June 28, 2008

Blogging Tip #6: When to Publish

It has been almost exactly one year since I wrote a post in which I wondered about the merits of publishing blog posts on the weekends. I had read many opinions that we should post more on the weekends, but my own traffic data led me to question this practice. The picture has not changed considerably - I still tend to experience reduced traffic on the weekends even though I nearly always post on weekends. So when should you publish blog posts in order to maximize the chances that they will be read?

Of course, there is no substitute for examining your own traffic data. You are collecting data on your traffic, aren't you? If not, you might want to review tip #1. If you don't track your own traffic, you have no good way to evaluate various methods for increasing it.

In a recent analysis of over 10,000 posts from multiple social bookmarking sites, Jake Luciani reports that he has identified the optimal times of day for submitting our posts to social bookmarking sites. It seems reasonable that we could extrapolate from his suggestions to learn about when we should publish our posts.

Here is what Jake found:
  • The best times to publish blog posts are Tuesdays to Fridays between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm Pacific Standard Time.
  • The worst times to publish blog posts are Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
As Amanda at Blogger Buster notes, the optimal times correspond to periods of peak activity for U.S. readers - around lunch and right after work on weekdays. Of course, if you are outside the U.S. or have a significant audience that is, your are likely to obtain different results.

Does this mean that you should not post on weekends? Not at all. But I would suggest that you think strategically about reserving your top posts for the optimal times described above. Direct your weekend posts toward attracting search engine users (i.e., long tail strategies). Oh, and if you have no idea what I mean by that, you'll just have to wait for the next tip!

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