t spending as much time online it doesn’t mean you can’t maintain steady traffic and interest.

Here are a few ideas to keep your Website relevant during the summer stagnation:

Mirror their schedule

You probably recognize the time of day your blog or Website gets the most traffic. This may or may not change when the summer months hit.

Think about your typical visitor for a second: hunter, nine to five worker, access to a computer at work (or only at home after work or in the morning prior), kids, no kids, married, not married, retired, etc.

If your typical visitor is me, I’m a hunter who spends time browsing the Web while at work (7am to 4pm Central Time – don’t forget time zones). I do visit a few sites to research and get ideas.

I also spend the mornings and evenings online. But once the summer hits I spend more time outside (on the lake, on the course, or in a backyard grilling and downing a few tasty Bud Lights). So my afternoon and evening Web browsing drops off significantly in the summer.

So the best time to catch me with blog updates, emails, RSS updates, and updated Websites is in the morning. I’m just getting up and during the week I still go through my daily routing of checking email and relevant sites before work.

Now, I’m guessing the same pattern is true for most of your site’s visitors. Afternoons and evenings are busy in the summer. Whether it’s taking kids to tee ball or taking in a volleyball game with friends, your visitors are going to be busy after twelve o’clock.

So the best time to update your blog or send out an email might be in the morning when they’re getting up. (If you send an e-newsletter out in the morning you might be seen at the top right away). If you’re conversing in forums or commenting on blogs, your posts will be seen first if you time them to be in the morning.

Lunch is also a popular time as people who work at desks and computers have some free time to browse their favorite sites. Sure, some of your visitors might take a lunch outside due to the nice weather, but some will take the time to pay bills, check sports standings, and check their favorite hunting sites.

Think about when your visitors are going to be spending time online and when they’ll be outside. Use their outside time to work on your site/blog and use their online time to participate and connect with them.

Staying relevant

If your blog is about discussing hunting strategy, during the summer you could discuss summertime strategies for scouting and brainstorming tactics for the upcoming season.

What are ways your readers can use their time this summer (outside in the woods) scouting and upping their chances of taking a trophy animal in the fall?

In the summer it’s difficult to think that hunting is relevant so as a writer or site editor you can provide a resource for information.

It might be summer, but your readers still crave information that adds value and benefit to their lives as hunters. Other hunting blogs may be taking a break or covering irrelevant material and just accepting the downturn in traffic, but make your blog relevant and you’ll see your hunters make time to read your blog or visit your site despite their time crunch.

If you’re a product manufacturer, create relevant emails and Website images for the summer months.

Highlight how your products are relevant now. Why do your customers need to get your products now? Or why will your customers have added value by visiting your site or buying your product/service now versus the fall hunting season?

There are many examples for individual businesses, but the important thing to remember is to stay relevant to your reader’s or customer’s mindset for the summer months.

Add value (become necessary)

Adding value to your customers hunting life is important all year round, but when their attention is elsewhere it’s even more important because you have more competition for their attention.

You have to make yourself necessary to their hunting lives. I check LewRockwell.com

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and Michael Shedlock’s site
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everyday whether it’s snowing or 80 degrees and sunny outside. The sites are necessary to me personally. I need them as part of my personal development.

How do you make your site necessary?

Well, it takes quality content and a unique voice. You have to provide insight that relates to your reader’s worldview and adds value to their daily lives. What information and insight can you provide that is necessary to your reader’s daily lives and their busier lives during the summer months?

It’s not easy to provide valuable information, but if you can continuously provide valuable content you will be able to maintain your readers and traffic during the summer months.

Stay Clever

Another thing you can do during the summer doldrums is to build up your creativity and your ability to be clever. People love clever content.

Think for a second, about a piece of content that you found clever.

Perhaps it was a song?

For me an example is He Stopped Loving Her Today

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by George Jones
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. This is one of my favorite songs in part because it’s clever. The ending is clever, but not outrageous.

If you can create clever content you’ll create curiosity

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that will give your readers a reason to visit your site or blog when they’re busier. Cleverness makes people think long after they leave your site. This is a powerful characteristic of Websites and blogs.

If you can create clever content you will have a powerful pull for readers.

Summary

The summer months are coming. This is a downtime for the entire Web, but especially for hunters. Your readers likely spend a lot of time outside and away from their computers during this time of year. And this is a good thing. You have readers and visitors who love the outdoors and that’s what hunting and your blog is all about.

But even because traffic will go down overall this summer it doesn’t mean your site or bog has to become irrelevant.

Focus on updating when your visitors are going online and catch them when they’re online.

Stay relevant – make your content unique to what is going on now and how it can help your readers.

Continually add value (as you do all year) to your readers and customers. It’s even more important now as you fight for their precious attention.

And stay clever. Create a unique need for your blog.

Don’t be afraid of the summer months – embrace it as a challenge.

I know you’ll do great!

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