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.
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:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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?