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Beat the Web Summer Doldrums

Posted on 7.05.2010

Something strange happens in late June and early July: Web traffic (always) slows. Blame it on the uptick in people taking summer vacations. For some, the pace slows dramatically. So how do you beat the Web summer doldrums? And if you can't beat it, how do you hang on until traffic picks up again? Here are five tips I've learned from working over ten years on the 'Net. You won't find anything groundbreaking but let it act as an opportunity to strategize and prepare for the next few months and beyond.

1) Create 30-60-90 Plans
Perhaps your greatest weapon in the fight against the web traffic slowdown is your ability to create plans for better days. I learned quickly in my professional career that failing to plan is like planning to fail. Creating 30-day plans, 60-day plans and 90-day plans will not only help you outline your next steps but give you a leg up against those that simply go through the same old motions. The 30-60-90 strategy is ideal as an outline of what you will accomplish, what you want to accomplish, and, finally, what you wish you could accomplish. By creating these plans and sticking with them, you'll be surprised how smoothly the remainder of these summer doldrums will pass. For example, let's say you have a 30-60-90-day public relations plan. In 30 days you will want to have created a media center on your site; in 60 days you will want to have had 10 bloggers written about your website or its products and services, and in 90 days you will want to get coverage from at least one major media news source. There are clearly a lot of steps involved to get there but writing down your plan will get you thinking about how to achieve them. When you plan, you plan to succeed.

2) Complete Big Projects
Whatever plan you have created for your ultimate success, you have identified one need that your website has that needs to be satisfied. While public relations was the example above, other big projects might be a Website redesign, link building campaigns, conversion testing, etc. The summer is an ideal time to engage in starting or finishing big projects because there are often fewer immediate demands on our time. When it comes to selecting which big project you want to complete, you'll need to weigh the potential return against the time commitment and legwork necessary to get the project done. Often the most time-consuming and mentally involved projects don't yield the most immediate returns, and smaller, more "fun" projects don't provide a long-term benefit. Decide what would most benefit your business (creating social media campaigns, email marketing campaigns, etc.) and stick with it. When you know what you need and resolve to complete the task, it will make a difference to the bottom line in the near and long term.

3) Network until Your Fingers Hurt
Forget planning and big projects, your time might just be best spent building an active network. The summer is an ideal time for networking because, like you, others are pining for new connections and ready and willing to join you in you relentless pursuit of Web success. If you've established a Facebook Fan page, recruit new members. If you're a LinkedIn user, find colleagues, customers and others in your industry to connect with. Social networking opportunities are many but you have to be aggressive, finding connections until your fingers hurt. The best place to look might just be in your own customer list and even your own inbox. Start there and shore up your friend and fan base this summer for long-term Web success.

4) Stockpile Information and Ideas
It is common for people not to want to plan (this is supposed to be fun, right?), or be able to complete the big projects that we know will improve usability or increase revenue for our Web properties, or spend time in the endless pursuit of networking for connections. If you want to take the summer off from the daily grind but still want to be productive, start stockpiling information and ideas. It will undoubetedly be a challenge not to act on the information you encounter on the Web as much of it will probably motivate you to act on the suggestions provided, but doing so will ultimately give you a library of ideas you can leverage in the future. For example, I always have a list of 30 or so article ideas for Website Magazine on the backburner, and at least 10 ideas for generating revenue or improving the website in some way. Some of those ideas and articles may come to fruition but most will not — at least not in the short term. Stockpiling information and ideas will serve you well when you hit those creative blocks or when you finish one project and want to start another. When you are prepared, your chances of success are that much higher.

5) Learn One New Thing
You might be the smartest person in the room, but chances are good that you don't know everything, right? There are always new things to learn, and if you plan on staying competitive then you need to make a commitment to keep on learning. Website Magazine aims to bring into focus the trends and techniques that are shaping the Web, but as a Web professional you have an obligation to learn more about those topics, align them with your business objectives and prioritize accordingly. Learning is a process. The more you know, the more prepared you are to achieve success — Web success.

How do you beat the Web summer doldrums? Let Website Magazine readers know by commenting below.

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