When we blog, it is often easy to write and post as soon as the idea comes to us. While you might be more motivated to write when you feel inspired it could be worth your while not posting right away. Any comedian will tell you, it’s not just what you say, you need great timing too.
How important is timing to your blog?
Visitors will arrive at your blog on their own schedule. This is not like television or radio where you can guarantee the bulk of your audience will see the content you want them to see at the time you want them to see it. With this in mind we need to be conscious about our posting patterns.
First of all we want there to be a good chance of your return visitor seeing fresh content. If they do not see anything new there might be a thought in their mind that your blog is going stale and they should unsubscribe.
Secondly you want your really good stuff to get prominence, if you post fluff after your best post of the day you might be reducing the chances of subscriptions as the first impression will be the fluff rather than the most representative work.
Both of these factors come down to timing. The way you can work out your posting schedule is by looking at your stats.
Readers will come to expect a certain amount of posts in a certain time frame. You set this rhythm. Once expectations have been set it is good to keep this rhythm up. If you are not sure you will be able to keep the pace up it is worth moderating your output at the start, it is worse to break expectations than to exceed them.
If you find you are able on some days to write many great new posts and on others struggle to do just the one it might be worth storing some up. Many blog packages allow you to create posts as draft not publish them live so it is a simple case of publishing when you need to.
Obviously some posts will be time sensitive, such as scoops or news, but others are topics that could work at any time.
Time of day
Are there times where the bulk of your traffic arrives? We have bloggers here at Performancing in several time zones so our posting tends to be spread over the day. If all your posters are in the same time zone then you might want to look at your time of day stats.
You want to have your best work in place before the bulk of your traffic arrives. It is a bit early to draw conclusions on Performancing (we have only a couple of weeks of data!) but on other blogs I see a “double-hump” where people log on in their lunch hour and again at night building up around 7-8pm. Business or technical blogs might see traffic spike as western europe wakes up, then eastern USA and then western USA, while more leisure oriented topics might see more “spare time” surfing.
While you don’t want to be particularly deadline driven (this isn’t a newsroom!) you don’t ideally want to have great content posted after your audience has been and gone. Yes a proportion of your audience will arrive via RSS so this means they will have it waiting for them, but there is nothing to suggest that everyone reads every message in their feeds, I certainly don’t.
Is there a certain day where you get more comments? You might want to leave more conversational posts to those days. I find Mondays are very busy and people seem to want to get on with work while later in the week and weekends people seem to be happy to hang around and comment. Even on more business type blogs thursday seems to attract a more “sticky” audience.
On some blogs only the real hardcore seem to visit on a weekend while on others the search traffic increases. This change in visitor type affects everything from how many comments you receive, which posts get read and what advertising gets clicked. It might be worth testing different ad rotations if you see this trend with your blog.
One factor I haven’t mentioned yet is other blogs in your niche. Is there a certain day when everyone seems to post? Are there regularly slow news days? Maybe you could get more attention, links and tags on days where it is quiet, or maybe the reason why everyone posts on certain days is because on the quiet days posts go down like a lead balloon. It is worth testing the theory either way.
It is worth taking a look at how timing affects your blog, your audience and your niche. You might find knowing the rhythm of your blog gives you that little more advantage. Content might be king but timing is everything!