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. 

Three kinds of Statistics; White Lies, Fibs and Bullcrap

Look at these stats! Nothing but good news and a need for a taller graph! (Image from pages.uoregon.edu)

There was a quote by Mark Twain which essentially said that there are three kinds of lies; Lies, damn lies and statistics.  Fittingly enough, Twain attributed the remark to Benjamin Disreali.  I know this because I had a statistics instructor in college tell us that the first day of class.  I’m still not sure if that was the best thing to tell us as we started our study of stats, but that was his choice.  In his defense, I’ve recalled that quote, albeit somewhat incorrectly, for all these years since.  By the same token, I’ve pretty much forgotten everything else we covered after that first day.

In the spirit of lies and damn lies, I’ve assembled a few of my own statistics for your reading pleasure.  While some of the stats may be twisted or completely fabricated, the important thing is that this piece gives me a chance to put a bunch of links to other things I’ve written.  If stats are good for one thing, it’s surely self-promotion.

Number of Posts = 80

Blogging Since = February 2012

Number of times Freshly Pressed = 0 (Refer to an upcoming post on the phenomenon known to WordPressers as Freshly Pressed)

Number of times I looked at the drivel I’d posted and prayed it wouldn’t be Freshly Pressed – Oh please, not this time! = 67

Lowest hits on a post =   Gotta Start Somewhere   – My very first blog post, with a massive 17 hits.  It was tentative, weak, could well have also been my last post, but 17 people read it.  I felt obligated to my teeny fan base to write a second post.  The rest, as they say, is the reason the garage isn’t cleaned out yet.

Highest hits on a post =   Life Lessons From Gilligan’s Island  – A ridiculous 471 hits and counting.  Seriously people?!  I compared the Skipper to Jerry Sandusky!  This is the post you love most?

Average time required to draw an illustration for a post = 2.9 hours.  That’s an average.  Some took much longer, and one or two were practically doodles.

Average time required to surf, copy, save, retrieve, crop and properly credit photos from the web for a given post = 2.89 hours.  Part of the reason this takes me so long is that my computer keeps taking me to porn sites and fantasy football articles.

Average time spent writing a blog post, not including illustrations/web photos = 45 minutes

Average time spent editing/re-reading/re-writing the above 45 minute post = 3.73 hours.  This statistic does not include the times when, after multiple edits I just got so sick of looking at the post that I deleted it out of spite.

Average number of times someone on Facebook utters under their breath for me to “get a life” per blog link posted on my wall = 1.3 .  Admittedly, this is only an estimate, but if my wife is any indication, I think it’s pretty close.

Average amount of time spent daily by those very same Facebookers on virtual farming, mystical quests for dragon eggs and Words With Friends = 7.3 hours.  Also an estimate, exaggerated for comedic value.  For the record, my wife does not partake in any such Facebook activities.  Sadly, the same cannot be said for my oldest brother Mike.

Number of contacts who I send a blog link to via personal email every single time I post = 83.  No exaggeration here.  These people were foolish enough to give me their email addresses and now my notifications pop up more often than spam for discounted Mexican Viagra.

Number of them who delete the email but don’t have the heart to tell me to stop sending them = 71.  This number is based on how often I see friends and colleagues (and neighbors, Bill) who never comment on my latest blog.  They’ll avert their eyes and suddenly get urgent cell phone calls if I even bring up the subject (I didn’t hear it ring.  Huh.  I guess it was on vibrate)

Monetary value of total hits of posts = $0.  Unless you count the time I found a five dollar bill in a box of colored pencils while looking for a decent eraser.

Emotional value that someone read me, even if they don’t speak English = Priceless.  This, of course, is a nod to all my fans, but especially my uber fan, Manon Kubler.  Kubler, to the best of my knowledge, speaks no English, but still insists on raving about my blog and even reblogging it, presumably to his countrymen who may or may not believe me to be some kind of “Cargo God”