When is the best time to publish on your website?

Ross Hall

December 6, 2021
(Updated on December 8, 2021)

Graphic showing four circles linked together by abstract representations of clock

Gigabytes of text are dedicated to uncovering the “best” time to post on social media. Much is made of audience intent and time zones, variations between LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook analysed in minute detail. Does the same apply to the blog on your website? Or is there less pressure to post at a specific time, more on providing a steady stream of high quality content?

Finding the right time to post is about coordinating the different ways you could reach visitors. On its own, a web page is a passive object. You may beautify it with appealing graphics, or make it easier to find with search engine optimisation. Yet it sits there in silence, waiting for people to come and visit.

What can you realistically deliver? 

The starting point has to be what you can consistently deliver given all the other commitments and resources you have. A consistent rhythm is more effective in the long term than a short-term “publish every day” that runs out of steam. Whether you’re publishing multiple times a week, or once a month, schedule your regular content to appear at the same time on the same day each period. My guide to the Editorial Calendar will help you plan this.

Graphic of an editorial calendar with all entries completed
A simple editorial calendar. You can read more about them in my guide.

When are you posting on social media?

Social media drives a lot of quality traffic to sites, so it makes sense to have something fresh to shout about. If you’re posting at 9am on Monday morning, it makes sense to release the content as close as possible to this. This creates the impression of immediacy for that first announcement.

If you’re scheduling content using a tool, be mindful of the actual times you post on your site and when the tool shares on social media. They don’t always match up, and sharing a link that’s not yet live will cost you dearly.

How are you emailing updates?

If you’re using sites like WordPress or Wix, you may have set the site to email subscribers when new content appears. This can also influence when to post, as you may want to reach specific audiences at particular times.

I’d avoid using these services and instead focus on curating a regular mailing. That way you can get the email timing right without disrupting your social feeds.

Global vs Local?

Time is a relative thing. Where I live in Japan, I’m 8-9 hours ahead of visitors from Europe, 14 hours ahead of New York and 2 hours behind Sydney. Deciding when is the right “time” becomes a question of which markets I want to tackle and when.

My decision is to publish content using Japanese time, then let social media and email do the heavy lifting in getting in front of readers at the right local time.

World map showing different time zones based on UTC
9am in Tokyo is midnight in London and 4 in the afternoon, the day before in LA.

Should you consider SEO?

The moment you publish something, an army of bots does not descend on your website. Instead, they work to a schedule, driven in part by the rhythm of your posting, part by sharing on social media, part by other factors hidden in the dark arts of search engines.

A regular schedule gives bots confidence when they arrive new content will be ready to index. I’ve found posting regularly quickly translates into seeing search engines visiting sites rhythmically and picking up new pages, often within a few hours of new content going live.

What about regular site traffic patterns?

Over time your website is likely to settle into a pattern. Visitor peaks and troughs will emerge around specific days of the week, or times in the day. It’s tempting to match your publishing schedule to match these.

Beyond current affairs, I’ve seen no strong correlation between when content is published and patterns in visitor behaviour.

Bottom line: when is the best time to publish on your website?

To my mind, it comes down to a balancing act between how often you can produce quality content, and when you’re promoting it. When you’re posting on social media is likely to be the most important factor in deciding when to post on your site.

I'm Ross, a digital editorial designer and content creator from the UK now living in Japan. I help growing companies plan, source, produce and promote a range of content. Find out more

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