November and December are two of the best months of the year to earn passive income online. The surge of consumer activity buying Christmas presents, booking holiday travel, and dining out more translates into higher advertising rates and better affiliate earnings. Even online dating sites see a boost in activity as lonely singles look for a way to avoid spending the holidays alone, and of course fitness retailers enjoy a brisk business in January as everyone looks to burn off those excess holiday pounds.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every year around the holidays, your websites magically started spitting out thousands of dollars in extra earnings? No need to scrounge around for extra cash or rack up credit card debt: all your Christmas gifts, dinners out, and maybe even a splurge on a nice weekend away, would be paid for by earnings from a few small websites that you set up in a few days’ work back in October or November.
This is exactly how I have my business set up, and using my knowledge of the holiday retail season, I’m able to consistently generate thousands of dollars in extra revenue from my websites with only a little extra preparation. Here’s how you can do grab your piece of the $43.4 BILLION dollar Christmas pie:
Start planning early: If it’s your first holiday season, you’ll want to start strategizing and planning as early as September, launch sites in October, and then ramp up your content production and marketing starting in mid-November and continuing all the way through the week before Christmas. Online sales usually peak around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so you’ll want to time your biggest promotional efforts (email blasts, contests, etc.) for around that time.
- Build off your strength: prior to the latest round of Google algorithm changes, small Christmas gift idea websites used to rank really well. But now even for Christmas-related keywords, Google favors larger authority websites, with content that is updated year-around. Your best bet is to build a Holiday section in to your strongest existing website, rather than create a standalone Christmas gift ideas website. It may seem a bit odd, but everyone from TechCrunchto REI to the Sierra Club found an excuse to integrate holiday content into their website. Follow their lead, because they know what they’re doing: holiday content boosts page views while generating additional ad revenue and affiliate commissions. Win!
- Everbody needs gift ideas: Don’t make another trite “Best Gift Ideas for Her” list. Those keywords are too competitive anyway. Stick with a small niche that you know well; you’ll be surprised to discover just how many people are looking for the perfect Christmas gift for a 30-something business traveler, or a first-time Mom, or an avid birder. Get the idea? People want help choosing Christmas gifts, and they find ideas by searching for “gift” or “gift ideas” in combination with various modifiers like “unique gift ideas”, “romantic gifts for her”, “educational gifts for babies“, and so on. The possibilities are endless, so be creative, be specific, and as always, write what you know.
- Boost advertising space: I know many folks consider AdSense hardly worth pestering your visitors in exchange for a few measly cents per click. But November and December are the months when you may want to rethink that equation, as both click prices and click-through rate soar. Consider positioning ads more prominently during November and December. Visitors (often with Christmas shopping on the mind) are more likely to find them relevant rather than annoying.
- Time your promotions: Think of every way you can to increase traffic during critical online shopping periods like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the first week of December. Perhaps you can send out an email blast? Tweet a well-timed Amazon affiliate link? Share 12 days of deals on your Facebook page? Many advertising channels will become more expensive, but you can still get a quick and economical boost with something like a BOTW listing.
That’s all there is to it. I hope these tips will help you boost your passive income for a very, very merry holiday season!
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