Posts tagged content

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Establishing Consistency

I’ve written before that this blog is a tool that I like to use as my personal sandbox, to test (and share) ideas, tools and more in the digital space. I haven’t been the most consistent in posting to this blog, but in the six plus years that I’ve written, I’ve published 318 (including this one) posts which works out to an average of 53 posts per year, or just over one post per week. The posts have been a bit less consistent in the past two years, but starting back on August 8, 2014, I’ve made it a goal to publish one post per week (and on Mondays) to see what effect publishing consistency would have on visitation to the blog.

What have been the results so far? In looking year over year, not great (aside from the New Sessions number):

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141117-visits-numbers

There are a number of variables that could influence these results, and the biggest one for me is the length of time for this effort. I  have only a few months in maintaining this consistency. Also, in trying to get a regular flow of articles, I’ll be the first to admit that some of the content I’m posting might not be as relevant to my audience as it should be. In a way, it’s an experiment in finding my sweet spot in terms of the best performing content for this blog as well as building consistency for visitors, knowing that they’ll find new content on the blog each week.

Yearly web traffic trends for five major websites

Ski Resort Website Traffic – Can the Peaks and Valleys be Smoothed Out?

I’ve had this post, “leveling seasonal web traffic with content and SEO” marked in my Evernote blog post ideas swipe file, since it was published back in April of 2010 (seems like it was originally on a different blog then, but I digress). I like Mike’s ideas about trying to even out seasonal traffic to ski resort websites, but I do think it’s something that a ski resort can’t place too much emphasis upon as almost all websites see some sort of fluctuation in their traffic over the course of a year.

To show some examples of this, I pulled some traffic number from the site intelligence service Alexa:

NFL.com
nfl.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice how traffic plummets during the offseason, and then there’s one spike during the draft?

MLB.com

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Not a lot of surprise here either, aside from the fact that there’s no real bump in the offseason for baseball fans, don’t think the baseball draft will ever have the interest of the NFL draft.

Expedia.com

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This traffic graph shows a bit more complicated picture, but one can still make out a clear drop in traffic during the 2nd half of 2012 bumping up in the first part of 2013 and then looking up through the summer travel season.

Sixflags.com
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This example is probably closest to most ski resorts web traffic (although in opposite seasons) in that Six Flags does the majority of its business in the summer with some business still ongoing in winter, but only at a few of its properties. Most ski resort max out their traffic in the winter but do have some summer activities that drive traffic, just nowhere to the level of winter.

I think it’s great to try to even out the valleys, but if someone isn’t looking to come out in the offseason, or start planning their trip then, it’s futile to try to lead that horse to water, because they’re not going to drink. Instead, focus on creating content that you can seed and launch to best effect as your web traffic starts to build and search engines are looking for fresh, relevant and popular content.

Printing press

Should Ski Resorts be Publishers?

I found a recent article in AdAge by Ben Elowitz titled, “Brands Should Stop Trying to be Publishers” an interesting concept that could readily apply to most ski resorts. Many ski resorts barely have enough staff to get through their daily work of creating ads/collateral, put on events, host media and create a few videos and post photos of fresh powder and other exciting events. To try to create a consistent stream of blog posts and extra content on some semblance of an editorial calendar will and probably does break the back of a department (or individual) that is already stretched thin.

Printing press

There are examples around of ski resorts creating successful content publishing sections, but these blogs, photo and video series do take a lot of commitment, cash and resources to support them and only the larger and more well-financed resorts can even think about going do this path.

What’s the solution? According to Elowitz it’s to look to curate the content that’s already being created about your brand (resort). Perhaps this is a good idea for the one person marketing teams around, but I would argue that it’s more about blending content created by your resort along with the content that your customers are creating as well…not a new concept (UGM), but one that will certainly allow a resort to “use a chorus to back up your own voice” and assure that everyone is reading from the same page. Save your money, buy a smaller “press” and spend a bit of that time that you otherwise spend on content creation instead on content curation.

Photo courtesy Flickr user oldandsolo
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Content is Crap

Nope, that title isn’t a mistype, I did not mean to write “King” (or “Queen”), I meant “crap”. And I really don’t intend for this to be a negative post about the vast amount of crappy content that is currently erupting all over the web. It’s more intended as a call to action for those of us that produce content to focus on why we are writing, shooting or editing for each piece that we produce. It’s long past the time to just whip up some content and with search engines continuing to tweak their algorithms to weed out the big time content farms, it’s not going to take long for similar changes to start to impact sites with crappy content: content that isn’t updated on a regular basis, isn’t of use to visitors and in general is just there to fill space.

It seems that there are a lot of new ideas floating around about how to filter out the crap, including search engine algorithm updates, but some of the better examples that I’ve been messing around with lately include XYDO and Percolate. XYDO says it “is pioneering socially endorsed news”, which is basically a way of saying that they crowd source and use social aggregation to provide a personalized yet fresh stream of news stories. They’re just a few months out of beta testing and moving along rather nicely from all appearances – and oh yeah, they’re based out of Park City so that’s gotta be a plus for them. Percolate is a much younger company that is currently in “double secret alpha” mode, which means that it’s definitely in a serious dev stage, yet it is far enough along that it’s promise of, “…create(ing) an engine that helped people, all people, create content more easily by bubbling up the most interesting stuff from their world for them to comment on.” I have to give Percolate credit for giving me the spark to write this post as their mission to share the most interesting stuff got me to thinking about all the non-interesting crap out on the web and how much of it was created just to fill space.

So, while a lot of online content can be crap, I certainly don’t think that all of it is, in fact there’s a lot of great content out there, it’s just a matter of filtering it, which is quickly becoming a much easier task with tools like XYDO and Percolate. This does need to be a wake up to all content creators to always be aware of not creating crappy content and instead working hard to produce “remarkable content” – being content that is engaging to the point of a visitor wanting to leave a comment or share the piece in a way that would say that they wanted to “remark” on it.

What do you think, is the web getting filled up with crap, or is remarkable content still cutting through the noise and providing high quality online experiences? Beyond that, what are we providing as online marketers, in particular those of us working for ski resorts? Good thoughts to always have in mind while working up new projects…

Photo credit: Flickr user tarotastic

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