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Timing Your Blog Posts for Maximum Impact

TimingIn the last two days I’ve been fortunate enough to have Lifehacker link to two posts (here and here) on my Digital Photography School blog. The results have been two wonderful days of traffic with not only links from Lifehacker but quite a few secondary links from other sites that flow on from such a prominent link.

One of the things I’ve been reflecting upon about the two link ups was the difference in impact between their two posts. The first one sent some very nice traffic but was about half as prolific as the second one.

While there are perhaps a couple of factors at play – the main one was the timing of the two posts.

The first post went up on Lifehacker in the middle of the life hacker day (they tend to post most of their posts during the daytime in the US). It wasn’t the first post of the day but it wasn’t the last either. After they posted it there were numerous other posts that went up to other sites on that day. The post with my link in it remained at the top of the Lifehacker home page for no more than an hour.

The second post went up as the last post for the day. This meant it was the most recent (and therefor first) post on lifehacker for around 10 hours.

While these were probably not the most highly trafficked hours on Lifehacker (who I assume has more readers during the daytime in the US) the traffic that resulted in the extended period at the top of their home page was significantly higher than on the first day when there was a quick initial spike in traffic but then a tapering off.

So what’s the application of this little observation?

Ultimately unless I manage to find a way to bribe the team at Lifehacker to link to me every night as their last post timing the links that others give you is something that is based pretty heavily upon luck.

However while timing the links that others give might be out of a blogger’s control the timing of posts on your own blog are well within your control and perhaps it’s worth considering what posts are left to sit for longer periods of time. I’ve never really given much thought to this myself but have talked to a couple of bloggers today who have and who use a couple of strategies:

1. One blogger told me that if he’s going to post posts with affiliate links in them that he saves them for the last ones of the day to maximize the length of time that the links appear at the top of his blog.

2. Another blogger told me that she is trying to impress another blogger or catch their attention (with a link in her post) that she often attempts to time her posts to maximize the traffic that she sends. She does this by either posting the post in peak viewing time or by making it the last post for the day.

Of course many bloggers also consider timing their posts in other ways – I know of quite a few who make sure a post goes up every morning just as the east coast of the US is waking up to maximize their exposure for the day (this is something I do from time to time myself).

Do you consider the timing of your posts? What factors do you consider and what strategies do you employ?

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. raj says:

    I live in the same time zone as Toronto/ New York. I found, unscientifically, that if I posted in the time period of 12 midnight to 3 am, I generated more traffic for the next day. Had I waited until the next morning to post, I’d get less traffic. Worse was waiting until the middle of the afternoon.

    I did try this on several of my blogs, which have different topics, and found the same results. Now, consider that the bulk of my traffic comes from search engines and Technorati. It seems that 12 midnight to 3 am might be beating some nightly bots and getting me indexed for early the next morning, when people might be searching.

    However, I don’t make a big deal of this. My study is unscientific.

  2. jimmy says:

    Timing and strategies is equally important. Don’t “bribe”, but join :-)

  3. A.H says:

    Wow, the same exact thing happened to me with Gizmodo linking to three of my stories:

    1.http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/video-spy-glasses-a-surefire-way-to-make-new-friends-170743.php

    2.http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/sunglasses-that-let-you-look-behind-you-171066.php

    3.http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/shocking-lie-detector-172103.php

    The 1st & 2nd ones were on the first in the frontpage for about 4 hours, the 3rdwas the first on the front page for more than 14 hours, the result: More traffic, more linking, and the spike was actually reducing more gradually =).

    A.H

    A.H

  4. Bald Man says:

    If I’m putting up more than one in a day, I like to spread the posts out a little. Say morning and afternoon.

    raj,
    Interesting “study.” I’ll have to give it a try. See if we can build up some more anticdotal evidence.

  5. While I don’t get a lot of traffic, my logs for the last 7 months or so show my largest number of concurrent visitors in two time ranges: between 11am and 1pm, and again between 4pm and 6pm (these are EST and on M-F).

    With that in mind, I time my posts to the highest concurrent viewers time frames and post at least once by 11am (to get the lunchtime surfers) and then again by about 4pm to get the after work surfers.

    I also use the pinggoat service to broadcast that my blog has new content so that I get a fair amount of spiders/indexers visiting my site at elast twice a day.

    I don’t know how objectively useful this metric might be for others but for me, well, it seems to be working well.

  6. Eric Giguere says:

    Well, if I want a chance at being mentioned in ProBlogger, it’s best to put up my post before Darren (on the other side of the world) goes to sleep. How’s that for timing?

    :-)

  7. Kevin says:

    I have some pretty random spikes in my traffic, as I get traffic from a bunch of different places around the globe. However, I have tried to time my submissions to places like Blog Critics to try to get them maximum front page exposure time.

    It can work, but it’s pretty hard to get it just right.

  8. It depends mostly on my blog. My business blogs I will post newsy stuff in the morining and mid afternoon. Come late afternoon I post product reviews and let them sit there until morning.

    My new blog I just started I haven’t found a good rhythm yet. I have been posting mostly between 7am and 6pm. Nothing I have left up in particular to sit through the night.

  9. Chase says:

    Timing is everything and if you do it right, you will get the most out of it.

  10. John says:

    Generally, when I put a lot of work into a post, I try to put it up late at night so that it is on my blog all night for readers outside North America and in the morning for North American readers. It is less a traffic consideration than that I want as many visitors as possible to see my best work, and the morning seems to be a peak traffic time.

    As far as getting linked is concerned, I recently had the pleasure of being linked by Wonkette late on a Friday afternoon, which meant the link was on their front page until Monday morning. Sure, weekend traffic is lower, but I probably got more hits over the course of three days than if the link was put up early morning early in the week.

  11. Martin Roth says:

    I started my first blog early in 2002. In those distant days, bloggers craved especially for one thing – a link from Instapundit (Professor Glenn Reynolds). I recall several times when I had written something that I felt was good that I would check that Glenn was posting – in those days he seemed to post furiously, one item after after another, at many times during the day – then I’d post my item and whip him an email about it. As I live in Australia, this was usually late at night for me, breakfast time in the US. I’d even hold back my post until the next day if it seemed he wasn’t at his computer. It worked a few times. In fact, the very first time, I sent my email, then just a few minutes later refreshed my browser to check the latest Instapundit postings, and found a link to me. My blog was then new, and was attracting about a dozen visitors a day. Over a few days I must have received about 10,000 hits. Yes, timing can be a strategy.

  12. TLB says:

    When I would announce the release of a new version of software to Usenet I’d do it Sunday 12am for maximum impact.

    Many of the posts to my main blog were written before they appear; I usually time the most important to show up at 6am PST.

    But that’s not all: I actually wrote this comment hours ago.

  13. I would say once you find a groove, be consistent. Your readers get into a pattern. They want to know that they will see new posts whenever they visit.

    For me, if I know a blog updates every week day and when I visit it’s not updated, I get frustrated. If that happens more than once, I will lose faith in the author.

    In other words, keep your promise to the reader. Publish on deadline.

    For my site, I get a huge spike at noon. I figure this is because the USA East Coast is at lunch and the USA West Coast is just getting to work.

    I make certain my new posts are up before 6 A.M. EST every day because I figure most of my target audience (USA) doesn’t check the internet for entertainment until 6 AM at the earliest.

  14. Franck says:

    I am too busy now to consider timing, but sure I will do it soon.

  15. Having analyzed stats reports, I found most of my readership is on the East coast, so yes, I time my posts with that. In sitemeter, you can do this analysis by looking at the world map.
    Another trend I found is people viewing my blog from work. This fits with the timing of the other traffic spike around the East Coast lunch hour.

  16. emma says:

    Ya i agree with u that time is the most important factor. If your timing is right then everything else set in place. To get it right just do it right!

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