If you own a seasonal business, you already know how important it is to batten down the hatches and reduce your expenses as much as possible in the off-season. Many businesses will shutter completely and go into hibernation when the weather doesn’t permit your trade to operate. After all, when there’s no snow on the mountain, nobody’s going to be skiing, and when there is snow at the beach, nobody’s going to be renting beach umbrellas.
This need to conserve resources may tempt many business owners to unlist, take down, or neglect their websites, but we’d like to take the opportunity to caution you against any action (or inaction) that reduces your website’s visibility. To answer the question presented in the title of this article: Yes! Your seasonal business absolutely needs a year-round website!
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits and opportunities that a well-maintained website has for seasonal businesses and some tips to help you along the way.
1. Off-Season Is Collaboration Season
One of the keys to a business's success is diversifying your streams of income, and one of the best ways to do that is to collaborate with other businesses.1 Let’s use an example to illustrate this point.
Imagine that you are the owner of a ski resort. During the hot summer months, you have an expansive tract of land and facilities under your stewardship that are not generating any revenue at all. It might seem like your hands are tied until the first good snowfall, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! This is the perfect opportunity to reach out to local universities and businesses and offer your lodge as a conference center at a discounted rate. Reach out to your local film board to scout your slopes as a filming location. Avail your property to local natural tourism companies who are likely looking to expand their business during their peak season.
There are countless opportunities to generate revenue when your business is in the middle of its annual slump, and keeping a well-maintained and regularly updated website advertising seasonal services that are outside of your normal purview is the best way to attract business that you didn’t even know existed!
2. Keep Your SEO Ranking
It might be tempting to save some money by canceling social media contracts or web hosting, but this could have disastrous consequences for the visibility of your business come peak season.
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it a million times more: the online health of your business lives and dies by its Google ranking.
Though the Google algorithm is byzantine and extraordinarily complex, we know for certain that Google loves websites with high-quality, relevant, and regularly updated content. A website that has not been updated for months is treated prejudicially by Google, so even during your off-season, it is tremendously important to keep your website active with high-quality content such as blogs and news updates.2
It might seem like a good idea to save some money during your slow quarter by letting your website rest, but the investment in keeping your website active and engaging even during your slowest season will pay dividends when your business picks back up and you are still comfortably located on the first page of Google search results.
3. Save Your Backlinks
Along with the previously mentioned quality content, Google loves backlinks. Backlinks are created when your website is linked by another website and serve as a kind of internet “vote of confidence” in the quality of your website.3 Google uses the prevalence of backlinks to your website as a barometer for the quality of your content. In social media terms, you can think of backlinks as a “Like” on Facebook or an “Upvote” on Reddit.
One of the issues with deleting or neglecting your website during the off-season is that Google may mark these backlinks as broken or irrelevant, which can have severe consequences for your SEO performance. Your goal should be to protect the health of existing backlinks and to generate new backlinks regularly. It helps Google see your website as authoritative and will be more likely to recommend it to others.
4. Make Off-Season Sales
Who says that you need to be in the middle of summer to make summer sales? Many savvy consumers will book services with seasonal businesses in search of savings, making your off-season the perfect time to entice customers with flash sales and discounted rates.4
Use your website for advertising your services for a discounted price so that you enter your peak season as booked up as possible. As they say, “one in the hand is worth two in the bush,” and approaching your business with this ethic will help you generate revenue year-round.
Keeping your website updated with blogs, sales announcements, and social media campaigns is the best way to stay relevant and paid throughout the year.
5. Use the Off-Season to Improve Your Website
If you find yourself twiddling your thumbs during the off-season, remember that your website is a great place to devote your time. The importance of an ever-improving and regularly updated website cannot be overstated.
Since you have time on your hands, a great way to boost your website’s SEO performance is to improve old content on your website.5 Using your Google analytics, find the content that is performing the best and build upon that. Are your blog articles about local wildlife drawing traffic and causing conversions? Great! Write more blogs in a similar vein! Are certain blogs languishing and stagnating? Get rid of them and build on what you know to work! Use your free time to improve the performance of your website and you’ll reap the benefits when your peak season is in full swing.
All of this talk of SEO performance and quality content can be a bit overwhelming for the average person. That’s why we’re here to help! Depend on our crack team of blog writers, social media experts, and web developers to build you the kind of site that Google can’t resist. All of our content is built with a keen eye for SEO performance and Google ranking with a human touch that helps your customers connect with your business. Get in touch with us today and let’s make your business the best it can be all year round!