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When’s the Best Time to Publish Blog Posts?

This guest post is by HubSpot’s social media scientist, Dan Zarrella.

Of all the data analysis that I’ve done, day-of-week and time-of-day data has been consistently the most popular. So in preparation for my upcoming webinar, titled Science of Blogging, I decided to combine all of my existing data on timing with my new research into one master post on the subject.

The first time I looked at blog post timing was when I was analyzing retweets. I found that retweets exhibit a strong diurnal pattern, in that they’re more common during the day and less so at night. I noticed that retweet activity tended to peak around 4pm EST, suggesting that this might be the best time to tweet a blog post for maximum potential retweet reach.

When I looked at retweet activity over the days of the week, I saw that they peaked later in the work week, specifically on Friday.

Since I first published this graph, the most frequently cited piece of this research has been the idea that Friday at 4pm is the most retweetable time of the week. While your niche maybe different, this data was based on analysis of nearly 100 million retweets, so in aggregate, Friday at 4pm is indeed the most retweetable time of the week.

Moving on from retweets, I started studying Facebook sharing and discovered some things that surprised me about timing there, too.

First, while major news sites and blogs publish articles during the work week, articles that are published on Saturday and Sunday tend to be shared on Facebook more than those published during the week. Perhaps one reason for this is that (as Wired reported), more than 50% of American companies block Facebook at work.

Next, I looked at the effect that the time articles were published had on the number of times they were shared on Facebook. I found that while there is a fair amount of variation, articles published in the morning, around 9a.m. EST, tended to be shared more on Facebook than articles published at other times of the day.

Looking back at these four data points, it may seem that they’re contradictory, but thinking through them a bit more, we can see that they is not necessarily so. Both day-of-week charts tell us that we should experiment with publishing articles later in the week—on Friday and Saturday specifically.

And by publishing posts early in the day, but tweeting them later in the afternoon, we can stimulate both Facebook shares and retweets.

I recently did a survey of over 1,400 blog readers and I asked them what time-of-day they read blogs. Morning was the most popular, followed in decreasing popularity by the rest of the day. Most respondents reported reading blogs at more than one time, so this piece of data reinforces my suggestion to publish early in the morning.

The best timing advice, however, may actually be around frequency. Last week, I analyzed 1000 of the most popular blogs on the web, according to Technorati. I compared their posting frequency with the number of incoming links and visitors they had attracted (according to Yahoo and Compete).

I found that among very popular blogs, publishing multiple times per day led to a huge increase in a blog’s success. This tells us that rather than focusing one perfect day or time, we should aim to publish at many times, and on many days.

Have you experimented with post timing and tweeting? What has your experience shown about the best times of day or week to reach your readers?

Dan Zarrella is HubSpot’s social media scientist. This post contains data from his upcoming webinar The Science of Blogging, taking place on December 9th.

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Comments

  1. Ileane says:

    If you publish on Friday morning, it doesn’t make sense to wait until 4pm to tweet since people read posts in the morning. Therefore according to this data, even though everyone is retweeting you in the afternoon, no one is reading what they are retweeting until the next morning. :)

  2. Ferodynamics says:

    OK fewer RTs at night.

    BUT statistically you might have a better chance to get RTs late at night when there’s less noise, less competition.

  3. Jason says:

    Thanks for the tips. I’ll see if my schedule will allow me to take into account timings of the blog postings (or, if needs be prepare them in a slightly different way).

  4. randy says:

    Well i noticed everything i post in the week end , get magically lost nobody read it. And everything i post monday get best result no idea why…..

  5. susan temairik says:

    How does this translate for posting in the middle east? Especially Saudi Arabia where their weekends are on different days than ours— Thursday & Friday. It’s also complicated by call to prayer five times a day. Some people get up for morning prayer and go back to bed maybe others stay up and go to their computers.

  6. I did my own study for six weeks posting every day. A clear pattern emerged for me of a peak on Wednesday and lowest viewing at the weekend. Less robust analysis but interesting nevertheless was that for my site, posting early in the morning – around 9am EST – worked best.

    I say this over and over – it depends on your market. I have a personal blog – my trends will be different from a business blog.

    • Kelly says:

      Hi Alison : )

      I’ve found consistently that Monday is the highest traffic with me. Always thought that was weird.

      • Sandra Dickson says:

        Mondays can be explained by people getting to work after a weekend, having access to computers at work and sometimes an extension of their weekend or catching up on what they thought they missed over the weekend.

    • Hi Alison,

      Excellent findings on the best posting day.
      I’m also particularly interested to know how does is the response of posting one post everyday ?

      I’m less then 20days experience in blogging, just started on wordpress and wonder is posting daily good for stater like me.

      Cheers, Thanks for sharing.
      Ganesh

      • Hi,
        Just an update, I found my website hits dropping starting from Fri. I have no clue !
        Instead of worrying so much, i continue to build quality content.

  7. Kerry says:

    So perhaps publish and tweet in the morning and then tweet again later in the afternoon?… hmmmm, I’ll give it a try. Many of my readers are from the mid-west and east coast so I have to factor that in as well (being on the west coast). Thanks for the great info!

  8. Amy Garland says:

    Both “Day of the Week” charts make sense. Friday afternoons are a great time to publish and share because people aren’t necessarily working (but want to look like they are so they “play” on Twitter & Facebook). While many people do get FB blocked at work, I think FB is still a little more personal for a lot of people, hence using it more on the weekends.

    This is very interesting; I’ll have to do some testing of my own with sharing!

    Thanks,
    Amy Garland
    Blue Sky Factory

  9. Anne says:

    The frequency stat was particularly interesting. Makes it worth making the time to be consistent, and post frequently.

    Did you look at any trends for stand alone (from company sites) vs. integrated blogs?

  10. Lee Marriott says:

    Wow this is great post, just what I’ve been trying to figure out using my own trackig methods. It will definately influence the time I publish content in the future. Many thanks!

  11. Anderson says:

    This study is very important. I really appreciate the ideas and items highlighted here with a very pragmatic approach. Of course all of us will use these tips and be more effective when writing in our blogs. Congratulations!

  12. One trend that I notice with my blog is that it’s viewed a LOT more during the “work week” than on the weekend. Since my blog covers various ways to make money online, I feel that most peopel who are looking to quit their job and are slowly and steady working their way to that point often visit my blog while at work. I can’t lie – I’ve done the same. In fact, when I worked in IT and had incredibly slow days, I’d work on my blog and other online businesses to pass the time.

  13. Really interesting read – thanks for sharing your study results. I’m going to have to keep these things in mine the next time I hit that “schedule” button on my blog :)

  14. Seems like I post at the optimal times, but need to think about RT’ing again later on. I never really thought about when to update on FB. I currently have my setup Tweeting and posting on FB when the post publishes.

  15. Dave Coleman says:

    Monday is the best day for me but since 44% (according to Google) come from the USA i post at 7.30 in the morning and then tweet again at 5pm GMT.

  16. Leilani says:

    Interesting post. I set up RTs for later in the afternoon. I will have to rethink my content management schedule. Tx for all of your hard work.

  17. Wow! No, really, WOW! Thanks for sharing this information. Certainly makes “hyper targeting” your content strategy even more important.

    What would be cool is actual data on what type of person makes each ‘segment,’ if you will. What’s so special about that morning blog reading crowd? What makes them different?

    What about the Facebook people? Are they also the ones that read blogs? Tweet?

    And Twitter, why so late in the afternoon?

    You could assume or guess on some of these (well, they’re at work was said, they only access Facebook on the weekend, they work hard during the day and tweet at night, etc.) But I’d love data on this.

  18. Fantastic information. Glad WordPress allows us to schedule post publishing to take this data into account & see if we get these same results.

  19. Great statistical information. I will definitely use these graphs to give me a guide to test my own posts and as Leilani said – rethink my content management schedule.

    Thanks.

    Ayanna

  20. Marcus says:

    i like this info it really helps to have the stats when ur so busy to find out for yourself and having friends to work together love networking thankyou.

  21. Excellent information. Thanks so much for sharing your results!

  22. Ron Gelok says:

    Wow this blog posting times is something I been wondering about for awhile. I always try to post around 9 am everyday but now i realized that may not be the best time. Im going to test some of your findings and hopefully I’ll receive hire results thanks so much for sharing!

  23. Monica says:

    In my experiences, blog activity will vary broadly depending upon a) what is shared and b) where you are accessing that — especially when your readers do not come from the same time zone or country.

  24. remowill says:

    This is good information. My posting schedule will be changing.

  25. Thanks for sharing this info! I try to tweet my blog around 10:00 CST as that seemed to be the best time for RT’s. I am going to make a few changes based on your results and see what kind of results I get. Thanks!

  26. Judy Adamson says:

    I’ve noticed that Mondays are usually the best for page views and comments and, contrary to your figures, Fridays are among the lowest (Saturday and Sunday being at the bottom of the list). I put this down to the fact that so many people are preoccupied with #FF on Fridays and my tweets get lost in the fray!

  27. Jagan Mangat says:

    Make no specific schedules,a lot of time is wasted in making schedules and ideas than concentrating on work(take half advantage of everything and you will do much of the tings not to the superb extent but you can do much things above the average level i.e to the good level).

  28. YES! Awesome, easy to understand, actionable graphs! Thank you Dan – keep those email blasts coming from HubSpot.

  29. Erin says:

    Thanks. It made me realize that even trivial things like the time of publication can have an impact as well. I will keep that in mind.

  30. David Willis says:

    Great post, the important lesson here is remembering to consider when’s the best time to publish? Timing as is relevance is key, but so to is knowing our respective audience or segment.

    Consumer biased readership follows different patterns to those targeted at business readers. Then there is the locality of followers and needing to differentiate between those folks that are surfers, information gatherers or potential buyers.

    Thanks, excellent food for thought and action!

  31. Recognizing that you analyzed blogs from all over, I’m wondering about the 9 a.m. piece and the geographical distribution of blog readers: the time zone effect, I guess you’d call it.

    Population distribution in the US has more people on the two coasts than in the middle (generalizing broadly) and California and Texas the two largest states. This Census Bureau “night sky” dot map based on 2000 data shows what I mean: http://bit.ly/fsHCEI

    9 a.m. EST is 6 a.m. my local time (PST) and I know I’m not up reading blogs at that hour.

    Is there any way to tease out whether bloggers in a particular time zone should set a post to go at the local time that corresponds to 9 a.m. EST vs 9 a.m. local time for a primarily local audience?

    Same question could apply to the RT and FB analysis.

    @BarbChamberlain

  32. George says:

    Thank you for sharing some wonderful analysis and visualizations. It seems to me that you’re approaching the “best time to publish posts” backwards. Would you rather post when there’s the most competing noise, or the least?

  33. Dave L says:

    It seems as if it is a “win-win” situation if you publish blog posts on a regular basis and utilize social networking at the same time. From viewing the charts, it seems as if you cannot go wrong on any given day. I did, however, notice that there is an advantage to posting your blog post at night.

  34. No kidding.. The best time is when people isn’t asleep in the US. America is the main traffic source for almost every website..

  35. Anita Clark says:

    Excellent information that really matches my own experience. My business blog has the most hits and comments when I post in the morning (day of week doesn’t matter) and my Fan Page gets the most exposure in the early evening.

  36. Emmie says:

    Wow, i have never really thought about how the time of the day can affect how the blog post performs. Really helpful info that i will sure take note of.

  37. The Padrino says:

    Notice the news also twitter can go wild when a random tag is trending lol

  38. Rene Power says:

    Love the idea and the learnings. And its great if you are talking to a US audience on US time. But not all of us are, all of the time.