I’ve been doing this blog publishing thing for a while so I take certain knowledge for granted.
I’m reminded of that when I chat with newcomers to the biz. Recently, I had a chat with someone launching their first niche site, which is in a seasonal niche. He hadn’t realized it; seasonality wasn’t something that occurred to him. He told me the niche. I responded, “you know it’s a seasonal niche, right?” He said “nope, didn’t occur to me. Is that bad?”
I explained that seasonality is not a reason to bail on the niche but it is something to keep in mind. I know this person and he knows the niche super well so it’s a great fit for him despite the seasonal nature of it.
I just said when he starts making money, he needs to budget accordingly throughout the year.
I know the mindset of a newbie because it wasn’t long ago I was a newb. Most newbs just hear “revenue” and not the “ups and downs”. In the newb mind, any revenue would be awesome (and it is but eventually fluctuating revenue must be dealt with).
Table of Contents
- Should you choose a seasonal niche or avoid at all costs?
- How can you tell if a niche is seasonal?
- Should you check every niche whether it’s seasonal?
- Should you avoid seasonal niches if it’s your first site?
- Which seasonal niches would I never go into?
- One other tip with seasonal niches – look for off-season content ideas
- Why don’t I like seasonal niches?
Should you choose a seasonal niche or avoid at all costs?
Almost all niches have some seasonality to them. But if fluctuations throughout the year are small, it’s not truly seasonal. By seasonal, I’m talking about a niche where revenue is half what it is at its peak in the year. If it’s a summer niche and revenue is $10K in summer, if it’s $5K in winter, that’s seasonal.
For years I avoided seasonal niches. I’m sure glad my biggest site isn’t seasonal. I like the consistent revenue throughout the year.
However, some of my newer sites are seasonal. Several in fact. It just kinda happened.
For example, I had no idea one of my larger sites was a seasonal niche. It’s fashion. I figured people buy clothes year around but now that I’ve been publishing this site for a couple years, there’s a lot more content, keywords and traffic for fall and winter than summer. There’s just more clothing at play in Fall and Winter.
That said, summer revenue isn’t half the winter peak so I wouldn’t say it’s truly seasonal.
As I added seasonal sites to my portfolio, I decided to balance each seasonal site with another that is oppositionally seasonal. If site A is a summer niche site. Site B is winter. And so on. I now have about 8 seasonal sites, 4 for summer and 4 for winter. It’s too early to tell whether this balancing act is worth it since they’re all fairly young but it’ll be interesting to see.
I still don’t really have enough traffic to know just how seasonal they are. I might be pleasantly surprised that there is year-around interest in some of these sites.
How can you tell if a niche is seasonal?
It’s pretty easy. I use two methods. Here they are.
I look for the biggest sites in the niche and plug those sites in Ahrefs “Site Explorer” feature. I then check out organic traffic over the last several years. Here’s an example of a ski niche site (which definitely shows is seasonal):
Another way to check if a niche is seasonal is to check the seed niche keywords in Google trends. Here’s Google Trends for the last 5 years for “Skiing”
Again, clearly, it’s seasonal.
Should you check every niche whether it’s seasonal?
Yeah, you should. I didn’t for years. I assumed I would be able to tell. My entry into the fashion niche told me otherwise. I never considered that a seasonal niche but it kinda is.
Some niches you think are seasonal are sometimes not as seasonal as you think. For example, I publish a site on cycling and while it’s seasonal, it’s not nearly as volatile in Fall and Winter as I thought it would be. I chose that niche because I mountain bike quite a bit.
Should you avoid seasonal niches if it’s your first site?
Not necessarily. If it’s a niche that meets all your other criteria, especially a niche you know quite a bit about and/or like it, it’s worth doing.
While traffic and revenue can fluctuate quite a bit over the year, there are very few niches where traffic and revenue goes to zero in off seasons. There’s usually still interest and money in it during the slow months.
Which seasonal niches would I never go into?
There aren’t many but I can’t see myself creating a site dedicated to Christmas. That’s a lot of work for a couple of months’ revenue. Instead, I’d tie Christmas stuff into other sites.
One other tip with seasonal niches – look for off-season content ideas
This won’t necessarily balance out revenue year-round but you can mitigate low earning months by looking for off-season content. For example, in the skiing niche you could cover off-season training, summer activities at ski resorts, cross-training sports for skiing, etc. Again, not great and certainly won’t make up the lower revenue but every little bit helps.
Why don’t I like seasonal niches?
It’s a budgeting issue, not a niche issue for me
It’s nothing to do with the niche itself. It has to do with budgeting. I’m terrible with budgeting. I’d spend all the money when times are good leaving ziltch when the lean months arrive. That’s my only real problem with it. If you’re frugal and good at socking money away, then there should be no issue.
I also find them demotivating
It’s harder to keep on cranking out content when traffic is spiraling downward. That’s the emotional me responding to the situation. The logical me keeps hammering away with content year-round knowing full well that overall traffic and revenue will grow.
Despite that, I’m in several seasonal niches. They’re smaller sites so budgeting isn’t an issue. I also have a very long-term portfolio outlook so I have no problem cranking out content continually. I’m confident that the content will earn and be hyper profitable in the long run.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.