The Greatest Blogging Mistake I Ever Made

September 19, 2011

oopsIt happened about a month ago. You may have seen it … or read it. It happened on my SEO/marketing blog when I published this post:

Here’s Why You Should Be Careful About Twitter User Photo Galleries

You could go read (or re-read) that if you want, but you won’t see anything that stands out as a mistake. In fact, you’ll see that it was tweeted 330+ times and liked on Facebook more than 50 times and you might wonder, what kind of mistake is McGee talking about?

The Mistake

I wrote that post pretty late on a Monday night, August 22nd. I finished at about 11:00 pm and decided that I should schedule the article to publish the next morning when humans are actually awake and online so that it would get more attention than it would at 11 pm PT.

Except I screwed up.

Rather than hit “schedule,” I hit the “publish” button. D’oh! And worse, it took about 20 seconds for me to realize what happened. And in that 20 seconds, the article had already hit my RSS feed and been auto-tweeted by a couple accounts that tweet any and all SEO-related articles they find.

So, the post was out there and it was too late to un-publish it. So, I decided to roll with it.

That’s When Alchemy Happened

At 11:08 pm, when my Twitter stream is pretty much dead, I sent out a standard tweet about the article.


No big deal … until none other than Robert Scoble saw my tweet (I have no idea why he follows me) and decided to retweet it to his 200,000+ followers. Here’s what it looked like in his Twitter stream that night:


And within the next 30 minutes, my article was tweeted and retweeted and retweeted some more.

It was amazing to watch my @mattmcgee mentions. They came in one after the other in rapid-fire, like nothing I’d seen before. After about a half-hour, I finally tweeted again and mentioned that there were “a zillion retweets” — slight exaggeration, but it got the point across.

Impact of Being Scobleized

What did it all mean, other than a ton of tweets and retweets? Well, for starters, my blog set a single-day traffic record because of all of the Twitter activity.


Best of all, it wasn’t just a one-day thing. Traffic has remained a small percentage ahead of what “normal” used to be, which often happens when a lot of new people are introduced to a blog for the first time. August ended up setting a monthly record for blog visits.

And that’s not all; about a week after all this happened, I was checking out Klout and noticed this:


Two days after the article was published, and after all of the attention it got, my Klout score jumped way back up and even passed 70 for the first time. That and $4 gets me a coffee at Starbucks — I know. It means nothing, but it’s interesting to see the impact of one blog article and how it goes beyond just visits to the blog itself.

Moral of the story: For all the effort we give in trying to decide the optimum time to publish blog posts, you really have no idea what’s gonna happen when you hit that “publish” button — even if you do it on accident at a time when you assume no one’s paying attention.

Sometimes a “mistake” really isn’t.

(Stock image via Shutterstock, used under license.)


  • Reply Rebecca Gill September 19, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Words to live by Matt. I’ve done the same thing and noticed spikes as someone outside your norm retweets you. And I no longer post first thing in the morning. I typically do it at night so it gets attention.

  • Reply Geraldine September 20, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Awesome post, Matt, and congrats on the traffic boost. A good reminder that we shouldn’t overthink things – somethings great things happen from our mistakes!

  • Reply Dries Bultynck October 3, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Makes you think about Klout, doesn’t it 😉

  • Reply Mark October 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Words to live by Matt. I’ve done the same thing and noticed spikes as someone outside your norm retweets you. And I no longer post first thing in the morning. I typically do it at night so it gets attention.

  • Reply There's No Best Time to Publish Blog Posts & Social Updates : Small Business Search Marketing May 11, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    […] That huge spike near the middle there? Yeah. That was my “mistake.” Published at 11 pm (Pacific time, even!) on a Monday night. I wrote about this on my personal blog and called it the greatest blogging mistake I ever made. […]

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