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Saturday, March 23, 2013

A to Z Tip: Timing is Everything

This post is brought to you by Cindy Dwyer, another A-Z expert. Please welcome her – I found her advice really helpful even though I'm MST in the U.S.  She brought up some questions I hadn't even considered.

Like many bloggers, I have a full-time day job to support my writing habit. I leave the house at seven in the morning and get home at around five or five-thirty. So during the A to Z Challenge, I schedule my posts to go live in the wee hours of the night. This gives me several advantages. 

Since I sleep with my laptop next to the bed -- and really, who doesn't? ☺ -- when my alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. EST, I can check to make sure that day's letter made it safely through the cyberspace gremlins before I even roll out of bed. If I don't fix any problems then, they stay broken until after dinner because, sadly, I do not have an IT department. (Once, I did come home to find my cat asleep on my laptop, but that wasn't quite what I had in mind when I wished I had help staying on top of the technical aspects of my website.)

Another great thing about posting early is that during those ten hours I'm gone, other A2Zers can be reading and commenting on my post. I do try to log onto my website during lunch to answer comments and visit a few blogs from the list. But on crazy days when I can't, at least my blog is current with that day's letter.

Even if you do have the entire day free to write your post, you still need to account for time zones. The A to Z Challenge attracts participants from around the world. Remember, New York is five hours behind London and sixteen hours behind eastern Australia. 

Say you live in California and have a habit of blogging after dinner. At 7:00 p.m. PST, it's two o'clock the following afternoon in parts of Australia, where people may have already posted "I" before you've had a chance to update your "G" post to "H". 

If you want your friends Down Under to read your letter of the day before they go to sleep, you really need to activate that entry before 8:00 a.m. EST.

And the opposite is true for bloggers on the other side of the world -- you may want to schedule your posts for a little later in the day to avoid appearing a letter ahead of the western hemisphere.

I'm curious to hear from prior A to Z participants. Did you try to post at the same time each day? Did the differences in time zones make you feel like you were always a little ahead (or behind) everyone else? 

These are excellent questions, and I'm curious how our international participants handle this issue.  Please speak up!

~Tina, very grateful for Cindy's excellent advice


  1. That's a timely intervention!

    I'm in the UK, and with my recent acquisition of lots of Australian friends I realise that you have hit a nail on the head. I usually post at 10-ish in the morning but if I'm later my Aussie friends (especially the younger ones) may be in bed.

    It wouldnt hurt to have them out at 9 ish and it would make no difference to my US friends :)

    Jemima at Jemima's blog

  2. A very valid point about time differences and one I hadn't thought of up to now. I've scheduled my first couple of posts to go live at 9am BST but I may now re-schedule for an hour or so earlier.

  3. I'm in Canada, I have all my A to Z posts ready ahead of time and scheduled to appear at 12:30am my time. That way if life decides to intrude in April the postings will just pop along like clockwork.

  4. My blog posts are always scheduled to publish at 7:00 AM EST, which is my time zone. I have several blog friends in the UK, that's why I've always done at for 7.

  5. Tina - Thanks for hosting me. I'm eager to hear if bloggers have other strategies to handle the time differences.

    @Jemima and Tigermouse glad my advice helped, let me know if posting earlier worked for you.

    @Delores that's a great strategy. I'm trying to get all (or at least most) of the posts written ahead of time. Then I schedule them a few days in advance so I get one more stab at editing them.

  6. Hi Cindy and Tina .. I'm way too erratic for all that - but I may sometime get organised!

    I'm away in April .. so probably should schedule for those days when I'm visiting friends and family ..

    I don't do regular!?!?!?!

    Cheers Hilary

  7. My simple routine is to check email and shut down the computer before I go to bed. For the most part, if I'm in a blog hop the following day, I try to publish that particular post, in the process of checking email and shutting down for the night. I don't schedule blog posts. Seems every time I've tried, there have been a few glitches. I'd much prefer to make sure they are live with the click of my own mouse. This seems to work well for the desert southwest time zone in USA.

  8. I learned about scheduling posts ahead of time during last year's challenge and it really saved me.

    I schedule for 7 am as well because my memory isn't so great. I get so busy at work during the day that I would totally forget to post.

  9. I usually schedule all my posts for around the same time - 5 - 5:30 AM eastern standard, which seems to work out pretty good for everyone :)

  10. I think that as we're in between everybody here in the UK then scheduling at 7 am is the best thing to do. But as blog visitors we need to be sensitive to the fact that we're interacting with so many time zones. Tolerance is the best approach. And isn't it amazing that we're able to do this sort of thing!!

    Rosalind Adam is Writing in the Rain

  11. I usually set my posts to publish around 10 a.m. ET. That's mainly to pick up most of the people who come in to Twitter during that time. I'm less worried about the time differences because it's still a blog, and it's available 24X7 no matter what time zone.

  12. Some great comments here everyone! I love seeing the differences in what works for people.

    Outside of the A to Z Challenge I like the combination of scheduling and live posting. I usually post a "Short & Sweet Sunday" snippet which I tend to schedule. Then mid-week I write a "real" post, which I tend to publish instantly.

  13. When I schedule posts I usually have them publish about 12:30 am the day I want them to appear. That way night owls or early risers have my post as one of the first in their feeds. :) I'm CST, in the US, so that way hopefully my posts will even show up in time for my Australian followers to read them by suppertime. :)

  14. My posts always go very early in the morning during the Challenge, usually around 1:00 am EST. That way it's not too late for those on the other side of the world but still falls on the right day for my time zone.

  15. Thanks for being here, Cindy. Sounds like you generated a great discussion - way to go!
    I usually schedule for 3 am MST, but I've started using 12 am. That way it's THE day here, and it gives the most foreign folks a chance to read it on the "right day". However, since each blogger is an individual, this is a decision each can make. However, there's stuff like CAPTCHA that you really need to follow our advice on. Which is TURN IT OFF. Just thought I'd point that out again. In case you hadn't heard...cuz we start soon...and you want comments...

    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

  16. I really was asking myself about the timing trying to come up with a good moment for posting my article.

    very helpful!

  17. Adriana, glad you found the discussion so helpful. It does sound like there is a lot of wee hour of the night blogging going on!

    Now I'm getting really excited for the challenge to begin on April 1st!

  18. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who posts early in the morning. I like to go to work and then come home to (hopefully) several comments. Of course, I realize that, since I'm on the East Coast of the U.S. any of my followers in Europe are several hours ahead of me. Even then, they have ample time to read my post (hopefully) after supper while I'm still at work. So, it's all good.

  19. As far as folks n Australia or New Zealand, I have no earthly idea what time it is when (or even which day) when I post. I could go look it up, but that sounds like too much work.

  20. Gotta say, I'm in Australia and I will just post according to my timezone. It's going to be hard enough anyway without thinking of timezones across the rest of the world!

  21. I did try to post around the same time every day last year. I have to admit that I didn't really consider time differences, as long as I had a new post/letter every 24 hours or so.

  22. Hi Cindy and Tina,

    Considering I seem to live in every time zone than the one I'm in, I post up around midnight and that means all my adoring fans in North America get to see my postings in the evening. And my loyal, starstruck fans in Australia and New Zealand, read my posts in their afternoon. You see, I've got it all worked out. Right now and until March 31, I'm one hour closer to you because that's when we go onto to British summer time and put the clocks one hour forward. Good thing it's the day before the start of your April Fool's Day event :)

    There you go and at 1:12 A.M, on a Sunday morning in Britain, I'm leaving now.

    Gary :)

  23. Welcome to A to Z. I am sure that you are very well organized. Me on the other hand am very emotional about my writing, I usually do not writer unless I have a need to, but for some reason I find my self writing on a regular basis and I make sure that my emotions don't get the better of me.
    Best Wishes.

  24. This is my first time doing the A-Z challenge, but I've been blogging for a little while. I'm in Australa, so I usually post mid afternoon. Luckily, I work from home, so I'm usually around to check my email/blog posts.

  25. Great topic, Cindy. Since I am in California, I plan to post very early in the morning, and this was a good reminder.

  26. I have been trying to decide what to do about this. Recently, I started to schedule my A to Z posts for 1:00am as I write and save them. However, since this is all new for me, I hope there will not be any glitches because I also have a day job that doesn't allow time for me to check my blog.

  27. I live in the UK and always post last thing before I go to bed(I usually go late) as mornings are not a good time for me to post.


  28. I schedule mine to post at 12:00 a.m. the morning of the day. Therefore, I write each blog post the day before.

  29. It sounds like most bloggers have an action plan they are comfortable with as we head into April.

    This is so exciting! I wish everyone happy writing and fun meeting new bloggers. :D

  30. Wow, I honestly didn't think about time zones! I pre-schedule my posts to go live at 4:30am EST so hopefully I'm good!

  31. Last year I scheduled my posts to go live at midnight my time. I want to get as much out of my month, and each day, as possible. That probably comes from being used to NaNoWriMo time, though.


  32. I live in India and I have to admit that I do not have a set time for posting on my blog. It all depends on the available time I have to write a post. Usually I post anywhere from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. India Standard Time (IST)

  33. I normally post at 8 am Alaska time and had planned to schedule my A to Z posts (which will sometimes be the second post of the day) at 6 pm. After reading your blog I decided to move all the a to z posts to 00:00, which will still be afternoon for Australia. Trouble is the regular post will be earlier and thus above the A to Z post for some viewers. I'm going to put a small A to Z logo with a link to the A to Z post for the day when there is another one earlier.
    Incidentally, I don't think open ID works for wordpress users--there's a bug. Name/URL does.

  34. Huh! I hadn't thought about posting really early. I always schedule mine for 8am Pacific, but maybe putting it up earlier would raise my viewership among those East-coasters who are already at work!

    ROFL Initiative


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