Helloooo and happy December! (Can you believe it’s December?!)
Did you have a nice Thanksgiving holiday? We both sure did! It was nice to have a little bit of time off before we jumped into the full-swing holiday madness!
If you tuned into this post a few weeks back, you’ll be well-versed in some overarching strategies to monetize your blog over the holidays–and I’m excited to dive a little deeper into the topic today!
This is undoubtedly the busiest time of the year for Blair and I personally–the biggest spending of the quarter of the year for consumers, and the most important quarter of the year for brands–these two reasons combined mean that it’s a great time for bloggers to get in on the action as well!
That’s where gift guides come in. (YAY!) Not only are they fun to look at, but they’re extra helpful for your readers, too. Each year, the online shopping market becomes more and more saturated, which makes picking out gifts overwhelming! When readers know they can come to you for awesome ideas, it strengthens your connection with your audience, and keeps them coming back for more. (Not to mention, can give you an avenue to make some extra cash as well!)
Let’s go through some pointers on how to make your blog’s 2016 gift guides your best ever:
1. Include a variety of price points, and only those that suit your brand!
One of the biggest mistakes I made as a new blogger was linking to things that didn’t necessarily fit perfectly with my brand. For example, if you’re a style blogger who typical wears budget-friendly items from Gap, you shouldn’t be linking to a Chloe bag. If you wouldn’t buy it, chances are, your readers aren’t going to either. Just because something is popular or on-trend doesn’t mean it fits with YOUR readers.
If you’re a new blogger, or you’re still getting a grasp on what type of items your readers like to buy, send out a survey! Explain that you’d like to tailor your gift guides to them, and ask questions like “How much do you typically spend on a given item?” or “What would you really like to see in my gift guides this year?” or “Where do you need the most help when thinking of gifts for friends and family?” Hop on over to this post, where we walk you through how to create a reader survey for your blog!
2. Consider setting up a posting cadence
If creating one big holiday guide (more on that here) is biting off more than you can chew, that’s TOTALLY fine! A great alternative could be to dedicate one post per week to a different themed holiday guide–with the theme of the guide rotating each week. One week could be for her, one week could be for him, one week for “the hostess” and so on! Publicize this widely across your blog and social channels to build anticipation with your audience.
3. Create a consistent, branded template
Your holiday guides should be consistent throughout–think of them as an extended version of your brand, but with a holiday twist. Once you find something you like, stick with it! This not only ensures your guides are beautiful to look at, but working with a branded template will make things way easier for you in the long-run!
In terms of HOW to create it–we recommend Adobe PhotoShop. It’s only $10 per month and includes a subscription for Lightroom, too! A couple design tips:
- Leave “white space” but not TOO much white space. If you space items out too much, they’ll look like they’re lost and floating.
- Don’t have enough items to fill the space? Make them bigger, so they take up more room!
- If you’re a design newbie, consider starting out with a “grid” format, which makes trying to figure out spacing much easier: 3 across, 4 down, with the title in the middle. This is my tried and true formula that always works!Example below:
4. Create a “holiday” section of your site
Create a holiday section of your site, accessible from your drop-down menu. This gives your readers easy access to all of your holiday posts, so they’re more likely to stay awhile on your site (always a plus!) and find something they truly love! If you need a tutorial on how to do this, we go over it in our WordPress 201 webinar!
5. Don’t forget to pin your collages!
Collages typically perform very well on Pinterest–don’t spend so much time curating your gift guides that you forget to pin them on Pinterest! Holidays are especially big on this social media platform, so take advantage and use it to drive more traffic! For more Pinterest tips, see our article, “8 Ways to Skyrocket Your Pinterest Growth.”
6. Do your research:
If you use affiliate links (such as RewardStyle), familiarize yourself with the analytics section of your dashboard. You should be able to see which products have sold the most over the past month or so. Do you notice any patterns? Boots? Basics? Sweaters? If it’s a few items in particular, make sure to work them into your gift guides, so you can continue to leverage their popularity!
In my own personal experience, boots and booties have been by far my leading category. Wardrobe staples like cozy sweaters, and cozy pajamas have also been popular. Everyone’s audience is different, so make sure to pay attention to what your readers are buying, so you can continue to tailor your content and give them more of what they want!