Blog Traffic and Engagement: Off-Peak Posting?

I snagged the July stats from Part Time Monster and this blog the minute they rolled over on July 1. I’ve already got them pasted into a draft, and will discuss them here next week. Today I want to talk a little more about best times to publish. I wrote about my posting schedule a while back and we had a good discussion about it. Since then, I’ve read an article which I sadly did not bookmark that’s got me tinkering with the idea of running a little experiment.

The article claimed that a lot of businesses who are using social media to interact with potential customers have stopped posting on Facebook at peak usage times. Instead, they are posting at the troughs between the peaks. The theory is that, even though the pool of possible readers is smaller, it’s easier to get your content seen because there isn’t so much stuff competing for peoples’ attention.

I’m willing to buy that the Internet is so big, off-peak posting might be a viable strategy. Since I have access to the stats of several blogs, two of which have generated almost exactly the same number of views since January with similar posting schedules, I’m thinking about running one of them on an off-peak schedule for a month.

Since this post is so brief, and I promised to share my Time Zone Tables a couple of weeks ago, here they are. The dates are for the day I copied and pasted them. It’s the differences in the hours that matter. I created them using the world clock feature at timeanddate.com, which is a great resource.

9 a.m. Central Daylight Time

New Orleans (U.S.A. - Louisiana)     Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 9:00:00 AM                               CDT  UTC-5 hours    
London (United Kingdom - England)    Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 3:00:00 PM                               BST  UTC+1 hour     
Tbilisi (Georgia)                    Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 6:00:00 PM                               GET  UTC+4 hours    
New Delhi (India - Delhi)            Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 7:30:00 PM                               IST  UTC+5:30 hours 
Singapore (Singapore)                Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 10:00:00 PM                              SGT  UTC+8 hours    
Sydney (Australia - New South Wales) Midnight between Thursday, April 24, 2014 and Friday, April 25, 2014 AEST UTC+10 hours   
Honolulu (U.S.A. - Hawaii)           Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 4:00:00 AM                               HAST UTC-10 hours   
San Francisco (U.S.A. - California)  Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 7:00:00 AM                               PDT  UTC-7 hours    
Corresponding UTC (GMT)              Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 14:00:00      

Noon Central Daylight Time

New Orleans (U.S.A. - Louisiana)     Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 12:00:00 Noon CDT  UTC-5 hours    
London (United Kingdom - England)    Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 6:00:00 PM    BST  UTC+1 hour     
Tbilisi (Georgia)                    Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 9:00:00 PM    GET  UTC+4 hours    
New Delhi (India - Delhi)            Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 10:30:00 PM   IST  UTC+5:30 hours 
Singapore (Singapore)                Friday, April 25, 2014 at 1:00:00 AM      SGT  UTC+8 hours    
Sydney (Australia - New South Wales) Friday, April 25, 2014 at 3:00:00 AM      AEST UTC+10 hours   
Honolulu (U.S.A. - Hawaii)           Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 7:00:00 AM    HAST UTC-10 hours   
San Francisco (U.S.A. - California)  Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 10:00:00 AM   PDT  UTC-7 hours    
Corresponding UTC (GMT)              Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 17:00:00  

3 p.m. Central Daylight Time


New Orleans (U.S.A. - Louisiana)     Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 3:00:00 PM                               CDT  UTC-5 hours    
London (United Kingdom - England)    Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 9:00:00 PM                               BST  UTC+1 hour     
Tbilisi (Georgia)                    Midnight between Thursday, April 24, 2014 and Friday, April 25, 2014 GET  UTC+4 hours    
New Delhi (India - Delhi)            Friday, April 25, 2014 at 1:30:00 AM                                 IST  UTC+5:30 hours 
Singapore (Singapore)                Friday, April 25, 2014 at 4:00:00 AM                                 SGT  UTC+8 hours    
Sydney (Australia - New South Wales) Friday, April 25, 2014 at 6:00:00 AM                                 AEST UTC+10 hours   
Honolulu (U.S.A. - Hawaii)           Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 10:00:00 AM                              HAST UTC-10 hours   
San Francisco (U.S.A. - California)  Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 1:00:00 PM                               PDT  UTC-7 hours    
Corresponding UTC (GMT)              Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 20:00:00

7 p.m. Central Daylight Time

New Orleans (U.S.A. - Louisiana)     Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 7:00:00 PM CDT  UTC-5 hours    
London (United Kingdom - England)    Friday, April 25, 2014 at 1:00:00 AM   BST  UTC+1 hour     
Tbilisi (Georgia)                    Friday, April 25, 2014 at 4:00:00 AM   GET  UTC+4 hours    
New Delhi (India - Delhi)            Friday, April 25, 2014 at 5:30:00 AM   IST  UTC+5:30 hours 
Singapore (Singapore)                Friday, April 25, 2014 at 8:00:00 AM   SGT  UTC+8 hours    
Sydney (Australia - New South Wales) Friday, April 25, 2014 at 10:00:00 AM  AEST UTC+10 hours   
Honolulu (U.S.A. - Hawaii)           Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 2:00:00 PM HAST UTC-10 hours   
San Francisco (U.S.A. - California)  Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 5:00:00 PM PDT  UTC-7 hours    
Corresponding UTC (GMT)              Friday, April 25, 2014 at 00:00:00   

I hope everyone’s had an awesome weekend. I know I have. We’ll be back to our usual shenanigans tomorrow.

 

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11 thoughts on “Blog Traffic and Engagement: Off-Peak Posting?

    • You’re welcome 🙂

      I’m not sure it will make that much difference either way with blogs as small as these, and I don’t know how many of our views are actually coming from news feeds, because the referral stats aren’t that great.

      I’m wondering, though if the schedule change would bring us to the attention of people who’ve never seen us. I think at the very least I’ll wait a month to try this, because June was our best month so far and I want to see what we do in July.

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  1. I’ve given a little thought to how to post so that the most people can actually see my content (and it doesn’t get insta-buried in their readers)… but haven’t looked at exactly what times that works best (and my stats are so all over the place it’s hard to tell days, even, that are best. I can discern some around the kinds of posts that bring the most traffic…but then trying to figure out which bring the most engagement is a different matter).
    Honestly, when I started this blogging thing, I have no idea I’d start paying attention to this piece of it all! I’ll have to go see if I can track down that article you were talking about.

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    • I didn’t expect to be paying this kind of attention to it, either. But the stats, imperfect as they are, are valuable feedback that I just can’t ignore.

      I think the type of content is absolutely important. We’ve been doing this long enough to know what types of content is the most popular — it’s comics and television for us, but books are also good. Political posts related to inequality also work well for us, as long as we don’t post too many of them, and are very careful with the language we use to discuss that stuff.

      Our best days are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, consistently. Tuesdays are the best days for the blogs, organically. By which I mean if we just post totally random content every day at the same time and let the Internet do all the work, we get more views on Tuesdays. Wednesdays are actually our best days, though. That’s because we’ve posted a comics article every Wednesday now for over 6 months. We chose Wednesdays for those because that’s when new books arrive at the comics stores, and our posts always include recommendations for new book day. We follow that up with a Wordless Wednesday in the afternoon, and it’s a potent combination.

      As far as when to post. Our schedule is determined by the number of posts we have going that day. If we’re doing two or more, the first post goes at 9 am eastern time, because that hits the big cities on the East Coast at the first internet peak of the day and puts it in the feeds in London early enough in the afternoon to get views from both places.

      If only once, we usually post at Noon eastern. That’s 9 am on the West Coast and late afternoon in the U.K. It’s absolutely the best we can do for a time when lots of English-speaking people with computers are online.

      We never post more than 4 times a day, and when we post 4, the last post goes no later than 7 p.m. Eastern. That doesn’t get us anything from the UK and Western Europe, but Western North America is still online at that point, and it’s mid-morning in Australia.

      This only works if you’re trying to build a global readership. If your primary concern is a local audience, you’ll obviously want to pay more attention to your own time zone than New York/London/Sydney/Los Angeles.

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    • LOL. I’d say *We’re* the stats nerds at this point.

      I’m geeking out a little now that we’ve posted every day long enough to actually have some stats to look at.

      Like

    • I think you’ll appreciate this. I didn’t create the time zone tables to help me figure out the best times to post. Our good posting times are the same as yours, and I expected it to work the way it’s working from day one.

      When you posted that first post that I read which explained your good posting times, months ago, I went “aha! we’re right.” We’ve tweaked our schedule a bit over the past few months, but not much. Mainly what we’ve done is synch our schedule with peaks in the Eastern Time zone instead of our own (we’re Central – that’s why New Orleans is the first city on my tables). And decided that if we can only post once on a weekday it’s best posted around noon eastern. Weekends are a different matter. For the most part, we only get regulars on the weekends and they find us no matter what time we post, so it makes more sense to post early on Sat. and Sun.

      I created the tables in March or April to explain why London plus 4 cities on the East Coast account for almost 20 percent of my Twitter following. And to explain why we have so many Australians and New Zealanders following. Turns out, it’s because of the times we’re most active online.

      We get a lot of late traffic – I see it in my WordPress notifications almost every night, because I’m usually screwing around on Twitter while I edit and schedule blog posts. I often get likes and comments between 7 and 9 like gangbusters. That’s Sydney coming online.

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  2. Pingback: Posts I loved this week | Taylor Grace

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