Here’s the scenario.
You have just written the best blog post your brand will ever publish.
The one that you know has the potential to go viral on social media.
The one that you know will drive a lot of qualified traffic to your website generating leads and ultimately sales.
Then you stop.
Because it’s at this point, you ask yourself the ultimate question—when. When is the best time to publish an amazing blog post? What day of the week? What time? What timezone?
Fortunately, you don’t have to guess. In this blog post, we’re going to look at four studies that analyze the best time to publish blog posts for specific results (plus two original studies of our own).
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This post will give you the information you need to plan an effective blog schedule.
But, what about actually executing it?
That’s where these free blogging templates come in.
Download this kit and you’ll get:
- Annual Content Marketing Calendar: Schedule blog posts and set deadlines ahead of time with this Excel template.
- Blog Schedule Template: Not sure how often you should publish? Use this guide to map out a basic schedule.
- Best Times to Publish Blog Posts Template: Follow this guide to schedule every post at the best time for your blog.
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Study #1: The Best Time To Publish For Traffic, Comments, & Links
In this study from KISSmetrics, Dan Zarrella, Search Engine Land, and HubSpot, we can learn a lot about blog publishing times. Goals for your blog post should be taken into account when determining optimal publishing time.
- Want the most traffic? The best publishing day is Monday and time is 11 am EST.
- Want the most comments? The best publishing day is Saturday and time is 9 am EST.
- Want the most inbound links? The best publishing days are Monday and Thursday, and time is 7 am EST.
Of course, there are pros and cons to publishing at the height of popular times in the day. Sure, you'll get lots of visitors, comments, and engagement. But at the same time, you'll get higher bounce rates and end up being buried in social newsfeeds along with all the other publishers taking advantage of popular posting times.
Study #2: The Best Time For Maximizing Social Reach
Do your content goals include social shares? If so, then TrackMaven's study gives you the insights you need.
What they found was that posts published during non-popular hours tended to get the most social engagement and shares. Posts published on Saturdays and Sundays received the most social shares, as do posts published between 9pm–midnight EST.
The higher the social shares on a post published during non-peak times, supports the KISSmetrics study that posts published during peak times are buried in social media newsfeeds. One can assume that during non-peak times, people take more time to read the content that comes through their newsfeed. Then they'd go on to share it with their audiences.
Study #3: The Best Time For Increasing Social Shares and Pageviews
However, not all studies come to the same conclusion.
The story is a little different when pageviews are concerned. If you want more pageviews, then you will need to publish on Mondays and between the hours of 9–10am EST. The pageviews drop off dramatically for posts published after 12pm EST.
Study #4: The Best Time To Publish For Going Viral
Noah Kagan did a study using data from BuzzSumo of 100 million pieces of content to determine what makes content go viral. He found that blog posts published on Tuesday gained the largest total shares. The only exception is LinkedIn and Pinterest shares, which people were more likely to do on Mondays.
Of course, publish date and time alone were not enough to make posts wildly successful. He also attributed viral probability on length (long form is best), images, amusement, post types (lists win), the trust factor, and a share from an influencer.
Conduct Your Own Research With Original Studies & Data
We've now covered four different studies from expert sources.
However, while these findings should help you make the best decisions about when to publish, it's possible your own experience may vary. That could be because of the difference in interests or habits of your target audience, your goals, or other circumstances unique to your situation. Studies may reveal what's broadly true in most cases, only you can know what will work best for your content.
Here at CoSchedule, everything we do is driven by data. It's what empowers us to understand what, when, how, and why any decision on content should be made. You can do the same thing for your own blog.
One way to help discover the most optimal approach for your own content is to study your own data.
Create Your Own Study To Find The Best Time For Your Blog
All the studies in this post provide the best suggestions on what works in terms of publishing days and times versus the goals you want to reach with your content (shares, links, comments, and traffic).
Furthermore, if you're working with a limited amount of time (which is a common concern for many of our readers), then you probably want to know how you can study your own content quickly and derive some useful insights.
Ultimately, it will be up to you to determine what day of the week and time of day will increase the specific goals you have set for your content.
To run a test on your own website for pageview and visit goals, you can import custom Google Analytics reports for pageviews and visits (and if you're not using Google Analytics, now is the time to start). These reports will tell you when you are getting the most pageviews and visits now, and then show you how that traffic changes as you publish new posts on different days and at different times.
Then, you'll know which times work best, and which times don't. Compare that to what studies say is best, do some experimenting, and observe the results. From there, just do more of what works best for you.
It's easy to overthink these things sometimes, but thankfully, it really can be that simple.
The time is in military format, and the days of the week are numerical starting with 0 for Sunday.
To illustrate how to put your findings to use (working with our own blog without too much effort and for demonstration purposes), we looked at eight posts published over the course of December 2013 and January 2014.
Back then, our blog was fairly new, and we were working to establish what would work best for us.
Here are the publish times and day-one pageviews we observed:
See the 162 day-one pageviews that came from publishing early in the morning? That's dramatically better than posting at any other time, and we're able to demonstrate that fact using relatively little data (and without spending too much time).
That’s why you can expect new posts from our team early in the morning.
And all these years later, that's the schedule we've stuck to (with a lot of success).
That’s not a decision guided solely by what the industry at large considers to be the best days and times, but because it’s what we’ve seen deliver best results. If something else works better for you, go with that, but starting with this simple approach can help get you there.
Ultimately, the strongest content reaches its audience.
Once you’re comfortable with crunching the numbers and analyzing your content in this way, you can work on ways to go more in-depth with your own research.
Use studies from thought leaders (whether that’s us or anyone else) as a starting point, compare those findings with your own results, and continue refining your own best times to publish blog posts until you find out what works best for you.
You might even turn up some new insights that help add to the industry’s understanding of best practices for blog post publishing times.
That’s the power of doing original research.
Use Your Own Data To Find The Best Time To Publish A Blog Post For Lead Conversions
There's one glaring thing missing from all of the above—how to maximize conversions. In the end, that's really your goal, right?
So, what day of the week and time of the day will lead to the most conversions?
The answer to the preceding question depends on your ideal customers:
- Are they local customers who would be most likely to make purchases during the workday?
- Are they worldwide customers who would be most likely to sign up for your newsletter during their leisure time?
Knowing your ideal customer and when they would be most likely to make a conversion can help you determine when to publish blog content with conversion goals in mind.
Start by determining which times of day you're getting the most conversions right now. To do this, you can try out this custom Google Analytics report to see conversions by hour of the day and day of the week
Similar to the custom report for pageviews and visits, the time is in military format, and the days of the week are numerical starting with 0 for Sunday.
Some Closing Thoughts
With a combination of popular studies and your own custom studies, you should be able to determine the ideal time to publish a blog post based on the results you want to achieve. Over time, you'll get to know your business's audience so well that you'll know exactly what they want and when they will most likely want it. That will help you not only build a loyal audience, but keep them engaged for the long haul too.
You'll be there with the right content, at the right time, for the right people. These are your keys to success.
This post was most recently updated on Dec. 11, 2017 for clarity and comprehensiveness.