September 2, 2018

Can Posting More Often Really Help Bloggers With the Summer Slump?

summer at the beach
I went back-and-forth about whether to add this to the end of my recent post about the summer blogging slump or write a brief follow-up post. As you can see, I opted for the follow-up post.

In that previous post, I mentioned that one of the common suggestions I've encountered for bloggers wanting to combat the summer blog slump was to increase their posting frequency during the low-traffic months. This makes sense, at least initially; however, the recommendation has always struck me as questionable in the sense that it would mean writing more for a smaller audience. Even if it was effective in mitigating against the seasonal drop in blog traffic, it seems like it would be less efficient.

Anyway, after I wrote that post, I realized that I had a way of doing a crude test on whether this recommendation might be helpful. You see, I posted slightly more than twice as much during July of 2018 (31 posts) as I did during July of 2017 (14 posts). If posting more often is an effective way to address the summer blogging slump, it seems like I should have had more traffic in July of 2018 than I did in July of 2017.

In fact, the opposite happened. My traffic for July 2018 was roughly 10% lower than my traffic for July 2017 in spite of posting more than twice as much. What can we make of this? Unfortunately, not much. It is tempting to conclude that posting twice as often is not worthwhile, at least for me, but there's one important reason why I would not draw that conclusion. My traffic in every month of 2017 from January through July was higher than it has been for the same months in 2018. June and July showed the smallest difference (i.e., about 10% each vs. the same months in 2017). Would July of 2018 have better fit the overall trend and been down more than 10% if I hadn't been posting twice as much? There's no way to tell.

If one really wanted to test whether increasing one's posting frequency would help, I think a better way to do so would be to select two adjacent months in the same year during which one typically saw the least amount of traffic (e.g., July and August). One could then post twice as much during one of these months as the other and compare traffic at the end. While this methodology would still be far from perfect, I suspect it would be superior to trying to compare over more than one year. With the months being adjacent, this test should be less susceptible to long-term traffic trends.

As for the observed decline in my traffic when comparing 2017 and 2018, I'm not overly worried yet. Unfortunately, I modified my Google Analytics setup enough in early 2018 that I'm not very confident that the numbers are truly comparable. Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS probably complicates these comparisons too, especially since I had a bit of trouble with the process.