Close
Close

My Weekend Blog Strategy

In my last post I asked ‘What do you do with your blog on the weekend?

Having asked the question I thought I’d give a quick answer myself to shed a little light on one strategy (of many) that I’ve been using.

I ask questions

You’ve probably noticed it if you’re regular reader of any of my blogs – but over the last few months I’ve decided to make the weekends less about me producing content and more about the community discussing an issue.

I don’t do it every weekend – but posing a question for readers to ponder seems to be working for me. There’s a few reasons (7) that I like it:

1. It Lengthens the Window for Conversation – here at ProBlogger I’m on a 2-4 posts per day posting schedule. The downside of posting more than once a day is that stories get pushed down the page reasonably quickly. This means that the conversation that is happening on a post has a real window where it happens before quickly dying off. Posting a question on the weekend gives a conversation space to happen and lengthens the window that it can happen in. When I post a reader question like this I try not to post anything else for at least 12-24 hours. The result it lots of participation.

2. Readers are in a Different Mindset on the Weekend – I know for myself that the weekend leaves me in a different frame of mind. I do things slower, I’m more interested in connecting with people, I’m more relaxed and willing to have conversation etc. This means conversational posts have a better chance on the weekend. Instead of just getting quick and blunt comments I notice comments left on the weekend are often longer and more thought through (of course there are always exceptions).

3. Increased Reader Community and Participation - I am becoming more and more convinced that when a reader participates regularly on a blog that they are more likely to feel a sense of ownership and belonging to that blog. This means they’re more likely to comment again and keep on visiting. This is what I’m wanting to put more and more time into on my blogs – building communities around topics rather than just building my own perceived expertise. I want to build a community that is known for it’s expertise. The best way to build a true community is to give people a space to share, connect and learn together. Taking this approach on the weekend allows me to step back a little and the community to step up to the plate and show what it knows.

4. Increased Blog Stickiness - Visitor numbers tend to drop on my blogs (and they do for most websites and blogs that don’t have a specific weekend focus – such as sports blogs) however I’ve noticed that the page views per visitor tend to increase a little on the weekends. This might be partly as a result of readers being a little more willing to surf more pages as they have more time – but I also think it’s because of my reader questions and the way that that means more page views. For starters, just leaving a comment means at least two page views – but secondly, these discussions draw people back later in the weekend to see what others have written.

5. They Don’t take Much Work – another reason that I like these posts on the weekend is that they don’t take a whole lot of work to write up, which leaves me time to do fun, relaxing and non blogging stuff on my days off. I think it’s important to work hard at a blog – but also to work hard and not blogging at times. These posts help a lot with that. However, keep in mind that they can actually cause work in terms of moderation. I may not blog much on the weekends that I ask questions – but I do regularly log in to moderate the threads as comment levels go up.

6. Research – Another reason for asking questions is that they tell you a lot about your readership. Ask good questions and you’ll learn information about what type of posts to write in future, what advertisers they might respond to, what products they earn, what gets them fired up etc. All of this is useful to know as you continue develop your blog and build your community.

7. Followup Posts – Lastly, the great thing about a ‘reader question’ type post is that it opens up all kinds of possibilities for more posts. Here’s a few ways that this is the case:

  • Reader Questions – quite often on these posts readers not only answer your question but ask more. These questions are often perfect topics to write upon in the following week.
  • Summary Posts – these posts are where you attempt to identify the key threads of the conversation that might have happened over the weekend. You might try to graph the responses or just highlight the key points. Here’s an example of a summary post on the topic of popular post production software (which summarized this previous question post – a post with over 200 responses).
  • Answer Your Own Question – this very post is a followup post to my own question posed yesterday. These posts are important as readers do like to know your own opinion and they can bring a little clarity to the conversations that are happening in the previous post.

The other good thing about followup posts is that they often can re-ignite the previous conversation and remind people to go back and read the conversation again. Followup posts can happen as soon as the day after the previous conversation or could happen weeks later.

Is this My Only Weekend Posting Strategy?

The short answer is no. The longer answer is that I use a variety of techniques on the weekend, depending upon how much time I have, what news is breaking and where the blog is at (often dependent upon what’s happened on the blog in the previous week). Sometimes I ask these types of questions during the week, sometimes I don’t ask them for a few weeks (some readers get a little sick of them and want your opinion rather than everyone elses) and sometimes I’ll throw in different types of posts on the weekend.

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.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. Brandon J says:

    I think people just read RSS feeds on the weekends. My blog gets only a 66% of the normal views on Saturday and only 50% of the normal views on Sunday. I think because my main source of readers are military and the weekends are holy for military people. I can tell this is true because on Monday my hits triple.

    Brandon J
    Money for Military

  2. Mike Goad says:

    I agree with your statement that “when a reader participates regularly on a blog that they are more likely to feel a sense of ownership and belonging to that blog. This means they’re more likely to comment again and keep on visiting.” For me, though, actually this is the only blog that I read and write comments on a very regular basis. I certainly have learned a lot here, though I’ve hardly even begun to implement any of it, and I will be a regualr visitor, looking forward to learning much more.

    Thanks for all that you do and all that you share!

  3. Jim Gordon says:

    I am planning on making weekends an opinion weekend. Basically, I will talk about something totally unrelated to the norm. By doing this, readers will have a chance to be on a bit more of a personal level with my writing style and opinions. I mean, it is only 2 days out of the week, so why not?

  4. I almost always post more on the weekend, just because I have free time.

  5. Laura says:

    Interesting strategy. I think Deb Ng at Freelance Writing Jobs must use a similar tack. I’ve actually had some of the highest numbers of visitors on weekend days. I’ve found that what I do on Friday is very crucial to what happens to traffic on Saturday, and throughout the weekend.

  6. Eve says:

    That is a great plan, I think I will be trying this on my blogs tomorrow. I had never thought of some of those points before- thanks!

    I like some others usually use the weekends to catch up on my own reading, hence why I am here :-)

  7. So being a Problogger really is a seven day a week job? Or is it the “love for the game” that keeps you going over the weekend?

  8. David Hobby says:

    Darren-

    Very timely post for me, actually. I have just left the Day Job to blog full-time, and have been giving a lot of thought to what to do on the weekends.

    I used to work till 3:00 am, like every other day, when doing both jobs at once. But the whole point of taking the plunge is to be able to lose one job and reclaim more time with the family. Which means keeping weekends free for us.

    I have a tremendous amount of how-to content that is basically missed by new readers. I average about 40k – 50k new readers finding the blog each month, so for content say, a year old, only a small percentage of the sites readers are familiar with it.

    I have decided to post on Sundays (my slowest day of the week) linking to two or three of my stronger archive posts from way back. It is a good way to show people the value of the stufff that many will never take the time to search out. And I suspect, with the internal linking, that it’ll turn out to become one of my highest pageview days.

    Saturdays, I have decided, will be my speedlinks day. Cool lighting-related stuff on the ‘net, and one or two things outside of my normal (very tight) focus that are just too fun to pass up.

    Both of these days can be done in advance. I will likely do Sunday’s post midweek, and save the Saturday post to be done on Friday, to allow for the freshest plate of speedlinks.

    Starting it next weekend. We’ll see how it goes.

    By the way, thanks for your guidance and leading by example. I do not think I would have successfully transitioned to a full-time blogger without you.

    David Hobby
    Strobist.com

  9. My sundays are spent reading rss feeds of blogs i’ve subscribed to. Once i’ve finished with them, I spend the rest of the time tweaking my blog templates for maximum performance!

  10. I catch up on most of my blog reading on Mondays…. then I let it all build up until the next monday. *=)

  11. I have noticed a relatively high number hits during the weekends.May be because everyone will be home relaxing and will be in a mood to read blogs and post comments and replies.
    Or may be because of the fact that i always posts something just before the weekends (most of the times).I would love to post daily on my blog but hardly ever manages to find time during the weekdays.

    This weekend strategy which darren is using will sure let you take some rest during the weekend and will keep your visitors glued to your blog even during the weekend when you are taking a break.

  12. Shine says:

    Hi Darren,

    Thank you so much for the sharing – for this is one of the questions that I’m pondering. Good strategy!

  13. Very interesting post you’ve got today! Thanks for sharing.

  14. kktm says:

    Hi Darren,

    With the busy schedule I have during the week, I get only the week end to visit blogging site and like many other I am a silent visitor who just enjoys reading a good post and your blogs top my list.

    kktm

  15. suppk says:

    I read every word of this article, thanks.

  16. Niamh says:

    Just had to say that I love the graph for post production software and reminds me of how pictures can really enliven a blog and give it a real lift.

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and it is the first time I felt inclined to leave a posting. I had never thought about blogs having a different weekend life and find it an interesting and useful fact.

  17. David Davis says:

    Darren,

    As a web developer, during the week I am on a 16-18 hr/day schedule including my 1-2 posts to my blog daily. Well, as you can imagine, by the time the weekend has arrived, I simply want to relax, watch TV, go to church, and anything that does not involve work. I’ve noticed that not only does my visitors decrease, so does my feed subcribers

    What do you suggest to keep readers active,yet still get the rest I need?

  18. Grace says:

    Hi Darren. You have a nice strategy of mixing it up for your readers and making it “fun” to read. :) I used to post questions on the weekends and labeling them “Reader Feedback”. Should I keep on doing that? Or should I just ask the questions in the title?

  19. 60 in 3 says:

    I like the idea of posing questions on the weekend, but for lower traffic blogs like mine, that could mean a conversation that never quite gets started. As much as I wish more people would read my posts on Sundays, it just seems like people are less interested in reading about fitness and health on the weekend.

  20. I actually don’t post on the weekend, but on my last post before the weekend I do like to keep it light, and either share a funny site I’ve found (something uplifting for the reader), share a video or pose a question.

    You’re right, Darren–question posing is a good technique for stimulating conversation and the lazy weekend is the perfect time to let the post sit at the top of the page and the discussion to develop.

    In answer to some of the other comments here–I pose the question in the title, so it’s obvious. Also, I don’t have a gazillion readers like Darren does :-) , but when I pose a question they seem to come out of the woodwork to participate. You don’t have to have high traffic to use this technique. :-)

  21. Ron says:

    I wrte a horse racing blog so my busiest days are on the weekends. I do get easy days on Mondays and Tuesdays when racing is light. I’d find something else to blog about, but I know about anything else. Come to think of it, I don’t know anything about racing either. Maybe I’ll switch to a subject with weekends off. Thanks.