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What’s The Best Time to Publish in Your Blog?

Published in Online Marketing.

Translated by Núria Adell.

This is one of the questions we have all asked at some point, independently of the frequency at which we write in our blog.

Thus, in this post I talk about the analysis we have carried out on the topic, together with our conclusions. As you will see, there are several factors for each website or business that you have to take into account when doing the study. Therefore, it is possible that our conclusions are not applicable to your case. Even still, I think you can find the process of analysis very useful.

Frequency of publication of the posts

If we exclusively talk about the posts of a blog, it seems to be demonstrated that the frequency and regularity of publication increases the SEO and traffic.

As I discussed in the article about how to get traffic from social media on your website, now that we have managed to increase the traffic by more than 10,000 visits per month, we have no doubt that both the frequency and regularity of publication have been determining in this increase. In our case in particular, we write and publish two posts per week (each of them both in English and Spanish).

The general advice seems to indicate that increasing the frequency of publication will raise the traffic of your blog. However, you will find some discrepancy about the importance of daily posting. And probably, quality rather than frequency is much more important. You may have a look at the two articles about this topic: Should Your Write a New Blog Post Every Day? by Kari Farmer and Why Posting Every Day is a Silly Strategy (And What to Do Instead) by Dries Cronje.

Google, and the majority of your readers, like fresh and up-to-date content to find out the news on topics that interest them. But in general, we value quality much more. Therefore, I suspect (even though I can’t prove it) that the great increase in traffic and organic positioning of any blog has more to do with the quality of his posts than the frequency of publication (a daily post).

After reading a few articles on the topic, I’ve concluded that determining the frequency of publication in your blog, is actually finding the equilibrium between:

  • your objectives and what your target audience wants,
  • your ability to generate ideas to create an editorial calendar of your publications,
  • your ability to maintain the rhythm of publication you have set yourself, and
  • managing to achieve all of the previous points without losing quality in your posts.

But let’s go back to the topic of this post; is there really a best time to publish in your blog?

Time of publication of posts

Some interesting articles say that the worst weekday to publish is Friday (for instance, Why Friday Is The Worst Time To Publish A Blog Post). The truth is you can find highly varied information on days and times. But I would like to highlight an article by Kissmetrics that talks about a study carried out by Dan Zarrella, Search Engine Land and Hubspot. These are the conclusions:

  • The highest percentage of users read blogs in the morning.
  • A highest percentage of men read blogs in the evening and night.
  • The average blog usually gets more traffic on Monday.
  • The average blog usually gets more traffic around 11am.
  • The average blog usually gets the most comments on Saturday.
  • The average blog usually gets the most inbound links on Monday and Thursday.
  • The average blog usually gets the most inbound links around 7am.

Since this data is based on studies done in the United States, it’s possible that they’re not very useful to you if your main audience resides in Europe ?

However, I’m going to explain how to find out this information about your blog. Google Analytics is the tool that can best help you to know the behavior of your visitors.

But hold on! Before starting to analyze reports on days and hours in Google Analytics, make sure you know the time zone you have defined on Google Analytics. It’s impossible to analyze this information if you’re not clear on that. You will find the defined time zone in the tab Administrator, then go to See Configuration of the View you’re analyzing.

In our case, for Nelio Software‘s website, we have created several views in Google Analytics (apart from our tests and backup): one for the whole website, one that only includes the content in English, and another one for the Spanish content.

Nelio Software views defined in Google Analytics
Nelio Software views defined in Google Analytics

In the English view, we have configured as time zone the Pacific Time (time of California – US) and in the other two views, we have configured the time of Barcelona, where our offices are located.

Nelio Software View Time Zone
Configuration of Nelio Software view in Google Analytics with pacific time zone.

Having settled the time zone, let’s see in which weekdays we have the most traffic.

Days of the week on which your users visit your site the most

Assuming you already have installed Google Analytics in your website and are familiar with it, you may know that you can create custom reports in which to analyze in detail the time in which you are creating the most traction.

Don’t worry if you don’t have the time to create these reports. Google Analytics also allows you to import reports that have already been created by others (saving you quite a lot of work) from an extended and varied gallery of alternatives.

Thus, going back to the weekday in which your blog gets the the most traffic, you can automatically add to your view the report of the days of the week. Select the view that you want it to install it in and voilà! you already have a report on the weekdays on which your posts are read the most.

Let’s see what days we have the most visits in our content in Spanish:

Best days of Nelio Software in Spanish
Days of the week with more traffic in the Spanish Nelio Software blog.

We publish regularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Looking at the previous graph, maybe we should change the days of publication? For instance, changing Thursday by Wednesday… we’ll think about it!

Let’s have a look at what happens with the blog in English:

Days of the week with more traffic in the English Nelio Software blog.
Days of the week with more traffic in the English Nelio Software blog.

In this case, the posts in English are being published on Tuesday and Thursday at 10am in Californian time. And in the graph we can see that the days that get the most traffic are precisely Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

But before jumping into conclusions, let’s see what happens with the hours in which the site receives the most visits.

Hours in which your users visit your site the most

As before, in order to look at the optimal time of publication, you can automatically add the report of the hours of the day. Select the view that you want it to be installed in and you’ve got it.

Following with our analysis, below you have the hours with the most visits on the Spanish blog of Nelio Software:

Hours with more traffic in the Spanish Nelio Software blog.
Hours with more traffic in the Spanish Nelio Software blog.

As we can see in the previous graph of the blog in Spanish, the hours with the most traffic are those between 2pm and 7pm in Spain (7am and 12pm in the US – California time zone). And the time with less traffic is at 5am in Spain (10pm in the US – California). Be aware that almost half of the traffic of our blog in Spanish is from Spain:

Traffic to Spanish Nelio Software websites by countries
Traffic to Spanish Nelio Software websites by countries

Therefore, it seems reasonable that, when analyzing the hours of the visits to the blog, the Spanish time zone has more importance, and that at 5 o’clock in the morning our readers are not at their best to read our posts ?

Let’s look at the graph with the English version of the blog.

Hours with more traffic in the English Nelio Software blog.
Hours with more traffic in the English Nelio Software blog.

In this case, the hours with the most traffic are those between 5am and 10am in the California time zone (equal to the interval between 9am and 2pm in N.Y.). And the lowest is between 4pm and 8pm in California (between 8pm and 1am in N.Y.).

In the English version of the blog, the traffic by countries is more diverse:

Traffic to English Nelio Software websites by countries
Traffic to English Nelio Software websites by countries

Almost 27% is from the United States and then Europe follows, India, Australia… however, are our readers the type to read the posts at the moment of publication? This is a point that is quite relevant for this analysis.

In our case, more than 85% of our traffic is organic. When analyzing in detail the visits of posts depending on their type we see that some of them (such as interviews) have great visibility and impact on the same day they’re published, but as time goes on, they lose audience. In contrast, some posts, like lists of resources to solve a problem, may not have a big impact on the day of publication, but in the long term they clearly attract the most traffic (I already talked about long-tail traffic in our SEO strategy).

With all this information we can reflect on the following points.

Conclusion

The first perception is that, given the type of publication we have on our blog, the regularity and frequency of publication is important, and of course so is the quality of the posts. Google is giving us a better position each time and the traffic is increasing.

In terms of whether it would be better to publish on Wednesday instead of Thursday, I’m not able to reach a clear conclusion. Maybe we could try, but since our posts that achieve the most traffic are those that are long-tail, I would say that, in our particular case, the day of publication is quite irrelevant.

And having said that the day of publication doesn’t seem relevant for long-tail traffic, coherently, the exact hour should be even less relevant. In fact, if we want to increase the traffic in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia, we don’t have much to play with in terms of the time framework, don’t you think?

As I mentioned at the beginning, I also conclude that this is a topic that is not very generalizable to all websites; one should analyze in much more detail each particular case. Even if we think that changing the time of publication of a post won’t have a great impact on the traffic to the website, this might not be your case.

It’s not the same thing to have a website on news in which being the first one to publish is crucial, than having an informational blog on science; or having your target audience concentrated in a single time zone instead of having it globally spread.

Finally, I would like to point out that what we do believe is key is when and how we promote the posts on social networks.

I promise there will be a post in the near future on this topic.

Featured Image by Veri Ivanova

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