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Wax Marketing Blog

Scheduling posts for your blog

By Beth Graddon- Hodgson

It might not be the most interesting component to read about when it comes to getting traffic to your blog, but it’s so often overlooked regardless of its importance that you really should keep on reading. Really, the success of your blog depends upon it.

It may sound melodramatic to say that blog scheduling can make or break blog success, but I’m not kidding. The unfortunate thing is, few bloggers actually think about this element or recognize what a difference it can make so more often than not blog scheduling is breaking rather than making a blog.

I guess before we go any further I should explain what I mean by blog scheduling specifically. It means more than simply using the function in WordPress (or another blogging tool…is my bias showing?) that allows you to input a specific date and time that you’d like your blog post published. What’s important is not that you can use that function; it’s what you put in it that counts.

Decide how many days per week you’re going to be blogging to start, and then pick convenient days to write. Say you’re going to post 3 times per week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday can be your chosen days. If your blog has more than one focal point, pick a day for each. The focus area for each day doesn’t need to be clearly indicated (for example, the trend amongst casual bloggers to post just a picture on their bog for Wordless Wednesday) with a name or category unless you want to. It’s just about setting the standard that each Tuesday on the blog you’ll find a guest post (from me in this case) or that every Friday on a green news blog , you’ll find a “how to” style guide.

Now that you’ve got a grasp of what to do when it comes to blog scheduling, here’s the why that you might still be wondering about.  Blog scheduling is about setting a standard and consistency. It’s about attracting regular readers; sure, you’ll still drag in people at random who are interested in one specific article from Google, but you want people to subscribe and visit week after week.

Consider blog post scheduling like the arrival of a daily newspaper or weekly magazine. How annoying would it be to step onto your front porch at 8am to find your favorite newspaper has yet to make an appearance? It works that way with a blog too. It might be tempting to write when you’ve had a specific thought or to comment on something big that’s happened in the news. But use those posts to supplement everything else that appears on your blog.  It should be the rule, not the exception, that your blog follows a publishing schedule when you’re blogging for business!

To learn more about how a blog scheduling tool can help you maintain your timeline, check out WordPress Support . If you want to take the whole scheduling aspect one step further, you can also read about how to schedule blog postings  to be sent out as newsletters here.

Beth Graddon-Hodgson is a professional writer/blogger and the founder of WriteSourcing a professional blogging, writing and editing service. You can read her posts on blogging for business here at the Wax blog every Tuesday.

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30 Comments

  1. Tom Kulzer (AWeber CEO) Says :
    Posted on April 27, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Came across this post and noticed that the email sign up for your blog updates in the upper right corner doesn’t work. If you click on the “email” icon it takes you to a page with no sign up form. Might want to fix that. 😉

    You might also consider putting the email sign up form directly in the sidebar of each blog page. You’re missing a considerable number of subscribers making them click thru to another page.

  2. Briefkasten Edelstahl Says :
    Posted on April 27, 2010 at 8:46 am

    I see where you are going with this. Sure your readers like the consistency and might get annoyed if they are waiting for a post and there isn’t a new one.

    Another really important thing though is the fact that Google loves consistency too. If you keep posting in a specific rhythm keep at it it builds trust with Google.

    And spiders always love fresh quality content.

  3. Nutrition Degree Says :
    Posted on April 27, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I see this a lot with business blogs and I appreciate consistency and predictability, but it seems like it’s a bit much to expect from an independent blogger who does it on their own time with just friends. I have a list of interesting blogs I like to follow, and when it comes to online content I’m not as patient as I’d like to be.

  4. Beth Graddon-Hodgson
    Posted on April 27, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Briefkasten Edelstahl – very true, frequent content update is essential for search engine success too. I always suggest no less than 2-3 times per week (though 3-4 tends to be most ideal).

    Nutrition Degree – absolutely! this is just in the context of business blogging. When there are many blogs to choose from often within certain industries you’ve got to appeal to readers and that’s just one effective way. For people blogging just for fun, there’s also no risk of losing readers, if they’re your friends and you appreciate reading about their life and perspectives, you’ll pretty well follow no matter what..so the element of competition doesn’t really apply. But let’s face it, with a business blog, if you visit and find there’s nothing new to read when you expect it, it might take a while before you decide to click back over it because you could spend that time instead reading something new.

    Tom – thanks for the note!

  5. Keith Says :
    Posted on April 27, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Just be aware if you are scheduling your posts not to always schedule them for the exact same time. I did this with a PR4 blog a couple of years back. I wrote a load of posts and scheduled each for 09:00 every weekday morning.

    After a while of this the page rank dropped to grey bar (from 4)! Not a good feeling, but I suspect that Google determined it to be an automated blog. I’ve never recovered the page rank.

    • bonnie Says :
      Posted on April 27, 2010 at 4:25 pm

      Wow that’s a great tip. I just started doing that with the same time, I’ll make sure I switch it up.

  6. Lupin
    Posted on April 28, 2010 at 6:03 am

    its nice if people to subscribe and visit my site week after week. 😀 thanks for the insight

  7. UK business forum
    Posted on April 28, 2010 at 9:30 am

    I personally schedule my posts only when I am going offline for more that 2 days, or I have too much information I wrote and I do not want to forget about it.

  8. Roor
    Posted on April 28, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Hi,

    These are some very good tips to implement to keep yourself more organised and efficient!

    All the best
    Dan

  9. Andy @ FirstFound
    Posted on April 28, 2010 at 4:38 am

    I’d be interested to see if anyone has any data on the best times to post. Are people more receptive to blog posts just after lunch? Are people too busy on a Monday morning to take much notice of your posts?

    It’d make a great follow-up to this post.

  10. Ken Vest
    Posted on April 28, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Excellent advice and thanks for the tip about the tool

  11. Zahnaufheller Says :
    Posted on April 28, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Thank you very much for this great article. Just bookmarked it for a few friends 🙂

  12. Beth Graddon-Hodgson
    Posted on April 28, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Andy – I think the best thing in that circumstance would be to get an in-depth stats tool to see when YOUR blog seems to get the most traffic. I think depending upon your market, you might find there’s more traffic at different times of the day. I think certain topics may find more traffic during the workday hours (something along these lines that may be appropriate business resouces) versus other blogs that would be light, casual reading for people in the evening. Another thing to consider on that note is where your readers are located. The benefit of seeing things online is that people can be from anywhere. This means that even if the lunch hour is a popular time to read – people in the UK will do so at a different time than people in the US!

  13. Beth Graddon-Hodgson
    Posted on April 28, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    UK Business Forum – in this context we’re not so much talking about post scheduling as in doing so in advance, we’re talking about coming up with a schedule to post your blogs. Those two things may collide, but even if you’re writing then posting (and not taking advance of delayed scheduling) it’s still beneficial to do so on a consistent day!

  14. Beth Graddon-Hodgson
    Posted on April 28, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Keith – great tip, I’d heard something to that regard through the grapevine but didn’t really consider it when putting together this piece. Makes sense how they might think you’re automated. I don’t think posting to the exact minute is necessary fo readers, but definitely the same day and maybe even a morning or afternoon time period. But definitely a great point to keep in mind because more often than not people using advanced scheduling WOULD put things in at the same time just for the sake of it!

  15. Beth Graddon-Hodgson
    Posted on April 28, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Andy again – your question also comes at a good time, I hope you’ll drop by next week. Learning from your stats is going to be the next post!

  16. Karim Lernen
    Posted on April 29, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Good article. I think you didn’t even mention the important factor that with setting up fix dates for writing this will actually raise the probability of writing at all.
    When there is no fixed date one might always just say I can do that tomorrow whereas when you say I’ll post something new every tuesday you’ll actually do it.

    • bonnie Says :
      Posted on April 29, 2010 at 8:14 am

      Karim – I know this makes ME post on time. 🙂

  17. Karim Lernen
    Posted on April 29, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Perhaps this comes without saying though

  18. Golf-her Says :
    Posted on April 29, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    sites that post weekly, give me something to forward to and let me avoid unnecessary checking for new posts.

  19. Simon R Says :
    Posted on May 1, 2010 at 10:42 am

    I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I’m not so sure it’s as absolutely critical as it used to be, or that we think it is. My reasoning is based upon the assumption that my blog is typical, of course….. 🙂

    For every thousand readers I get, I get an additional 6 thousand people taking feeds, suggesting that the timing of the blog postings might be less important: whenever I’ve got something new to say, the vast majority of my readership are going to know about it, because their RSS will tell them so.

    To be honest, I think its hubris to feel that it’s important to blog at the same time so that people can look forward to what you’ve got to say or make a point of coming to your blog that day – unless you’re Guy Kawasaki or Garr Reynolds, no one’s that important! 🙂

    Besides, if they ARE such big fans of yours, they’ll subscribe and find out you’ve got something new to say at *any* time of day/night/week/month/etc.

    • bonnie Says :
      Posted on May 2, 2010 at 5:53 am

      I think there’s truth to what you say. Scheduling does help ME stay on track though – and from the traffic on this blog we seem to have an awful lot of folks visiting on tuesday when Beth’s posts go up. (Which perhaps says I need to get my act together lol)

  20. Harmony - Surrey SEO
    Posted on May 1, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Be careful not to neglect your blog for too long. It is astonishing how quickly you can fall from search engine graces – meaning off the first or second page if you neglect your new content.

    Pre-publishing makes your life much easier and you can stay in the zone while you write, rather than break it up between meetings or such.

    I got a kick out of your comment on thinking you need to blog at the same time so that the multitudes who are waiting for your words of wisdom can be satisfied. Oh so true! 🙂

  21. Beth Graddon-Hodgson
    Posted on May 1, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    It’s a good point Simon – but the other factor I think is important to consider as well is that people may subscribe to your RSS feeds, but they also probably subscribe to dozens..even hundreds more. I know I don’t have the time to read every time an update pops up on my RSS feed immediately or at all. BUT the blogs that I watch for, I will go into my RSS folders to find a post when I know a new one is likely to have appeared! Getting a large subscriber list is important, but at the same time, just because people are subscribing doesn’t mean they’re reading!

    Karim – you are very right, but I didn’t include it since I was trying to focus on how it can increase traffic to your blog. But it can absolutely help with your time management too

  22. Venetian Mirrors Says :
    Posted on May 2, 2010 at 10:35 am

    I think it all ends up with quality vs quantity. Scheduling might pose some pressure but it should not affect the quality and value of the post you’re gonna publish. Scheduling is a good practice and it will definitely increase your productivity but just make sure outputs are still valuable.

  23. Bit Doze Site help Says :
    Posted on May 3, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Indeed a nice feature of wordpress useful to use when you are leaving in holiday, so that your readers don’t miss u.

  24. Victor
    Posted on May 7, 2010 at 3:34 am

    I agree with Venetian since I tried to the same thing to schedule but since I have other things to do, there were times that I am pressured to create one since it was scheduled.
    So after that I’ve decided to add a post whenever I am free so that I can focus and wont sacrifide the quality of my work.

  25. Gino @ Ucluelet Accomodation
    Posted on May 7, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    It is a good thing to prepare posts in advance so that we can fix optimum update times, and stick to them ruthlessly.

  26. Frank S - Free SEO Tools
    Posted on May 10, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Couldn’t agree more about scheduling from a readers point of view. Nothing more frustrating than “discovering” a good blog (like this one 😉 ) but the blogger is so eratic with their posts that it actually turns you off.

    Thanks 🙂

  27. briefkasten
    Posted on August 24, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    great article and discussion.

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