Peter at Almost Cool comments on my series on Blog Apathy – particularly picking up on some of the comments on posting goals and schedules. He rightly observes that with RSS subscribers you’re likely to get readers look at your posts whether you post regularly or irregularly and argues against quantity over quality of posts. This has been a common response to my mention of a posting schedule from a number of readers.
I agree with Peter and others – quality posting is essential to good blogging – but I guess want to argue for balance.
Blogging commercially is a traffic game whether we like it or not. If you want to earn more money one good way to get it is to increase your readership. Quality content is essential but so is quantity. You can write one fantastic post per week and get a bit of exposure but the chances are that unless it’s amazing it will never draw enough traffic to sustain you financially until the next post.
Having a posting schedule or goal is like being a journalist with a deadline. It’s not meant to decrease the quality – but gives an end point when the article needs to be finished so that a new one can be started upon and that a paper/magazine can continue its publishing rhythm.
Perhaps one of the things I should have mentioned some of the following in my initial comments on posting schedules:
• when you choose a posting schedule look at your current blogging rhythm and base your future goals on this. Its like when you go to the gym – you need to be realistic and base your fitness plan on your current situation. If you’re not fit it would not be wise to commit to running 40 miles per day. You need to work up to it. Set your rate too high and the quality of your posting will definitely suffer.
• make your posting goals realistic and achievable – Take into account factors including how much time you have to blog, how long your blog posts generally are, how many posts per day your readers are used to reading, how much content is out there as a basis for your posts. With these factors in mind pick a goal that you know you can achieve on a good day. I’m fortunate enough to be able to blog full time – so my posting schedule is higher than many of my reader who only have an hour or so per day – that’s cool. Start where you’re at.
• stretch yourself - to use the fitness analogy again – if you want to get fit sometimes you have to push yourself a little. You don’t need to break your back but most personal fitness coaches will set a goal a little beyond what you currently do to take you out of your comfort zone. Sometimes this hurts, but the result is growth.
• rules are made to be broken – Don’t get down if you don’t achieve your goals – they are not there as hard and fast rules to make you feel guilty – they are there as something to strive for – as inspiration. I regularly have days when I don’t post at the rate I set myself – other stuff comes up, I get distracted, I get sick, I have breaks. Whilst I try make up for when I miss a day I don’t get down on myself and just get back on with blogging.
The last thing I’ll say is to draw your attention to Peter’s last statements:
‘I think the quantity game is a dangerous one for a business blogger.
Now, if your business is blogging, it’s a different scenario. Your goals will be to get maximum total exposure. A blog talking to an established or niche customer base (say, like a designer talking to potential customers) will be less concerned with adsense click through rates and more concerned with earning and keeping happy clients.’
This is a good distinction to keep in mind. If you have a business blog (ie you’re blog is not directly about making money but rather draws attention to your (or someone else’s) business then quantity is probably not as key as if your running a commercial blog. I would still argue you need both – but perhaps as Peter writes the focus should be more upon the quality end of things.