Hi there and welcome to Episode 130 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name is Darren Rouse and today I want to talk about the question of when should you publish your blog post. What time, what day? Does it really matter at all? What are the factors that you want to consider particularly if you have an international audience as I do. That’s what I’m tackling today. You can find today’s show notes over at problogger.com/podcast/130 where I’m going to include some further reading for you and some links to some studies that have been done on this exact question that I’m going to talk about in a moment.
Welcome to today’s podcast. I am just back from Thailand. We’ve in the last couple of days come back from a break of a couple of weeks over in Thailand. This is the first page of content that I’ve created since coming back which worries me slightly, I have to say. If I’m sounding a little bit relaxed or confused, it’s probably because my head’s not quite back into work mode. We just had this great time over in Thailand, beautiful weather although we did have a couple of days of rain but really warm, beautiful, sort of tropical weather. Amazing food, very friendly people. It’s raining here in Melbourne when we returned, and it’s cold, so I’m trying to get my head back into work mode and struggle with the variation in temperature. It is good to be back as well, I’ve been looking forward particularly to getting back into the podcast.
As I said in my introduction today, we’re talking today about the timing of your blog posts. At what time should you publish? What day should you publish? Does it really matter at all anymore? I paid a lot of attention in the early days of my blogging to the exact time that I published and I still do think about that but I don’t think about it as much as I used to. I think in days gone by back in 2005, 2006 when RSS feeds were really big, I particularly paid a lot of attention to the times that I published because it seemed to have more impact upon whether people would see my blogpost or not because they would check in the RSS feeds. If you could time your post to go live when people would be in the RSS feeds, that has an impact.
Today, I’m not sure that the timing of your blogpost being published has as much impact as the timing of your social media post and your emails. They’re probably the big effectors today, but I guess there are a few things that you might want to consider when it comes to the timing of your blog post.
In today’s show notes, I’m going to link to a number of studies that have been done on this particular topic over the last four or five years. I’m not going to go over them in great detail now because there’s some inconsistencies between the results in them. I kind of have a problem with studies into this because I think blogs vary so much.
One of the things I will mention though in a number of studies that I’ll link to in the show notes is that mornings seem to be the best time. Of course, there’s some trouble with mornings because many of us have global audiences. A couple of the studies that I found, I found that most people seem to read blogs in the morning but they tend to comment in blogs outside of business hours; in the evenings, and particularly on weekends. That was one of the things that did seem to come up in a number of studies, but then there were a whole heap of other results where in there were inconsistencies. Take that idea with a bit of a grain of salt.
The problem with studies is that there’s a lot of varying factors, it’s not just about when you publish your blog post, it’s also about when you share it on social media and also depends on the topic as well. I know a parenting blogger who finds that Monday mornings at 9:00AM is a great time to publish because that’s the first time that their readers have a moment to themselves after they drop their kids off to school. She finds that when she publishes around 9:00 AM on a Monday morning, a lot of her readers tend to show up with a cup of coffee, read her blog once they got the kids off to school.
I know a sporting blogger who finds that Monday mornings is the worst time to publish. He actually finds that Saturday mornings is a great time because it’s just before all the games that he’s writing about are about to be played. He also publishes on Sunday night, at the end of the football round. He publishes about the games that have just been played.
Obviously, it’s going to depend on your topic. This is where studies fall short because they don’t take those factors into account.
One other piece of advice that I would give you in terms of working out the best time to publish your blog post is really to do some experimentation and it’s also to really do some analysis of when your readers are online and to do some experimenting around different times about whether you published just before they get online or just after or in the peak of it, a few things I would encourage you to do.
Work out where your readers live. The bulk of your readers, where are they living? I talk to a lot of Australian bloggers who have a lot of Australian readers. Obviously, that is going to be quite helpful to know most of my readers are in Australia, in America, then you can kind of time things for that audience.
But if you’re like me and you have a very global audience, around 50% of my audience is in the US but 50% of my audience is scattered around the rest of the world. That’s a factor that I need to keep in mind. That particularly is something I keep in mind with my social media updates.
In terms of my blog posts, when they go live, because 50% of my audience are based in America, that’s where I’m focusing most of my attention when it comes to the timing of my blog post. I’m actually trying to time my blog post to go live just as America is waking up because that’s where most of my audience is. That’s not because I want to ignore the rest of the world, I’m an Aussie, I value people who live in Australia or around the world as well. That’s where the bulk of my readership are. Understand where the bulk of your readership are and plan for your blog post to go live when they’re most likely to be able to see it.
The second thing I encourage you to do is to look at your analytics. Look at your Google Analytics and look at your Facebook Analytics. Facebook Analytics Page Insights, you’ll find in the analytics that Facebook give you, will give you some understanding of when your readers are online both in terms of the days of the week but also the time of day. That’s really interesting to look at.
I find as I look at both of my Facebook insights but also my Google Analytics that my audience tends to come peak at 10:00AM at the East Coast of America, 7:00AM on the West Coast. That’s the peak of when my audience is online. That is partly influenced by the times that I post on social media, so you’ve got to be a little bit careful there. I can see as I look at both of my analytics on Google and Facebook that that’s the peak.
Then for two or three hours on either side of that time is where my readership is at its biggest. It actually starts probably about three hours before that, 7:00AM on the East Coast, and then it goes for about five hours after the 10:00AM, 3:00PM on the East Coast. I guess it’s eight hours that my audience is really online.
What I’m trying to do with my blog posts, publishing my blog posts, is to position them to go live just before things really start to heat up. As a result, we publish at around 7:00AM on the East Coast of America which is usually around midnight Australian time, that’s when I’m setting my blog post to go live.
That’s just one of the timing factors that I’m taking into mind. A lot of the rest of what I do during that eight hour period is to promote those blog posts on social media. What I find really is to get the blogpost live just before things begin to ramp up, which then enables me to promote that blog post for the rest of that window where things are really hot. Tweets go out, Facebook updates go out for the rest of the peak. That’s the strategy that I use and it works quite well for us.
One other thing to consider is the type of blog post that you’re publishing. We have on Digital Photography School, we publish discussion type posts and challenges. We give our readers a little bit of homework. We say go away and take a photo on this theme or using this technique. Those type of posts we typically do on the weekends.
One of the things that I notice in a lot of the studies that I looked at around this particular topic was that engagement on blogs is typically higher on the weekends, people leave more comments on the weekends or outside of work hours. People are more willing to have discussions and leave longer comments on the weekends as well. What we do is on the weekends we’ll quite often put a blog post that is more asking a question and trying to stimulate a discussion or where we give our readers a little bit of homework and say go ahead and do this and share what you find.
If you do those type of posts, you might find that they’re really go to do after hours so you might time them for 5:00PM or 7:00PM when your readers are on the couch at home or on the weekends. We typically publish our meteor longer form tutorials, the heavers posts, earlier in the week and during business hours. If we’re doing more of a lighter post, more of a shareable funny post and inspirational post, we tend to do them at the end of the week, later in the week when perhaps people are looking to escape work a little bit and looking for some light relief in their lives. That might go live on a Thursday or on a Friday, sort of the end of the week. Those are some of the factors that I keep in mind as well.
The last thing I’ll say is we have a key post, like a sales related post that we really want to get in front of most of our audience. We typically try and get that out on a Monday, US time. The reason for that is that one, Mondays tends to be the day that we get a lot of traffic and a lot of the studies did find that. Two, it enables us for the rest of the week to continue to promote that and it gives us four days afterwards to drive traffic to that blogpost before the weekend comes. The weekend for us typically is a bit of a lull in traffic.
If we’re launching a new ebook or a course or some software or doing an affiliate campaign, we typically launch that promotion on a Monday or a Tuesday and that gives us those three or four days to really promote that and get that promotion in front of people.
Let me cycle back to something I said earlier in the podcast and that is that the timing of your blog post being published is probably less of a factor than the timing of the promotion of that blogpost. This is where you probably do need to do some more analysis to really get things right. What’s more important than the publishing of the blogpost is the timing of your social media and the time of your emails.
Let’s just really briefly talk about emails. Typically on ProBlogger, we send out emails early in the week. Those of you who are subscribed to the ProBlogger Plus Newsletter know that if you’re in America, you usually get that on a Monday. If you’re in Australia, you usually see that on a Tuesday. Again, that’s because we want to get those posts in front of you early in the week, they’re usually meteor posts, and that enables us to get them to you when you’re looking for content.
Digital Photography School is a little bit different. We usually publish our newsletter on a Thursday night, Australian time, or Thursday morning US time. The reason for that is that we found our readers typically take most of their photos on a weekend, that’s when they got most of their leisure time. We’re trying to get the tutorials in front of them so that they can then read them and use them on the weekends. We actually call our newsletter in the subject line Photography Tips for the Weekend. We time our newsletters a little bit different there and that’s come as a result of a lot of testing to see when people open them and when people click on the links in them.
Time your emails, really important, and then social media as well. For social media, it really does come down to experimentation. What we’ve actually found works best because we do have global audiences on both of my blogs is to really separate our social media updates around the clock. It’s a 24/7 kind of experience. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that pretty much every hour to hour and a half, something goes live on the ProBlogger Twitter account, same happens on the Digital Photography School one.
On Facebook, particularly on Digital Photography School’s Facebook page, we publish seven or eight posts per day. They are typically spread out every three or four areas although it does tend to be a few extra ones during the US day time. But again, that comes out of a lot of experimentation and watching what is working.
The last thing I’ll say about the timing of your blog post is that I’m a big believer that regularity and consistency in the timing your posts really does matter a lot. People take notice of when you publish. Whether you tell them or not, they begin to take notice of it. I know for a fact that some of you who are listening to this podcast know that we publish every Monday and Thursday morning, US time. I’ve never announced that that’s what I’m going to do but there was a couple of weeks where our posts were delayed because iTunes wasn’t updating them. I got emails from people saying where is your Monday morning podcast? I’ll listen to it on the way to work, or while I’m driving to work, or while I’m in the cafe after dropping my kids off.
I know for a fact that even though I’ve never announced it, we have listeners of this podcast who have noticed the rhythm of the publishing of this podcast and the same is true on my blogs as well. I think regularity and consistency is probably more important than the exact time. You might want to factor that in as well. I actually kind of like having a deadline. I like the fact that on Monday mornings if there’s a podcast that’s not ready, I feel bad about it so that gives me incentive to get that podcast recorded ahead of time.
This is in my mind not a science even though a lot of studies have been done and people have tried to wake out the optimal time. I think for me it’s really about trying to be consistent, trying to position your content so that it’s there when your readers are about to be there, and to experiment with that and see what works for you.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this, when do you publish your blog posts? Does it really matter to you? Do you publish them when they’re ready or do you publish them at certain times of the week? What other timings do you factor in? Do you publish your emails at the same time, do you publish your social media at the same time, your podcasts. I’d love to get your feedback on this. You can find our show notes today with the links to the studies that I did find on this topic if you’re interested in reading those over at problogger.com/podcast/130.
Thanks for listening, hopefully this one went out on time and iTunes published it at the right time. I look forward to chatting with you in the next could of days on the ProBlogger podcast.