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Ask Anna — Best Days To Post?

Ask Anna — Best Days To Post?

Ask Anna Question:
I’m wondering your opinion on best/worst days of the week to schedule posts. Are there certain days of the week that readership is so crappy that you just absolutely don’t waste a full-length well-written post on? — Jenny from Crash Test Mommy

Ask Anna Answer:
That’s a good question. I have tried many different methods for maximizing views of posts, and initially, I followed the general advice espoused by sites like Problogger which say, more or less, it doesn’t matter, just be consistent. The traditional advice is to make it easy for your readers to know when you’re likely to post, and go with some kind of regular posting schedule, so I did that for most of the first two years blogging, though I did switch my frequency of blogging (initially I was posting nearly every day, and I switched to two or three times a week).

Upon reflection, though, I kind of disagree with the “consistency” advice. I don’t know that consistency is necessarily your friend when it comes to maximizing hits on a website. If you look at blog stats for a well-established blog, you’ll often see a bunch of dramatic up and down marks, and *I think* this happens because the blogger has become so predictable that their his or her traffic is cut literally in half every other day (or whatever) based on when he or she regularly posts. Switching it up every now and then is never a bad plan to avoid that crazy fluctuation every other day, and it also encourages your readers to subscribe, because then they can just check their RSS feed, rather than visiting your site every day to see if there is a new post. Before you ask, an RSS subscriber is *absolutely* preferable to somebody who just sporadically checks the site — for one thing, they are more quantifiable for advertisers, and for another, they are much more likely to contribute to a community. The subscribers tend to be the ones who don’t want to ever miss a post, and those are the ones you want to keep.

In general, I think the best way to handle things is to post stuff when it’s fresh, though I don’t always follow this advice myself. People can tell if you’re passionate about things, and that kind of writing is what made blogging popular in the first place. It’s nice to have polished writing, but it’s also nice to have currency. There’s a place for scheduling posts around when they’re likely to get lots of hits, and there’s also something to be said for just being crazy and hitting publish when you’re done writing.

That said, here’s what I’ve noticed: Mondays are the biggest traffic days for me, unless there is some kind of crazy event that skews traffic, like the whole Lady Gaga event that happened a few months back, or a crazy New York Times article [cough] or a blogging conference that I’m attending and reporting from for my readers in real time (or something like it). Similarly, Fridays seem to be particularly craptastic traffic days for me. Because of this, I try to post things on Mondays and Wednesdays, and sometimes late Thursday. Or, if I’m going to post on a Friday, I’ll plan for something that already has a smaller market appeal to begin with, like the fiction I sometimes post on the main blog of ABDPBT, or a smaller post that is just directing your attention to cool stuff elsewhere on the internet.

Weekends are not great traffic days. I tend to not post anything on the weekends — well, I did back when I was doing the Of Note This Week posts (which I want to keep doing but have run out of time to do regularly).

Here’s another thing I’ve noticed: leaving posts up for a few days before you bump them with a new post is a good tactic for building a tighter community. A lot of my posts — particularly on the business of blogging — pale in comparison to the quality of the comments of the ABDPBT community. So I like to try to do whatever I can to encourage people to comment on posts, particularly the more controversial ones. Though people can (and do) continue to comment on a post long after it’s moved off the front page, it just doesn’t happen as often as when it’s on the landing page. And people tend to comment more on posts that already have comments, so if you leave one up for a few days, you’re more likely to get a good conversation started, at least in my experience.

Comments (21)

  1. So, I thought Monday was my best day, too, so I always made sure to post the best content that day. I thought the weekends were kind of blah, so I posted what I thought was the least interesting content… BUT, I have found through my advertising income that weekends are actually the best (for clicks, anyway)… so who knows. I guess people want to waste a few minutes reading a blog they like any time of the week.

  2. Thanks a million for expounding on our email conversation with this post!

    Very interesting observations and perspective. I knew I was asking the right person.

  3. Mar 25, 2010

    I have noticed a big difference on this since I switched topics. When I was talking about job hunting, most of my traffic was on Mondays, and I hardly got any on the weekends. It also tended to be mostly during the day in the United States (because employed people read it from work, and unemployed people read it while they were home alone during the day).

    Now that I’m talking about genealogy, I see more traffic nights and weekends. I think that’s because for most people, genealogy is a hobby, and they do it at night and on the weekends. In fact, when I tweet a post at 8am like I used to, no one sees it…but when I do it midafternoon or so, it gets a lot more traction.

    At this point I’m not disciplined enough about posting to care that much, but the shift was so stark that it was hard to miss.

  4. Mar 25, 2010

    Oh, and I LOVED “Of Note This Week,” so if and when it comes back, I will be a happy camper.

  5. It may have to do with the different interests & readerships. I would think more people might be looking for info on how to do crafting or cooking items on the weekend when they might be getting things together for those projects or have more weekend time.

  6. Mar 25, 2010

    Heather, this is interesting! I do think there is some variation based on what your market is. I deal with stuff people would want to read during the weekday, mostly, because they want to kill time at work, or because they are bloggers at home trying to figure something out during what are normal work hours. If you have a crafting site, it actually makes more sense you’d get hits on the weekend, because people are doing things in their spare time, and looking for help.

    But you make a good point, anybody who really likes your blog will check in on any day of the week, that’s absolutely right.

  7. I agree, I found things I wouldn’t have otherwise.

  8. Mar 25, 2010

    Thanks for your question. Questions are really helpful to me because I cannot remember all of the questions I had when I first began blogging, and also I think the market keeps changing, so it’s good to have kind of a repository for this stuff, where people from different genres can chime in. As we can see, the answers tend to change based on what niche you’re in.

  9. Mar 25, 2010

    Damn. I’ve got to get back on that train. I just got so behind the last couple months.

  10. Mar 25, 2010

    OK, OK, I’ll get back on it! 🙂

  11. Mar 25, 2010

    Yeah, definitely. If your audience is trying to kill time while they’re at work, or you’re writing on a work topic, then weekends are going to be dead. I think a lot of that is search engine traffic, too, because hard core fans will come any day, usually.

  12. I tend to view consistency more as finding your voice as a writer & keeping it consistent. The just trying to blog on a regular basis which is going to vary for different people depending on what they blog about–but not necessarily on specific days or specific times. That seems too rigid to me & if it needed to change in the future (for whatever reason) people might be too stuck in that rigid schedule to go with changes.

  13. Mar 25, 2010

    [narcissism]Yes. Please stop whatever selfish stuff you are doing and read the entire internet, and then tell me where the good stuff is, so that I have more time to make buttered saltines and stuff.[/narcissism]

  14. Mar 25, 2010

    I had a schedule in the old days of my blog, but when I switched topics I decided to deliberately avoid having one. That way I don’t have to explain when I am busy, or crabby, or just don’t feel like it.

    I think some of the reason that you see all of those “I’m quitting my blog” posts is because people have set expectations with their readers, and they feel obligated to meet them (or provide an explanation). Otherwise they get those “are you okay?” emails.

  15. Mar 25, 2010

    That makes sense, actually. It is probable that people who have done it for a long time on a very regular schedule get some emails if they don’t post. But, still, maybe just drift away and handle the emails one by one?

  16. Mar 25, 2010

    I am SO glad you posted this, as I have long been wondering the same thing. I don’t have a large audience (we’re talking maybe 4 people who read consistently), but I’d love to have a bigger one. I’ve been working on creating content that will be posted on a more regular basis, but couldn’t quite figure out which days to post what. Now I have a better idea!

    Also, I find that I comment on blogs less when they’re in my feed reader, and more when I visit the site to check for an update. I’ve toyed with getting rid of my feed reader altogether in order to force myself to go out and visit blogs more, and therefore comment more. Do you find that your commenters come directly to your site and then comment, or do they see what you’ve written in their feed readers, and then come and comment? Or can you tell?

  17. Mar 25, 2010

    @ Denora, I used to not comment when I was reading blogs on my feed reader, but what I found out was that Google Reader has a little bookmarklet called “Next” that you can drag to your toolbar and instead of reading the posts in Reader, you click “Next” and you can visit the posts one-by-one on the sites themselves. I like it not just because it’s easier to comment that way but also because I prefer to look at the posts in the format they were intended to be viewed — it’s just more visually appealing.

  18. Mar 25, 2010

    I think it’s a mixture of both. The hardcore readers tend to be the ones who comment. If you visit a site, rather than see it in a feed reader, then perhaps you’ll be more inspired to comment, yes, but the thing is, if you subscribe to a blog, you’re much more likely to read a blog. I would rather have people read than not read, so that’s why I not only have a feed, but a feed that is available multiple ways and always shows up in its full format. I think you want to try to put yourself in the readers’ shoes as much as possible — what will make it more convenient for them? And then act accordingly. If you write compelling content, they’ll eventually comment, it just might take a while.

  19. Mar 25, 2010

    Deana, I did not know about this option! Wow, I’m so glad you chimed in. i’ve got to check that out.

  20. Mar 26, 2010

    Another thing to factor in is that most days, most of your page impressions on an older website won’t come through new content anyway. A typical new post of mine represents at most 5-10% of my traffic for the day.

    A posting schedule is part of the mix – and I agree with the consistency angle, provided the schedule is one that works for you rather than feeling forced – but making your older posts more accessible is also critical.

  21. Susan Tiner
    Mar 29, 2010

    Ha! I bet monevator found you via

    http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/

    Am I right monevator?

    Good for Anna getting your blog posted there.

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