social clock

What time should I post my content?

For the longest time I hadn’t really paid any attention to the timing of my posts. In the beginning it was tough to even complete a post, so just hitting the publish button was a relief.  The truth is that even with practice, it’s hard to produce decent content. So I started wondering how I could make each piece of content go further.

It turns out that SocialBro produces a great little chart that highlights when your twitter followers are online. Which is precisely when each of your tweets is going to have maximum reach. So I reactivated my bufferapp account and started driving all my non-reply tweets through buffer, with buffer posting based on my SocialBro recommended schedule.

Here’s my SocialBro “Best time to tweet” chart:

SocialBro   best time to tweet

Here’s what happened after I actually used the tweeting schedule:

Tweet post time Activity analytics for kameel

The engagement and impact of my twitter posts more than doubled! In hindsight the logic seems simple, post when my audience is online for maximum reach.

Whilst your twitter audience might not be a 100% accurate representation of your blog readership, if you’re attracting a similar audience, it stands to reason that the timings are likely similar. It’s a great starting point to experiment with.

There are several tools that can help you figure out your ideal tweeting time including FollowerWonk (by Moz), SocialBro and Tweriod. I’ve used FollowerWonk before, and I’m currently using SocialBro. They both have the same sort of features, but you can only get FollowerWonk if you take the complete Mox bundle (which I don’t need personally).

As a word of caution, there are lots of infographics and articles advocating a best time to post. Please remember that it’s entirely dependent on your audience. Don’t make any assumptions, monitor your results, experiment and find out what works best for you. Check and update your schedule regularly, but don’t get too crazy – some things still need to happen in real time.

Performance Matters

Website performance, does it matter?

We’ve all heard the stories about how website load times can affect your business, it’s been repeatedly validated – even by Google. Interestingly whilst Google may talk about the impact it has on users, according to Moz it doesn’t seem to have any meaningful impact on search ranking. Phew? Not really. There’s no escaping the fact that website performance is important to users. The question is, how much is it going to impact your business?

In most scenario’s you won’t find me recommending getting under the hood of your website, except possibly for this. If it’s going to impact your bottom line, you should know a little about it. Even if you have an agency managing your website & it’s performance, it’s a good idea to know the basics – and the quantum of impact, is it really going to be a game changer for your business?

I’m not going to go into any details about performance tuning. Let’s just have a quick look as a small business (or individual) what it takes to squeeze a little more out of your website. I started playing with my (self hosted GoDaddy) WordPress website, and here’s what I found:

Before:

Performance Measurement Before Modification

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After disabling a bunch of JetPack features I don’t really use:

Performance Measurement After Modification

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do these numbers mean?

  1. Load time; lower is better. This is how long it takes to fully display your page to a user.
  2. Page size; lower is better. The smaller your website, the faster it will load & display.

So my website got 1.5 seconds faster, and I shaved just under 100 kB from my page size. Sounds good right? Well by themselves these numbers don’t mean much. After you make some optimizations, you’ll need to track the following metrics to see if the changes had any impact:

  1. Bounce rate; lower is better. How many visitors come to your site and then leave without going anywhere else (or staying for long enough).
  2. Time on page; longer is better. The longer people are looking at your page, the more likely it is they’re actually reading it & finding it useful.
  3. Pages per session; more is better. The more pages people are looking at, the more engaged (and interested) they are in your content.
  4. Leads/Sales/Downloads/YourGoal; this is always the ultimate test. If you have an awesomely configured setup, but no leads or sales (or whatever goal you have for your website), what was the point?

I’ll be making a few more performance changes and I’ll publish the results at the end of next month. Before you get caught up with performance tuning or optimizations, check whether or not it’s going to make any real difference to you business. There are ways of testing this (as above), but you could also just stop and think about your customers, and the type of leads/sales you’re generating ~ is your product a commodity that they’d consider going elsewhere for if the site was slow?

 

Classic scales

Measuring performance with A/B Testing

Last month I decided to take some of my own advice and understand how to improve my blog with some focused study and A/B testing (Science!). The objective was to understand how many of the Marketing Resource downloads were genuine, and whether the users would be prepared to share their details or promote the site in exchange for the download.

I decided to begin by measuring the performance of my most trafficked page (Marketing Resources), and then trying a few variations to see what worked best. To get started, I stopped publishing. I figured that by not publishing anything meant I’d get a clear view of traffic & behavior without any wobbles from posts I make.

Then I upgraded the download software being used for my Marketing Resources section, allowing me to track individual downloads by date and to force subscriptions or tweets as required. I also installed an optional social pop-up system (this does have a force share option too).

For the first two weeks I setup the Marketing Resources page so that every download required visitors to either send a supporting tweet, or enter their email addresses. For the remaining two weeks, the page prompted visitors for an optional social share.

The results were shocking! By forcing users to share their details or make a social post, the page generated fewer downloads, but had considerably more traffic, shares and user registrations. Optional shares results in absolutely no change from normal, meaning less traffic but twice as many downloads. Here’s the summary data:

Mandatory Subscription or Sharing Optional Sharing
Tweets +8 +0
Subscriptions +60 +0
Downloads -50% 0% change
Traffic 20% increase 0% change

Depending on what’s important to your site, you can interpret this accordingly. More consumption of your material, but with no idea who’s consuming it & no obvious promotion from it. Or less consumption, but with a better idea of who’s reading & some extra social media mileage. For me there’s no question that I’d prefer the latter.

I’m going to be doing some more experimentation with how my Marketing Resources page prompts for shares, and I’ll update you next month with my findings. Hope this was helpful.