Sunday, July 17, 2011

Timezones at a glance: what's the time in your readers' country?

This article describes why timezone matters for bloggers, and has a picture comparing the time in the major areas of the world throughout the day.

What time is it for your readers?

Gnome globe current event Previously I've described how to plan changes to your blog in private.  But at the end of the planning, you still need to implement the changes in a way that causes your readers as little disruption as possible.

One approach is to use a statistical tool (eg Google Analytics) to see where your readers come from, and then  choose a time when the majority are probably asleep (or working, or whatever makes them unavailable to look at your blog) to make the changes.   It can be challenging to find a time that suits everyone, though, especially if you have on-line visitors from several timezones.

Also, if  your blog offers follow-by-email or has a feed set up with Feedburner, then one of the options you can set in Feedburner is the time that your daily email to subscribers is sent out:  depending on your blog's niche you may want your email to be hitting people's inboxes either first thing in the morning (professional blogs), or late afernoon / early evening (personal blogs).

Comparing time zones with a picture

There are many, many time-zone calculators on the internet:  typically they tell you the time right now in two different places (your and one other), and the difference between the time in each place and GMT.  However this leaves you with some calculations to do if you need to compare several time zones, or if you want to think about very different times of the day.  

An alternative approach is to draw the day in color-coded three-hour slots, like this::

Then you can use a table that summarises the time-zone in different areas of the world like this:

time zone comparison chart - lines up GMT / Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Pacific on one comparative table

Of course it's not possible to show every country like this, or to take account of daylight savings time (which operates in different months in different countries).   But hopefully the countries shown will give you an idea of different parts of the world, and the time in each one of them.

To use the chart, find your country and read up and down the table and get a rough idea of the time in different parts of the world, at the different times in your day.

For example, if you're in the east of America, and you have a lot of readers in South America and Asia, you can see that when your time is 9pm, theirs is roughly midnight (South America)  and 9am-noon (Asia).

A more sophisticated approach

Gnome-face-embarrassed If you have installed Google Analytics, then Google keeps data about each person who visits your blog, including the time of day that they arrived.

You can access this through the Analytics application   .. and I'll try to write about this in some detail when I remember exactly how to find the time-of-visit statistics.

Related Articles

Setting up Google Analytics for your blog

Plan changes to your blog - in private

Follow-by-email - an easy way to set up email subscriptions

Getting started with Feedburner

Copyright, Blogs and Bloggers

Showing a presentation on your website / blog as a slideshow

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