In 2006, I completed a year long informal study on several of my blogs about the best times and days for me to publish content on my blogs and published what I learned in When is the Best Time and Day to Post on Your Blog? My conclusions were that Mondays and Tuesdays were the highest traffic days, thus the best days for publishing content with the hopes to be seen by regular readers, and that I needed to publish my posts prior to 0400 EST for my content to be there before my readers showed up.
With the improvements in the WordPress.com stats feature (available for self-hosted blogs with the WordPress.com Stats WordPress Plugin), I’ve been noticing another interesting trend that supports my original conclusions.
There is a clear cyclical nature to my blog traffic, which drops every weekend. In this example of my daily stats across a month, the low points on the chart are:
- Saturday, May 17
- Sunday, May 18
- Saturday, May 24
- Sunday, May 25
- Saturday, May 31
- Sunday, June 1
- Saturday, June 7
- Sunday, June 8
Monday and Tuesday are high traffic, with the numbers dropping towards the weekend, except for the occasional drift upwards for a day due to a popular post released midweek.
When I compare the numbers across six months, this cyclical nature is not as clear as it is close up, day by day. It’s there. In spite of the traffic spikes, the cyclical up and down of the weekends continues. There is consistent growth, but the weekend downturns keep the growth slow by averaging out the daily numbers. Looking at just the numbers doesn’t help. Seeing the visual chart does. And seeing it across weeks shows slips down in my blog stats, right?
Many stats watchers freak out when they concentrate on the day-to-day stats. Like watching the stock market too closely, decisions are made without looking at the big picture. I’ve heard panic from many bloggers who scream their stats have suddenly plunged. When you change the view from day-to-day to week-to-week, or even month-to-month, the picture changes. It’s now about the big picture of trends, not the daily fluctuation, some of them normal but noticed for the first time.
Since blog statistics were introduced at the end of 2005 on WordPress.com blogs, my blog has seen steady growth over the years. By focusing on the long term, I see the big picture of growth and stop worrying about the day-to-day fluctuation – unless I want to learn something from those statistics.
In this case, my conclusions from early in 2006 were supported. There is a weekend fluctuation in the numbers that I’ve been able to track for the past two years, in addition to the historical research I did in 2006. Mondays and Tuesdays continue to be my best days for traffic.
This applies to my blogs and would be different in different cultures and countries, as well as different blog subject matters. Have you looked at the different groups of stats available on your blog and found similar or different conclusions?
And if you are still daily checking in with your stats, stop it. Live a little. Spend more time writing quality content, not checking the numbers. The numbers over weeks and months will tell you more about how your blog is doing than the daily obsession checks. However, there is still something to be learned from the daily numbers, when compared to the overall whole health of your blog traffic.
- Whooping Woopra Blog Statistics Program
- Blog Resources: Researching the Research, Finding the Facts, and Seeking Supporting Evidence
- The Real Hidden Value of Old Post Traffic
- Counting WordPress: Statistics WordPress Plugins
- What Blog Statistic Gets Most of Your Attention?
- Investigating the Connections Between Blogging Styles and Traffic Stats
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