As Marketing Manager here at Chicory, I'm constantly checking on our blogger network to see how we're performing. I break our traffic down on an hourly basis to identify opportunities for optimizing Chicory's performance across the 400+ publications where we appear.
But as a food blogger, I've taken away some sneaky tips based on these traffic insights. As we've grown over the past year and big partners no longer sway our traffic patterns with one viral recipe, some very apparent trends emerged. I can now tell you, down to the hour, the best time to be posting and promoting your recipes to readers. Take a look at some of the charts below--the lessons I've learned have helped me triple my blog's traffic in one month (from 4k pageviews to over 12k!) and I hope they'll help you too.
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday
See those consistent peaks and valleys? Those are hundreds of thousands of unique users viewing recipes in our blog network since January 1, 2016. High points always happen on Sundays. Lows occur Wednesday through Friday. That doesn't mean you necessarily should be publishing content on Sundays, but you should definitely be promoting it then!
Nobody Plans Their Holiday Meals!
Remember when you stressed about getting your Valentine's Day cookie published three weeks ahead of time in order to get it in front of readers sooner? Turns out you can take your time. Readers and home cooks wait until the last possible minute to pull recipes up; our biggest spikes this year occurred on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Super Bowl Sunday.
What About Time of Day?
You now know Sundays are the most trafficked days for recipes, but we can hone that even more. The above graph shows typical traffic patterns across our network on an average Sunday. But the hourly trends persist on not-so-average Sundays, it turns out. Super Bowl Sunday looked exactly the same! Below is a look at the hourly traffic breakdown for Super Bowl Sunday.
These graphs are shown in UTC time. So, from about 7PM to 9PM UTC is the highest recipe traffic time. That's 2PM to 4PM Eastern, or 11AM to 1PM Pacific. We presume that families use this time to get together their Sunday supper. Perhaps they're even getting ready to shop for groceries, using recipes to build their shopping lists.
We thought too about the implication that Sunday is used as a planning day for the rest of the week. One might think that high traffic to recipes on Sundays could mean that families are pulling up recipes for the week that can be cooked and, perhaps, frozen for easy weeknight meals. Based on our holiday traffic trends, however, it actually looks like most home cooks never plan more than a meal ahead of time. That's why "quick and easy" weeknight meals or set-it-and-forget-it morning crockpot recipes reliably perform better than "freezer friendly" ones.
As For The Rest of The Week...
Hourly patterns follow the same structure throughout the week. There's a midday plateau from about 11AM Eastern to 12PM Eastern daily. Then traffic continues to rise to each of the peaks you see on the above graph, which occur between 4PM and 6PM Eastern. Either lots of people are looking at recipes at the office, right before they leave work for the day, or parents are finding an idea for dinner in the hour or two before kiddos get home from school. (Maybe a little bit of both!)
Sundays = gold for food bloggers. If you're a full-time blogger, consider making your work week Friday through Tuesday and making Wednesday and Thursday your "weekend." (And yes, you should be taking a day or two off to recharge!) Regardless of which days you post your content, make sure you're promoting it on the weekend. Also, if you've got holiday content planned, promote it up until the last possible second; readers want a Thanksgiving turkey recipe at 4PM on that Thursday, it turns out! Think about how to help readers get their next meal on the table, and focus way less on menu planning.
What other insights did you draw from Chicory's food blog traffic trends graphs? Let us know in the comments!!