Does it make a difference what time your blog posts go online? Yes it does, and pinpointing the perfect time (or times) when your audience is most receptive to what you’re saying will make all the difference to your content being read and shared.
When you’ve finished writing a blog post you’re proud of, proofread it to correct spelling and grammar mistakes and added relevant images, it’s tempting to hit ‘publish’ right away and share your thoughts with the world. But if you do this at the wrong time, your content isn’t going to get the attention it deserves.
What do the experts think?
Like finding the ideal length of blog posts, many blogging experts have long tried to crack the code of the ideal time to publish. Their findings don’t always agree, but there are still some clear patterns in the data.
A collaborative study between KISSmetrics, Dan Zarrella, Search Engine Land and HubSpot found that:
- Most people read blogs in the morning
- Most blogs get the highest traffic at 11:00am
- Most blogs get the highest traffic on Mondays
- The most comments are made on Saturdays
- Blogs receive the most inbound links at 7:00am on Mondays and Thursdays.
In terms of business blogging activities, TrackMaven analysed 4,618 blogs and found that:
- 87% of blogs are published during the working week (less on Fridays)
- Most blog posts are published between 11:00am and 12:00pm.
This data is based on EST in the United States (UTC-04:00), but it could equally apply to the Australian working week.
What does this mean for you?
Like everything in your business, you should take note of what the experts are saying, but it ultimately comes down to what works for you. To find out what time your audience is the most engaged and receptive to what you’re writing, you need to consider:
1. Where your readers are located
2. Who your readers are
3. What type of subjects you’re writing about
4. How you are promoting this content.
1. Where are your readers?
Are you marketing to local customers (in your city or state), a national audience, or an international audience (if so, which countries)? The peak time for blogging in Newcastle is different from the peak time in Perth, and both are completely different from Europe and the United States.
If you’re only interested in your local time zone, you should follow the suggested stats above. If you want your content to be read by people in different regions, you’ll still have to settle on the time zone that’s most important to you for publishing your posts, but it’s important that you promote these posts throughout the day so that you won’t miss out on international traffic.
(Keep in mind that different cultures have different ways of organising their days, even beyond time zones).
2. Who are your readers?
If your blog discusses business matters and is aimed at professionals, your content will most likely be read during business hours – so don’t publish it in the evening or over the weekend if you want it to get noticed.
But what about everyone else? While the data suggests that most people read blogs at work during their coffee or lunch break, that doesn’t apply if you’re writing for people who don’t work at an office, or whose reading habits are different.
The collaborative KISSmetrics study found that more men read blogs in the evening and at night compared to women. If you’re writing for young people – particularly students and young adults – you could also have more success publishing at later hours than for adults who are settled into their work routine.
3. What are you writing about?
Does your blog tend to cover similar topics or a diverse selection? If you’re writing different posts for different audiences, the ideal publishing time could be different for every single one.
We already know that business-related content tends to be read when people are at work, and the opposite is also true. If you’re writing about food, hobbies, recreation and other ways people enjoy their free time, a MailChimp study found that you could get the best results publishing at the weekend (specifically from 8:00am to 10:00am).
4. How are you sharing your content?
If your blog is established and you have loyal readers who’ve already subscribed, people are going to see your content as soon as it’s published. For most blogs though, the time you promote your content is more important than when the content goes live, as that’s how most people are going to find it – when you promote it in your social media feeds and when your readers share it themselves.
We know that most people read blogs in the morning (especially around 11am), but is that also when they’re most likely to share it? The TrackMaven study says no, as it found that content published at night (9pm to midnight) attracts more social shares than daytime posts, as readers have more time on their hands. Content published at the weekend was found to get the most social engagement of all.
Facebook: 1pm–4pm (worst is weekends or any day from 8pm–8am)
Twitter: Mon–Thu 1pm–3pm (worst Mon–Fri 10pm–6am)
LinkedIn: Tue–Thu 12pm & 5pm–6pm (worst Mon–Fri 10pm-6am)
Google+: 9am–10am, especially Wed 9am (worst is early morning and evening)
Pinterest: Sat morning or Fri 3pm for fashion and retail blogs (worst is during work hours).
Does any of this apply to you?
These findings are intended as rough guides to help you reach the biggest audience possible with your marketing content. You might find that your own experience is very different, especially if people are reading your content in Australia and on the other side of the world at the same time.
The best way to find out how your content is performing is to check your blog analytics. Find out what time your blog gets the most page views and conversions, and check your best performing blog posts to see what time those were published.
How do I publish my posts at the right time?
If you find out that people are most receptive to your blogs at 3am, does that mean you have to stay up late or get up early every night so you can hit ‘publish’ at the right time?
No it doesn’t, thanks to the power of scheduled posts. Whether you use WordPress or another content management system, you can choose exactly what time and date you want every piece of content to be published, so you’ll never miss the sweet spot. This also makes it easier to keep up with your weekly blog schedule.