A drop in traffic isn’t always cause for alarm, in fact, it’s pretty common and predictable. However, if you’re not expecting it, it can be pretty scary. Here are six things the might be causing your decline in traffic.
‘Tis The Season
Every blog has seasonal ups-and-downs and each niche is different. If you’re in the accounting niche you may see an increase in traffic that starts at the beginning of February and continues to grow through April 15, and then you might hear nothing but crickets until the end of the year. If you’re blogging about toys you might see a surge in traffic from November through December 15 as folks do their Christmas shopping. Once you’ve been blogging for more than a year it becomes easier to predict these seasonal fluctuations.
In most cases there’s nothing you can do to prevent a seasonal decline, but you can worsen its impact by optimizing your blog for those times when you do have the traffic. In other words, clean up your content, strengthen your SEO, and choose monetization methods to maximize earnings during peak traffic seasons.
Also, take a look at your content to see if you’re missing opportunities during those down times. Maybe you’ve just been focusing on the most popular search terms and those just happen to be seasonal.
An old post about how to upload images to Facebook might become popular every time Facebook makes a major change and then a week later is drops off the radar again. So it’s not that you’re experiencing a decline in traffic, it’s just that you were enjoying all that unexpected extra attention. Now that it’s gone, stay on top of industry trends and use them to your advantage. Create fresh new content and link back to that older article in your archives. You’ll increase your traffic and your page views.
Drop In Posting Frequency
My own personal experience has shown that a drop in traffic often means a drop in posting frequency.
Now, a drop isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Maybe you’ve reached the point where you need to spend more time researching your articles because you and your readers have progressed beyond the “beginner” point. So, if you’ve been posting 3 or 4 times a day and you drop down to 1 or 2, you’re just seeing a decline in traffic because readers only need 1 or 2 visits a day to keep up with your posting.
On the other hand, a drop in traffic related to posting frequency can also be a bad thing. If you’re publishing 10 or 12 posts a day you may be losing readers because they just can’t keep up. And no matter your frequency, if you’ve been consistently posting and you suddenly stop for a week or two, you’ll probably see a decline in traffic because your regular readers keep seeing the same post on your homepage and they think you’ve disappeared.
Search Engine Updates
Every time Google makes another major algorithm change at least one high-ranking blog losses a ton of traffic. Generally, it’s just a hiccup that corrects itself within a month or two. But it could indicate problems with your SEO, problems with your incoming links, or even problems with the quality of your content.
Poor Quality Content
If you content has always been poor quality then you probably never had any major traffic to be worried about. But if you’ve always produced high-quality content and now it stinks for some reason, then that could be the reason your traffic is dwindling. Did you just start outsourcing your content? Are you distracted by another project so you’re slacking off on content creation? Have you been accepting a lot of guest posts lately?
Your Marketing Efforts
I’ve found that when I remind my readers to share my content my Tweets and Shares go up for a few days and my traffic increases. If you remind your readers consistently, then your traffic numbers stay up there, but slack off in your marketing efforts and your traffic starts declining. The moral of the story is: Word of mouth only travels so far before it needs another nudge.