When’s the Best Time to Publish Blog Posts?

Posted By Guest Blogger 6th of December 2010 Social Media 0 Comments

This guest post is by HubSpot’s social media scientist, Dan Zarrella.

Of all the data analysis that I’ve done, day-of-week and time-of-day data has been consistently the most popular. So in preparation for my upcoming webinar, titled Science of Blogging, I decided to combine all of my existing data on timing with my new research into one master post on the subject.

The first time I looked at blog post timing was when I was analyzing retweets. I found that retweets exhibit a strong diurnal pattern, in that they’re more common during the day and less so at night. I noticed that retweet activity tended to peak around 4pm EST, suggesting that this might be the best time to tweet a blog post for maximum potential retweet reach.

When I looked at retweet activity over the days of the week, I saw that they peaked later in the work week, specifically on Friday.

Since I first published this graph, the most frequently cited piece of this research has been the idea that Friday at 4pm is the most retweetable time of the week. While your niche maybe different, this data was based on analysis of nearly 100 million retweets, so in aggregate, Friday at 4pm is indeed the most retweetable time of the week.

Moving on from retweets, I started studying Facebook sharing and discovered some things that surprised me about timing there, too.

First, while major news sites and blogs publish articles during the work week, articles that are published on Saturday and Sunday tend to be shared on Facebook more than those published during the week. Perhaps one reason for this is that (as Wired reported), more than 50% of American companies block Facebook at work.

Next, I looked at the effect that the time articles were published had on the number of times they were shared on Facebook. I found that while there is a fair amount of variation, articles published in the morning, around 9a.m. EST, tended to be shared more on Facebook than articles published at other times of the day.

Looking back at these four data points, it may seem that they’re contradictory, but thinking through them a bit more, we can see that they is not necessarily so. Both day-of-week charts tell us that we should experiment with publishing articles later in the week—on Friday and Saturday specifically.

And by publishing posts early in the day, but tweeting them later in the afternoon, we can stimulate both Facebook shares and retweets.

I recently did a survey of over 1,400 blog readers and I asked them what time-of-day they read blogs. Morning was the most popular, followed in decreasing popularity by the rest of the day. Most respondents reported reading blogs at more than one time, so this piece of data reinforces my suggestion to publish early in the morning.

The best timing advice, however, may actually be around frequency. Last week, I analyzed 1000 of the most popular blogs on the web, according to Technorati. I compared their posting frequency with the number of incoming links and visitors they had attracted (according to Yahoo and Compete).

I found that among very popular blogs, publishing multiple times per day led to a huge increase in a blog’s success. This tells us that rather than focusing one perfect day or time, we should aim to publish at many times, and on many days.

Have you experimented with post timing and tweeting? What has your experience shown about the best times of day or week to reach your readers?

Dan Zarrella is HubSpot’s social media scientist. This post contains data from his upcoming webinar The Science of Blogging, taking place on December 9th.

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Comments
  1. It is funny, when I think of something I need to know about blogging, it seems like a day or two later you guys write about it, thanks so much. I have been trying different times myself but cool to see your research.

    • So right Ray. This has been on my mind for some time and I even thought of Googling it. Glad that ProBlogger has such rich information each time I visit. Thanks guys.

  2. So basically the early bird gets the worm, early to bed, early to rise, get in the office early etc still works for the digital age? Who woulda thunk it.

  3. I’ve read some rather cool analysis about retweets from this guy: http://kylelacy.com/

    He offered some cool empirical facts about retweeting and most common words used. This post reminded me of that.

  4. interesting information. I think the one factor that needs to be addressed is the type of blogs. I know for me, both as a blogger and a blog reader, I read more business or marketing related blogs during the week, while the blogs I read on the weekend tend to be more “frivolous” or funny.

    For me, and I blog every day, readership on my blog drops drastically on the weekend, and as a result I tweaked my weekend content so that I’m not spending a lot of time on what I believe is good content, and I put more “lightweight” content on Sat. and Sun. And I’ve noticed a slight increase in readership, especially with the original webcomic that I commissioned for Sundays.

    For me, I’ve found that mid-to-late morning is best for me, and Tuesday and Thursday often get the most traffic.

    On Facebook, I use the Networked Blogged app to publish the posts, and that is by far the number one source of traffic for me. With Twitter, I actually tweet out the link about four times throughout the day to catch different audiences, and the two morning tweets bring the most activity.

    But this research is incredibly helpful, Dan. As always, Hubspot comes up with great research and content.

  5. I think about this every time I publish a post, tweet it out, or share it on Facebook. Haha I was so thrilled to see this data.

    When I post Lifestyle Design tips at my blog, I will sometimes re-share it throughout the day to come to the top of peoples news feeds. I do not like to do that much though, I hate seeing my page all filled with my own activity. Now I know though, Saturday, is the day!

    Thanks

  6. Interesting, I find that I fall into the demographic of browsing and reading in the am–when I am not fully coherent! LOL

    I haven’t charted my blog activities but find this interesting because other trends in the past (such as on some sales sites) found that Tuesdays were pretty hot.

    It goes to show you that tracking and testing is a great thing and reminds me that I need to do more of it.

    Thanks for saving me some initial work.

  7. This is a fantastic resource. While I have found that my own successful times vary a bit, from these I will definitely look at using these times for a few weeks to see if they are more successful. I think this is a wonderful guideline for bloggers. Thanks for putting in the time to put it together!

  8. I am trying 8 am and it appears to be working great. Posting multiple times per day requires additional writers but does amazing things for your traffic.

  9. Great post Dan, Im looking forward to implementing a better blog and social media posting schedule with your data. Do you think the data varies by geo region or industry?

    Franklin

  10. Well, nuts. I have several blogs (being interested in nearly everything is a mixed blessing), and I do well to publish one post per month on each. Doing more than one a day is just not going to happen, especially since the niche for each of my blogs is fairly narrow.

    Just as an experiment, I set up an “autoblog” and signed up with ArticleRanks to populate it. The results weren’t just bad, the posts were uniformly wretched. I’m not even going to mention the name of the blog here because it’s so embarrassing. Fortunately, it doesn’t have my name anywhere on it.

    Could be that I need to do something other than blogging. But what?

    • If your content is not time sensitive & seasonal, then there’s a wordpress plugin you can use called old post promoter that republishes your articles. This could help keep your blog looking “fresh” as chances are your readers may have missed those old posts. I used it near the end of my pregnancy when I was too uncomfy to sit & write, surprisingly my stats increased!

  11. Well i had different time table…!!
    I try to follow the above tips.. thanks

  12. I was just discussing this with a group on Thursday. I was explaining how I tracked my Tweets and ReTweets for two weeks while Tweeting heavily to see when my optimal times were. What I found was that my RTs were highest between 8:30-9:30 and 4:00-5:00. My Facebook shares seemed to coincide.

    My theory is that most people read blogs while they have their morning coffee. Very similar to the way we used to handle newspapers. At the end of the day, people are winding down their work day and are looking for something to read so as not to start a new project they won’t finish.

    Whatever the true reason is, your research and mine seem to point to the same result. There is a science behind timing your social media posts. It may vary from person to person but there is much value in doing a little research.

  13. Very interesting data. Thanks very much for sharing it.

  14. Do you also have data on when most blog posts are actually published? While the absolute number of retweets for different time periods is definitely an interesting statistic, putting in relation to the actual number of posts published during these periods would give more insight. Does the Friday 4pm pattern hold if you look at the relative number of retweets?

  15. The trouble is … morning where? Are those people sharing posts published at 9am EST actually on EST themselves? Or are they all over the world? Or all in Asia, or Europe … or whaerever. You don’t mention where the people in your research came from – and it could make an enormous difference. Because the research will only work for my blog if I have the same spread of readers.

    If yours came from all over the world and so did mine, then fine. But if my readers are mainly European, should I stick with EST times or publish at 9am CET ? They seem to me to be very different situations.

    Unless we know the time zones where the people in your research were situated, and can be sure they’re the same as for our own blogs, the research might be misleading.

    • I agree Sue.

      I am based in the UK, so my times will vary from those in this post, I assume!

      • I typically schedule my blogs first thing in the morning UK time with a bias towards Friday. I’ve not yet worked out a solution for scheduling twitters but I gather there are some tools to do that. I use twitterfeed to announce the new blog entries, I wonder if there is a similar service that would announce at USA morning time?

        You can use google analytics to do the day of week and country analysis but I think you would need the raw logs to be able to analyse the times.

        My audience is typically split 49%:49% UK to USA with the rest of the world much lower. Intestingly non English speakers spend more time on the site.

  16. Although I agree it would be interesting to see the effect of timezones on this data, I would argue that you would probably see it to be similar across time zones in terms of relative times; such as the ‘equivalent’ of 8am in the United States or Australia or Japan or elsewhere would most likely have similar numbers.

    Although that’s all speculation for now.

    Otherwise a great post highlighting a question that I’m sure a lot of people have.

  17. Another great post on the blog I visit constantly.

    Trying to do my day job (which is not blogging), I have found that I spend my weekday mornings reading Google Reader for my blog topics or SM link sharing info. When it comes to reading blogs – maybe it’s because I’m a morning reader – but clearly – it’s the morning. I “favorite” the blogs I scan during the week and then read them on the weekends.

    On the times that I post – like others who have commented – a bit of a mixed result but I’m finding my folks tend to “hit” my blogs at 3 different times during the work week – 7 – 8 am, around lunch time and then at 7 pm. I try to have new (or re-posted) content out there at those hours. I also vary the posting – that is: a new blog may go up at 7 pm and then get a new title, maybe some new “related posts” content or a tweak or two and then get reposted in around 7 – 7:30 a.m. I may then post a new blog around the lunch hour and then start rotating the time so that each blog appears about 3 times total, but with the newer one showing up for the first time around the the time the third posting of the older blog takes place. Seems to be working so far – getting some decent activity compared to random time posting of the past.

    Again – many thanks for your post. Great stuff as usual.

  18. Thank you for the informative data. I am surprised that blog readership goes up on Fridays and Saturdays, in general. Its a great starting point but I its probable best for each blogger to analyze their own data to determine what is working among their readers and in their specific industry. Unfortunately, for many of us, posting good content more than once a day is probably not an option. And while the data is important to consider, even more important is providing good content for our readers.

  19. Thanks Daren for the detailed analysis. Looking at the number of feed subscribers you have the data must be more accurate.

    But don’t you think the time of day may not be so relevant as you may have readers throughout the world in different time zones. Nevertheless the importance of timing the posts is shown correctly by your post. I am also going to use some of this in my schedule..

  20. I sense that a lot of these tips tend to apply mostly to “informational” blogs that provide tips, reviews, etc. The ones that answer all the “How To” questions out there.

    But what about the more artistic blogs? I run a more inspirational/somewhat informational blog based on my research – hookup culture, women, self-esteem, relationships, etc.

    I spend a lot of time crafting each post, and the thought of one post per days seems impossible if I want a life, and makes me think I’ll end up burying some of my really artistically written posts.

    To be successful blogger, do I need to switch from inspirational to informational continually pumping out information? If so … bummer!

    PS: I’ve noticed Darren’s new inspirational blog “Feelgooder” only posts once per day …

    What do you guys think?

    • Yeah despite the information in the research, most of Darren’s blogs are on a once-per-day schedule (including FeelGooder). I think he succeeds because the 1 post per day on each of his sites are all in-depth, whereas I imagine that the sites publishing many posts throughout a day feature shorter, less-comprehensive content.

      • actually Greg my biggest site (dPS) is 2-3 posts a day – when we increased it we increased traffic too :-)

        I think there’s a different optimal frequency for each blog though – it’s not as simple as just increasing it as some blogs readerships push back if there’s too much content.

  21. I found that networkedblogs is a really good application for automatic syndication to facebook and twitter. However it does not give the possibility to schedule or repeat fb sharing or tweeting.
    What is a good wordpress plugin for that purpose?

    • I use hootsuite and schedule tweets & facebook updates throughout the day. My Audience is mostly SAHM’s so my traffic is highest after kids are dropped off at school ie: 10 am

    • I’ll second the Hootsuite recommendation. It lets you create, save, and schedule tweets and facebook posts to multiple accounts. Pretty great, really. It might change your life.

  22. This is such an informative post! Great graphs!

  23. Thanks for sharing this info. I never really thought about when’s the best time.

    How can I find information like this (ie fresh results)

    Thanks again,

    Chris

  24. Good stuff to know. I’ve started a regional travel blog and I have found myself going back and forth on when to post, i.e. best day, time, etc., to A.) get it in front of people for their weekend outings and B.) Get a good traffic bump. I’ll be re-reading this a couple times, I think.
    Thanks,
    Joe

  25. Jeroen says: 12/06/2010 at 8:06 am

    Great post and very timely for me as i was just thinking this afternoon how and with what frequency to post my backlog of 20 or so Posts. Keep up the interesting research !

  26. Great post. I’ve been started using Su.pr recently and the stats show me around 3pm is the most activity. Pretty consistent to what I read here.

  27. Wonderful post, Dan, thanks so much. I’m going to revamp my posting schedule immediately!

    Melinda

  28. Very interesting information.

    Thanks a lot for the article.

    It may be influence my next blog post.

  29. I schedule posts for 11 am to be consistent. But what I’m hearing is that it doesn’t matter what time I schedule my posts? I use twitterfeed.com to publish my posts and, when it’s working, it tweets my posts within 3 hours of publishing it. So, by 2pm PST.

    I have no use for Facebook, so that doesn’t apply.

    Hrm, this is interesting to think about. Maybe I should log times of tweets and post exposure to check on the timing in relation to my blog and readers. Maybe. ;)

  30. When I schedule my blogs I have them posted at 12:30AM Pacific time. I do this if I’m working on one for the next day and for future posts. One thing you have to be careful of is the date. Last week I posted one that ended up on Sunday and it was suppose to be posted on Saturday. oops!! I was out of town so I didn’t realize this till Sunday night.

  31. I recently began my blog and have been trying to figure out the best time to post. This information is very useful and timely. Thanks for sharing your findings.

  32. Yes, but is this Australian time? Or US time and what time zone?

  33. So according to these numbers I am going to have to write posts more often in the latter part of the week.

    I have publishing posting post at 7 am MST. For the rest of the year I am going try 6 am. The share on Facebook at 7 am MST. Then we will see if there is any difference in the numbers

  34. I post daily, but Monday is the best day of the week, week in and week out. Saturday and Sunday are the worst, but there is a spike on Sunday night. Since my website is related to recreational cycling and touring, I figure that people are busy on the weekend, then check in on Monday to catch up at work. Interesting data about Facebook and Twitter.

  35. This is great information! While I agree with the fact that the information stating just blogs and not types of blogs is a vague this general information is increasingly helpful. Thank you for conducting some primary research & sharing! How long did this all take to gather and analyze? Do you plan on finding specifics for types of blogs?

  36. Very good analysis shown.Great help while posting new blogs.Maybe my visitors will increase from 100 per day to 1000 per day.

  37. Interesting article but surely the best time to post a general blog post is NOW.

    Unless it is for a specific date/time/purpose, the sooner it is posted the quicker the SE’s can pick it up.

  38. Thanks for the information in the article. Everyone’s looking for an edge and this is one area that it can be gained. I thought about this when starting my blog and decided on 8am CST in America. I’ve got readers from 38 countries so it may not matter, but the bulk is in the U.S. so I’ve got to consider them. I hit the east cost at work, the west coast comes in later, and the central U.S. checks it out before work. My greatest activity is between 6a and 8a. Then it picks up again around noon and 4p with a big tail off after that. I get my info from Google Analytics on what times activity happens. I figure that I’m hitting the sweet spot, but it was an educated guess, not scientifically proven. It seems to be playing out in my favor, though.

  39. Some great research here, interestingly last Friday I spent an hour inviting new connections on Linked In, this was at about 4pm, and I had a rapid and positive response from most of the invites I sent out. It seems that your Friday at 4 hypothesis really works!

  40. Thanks for the great post Dan. It’s really great to see this information and even a little disturbing that i’m retweeting it right when i’m probably expected too (according to stats).

  41. Really nice Dan, but there’s only one thing missing. It counts very much on the type of post you write. In my niche for example, a gaming article is less read ( that means retweet, shared, digged etc. ) if I publish it during the weak, while the weekend stats explode ( even 4 times more successful ).

  42. Nice post Dan, Informative. Need to take a look when am posting on my blog. Recently I published an article on my blog about give away http://bit.ly/f9uLuw (ipod) that is on Sunday, so didn’t grab the attention. Time is really important.

  43. Good to know. I find with UK / US time diffs it’s hard to get it right – especially as I am 8 hours ahead of the west coast. A lot of time differences to hold in my head – maybe I need to timetable it more??

    Cathy

  44. THanks for this. But I find that sometimes, time/date stats are mute if you have international readers. I mean when it’s 4PM, good time to post. Is that 4 PM SA time, USA Time, East coast Time, Auz Time. If your stats are global, then 4 pm, could mean 1:30 am for me, and 12:pm for someone else.

    For a predominately US audiences the these times (EST) make an awful lot of sense.

    I think though it is a good idea for bloggers to study their own blog patterns, get a feel of their aown audience. Then come to a conclusion that is right for their blog.

    For me, I find that I need to Tweet at different times, to take advantage of the different time zones around the world.

    • Thought I’d commented on Robert’s post – but perhaps not! However, I was looking at the time of 4pm (EST) – & checked Time&Date – 4pm in New York is 9pm in London & 8am in Sydney. So, most of the English speaking world is awake. Perhaps that’s why they’re busy re-tweeting.

  45. Great Post! This will surely help us in revising our strategy on the best time of posting a blog or even posting something important in social media sites (i.e. twitter, facebook). This can also be used as a reference for advertisers who has online campaigns. thanks a lot :)

  46. This is both interesting and useful information, so thanks for sharing. I’d noted somewhere that there are most active Twitter users between 12-13.00hrs, but this is much more comprehensive information.

    For those with international business, using this information is going to be more difficult to transpose into reality, than those with local businesses. I use both phone & Skype for small business support and coaching myself.

  47. Thanks for this really interesting report. I’ve never thought about such thnigs, because I didn’t know that it’s so important. Now I have to check how it looks like for my blog. Maybe then I’ll change my blogging strategy. Regards

  48. I am glad I am not the only one who was concerned about the lack of time zone reference in this otherwise greatly helpful article.

    Since most of my readership is evenly split between he UK / Western Europe and EST/CST in North America, you have helped me identify the two peak times of the day (and week) to publicize my posts. Since I have robots that do this – I only need to tweek a couple of settings!

    Thanks so much for theinsight Dan!

  49. Very good information that is helpful and useful.

  50. Thanks for this information. I have been experimenting for months on a variety of different blogs I work on to find out what time of day is best to post and what day of the week is the best. It is interesting to see you data is slightly different than mine but similar (I have a much smaller sample I suspect.).

    Great post with great information.

    Eran