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.