(Yes, I know it’s still technically spring, but ‘Spring Slump’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it, somehow…)
The Summer Slump is something I’ve been noticing for as long as I’ve blogging, and it always goes exactly the same way. Every year I find myself thinking that maybe THIS year I’ll manage to avoid it, but nope: spring arrives, and gradually my blog traffic starts to fall. At first I’ll tell myself I’m imaging it: it’s just a little drop, after all, so it’ll probably pick back up soon, wont it? As the summer goes on, though, the slump continues:
Complete panic as I become increasingly convinced that OMG, no one is reading my blog any more! That, almost overnight, everyone has decided they hate me, and nothing I do will ever change their minds. There will be long nights spent wondering what I’m doing wrong, and why that post I thought was one of my best failed to get more than a couple of comments. Sometimes there will even be tears as I decide that this is it: I’m stuck in a downward spiral I’ll never break out of, and this time next year I’ll probably be homeless, because I’ve obviously forgotten how to blog, and now everything is going wrong.
Then comes autumn, though. Gradually the traffic starts to pick up. People start commenting again. Suddenly a post I DIDN’T think was one of my best will get a great response, and I’ll have absolutely no idea why. I’ll start to relax, and stop worrying about having to get a REAL job. I’ll get back into the swing of things again. And then spring will roll round, and the whole cycle will start again.
Fun times, huh?
I know plenty of bloggers who just don’t experience this cycle at all: bloggers whose traffic and engagement remain totally steady all year round, and who never have to deal with the uncertainty of The Slump. I’m not one of them, though, and I’ve experienced exactly the same thing on every blog I’ve ever owned, AND the ones I’ve worked on. It’s not hard to understand WHY it happens, either: I mean, summer is the best time of year, as far as I’m concerned. It’s a time when I’m spending more time outdoors, taking more day trips, maybe even taking a vacation, if I’m lucky. If I’m doing all of these things in the summer, it stands to reason other people will be doing these things, too: and that means they have less time to sit indoors, reading blogs.
I HOPE that’s what happening, anyway. I mean, the alternative is that my blog really DOES just get super-bad during spring and summer, and that it does this every single year without fail, and despite my best efforts to stop it. That would be a hard reality to deal with obviously, especially given that summer makes me even MORE interested in blogging than I am in winter. I’ve talked about this before, but I really struggle in winter: both with blogging and with … well, life, I guess. The lack of daylight makes me feel really low: it saps my energy levels and leaves me feeling totally unmotivated. There are weeks in winter when every single post is a struggle, and I really can’t think of a single thing I want to write about. Which kinda sucks when your job depends on you finding things to write about, doesn’t it?
Summer, by contrast, is a breath of fresh air. In summer, I seem to have no end of inspiration: I’m out and about more, trying new things, visiting more places. Even getting dressed becomes easier, and more fun, when I don’t have to worry about freezing to death as soon as I step outside the door, or build every outfit around a pair of the hated black tights. I want to write about all of these things on my blog, but the fact is, people don’t really want to read them. Because they’re ALSO out enjoying the longer daylight hours (if not the sunshine); they’re putting together their own fun outfits, and having their own adventures, and so they don’t really have time to read about mine, do they?
Fair enough. If I’m honest, I spend less time reading blogs too during the summer, so I can’t really complain about other people doing the same. But what DO you do when blogging is your job, and you don’t ever seem to be able to fight your way out of the summer slump?[separator type=”thin”]
what DO you do when blogging is your job, and you don’t ever seem to be able to fight your way out of the summer slump?[separator type=”thin”]
Well, first of all, I’ll just point out that it’s not quite as dire as I’ve made it sound here. Yes, my traffic drops – but not catastrophically. My income, meanwhile, tends to remain fairly steady, which is the most important thing, and which mostly leaves me with lack of engagement as the biggest issue resulting from the slump. One of my biggest issues is that, although blogging is my job, it’s also my hobby: money isn’t the only thing that matters to me, and I find it really hard to motivate myself when I’m writing blog posts and not getting much of a response to them. I end up feeling like there’s not much point, and that I might as well go and do something more productive instead.
So, this year, that’s what I’m going to do.
I don’t mean I’m giving up blogging, of course: I mean, heaven forbid!
In previous years, though, I’ve always tried to fight the slump by attempting to up my game and outwit it. I’ve doggedly continued to create content, even although I knew it wouldn’t get much of a response, and I’ve ended up feeling really disappointed as a result. Some of my favourite posts have ended up being amongst the least popular on the site: they’re not radically different in quality or content from some of the MOST popular posts, so the only reason I can find for their lack of success was the fact that they were posted in the height of summer, when people just weren’t around to see them.
This year, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to put pressure on myself to have a new blog post up every single day, for one thing. I mean, I’m not going to deliberately AVOID doing that if I have a lot to say for myself, but in general, I’m going to try to be a bit more relaxed about things: to accept that engagement is going to be lower over the next couple of months, and to take advantage of that by using the time I’d normally spend frantically trying to push out new content, to do other things instead.
I’d really like to finish my ebook, for instance. I have lots of plans for my secret diary section – which I’m starting to think is a bit wasted here on the blog, because while the feedback it’s had so far has been really positive, there hasn’t really been enough of it to justify the time I spend creating the posts. There are also tons of other ‘background’ things I’d like to do for the site – things that have been on the ‘to do’ list forever, basically, and which I never seem to get round to because I’m always so locked into the MUST! CREATE! NEW! CONTENT! mindset – a mindset that just becomes a stick to beat myself with when that new content doesn’t generate much response.