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Blogging Rhythms – 1

Warning – Tangent Ahead! (I do get onto blogging eventually)

All of my friends are having babies.

It’s a wonderful thing actually – the pitter patter of little feet in our social lives is a really beautiful thing on so many levels. V and I enjoy our time with our friends so much – it seems every second day is cuddle time!

One of the things I’ve noticed about babies and our friends lives though is that they have their own distinct rhythms. Each baby we know has it’s own times for waking up, for feeding, for sleeping, for playing and for – well for making smells. No two babies are quite alike in this way.

I was chatting to a mate last week about this and his advice to me (not that we’re close to parenthood yet) is that it’s essential as a parent to be aware of your baby’s rhythm and to work with it rather than to fight it. Sure there are times when you might want to try and reprogram sleeping times – but to get into the rhythm of the baby’s life is a great starting point and is an essential part of a healthy life (for baby and parent).

As he talked my mind wandered to blogging (sad but true) and how in a sense there is wisdom in his advice that can be applied to our babies – our blogs.

You see over the past couple of years I’ve noticed that each blog that I’ve started has its own unique rhythm (or even rhythms). There are daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly patterns that repeat themselves in the life of any blog. Most good bloggers are aware of such rhythms and work with them to help their blogging reach it’s highest potential.

Over the next few days I hope to identify a few blog rhythms to be aware of (keeping in mind that every blog is very different and that each will have it’s unique patterns):

Weekly Traffic – perhaps the most obvious rhythm in the life of a blog is that of traffic. Most of my blogs have clearly identifiable peaks and troughs that repeat themselves on a weekly cycle. For most of my blogs the cycle is pretty predictable – more traffic on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with least traffic on Saturday and Sundays. This of course coincides with the working week and when most people tend to be sitting in front of a device with net access.

The diagram to the left illustrates this rhythm (taken from my digital camera blog) – a common picture for many bloggers.

Server.Asp

Of course each blog has their own unique patterns overlaid over the top of the weekly cycle. For example blogs that relate to TV shows tend to notice traffic coinciding with when the show airs. Similarly blogs about sport often defy the weekly trend and can do better on the weekends.

Ok – so the question is – ‘once we’ve identified our blog’s weekly rhythm – what do we do with the information?’

I’m glad you asked dear readers – because it’s a good question and one I know there is numerous opinions on. Here are three of the more common ones I’ve come across:

  1. Some argue that a rhythm like this one presents bloggers with an opportunity to rest on the lower traffic days. I know of many bloggers who have a complete day (or two) off over the weekend. They figure that as traffic is low on these days anyway that they might as well lay low also and have a real life.
  2. Other bloggers see the dips in traffic over weekends as a challenge. They work hard over the weekend to write extra special posts that will draw traffic to their blogs. If you graph their posting schedule you’ll see a peak of posting on the weekend (when they have more time to blog anyway).
  3. Other bloggers use the weekends (and other down times) to do other maintenance on their blogs. Instead of posting at as high a frequency as normal in the dead traffic patches they like to repair dead links, work on SEO, add affiliate links, optimize their advertising, visit other blogs and build relationships with other etc.

My own approach to weekends (and other dead patches) is probably some messy combination of the above three approaches. I tend to work less on weekends (although its rare that I don’t at least do half as much as a weekday on Saturdays and Sundays) but I do try to get my weekend traffic up as much as possible (as I do everyday). I also take opportunity of the weekends to tweak design and work on the different aspects of my blogs mentioned above.

Later in the week I’ll unpack a few of the other rhythms of blogging but in the mean time I’m interested in how other interact with the rhythms of their blogs – and particularly to hear about the weekly cycle of your blog. When does it sleep and wake up? When do you feed it most?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. ProBlogger becomes BroodyBlogger. ;-) Hold the front page!

  2. Banklocater says:

    Sundays are usually pretty slow for me. However, yesterday (a Sunday) I decided to post all my new stuff for monday so I could sleep in and traffic jumped probably due to people checking their RSS feeds. So it seems that I have some control over traffic.

  3. Shai Coggins says:

    You know, sometimes things like this brings up special surprises. :-)

    Anyway, great post! As a mum to an 18-mo.-old boy, I can definitely relate with the “go with your child’s rhythm” advice. I just don’t believe in the “sleeping schedule” thing. It can be tough, but I’ve got a healthy, happy baby. So, I must be doing some right. ;-)

    Blogs, however, have a different way when it comes to rhythm. I believe, this one evolves — not always by itself. You see, I think we, as “parents” to our blogs have more control over them, as compared to a baby.

    Babies are their own persons.

    Blogs are — and can be — what we want them to be.

  4. Wayne says:

    Nicely Put – Weekends are pretty slow for me to as far as revenue goes. But as far as rhythm goes, with having my own sites and customers, my rhythm is all over the place at the moment

  5. For folks who work in retail, there are a wide variety of overlapping shopping rhythms that coincide with the seasons, tourism, and holidays, and these rhythms can inform your retail blogging. Also, there’s something to be said for frequent posting, since there’s always a rise in traffic for my blog after a post.

  6. Dave says:

    Babies everywhere – being a Dad to a 19month old Boy, I guess we (As a family) have adapted to the rythms of daily life. Eventually you do need to bring in some sort of order to life however – after the first few months you start to anticipate the moods and feelings and adapt appropriately, but eventually end up on a cycle that suits your normal work routine.

    Blog/website updates from my point of view occur during the slow periods – normally quite late at night (this fits in with having a toddler in the house) – basically between my UK visitors going to bed and the US visitors getting home from work.

    As for visitor trends, mine stay fairly constant throughout the week, but peak friday/saturday/sunday, so I try and keep on top of the updates at the weekend to keep the peak visitors coming back. I guess car related sites tend to do better when the weather is bad and its the weekend, otherwise everyones out polishing/waxing/driving!

  7. We have a young family with another on the way, plus I run a web design business in my spare time! We use the weekends as family time, but the evenings to prepare content for two of our blog sites, which we then polish and release over the course of the week. This keeps the content fresh while allowing us to concentrate on the web design business during the week.

  8. Cary says:

    Hmmm, interesting post as always Darren :)

    My traffic definitely sinks on the weekends, and tends to be highest mid-week; it hasn’t been around long enough for me to get a good idea of any other rhythms yet, except for the purely random ones when I’m posting something that’s been big in the news (recently it’s been the Teflon/cancer scare.) Because of my wife’s condition, blogging much on the weekend isn’t really an option, as this is the real time I have to spend with her, and the truth is that when you’re living with cancer you just never know how long that time is going to last (actually, even when you’re NOT living with cancer you never know how long that time is going to last!) Better to make use of it wisely…

    If & when she beats this thing I’d love to be able to get off at least one post on Saturday & Sunday, but I’m not a big fan of losing my whole weekend to blogging…I think it’s important for me personally to get some good flesh & blood interaction on the weekends ; )

  9. duncan says:

    Now when are we going to see Darren Junior? My little bundle of joy turns 3 in August, and despite the wonders of having a two year old (they don’t call it the terrible two’s for nothing) I’d never go back, best thing we ever did.

    Back to the blog side, you know my policy, I generally don’t blog on weekends, although I’ve noticed that not blogging for two days is a bit too much so I now have a “blogging at my leisure” policy for Saturday and Sunday where I blog when and if I feel like it, which usually means not at all Saturday (thats family – shopping time, given we don’t have Sunday trading here) and then maybe some light blogging Sunday afternoon/ evening.

  10. David says:

    Weekend traffic? lol… I don’t get much traffic, so I mainly try to post every day, atleast once a day. I am aiming for a 3 a day average right now, but with one full time and two part time jobs, I am pretty full-up when it comes to my schedule. I am working hard on making the time though, more for me than for my readers.

  11. Matt says:

    I have the most consistent rhythm. None. Approximately 12 people have visited my blog in it’s entire life (and I think 2 of them are me, and one is my wife LOL). Now, granted, it has only been up about 5 days, so it’s really not got a readership or anything. So my rhythm is simple. I post and post and post and just hope someone will read and be moderately interested. To keep myself busy and interested myself, I’ve started a second blog. The second blog is about the first blog and the various thoughts I’ve had while working on it. It’s probably the sillier of the two. Yeah, my life is great. LOL

    Anyway, interesting thoughts, Darren. I have an 8 year old and I can relate to that sort of rhythm. You do kind of get into one that is largely dictated by them when they’re very small and then you spend the rest of your life trying to get them to get in step with the rest of the world. Hehe.

    So, in relating that to blogs… is the answer to let them find their own rhythm, and then use that to determine how it fits in with the world’s? Hmm…. One thought that I had while reading your post, and which I thought was where you were taking this, was that you may want to try to find topics that will allow you to streamline and normalize your readership levels throughout the week. Have a good sports blog or two to keep the weekends hopping, and several more traditional ones for the weekday folk, etcetera, etcetera… But that’s probably a little too calculating.

  12. I don’t know if I have a pattern. But now I’m feeling like I should! I run two blogs and frequently (almost daily) post over at a third, so I feel like I’m always blogging.

    I’ve been plagued by a blog-blues since I noticed traffic begin to drop off, but now that I know it’s just seasonal blog depression, I feel a little less abandoned by readers…

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