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Are You Throwing Away Readers by Posting at the Wrong Time?

Sooner or later it happens to everyone. You knock yourself out putting together a blog post worthy of a Pulitzer Prize, you post it to your blog and … crickets. This was supposed to be the post that pushed your blog into the major leagues. It was supposed to go viral. Everyone would applaud and throw rose petals at your feet. But … nothing. Barely a trickle of traffic. What happened to all of your loyal followers? They’re still out there. You probably just posted at the wrong time.

plan blog posts

Yes, even in Cyberspace, timing is everything. While there’s no precise “perfect” time to publish a blog post, there are some guidelines you can use to help narrow it down.

Avoid posting on Saturday and Sunday: You might think the Internet would be busy, like a shopping mall, on Saturday and Sunday. Most people are off work those two days so you expect them to be catching up online with friends and family and maybe playing a few games or shopping. In reality, those are the two slowest days for the Internet because people are catching up with friends and family – offline. They’re shopping at brick and mortar malls – not online.

Avoid Friday, too: Yes, people are at work on Friday and a lot of people work in front of a computer. However, Friday is the day that most people use to clear off their desk, taking care of all those little tasks they’ve been putting off all week. They also use Friday to get organized for the next week. And, when possible, they get out the door for an early start to the weekend – so the last thing they’re going to do is waste time online.

Monday is Better: On Monday, Internet traffic starts picking back up. People are back at their desks or, for those who work from home, the kids are back and school and the chaos of the weekend has subsided. On Monday people start checking their email to see what came in over the weekend. If they’re subscribed to your feed and you publish on Monday morning, you’ll be at the top of their inbox. Keep in mind though that a lot of people use Monday as a meeting day or a day to get organized for the week ahead.

Tuesday is the Best: Early Tuesday morning is typically the best time to publish a blog post if you really want it to be seen. Everybody’s back to work, they’ve caught up with all their emails and organized their calendar for the week, and Tuesday is just a typical day. Now they have time to check out their favorite blogs or see what popped up in their feed readers.

Of course, all of the guidelines go out the window if you blogging in a niche, like gaming or dating, where people actually spend their weekends online because they’re too busy during the week.

There’s also something to be said about your posting regularity and you level of engagement. If you regularly publish a post at 10 p.m. five nights a week, eventually your repeat readers are going to catch on. Break that posting schedule though and skip a few days and you’ll notice a significant drop in traffic.

One way to gauge the best time to post to your blog is to look at your analytics to see when your traffic peaks occur. And if you know you have a killer post ready to publish, hold off for a day. Instead, publish a post to notify your followers that there’s something really great coming up and you don’t want them to miss it.

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25 Comments (Add one)

  1. Deina
    Deina

    Great post, just shared this on Twitter. I post on Mondays and Wednesdays but I’ll also add Tuesdays when I can handle 3 posts a week.

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Deina, once you get some data, let me know what kind of results you are seeing with your blog!

  2. Jeff Geoghan
    Jeff Geoghan

    Good discussion. I’m assuming your points are anecdotal based on your personal experience – you did not reference any data or studies you’ve been digging in to, correct?

    IMHO the last paragraph should be the first one…

    Thanks!

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Absolutely Jeff. This post is based on my personal observations on all my blogs and with several years of blogging.

  3. brenda
    brenda

    Great post. This validated things I’ve noticed but also gives me something to shoot for. Thank you!

    1. Sté Kerwer

      I’m glad if it helped you Brenda!

  4. Ashley

    I have heard so many conflicting expert opinions about whether to post on Friday — and many other times.

    Many say Friday afternoon is great because people are bored and not working that much then and they browse the internet at this time.

    To be honest, I don’t put much, if any, stock in advice like this about the “right way” and the “wrong way” to do things online because it is seldom backed up by evidence, just theory or principle. Also, I don’t believe that any time is “the right time” or the “right way” in general. Like anything in SEO, it depends on things like topic, niche and audience. Web activities should be tailored to these things, not to generic advice, which can be counter productive to one’s goals.

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Ashley, what you have to understand is that every expert’s opinion is based on their own experience, so it might differ from one person to the other, or it might differ from one niche to the other. I don’t think it’s generic advice when it’s based on personal experience.

  5. JanBierens
    JanBierens

    I agree. Tuesday is best. I have been experimenting with timing my posts (taking in account a nine hour time difference US/Holland) but the weekend is always slow on traffic.

    1. Sté Kerwer

      I always like reading that someone has been conducting some split-tests to come up with their own results! Congratulations Jan

  6. Brenda

    Oh… that explains a thing or two! I write mostly on the weekend, but now I know, all my brilliant tips and rantings would be best during the week. Thank you.

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Brenda, you can always write your posts during the weekend and schedule them to go live on weekdays.

  7. Keith Matthews

    “Stuff I Wish I Had Thought Of”

    (Before You, But, Since You Rule This Niche, Never Mind))

    Question: is this just by experience, or is this the result of research? Just wondering…

    1. Sté Kerwer

      This is the result of my own research Keith :)

  8. Darin L. Hammond

    Ste,

    I found your post both engaging and counterintuitive. I have thought in the past about when to publish my posts, but my instincts were completely off. I sensed that Friday might not be the best, but I went along with the thinking that Saturday and Sunday would be ideal as people are reading and catching up on the Internet. Monday and Tuesday, actually, would’ve been my last picks.

    I have found success as I often time post more than once a week and have hit the peak mark accidentally. I know that I will gain more traffic by following your advice, however.

    Thank you for the insightful post,

    Darin

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Darin, it’s good that you’ve been testing different days to publish your posts. The best way to find your best performing days is to try all of them and compare the data.

  9. Kevin McDonald

    I am a reletively new blogger and have been posting on Sundays, which resulted in little to no traffic. Being a novice, I thought why not repost the links for a couple of days, which did bring more hits. However, I have since found out that spamming my links is bad etiquitte so I have just been settling for low numbers and hoping for retweets to help. Simple me for not thinking of adjusting my post schedule. Here’s hoping this will help…

    Thanks for the great article!

    1. Sté Kerwer

      There is a lot of space between 0 promotion and spamming… I know a lot of bloggers who tweet their blog post 4 times after publishing: once every 6 hours, to make sure to hit every timezone at least once

  10. Lindsay Bamfield

    I’ll take your advice. I posted my last post on a Friday and it attracted a mere smattering of hits! I forget that people do the sorts of jobs where they can faff about on-line at work, because those I work with and I, actually have to do what we’re paid for – work. Front-line in the NHS and it’s non-stop from the moment we get to work to the time we leave! (Damn! Of course that’s why I can’t post on a Tuesday morning.)

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Lindsay, even if you’re at work, you can post on your blog… Just use the WordPress built-in post scheduler.

      1. Lindsay Bamfield

        You missed my point. Scenario: Me with patient.
        Pt: ‘I’ve been having this trouble with my…’
        Me: ‘Never mind that, I’ve more important things to do – I just need to update my blog. Hang on, better check for typos.’
        or-
        ‘Quick doc, this one flat-lining, he needs CPR!’
        ‘Won’t be a sec, just checking the stats on my blog.’

        That’s what I mean when I say I can’t blog at work.

        1. Sté Kerwer

          And I think you don’t get my point either…

          If you think that the best time to publish a new post is 10am, but you are have to perform CPR at this exact time, you can still have a blog post going live at 10am sharp. You don’t need to be behind your computer to have a post go live: use the WordPress scheduler.

  11. Jennifer Cunningham
    Jennifer Cunningham

    I will have to try Tuesdays. I wondered why nothing was happening on the weekend. That’s when I have time to catch up.

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Jennifer, most people browse their favorite websites from work. This is why traffic is so slow during weekends. There are some websites in specific industries that are receiving more traffic during weekends… Think NSFW stuff.

  12. Felicia
    Felicia

    This post is really great and couldn’t have come at a better time for me! I’ve been thinking about tweaking when I make my blog posts to see if I can get better traffic. I noticed that Friday through Sunday are generally really slow and two of those three days I have tendency to make new posts. Wednesday, the third day I post, is actually my peak day; though it seems Monday and Tuesday also get a lot of hits. Maybe I’ll try out switching to posting those three days. Do you think it would hurt to post three days in a row and no other time though?

    Either way, this is a really great post and I found it to be extremely helpful!