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Find your site’s busiest time of day

If you’ve never wondered what your website’s busiest time of day is, it’s time to don your finest wondering hat.

Why find your busy time?

Timing new content to go live before a sudden influx of visitors (and not after they arrive) is valuable, especially if you publish the sort of content that’s time-sensitive, like breaking news or time-limited sales. If you don’t publish those sorts of things, pushing new content to your site just before busy times is still worthwhile; you increase the chance that people will see it and share it. Try it and see!

Set up Google Analytics

To discover the busiest time of day for your site, you need to use traffic analysis software. We recommend Google Analytics. If you’re not already using it—and it’s free, so there’s no good reason not to—head over to the Google Analytics website, sign up, and add the tracking code to your website. Need help? Get in touch.

Find your website’s busiest time of day

Here’s how to find your site’s busy time using Google Analytics:

  1. Choose Visitors > Visitor Trending > Visits from the left-hand menu:
    Visits for all visitors
  2. Select the date range you’re interested in from the date drop-down, and then click the clock to the right of “Graph by” in the top right of your screen:
    choosing the clock to show visits by time

Interpreting the data

That’s it! You’ll now see a graph and bar chart showing visits by time for the date range that you selected in step 2, like this one:

It’s important to note that the times in the left column are displayed in the timezone you set for the site when you first added it to Google Analytics. (Here are instructions for checking and changing the timezone.)

To find your busiest time over the date range you selected, simply check for the biggest horizontal bar in the chart. Above, you can see the site we’re examining (not this one) experiences a slight rise in traffic at around 14:00 hours. Not exactly rocket surgery, is it?

You may wish to start publishing new posts just before your busy time and see if they generate extra traffic and sales for you. And if it makes no difference at all? It’s possible that there isn’t a distinct ‘busy time’ for your site. And, besides, at least you tried, right? Running a website is about experimentation; there’s no magic formula to ensure extra traffic or attentiveness, but the more things you try, the more you’ll learn.

P.S. One thing I’ve learned is to resist silly subtitles for instructive posts like this one. It would have been very easy to litter this blog post with subtitles that employ word play loosely relevant to the subject matter (e.g. ‘let’s get busy’), but providing readers who skim (everyone) with more meaningful subtitles is more valuable than trying to be clever.

P.P.S. We found it makes a worthwhile difference on enough of our sites to bother sharing the tip with you.

Posted on 23 August 2011 by Nick.

 

3 comments


  • Stefan Russel
    June 20, 2012

    It seems to me that the above isn't possible in the new version of analytics,

    It is fairly easy to create a customized report that is similar.

    In your customized report set metric group to "Visits" and as the Dimension Drill-downs choose "Hour" and click save report.

    To watch the data as a bar-chart choose the performance button above he data in right side of your screen

     

  • Prabir
    November 6, 2012

    in the current version of GA , the dimension drill down option doesn't show hour option. It has a dimension of Month, week and day only.

     

  • Pinter
    January 13, 2013

    Great information deal here, can anyone recommend me some pinterest marketing ebook, as pinterest has got an important value for traffic i do want to leverage best from it.. i saw a guide at pinterestboardfollowers.com which claims that you can get 1 million pinterest followers, it is free to download but i am still looking for some reviews as most of the stuff like this is time wastage.

     

 


 
 
 
 
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