Since I started self-hosting this blog again on August 6 2008, I have been trying to find more ways to pull traffic toward the content that I put up. Like all bloggers, I feel that I have important things to say (at least in the area of Web performance), and ideas that should be read by as many people as possible.
As well, I have realized that if I invest some time and effort into this blog, it can be a small revenue source that could get me that much closer to my dream of a MacBook Pro.
In a post yesterday morning, Darren Rowse had some advice on when the best time to release new post is. Using his ideas as the framework, I pulled the data out of my own tracking database and came up with the chart below. This shows the page view data between September 1 2007 and September 15 2008 based on the day of the week vistors came to the site.
Using this data and the general framework that Darren subscribes to, I should be releasing my best and newest thoughts in a week on Monday and Tuesday (GMT).
After Wednesday, I should release only less in-depth articles, with a focus on commentary on news and events. And I must learn to breathe, as I suffer from an ailment all to common in bipolars: a lack of patience.
A new post doesn’t immediately find its target audience unless you have hundreds or thousands (Tens? Ones?) of readers who are influential. If you are luckyin this regard, then these folks will leave useful comments, and through their own attention, help gently show people that a new post is something they should devote their valuable attention towards.
It takes a while for any post to percolate through the intertubes. So patience you must have.
Front-loaded v Long-tailed
Unless, of course, your traffic model is completely different than a popular blogger.
The one issue that I had with Darren’s guidance is that it applies only to blogs that are front-loaded. A front-loaded blog is one that is incredibly popular, or has a devoted, active audience who help push page views toward the most recent 3-5 posts. Once the wave has crested, or the blogger has posted something new, the volume of traffic to older posts falls off exponentially, except in the few cases of profound or controversial topics.
When I analyzed my own traffic, I found that the most of my traffic volume was aimed toward posts from 2005 and 2006. In fact, more recent posts are nowhere near as popular as these older posts. In contrast to the front-loaded blog, mine is long-tailed.
There are a number of influential items in my blog which have proven staying power, which draw people from around the world. They have had deep penetration into search engines, and are relvant to some aspect of peoples’ lives that keeps pulling them back.
I would highly recommend analyzing your traffic to see it is front-loaded or long-tailed. I know that I wish that this blog was more front-loaded, with an active community of readers and commentators. However, I am also happy to see that I have created a few sparks of content that keep people returning again and again. If your blog is long-tailed, then when you post becomes far less relevant than ensuring the freshness and validity of those few popular posts. Ensure that these are maintained and current so that they remain relevant to as many people as possible.