1Point’s Guide to Winning Blogs : Chapter 1 – Timing

My research shows that people will tolerate Dali's melting watches, but they LOVE fat cats (Image from fatcatart.ru)
My research shows that people will tolerate Dali’s melting watches, but they LOVE fat cats (Image from fatcatart.ru)

There’s an old joke.  A man is interviewing Poland’s greatest comedian.

He asks, “What is the secret to being Poland’s grea-”

Before he can finish asking the question, the comedian emphatically says, “Timing!”

(If you’re Polish and you’re offended, please feel free to revise the joke, substituting Croatia for Poland and dental hygenist for comedian – it won’t be nearly as funny, but we’ll have spared your tender feelings at the expense of those annoying Croatian mouth workers)

There’s a good deal of truth to the thought behind the joke.  Not the Polish part, but the timing aspect.  Timing is critical, and not just for telling jokes.  Timing may also play a key role in getting blog hits.

I’ve repeatedly promised myself that I’m going to look into figuring out the best time to post things to actually get people to look at them.  Up till now, the extent of my research has been to have more than 3 people visible on Facebook chat before posting my link there.

My problem is that when I finally finish polishing the turds I call posts, I just can’t help myself and have to hit the “Publish” button.  It doesn’t matter if it’s 2 A.M. or the night before Ramadan, I’ve got to get that gem out for everyone to see.

If he doesn't turn things around this semester, he could be a D list celeb by June (Altered image from dr-phil-blog.newsok.com
If he doesn’t turn things around this semester, he could be a D list celeb by June (Altered image from dr-phil-blog.newsok.com)

Sometimes I have a additional fear that the topicality of my post is waning, and I need to hit “Publish” as quickly as possibly before Dr. Phil is no longer a B grade celebrity and my post loses what little relevance it might have once had.

My timing also took a hit when the movers and shakers at WordPress decided to ignore daylight savings time.  I was used to my posts having all the way up to 8 PM Eastern time to collect hits, then suddenly the end of the reading day became 7.  As if it weren’t depressing enough to face total darkness by 4:27 in the afternoon, now I’ve got one less hour to collect hits on my Tori Spelling blog posts (Please do not waste your time explaining that I have an extra hour in the morning – everyone knows that particular hour is only good for beauty sleep).

Here then, are my unscientific findings on the best timing for posting blogs.

Morning, noon or night?

Due!  You toally got OJ all over my peacoat! WTF?!  (Image from cosbysweaters.com)
Dude! You totally got OJ all over my peacoat! WTF?! (Image from cosbysweaters.com)

Many writers feel that morning is the best posting time.  They post as early in the day as is practical, keeping in mind the importance of getting to work on time and the aforementioned beauty sleep.  They hope for big numbers of reader hits from the breakfast crowd.  After all, few things are more satisfying than having a commenter exclaim that they laughed so hard that orange juice spewed out of their nose and all over their Cap’n Crunch.  While the morning post is tempting, the reality is that many readers have the eye function of 1 day-old kittens at this time of the day.  Recent scientific studies have shown that a large percentage of American employees don’t actually wake up until just before their lunch breaks.

Love this bathroom, even on "Casual Fridays"
Love this bathroom, even on “Casual Fridays” (Image from flickrhivemind.com)

Other bloggers will swear by the mid-day post.  For the purposes of my study, I’ve defined “mid-day” as anywhere from the time my morning fish oil capsule stops repeating on me and the hour of my afternoon visit to the 3rd floor men’s room over by human resources.  I swear, hardly anyone knows about that bathroom.  It’s always clean and my magazine is usually right where I left it.  I’d appreciate if we could keep the location of this tidy little oasis a secret – so mum’s the word, OK?  As for timing, mid-day is a big mistake for posting – people are at work and/or chasing small children around – focusing on a 900 word blog about which reality star annoys you is more than likely going to have limited appeal.

Behold -The Meatloaf Martini !  Always remember to crust the rim of the glass with onion-toasted breadcrumbs for that special flair! (Image from eclecticrecipes.com)
Behold -The Meatloaf Martini ! Always remember to crust the rim of the glass with onion-toasted breadcrumbs for that special flair! (Image from eclecticrecipes.com)

Finally, there are the night owls of the blogging world.  These writers post in the evening, certain in their convictions that a belly full of meatloaf and martinis when they publish will guarantee success.  These authors should make sure to take their sweet time so that they don’t hit that button before 7 PM Eastern, because once that witching hour comes, the slate is cleared and new hits go into the next day’s hopper.  Waiting too long after 7 is also a mistake, as many readers will turn off their laptops in the coming hours in desperate attempts at spending “quality time” with spouses and if necessary, children.  A little attention to timing on the part of these readers can help avoid the children altogether, but the spouse may resent their having read blogs during both bath and homework times.  Clearly evening posting is fraught with pitfalls and risks and should be avoided.

I Don’t Like Mondays

The savvy blog writer may also wish to pay close attention to which day of the week it is when they publish a post.  Might the content of a given post have an impact on where in the week it should appear?  For instance, one could imagine that a post about the diminished mental capacity of one’s boss would find a welcoming audience on a Monday.  This is not necessarily correct.  In fact, a recent informal poll indicates that people are annoyed with the incompetence of bosses and coworkers pretty much every day.

Most people define the weekends as a time for rest and recharging the batteries.  With this in mind, it’s critical to consider that reading your blog might not fit into some readers’ definitions of leisure time.  They may resent having to “sound out” erudite, ostentatious words from your post on a day when they’d planned to lay around in their jammies until sometime after their noon naps.

Summary

After minutes of painstaking research, I’m able to conclude that it does not matter a lick at what hour or day of the week you post a blog.  Those fickle readers will read it when and if they feel like it.  As often as not, they’ll leave it hanging on the vine to wither and die.  Feel free to hit the publish button any time you choose – you can be confident that it won’t make any difference.  While timing may be important in comedy and cooking, bloggers can feel free to disregard it, unless they run the risk of being late for work.

Be sure to tune in next time, when I tackle another topic in the quest for blog supremacy.

Take my advice at your own peril.  I'm not smart enough to avoid putting a picture of my bald head in a post with a picture of Dr. Phil's balds head in it!
Take my advice at your own peril. I’m not smart enough to avoid putting a picture of my bald head in a post with a picture of Dr. Phil’s bald head in it!

About the Author:  1pointpersective is a blogger who’s been scribbling his tired musings about life on WordPress for 9 months or so.  He would be the first to tell you that he doesn’t know crap about writing or blog success.  Truth be told, he only writes blog posts to kill time while he waits to win the lottery or face the zombie apocalypse, whichever comes first. 

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49 thoughts on “1Point’s Guide to Winning Blogs : Chapter 1 – Timing

  1. Your head is far more attractive than that figment of Oprah’s imagination, Dr. Phil.

    I loved your post. Along with timing is the relativity of the subject. As a newbie to the blogosphere, timing is something always in the front of my brain before I hit the magic button.

    Great piece.

  2. What’s the secret to posting a great blog com…Timing!!
    Looks like you’ve done some serious research on the subject. I am still trying to prove the theorem that more posts = more hits. So far, results are inconclusive.
    I often end up posting my stuff when I finish writing, which is usually around 2am. That way, I manage to avoid the morning, mid-day and evening reader rush, AND get to skip my beauty sleep.

  3. I’m glad you did this research as I am entirely too tired to do my own any more. What is this beauty sleep and quality time of which you speak?

    I have to hit the publish button when I am reasonable sure I have about 50% of the typos and misquotes fixed. For some reason, I can’t see my own errors until I have hit that little publish button.

    I am always amazed at what draws “hits” as well. My crazy post about a recipe book has far more views than almost any other witty or worldly brain spillage I’ve done so far. I wrote a post about a restaurant re-done on Restauant Impossible. It must have re-run this week because my hits for that post went through the roof. The restaurant is now closed, so I at least have a little more spark in my barely alive post than those entrepeneurs.

    I take a great deal of pride in the quality of readers (or so I tell myself) than in the quantity.

    I like the pictures – especially your bald pate. Dr. Phil is so last……century?

  4. I did as much quality research as you did. It turns out the nobody wants to see a shitty post at any time of the day and on the flip side, a good post will be timeless or until someone breaks the internet.

    1. Nice job reading the whole post and not quitting part way through.

      It was super-nice of NASA to cancel the end of days, but from what I hear, their government buddies were largely responsible for Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent abandonment of thousands of Staten Island residents – so no holiday greeting cards for them again this year.

  5. I hit publish at such odd times. Now I seem to be sticking with every Saturday. (mainly because I’m in school all week long) But I’ve never been on any set schedule. I publish on whatever day strikes me as a good day. Sometimes my posts never see the light of day, they’re way too embarrassing so they sit in my draft folder collecting dust.

    As for reading blogs, I almost always read early in the morning or late at night. Makes for some very stupid comments from me but oh well.

    1. Funny you should ask. As you know, the tides are tied to the phases of the moon and as such, to a monthly cycle. I suggest avoiding posting anything right before that time, lest you incur the wrath of someone who needs some chocolate. Did that make sense?

  6. 17 likes and 35 comments? On a single post? I call that a year’s worth of reader interaction! Maybe your theory is flawed. Maybe it’s the quality of the writer. I can go weeks without a comment.

    Like you, however, I do take a gander at the stats. I’ve yet to correlate time of day as a factor. I try hard to maintain a strict schedule. If I’ve pre-written a post ahead of time, I schedule it for five minutes after UTC. If I’m behind, then I wake up on blog day and knock one out in the morning before I go to work. (Limited Time + Pressure = Polished Turd.) Rarely do I ever meet the pre-writing goal.

  7. Yes, I’ve given up worrying about the best time to post, I’m obviously in the UK (I’m not sure why I think it’s obvious!), but most of my site visitors are from the States. I usually like to post in the morning because I look forward to seeing the first few comments to get the general tone of the responses, so I can see those throughout the day. Whereas if I post in the evening, I might not see much till the next morning, and that kind of thing can keep a girl awake worrying you know!

    1. I’ve obviously got my hands too full trying to figure out things in my own damn time zone without giving much thought to my faithful UK audience.

      You’ll be pleased (or not) to know that I give a modest mention to your fine British television in my next chapter of blogging tips.

  8. I’m going to have to go with Tuesday mornings but only when they fall on odd days of the month and when Mercury is in retrograde. Nah, I think the real key is a snazzy title, a snazzy picture, a snazzy first paragraph, and a tight word limit. Most people are going to read you based on the brief reader synopsis and how much time they have. My posts that fall at 500 words or under get way more hits.

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