Sunday, April 22, 2012

How to Have a Successful Blog: A Year and a Half Later

In October and November of 2010, I wrote a series of posts called How to Have a Successful Blog.  Thanks to my recent post about the book and web advertising, I figured now was a perfect time to take a second look at the old posts and maybe see if I think differently now (and/or if I have any more insights to offer).  For today's addition, let's look at the first post in my series:  When Is the Best Time to Publish Your Blog Entry?

In the original post, I had full data from a "24 Packs in 24 Hours" that I did.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to keep similar data handy for the "24 Packs in 24 Hours" that I happened to hold about a week ago (dumb me)! Since I don't have nice data, let's look at the visitor data for today (as in, today being the day I'm writing this post - Friday, April 20).

As you can see, my blog readership seems to arrive in waves (more on that in a second).  The wee morning hours (midnight - 2:00 AM EST) garner a few visits, then virtually nothing from 3:00 AM until 7:00 AM.  Once 8:00 hits, visitors start rolling in culminating with a small peak right before noon.  The afternoon sees some steady traffic, but once dinner hits the visitors seems to increase substantially.  It should be noted that the screen shot was captured at 11:05 PM EST so that 1 visitor for the 11:00 PM hour is entirely misleading!  It should also be noted (and this is more important), that I had posts scheduled to go live at 8:30 AM, 12:30 PM, and 6:00 PM.  I actually expected a bigger spike at each of those corresponding hours - but there is definitely something to be said for new posts bringing in blog traffic!  Finally, if I were wiser I wouldn't have chosen a Friday as my day to gauge blog traffic.  I'm guessing a lot of people ignore the blogs on a Friday evening (obviously not me, at least not tonight as I'm blogging away getting ready for Sunday's posts)!

According to the research I conducted the first time around, it appeared the best time to publish a post was around dinner time, with either lunch or midnight taking the second best slot.  Looking at the above graph, it's hard to argue with the dinner time argument - but I've had pretty good luck with early morning (8:30 AM EST) posts as well - though I'm guessing my west coast readers often miss them (sorry guys and gals)!

On a personal note, I'm happy to see that now my Friday blog numbers (which are usually the worst day of the week) match my Tuesday blog numbers of a year and a half ago.  I wouldn't keep the blog going if it weren't for all my readers (and blog traders)!  I know I post a lot of group break stuff - but I promise to try and do other stuff on the blog as well!

I plan to take a look at some of the other topics that I covered back in the day - both because I think it's interesting to see what has (or hasn't) changed, but also because a lot of you probably never saw my older posts!

As always, any ideas or suggestions?  Let me know!


night owl said...

I usually post in the early evening and then in the wee hours. That just happened to be the most convenient times for me to post, but I've found that they're great times if you're looking for the most readers.

Most people's free time is in the evening, and my readership goes way up around 10 p.m., 11 p.m. Also, a lot of people like to read blogs when they're up in the morning or right when they get to work. The wee hours post is good for that.

Posting around lunch time sometimes draws readers, too. But I've found that if you post mid-afternoon, especially, it takes a long time for readers to find it. They're too busy.

The Dutch Card Guy said...

nice data Chris, thanks for posting ! Trying to maximize my readership as well with my blog being just a few months old.

Kyle Franzoni said...

I like to post when the mood strikes. If it is too late at night, I tend to schedule for a 7:00am publish. That said, my traffic tends to come mostly toward the end of the day, when people are back at home from work and out from under the watchful eye of IT.

Mark A. said...

Matthew ran a post on this some time back.

He links to Lorelle who looks at the same issue, who links to a Dan Zarella post.

I try to post in the morning, but will post whenever the mood strikes. I find that I get more hits when I push the post on Twitter and on Facebook. Getting a tweet picked up and retweeted to a much larger audience never hurts.

Subject is key. I have posts that get many hits that I wrote as a throw away. Other posts that I spend time on get few hits.

I think that we should maximize what we learn from this, but I'll continue to post what and when I please.

Keep up the good work.

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