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How Often Should a Blogger Post?

Seth writes a good post on what he calls The noisy tragedy of the blog commons. He observes the high posting frequency of the top blogs going around and writes:

Just like the marketers of Oreo (now in 19 flavors of cookies) we’re dealing with clutter by making more clutter. RSS fatigue is already setting in. While multiple posts get you more traffic, they also make it easy to lose loyal readers.

I think posting frequency is a question that bloggers need to consider very carefully on a number of fronts. Here are some of the factors to consider:

1. Writer Burnout – Every year I do a 24 hour blogathon to raise money for a charity (this year’s will be soon – so get your paypal account stocked up with cash ;-) ). While I enjoy the process a lot I also find that it generally leaves me quite burnt out – both physically, as you’d expect, as well as in my ability to write. This is an extreme example but is what happens if you overload your blog for a sustained period with loads of posts (unless you have a team of bloggers to help you – as do many of the larger blogs). The constant drive for high quality and relevant content is something that takes it’s toll on a blogger. Post too often and the quality of your writing could suffer.

2. Reader Burnout – I’ve noticed that on some of my blogs that a high number of posts in too short a period can also leaving readers burnt out. This is only the case with loyal readers who either come to your blog via a bookmark each day or who follow you via RSS. I know from personal experience of reading blogs that if my news aggregator shows that there are over 20 unread posts on a blog that I’m less likely to read each post in full (unless it’s one of those blogs that I’m a massive fan of). If a blog consistently posts at too high a rate I’ve even been known to unsubscribe from it simply because I can’t keep up.

3. Reader Participation - This probably relates to reader burn out but I’ve noticed that while traffic at ProBlogger tends to go down if I post less frequently here at ProBlogger that the amount of comments left per post tends to go up. Conversations in comments also tend to be more productive as readers actually interact with each other more instead of just commenting upon the post itself. I guess this is partially related to the length of time that the post is on the front page of the blog – but is also related to the amount of different threads of conversation that a person can follow at once. Write too many posts on too many topics and they’ll begin to disengage and only enter into what you’re writing to a certain level.

4. Search Engine and RSS Referrals - I’ve written previously on this blog about how one of the reasons to consider upping your posting frequency is that the larger the quantities of quality content that you produce the more open doors you have into your blog via both search engines and your RSS feed. I know that on those days that I post 10 posts here at ProBlogger that I generally have more traffic, largely via RSS. My Feedburner button’s number goes up a little and a higher percentage of referring URLs are from bloglines.

5. Blog Topic – I’m a firm believer that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to posting frequency on blogs. One of the main reasons for this is that different topics tend to lend themselves to different styles of blogging. For instance a blog like Engadget has a very very wide topic (consumer electronics/gadgets). This topic covers a lot of sub categories and to do it justice it needs to post a high number of posts. It’s readership knows this and I suspect a lot of them want it as they are attempting to keep up with a wider industry. Gadget lovers are also quite often information junkies who have are usually tech savy and able to consume larger amounts of information. Other blogs with tighter topics would not be able to sustain such a large number of posts because there is only so much to write about on any given day.

6. Visitor type – I’ve already touched on this a little (in saying gadget fans are often information junkies) but another way that your visitor type can impact posting frequency is the source of the visitor. For example here at ProBlogger I have a much higher readership that comes via RSS and bookmarks than on my digital camera blog which is largely visited by Search Engine users and those coming from my email newsletter. As a result it is not as crucial that I keep my posting level down to a reasonable level on my digicam blog because it’s not likely to impact many people. In fact having more posts can be helpful as it means there are more landing points for SE traffic.

7. Post Length – Another observation that many people make about some of the most highly visited blogs is that they tend to write shorter posts than the average blog. This is both a reason that they can post a lot (you can write multiple short posts in the time of 1 larger one) and also one of the reasons that their readership is less likely to burn out (readers can read a post in 15 seconds and then move onto the next one). A blog like ProBlogger on the other hand does have some shorter posts – but many (like this one) are medium to longer ones which means I need to be aware of how much I’m giving readers to read each day.

8. Rhythm and Consistency – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – find your blogging rhythm and stick to it. While readers don’t want you to be monotonous in terms of what you write – I’ve found they do quite often want it in terms of how you write – and more specifically in how often you write. People want to know what to expect – they buy into things that they know fits in with their own rhythm of life so if you start out writing daily but then increase the frequency to hourly you’ll probably find people reacting against it (and the same goes the other way around).

Interested to hear how often others post to their blogs and how they’ve come to that rhythm of posting.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Cary says:

    Ah, so true… I recently cut Engadget from my list because they were posting like 25 times a day.

    No thanks – I’m not a bloody gadget fanatic!

    ;)

  2. Cary says:

    To add to that earlier comment: I’ve found that blogging becomes a whole lot easier once you find your pace. And one person’s pace may not work for everyone…

  3. Blanda says:

    I post once a day, every day but weekends. I try to make the post at the same time but that doesnt always happen.

    Less is more.

  4. Jesse says:

    Cary- 25 a day is minumum. They often crank out 40 a day, which is why I unsubscribed and only go there and other such blogs (Gizmodo) every few days.

    In general I’ve found that it’s hard to go wrong with 2-5 posts a day, with there being more some days and less others

  5. AndyC says:

    I totally agree with what was said on this article about Engadget. Huge information sites like this one should (have to) update often and with lots of content. A reader doesn’t have to read all of it but only the topics that he/she is interested in. So, my opinion is that the posting pace should relate to the type of the site/blog you have and not only based on what your viewers are able to read. They read the stuff they are interested in.

  6. Darren Rowse says:

    I agree with the points on engadget posting too much for my own needs. I still subscribe to it via RSS but find myself either scanning the titles only every 3-4 days or just ‘marking all read’ if there’s too many to read. It’s frustrating coming back after just a few days away to find a bloglines feed at it’s maximum of 200 posts. I’m sure there are plenty of others who can handle reading that many posts per day but it’s a bit much. I find Gizmodo is almost as bad – although they seem to post slightly less per day.

  7. Aaron Brazell says:

    Quality is always better than quantity. Besides affecting the writer, the reader can go into fatigue too. Political blogs are notorious for posting 15+ entries in a day and most of them not being very original filled with quotes from other blogs with one or two lines of commentary for each quote. (e.g. Michelle Malkin, Say Anything or most notoriously, Instapundit Glenn Reynolds).

    I guess there’s nothing wrong with this style of blogging. It does have it’s benefits, such as constant high Technorati rankings as new pings push it to the top. But any blog that has 6 new entries everytime my RSS reader refreshes on the hour is one that turns into white noise and I’ll glaze over.

  8. Jesse says:

    Aaron: That’s pretty much why I stopped subscribing to political blogs. I can get all the buzz from going to a couple sites every few days.

    When I had five or six political blogs, I’d check into bloglines after a few hours and I’d have sixty undread articles from those blogs, with only about three unique things being said, and all the other posts quoting each other

  9. Rick Dobbs says:

    I love Lifehacker and will probably name my next child after Gina, but the amount of posts there has definitely gotten unwieldy. Especially once you do a Check Subscriptions on your RSS Reader (I use Sage) and you see the sheer amount of posts you’re about to go though, it definitely makes me spend less time on each one.

    I think one of the mistakes as well as that most of the people that read a site like Lifehacker are also subbed to digg, engadget, and a few others, so we’re seeing the same products covered several times over, which leads to more skipping through.

  10. Glen C, says:

    I’m an avid reader of Damn Interesting. Not only do they push out consistently good content, they release perfect-sized articles every few days. I like this mentatlity and the one-a-day mentality a lot better than rare or flood, but I think content should be the primary concern, not the frequency.

  11. Jesse says:

    ah, but lifehacker is one of few sites that has good enough posts that I actually enjoy going through 20 a day. When every post is really good, I don’t mind, but when I only like 1/5 posts at a gadgets blog, it’s not quite worth it

  12. Emile says:

    I completely agree on the engadget, gizmodo, and TUAW blogs. I’ve cut out a number of them because I prefer to absolve myself of their writer’s diarhea. Seriously, some of the posting has become so poor and copious that I fear it will poison the blogosphere in general.

    I would rather read one solid post with enough matter to digest for a day or so and that’s how I design most of my own posts. If I’m faced with a number of ideas which I could elaborate and bulls**t about into 20+ posts, I would rather have one post go a long way

    PS: Glen, that site is damn interesting ;-) thanks for the link.

  13. james says:

    Someone sent me an email out of the blue the other day, thanking me for high quality posts “without filler.” It was a sudden reminder that even though you rarely meet or communicate with many of your readers, they notice everything you do.

    I’ve settled on 3 or 4 posts as the magic daily number. If someone doesn’t read their feed for a couple of days, the backlog is manageable. Of course, sometimes I’ll put together a “top 10″ list that will be my only post of the day. Those are sometimes the most successful posts, because they attract more links.

  14. Andy says:

    Know the Audience.

    In traditional publications much time is spent considering how your end user is going to read the publication–or even not read. Is it just a pretty thing for the coffee table? Will it be read in three minute bursts on the toilet? On thirty minute bus commutes? Stored for reference, tossed out or passed along?

    In determining article length and frequency always pay attention to those who are actually using it. We all have tendencies to think everyone else is like ourselves, to project ourselves onto others. Stepping outside of this tight little world view can open insights into what can and should be done. It’s easy to make assumptions when you only have to convince yourself and not a room full of your corporate peers on your personal publishing theories.

    That said, I’ll go rationalize my above theory now.

  15. Dio says:

    I’d love to post more regular and more stuff, it can be hard though. In response to the problem of having time to make an interesting blog gave me the idea for my latest project, LazyBloggr – Now I let people make it up for me instead. I’m sure they can do a better job than I can! ;)

    I think a good way of getting around burn-out is to have several sites with very different editorials. The addage is true, a change is as good as a rest, and often whilst writing about one thing, you’ll get an idea for something else on one of the other blogs or sites. It keeps me busy anyway!

  16. Tom says:

    It is so true that burnout can occur, but I think a blog has a few lifespans, especially if you are trying to make it a profitable site. The initial stage is trying to get a good deal of content up so that the search engines will give you some respect and traffic. Then the next stage is building the regular readers with deeper and more thoughtout posts, and then finding a groove for keeping it interesting and current.

  17. I use Bloglines .. I’ve got my daily reads and my periodic catchup of my readings … when I see a feed at the limit 200 .. I just click the feed title (left side) to clear it, and don’t even scan the titles of the posts (right side) .. I’m funny that way. I am never sure if newer posts are being kept and older posts falling off of the table, or vice versa .. so to avoid figuring that out – I just bypass it altogether.

    It’s the same for Engadget and similar types in my “tech” folder I keep .. if it’s a small number, it’s probably new and I’m interested. If my bloglines count is at 200 for Engadget, It’s probably old news and people are copycatting it anyway. No biggie, nothing missed i.m.o.

    On the reverse side, for myself .. I post anywhere between once every 4 hours to whenever the heck I feel like it. I will not post entries to explain my posts, or lack of them though. I hope readers keep my feed and when they do receive new information .. they enjoy my post or, it was useful. Lack of posting as a reason to remove RSS feeds is LAME to me .. when you can suppress posts without new posts from view.

  18. kristietam says:

    For some reason when I read the title of this post it made me think of the “How much wood would a wood chuck chuck” ditty

    How many posts would a blog poster post
    if a blog poster could post a blog?

    Complete nonsensicle gibberish. But nonetheless, I thought I’d share in case it made someone else chuckle too!

  19. Rachel says:

    I think there’s a lot to be pondered on in relation to Seth’s post. Personally I’d prefer one quality post a day on non-news blogs.

    Information overload can mean we end up just scanning everything and not pausing and reflecting and truely taking in what’s being said.

  20. Busy Mom says:

    kristietam – the answer:

    As many blog posts as a blog poster could post
    If a blog poster could post a blog.

  21. I won’t name any names, but if you have a weekly “recap of this week in MySite” post, you might be posting way too often for just about every sane person on the planet.

    Quality over quantity is definitely a better way.

  22. Cary says:

    “Lack of posting as a reason to remove RSS feeds is LAME to me”

    Totally agree with HART on this one — to me one of the beauties of RSS is that I can follow blogs that don’t publish all that often, but still be sure not to miss out when they do.

    Bloglines makes it absolutely painless to subscribe to these kinds of blogs, and they are often the most interesting ones out there.

  23. Darren Rowse says:

    I agree Michael – although some sites don’t do weekly recaps they do Daily ones! :-)

  24. It depends what sort of a blogger you are. Seth’s got a huge consultancy business and sells enormous quantities of the business books he writes. His blog is just a shop window for his talents.

    If, however, you live by advertising revenue and your blogs are content creches to attract search traffic (which clicks more than “loyal readers” who rarely do), then masses of content is important.

    The quality of that content is up to the blogger. There’s no law against badly-written content. The self-respect of the blogger makes that decision, no-one else.

  25. Even though I am full time employed I blog once or twice a day on my German language weblog. In the morning I have a set routine that involves taking a leak while making some tea and then heading straight to the PC to check up on a few things: AdSense revenue, Mails, Server stats.

    Most of the time I have a current idea ready to write down and polish into an article. If not I might just write what exciting adventures I have planned for the day. If I don’t post at least once a day I feel somewhat incomplete.

    Afterwards I go to work. In the evening I might do a similar routine. If I attended an interesting event to brag uhm blog about then this definitely will prompt me writing an article.

    My readership is about 200 unique viewers daily even though I don’t really get linked to quite much. My traffic is mostly organic if links from two forums bringing about 30% or viewers.

  26. pcunix says:

    I do a minimum of one post per day and a maximum of four. If I have nothing else to do, I may *write* more than four, but I do not post them – I save them for a day when I’m not so prolific.

    Normally I have a good backlog of seven to ten posts I can draw from, but over the past few weeks I’ve slowly slipped behind and have had to bake from scratch every day. Just too busy doing other things right now.. haven’t even been here very often..

  27. Tom says:

    PC unix

    That is my philosophy also, but it is always terrible when you wake up in the morning and there is nothing in the drafts folders and you have to scurry for the first post.

  28. I think blog authors also need to keep in mind how often they edit posts.

    I use Bloglines, and every time a blog updates a post, it’ll show up as new. It’s very frustrating when an author is making numerous, small changes without writing “Update:”.

    Another example is a blog that decides to incorporate advertising, and goes back to change all of its entries. Naturally, I’ll get 20 or 40 posts I’ve already seen over the past few months in one go, but with banner ads.

    This may be a flaw with Bloglines, but a lot of people use the service, so it’s something to keep in mind. I believe a repost should be to correct or update a post — not for minor typos.

  29. Joe says:

    Hey Darren,

    Tom…PC unix

    Welcome to my world. My biggest problem is if I write a post, I feel as if it should be published right away.

    I usually only post once a day as is, but if there is a second in there somewhere, it goes out right away.

    Joe

  30. gary says:

    i’m still new to this game, but i’m using bloglines to keep up & i try to write a couple of posts a day. if i write more, i’ll wait to post it another day. most of the blogs i track are automotive & i’ve found the big ones tend to post 20-40 posts a day. i just scan them quickly & rarely read a full post, as it becomes an info overload.

  31. A.B. Dada says:

    I post about 15-45 articles a week in my entire blog planet. Each blog is on a seperate subdomain, and each subdomain has its own RSS feed. The blog planet gets updated with each subdomain update and has a feed of its own.

    Since many of my readers read more than one of my subsites (each a different topic), they’re free to grab the main blog planet RSS feed — even though it might get 3-5 updates a day. The users who don’t want to be bothered might just subscribe to one or two “sub”-feeds.

    This seems to work very well and I definitely see an increase in return users. I’ve recently switched to FeedBurner to try to track the actual readership base who is using the feeds, but most are still using the original feed so it’ll take time.

    If you tend to update your site more than once a day, you might want to seperate feeds into subject matters so people don’t get overwhelmed.

  32. TimK says:

    I’m facing a similar situation. My blog is about how to tell stories and appreciate them. I started with a weekly 30-minute podcast, which focuses on a writing technique or subject. Then I added a 5-minute weekly “spotlight” podcast episode, which brieifly reviews a book, movie, or story game. That’s two days a week. Then I started blogging on most of the other days. These posts are all original content, but they’re of different lengths and on different subjects.

    Judging from my stats, people are reading the blog posts, and they are listening to the podcasts. But it seems that I have at least 3 different audiences. One primarily listening to the 30-minute Monday podcasts, another listening to the 5-minute Thursday spotlights, and a third reading the blog. Of this third, a chunk is SE traffic. Each of these responds differently to different subjects. Reviewing popular works in the spotlight brings a jump in traffic, as does talking about hot subjects in the blog.

    An enhancement I have planned is to offer different feeds for each of these, as well as for specific blog categories.

    -TimK

  33. Hi Darren,

    Excellent and timely post as I have been struggling with this exact question, especially in relation to “blog peer pressure.”

    My posting frequency slowed way down over the last two months as I am deep in the trenches working on several new product designs to be released this spring. Ah, work/blog/life balance! During this time I have noticed myself feeling uneasy and thinking I should be trying to keep up with some of my more prolific peers. While I look forward to getting back to my once a day or once every other day posting habit, I keep reminding myself to stick to my guns and focus on the long haul, quality over quantity. I have had some very positive feedback from readers expressing their gratitude that I don’t write filler posts, or sneak in design examples that are only loosely related to my topic.

    All this makes me reflect on the concept of how can we effectively manage reader expectations and avoid “blogging peer pressure.” Any thoughts?

    -Kristen

  34. TLB says:

    I frequently will post something just for future reference. For instance, if a politician says something “interesting”, I’ll save it in a post and then refer to it from future posts about that pol. I also do that for when newspaper stories go behind a pay wall, but I want to have it on the web.

  35. Eliot says:

    You know, I had considered my post rate and such before having read this… know it just confirms that I’ve got to pay a little more attention to it. Previously, I had gone days and then I would go into my “moods” where I’d post 3-4 in an hour. Ouch!

    …though it is difficult being so busy with school and the like.

  36. Luke says:

    I have been posting at a rate of 5 medium-sized posts per day since last week, because I set that specifically as my goal. Partly the reason I have set this quota is to force myself to learn to improve my writing style faster. The actual writing doesn’t usually take more than 4 hours or so, but I usually have to spend more time gathering data and thinking about things to write.

    The way I see it, we have a sort of “quality tank” that gets filled up all day as we think about things consciously and unconsciously. When you write, it drains that tank, but it leaves more room for next time. Of course this is a limited analogy because the brain is able to adapt itself like building muscle. 5 decent-quality posts per day is a challenge at present, but like any skill I expect it to become increasingly easier over time.

  37. Herman says:

    I only read blogs that contain quality content – hence I read your article above, and therefore do the same with my own.

    I try to focus on a series of posts based on the same topic which is both good for the search engines and for visitors who don’t want to jump around to seek the rest of the information.

    The only problem I have now is I have too many topics to write about…so should I create a separate blog for each or place all topics on one blog…what do you think?

  38. I’ve thought a lot about this. I post frequently and find that google crawls my site as soon as I post. It also helps my readership and my indexing. But I never post just to be posting. I only post when there’s something to say and I post on a number of subjects as I have sort of a general online magazine.

    Usually I have fairly long posts. Is that good or bad? I don’t know. But I write what I feel needs to be written and quit.

    I don’t think a person should post several times a day. But I think some topics can be posted daily. Other posts that center around one topic like marketing, etc might call for a once or twice monthly. But my experience tells me that an active blog is one that gets more attention, better rankings and eventually turns out to be a better blog.

    http://www.powerwriting.com
    http://www.susannahutcheson.com

  39. Jonathan says:

    Hey there,

    I’ve come across ProBlogger more than once, but got here through Google. I’m having trouble deciding exactly how often I should post.

    My gadget blog at Gazotto.com used to put out one quality post per day. I would discuss the gadget and how I felt about it.

    However, I saw other sites like Engadget and Gizmodo just rapid firing posts out there.

    I began to fire off a couple posts instead of 1, my max was 3, and made them a little smaller. I found that it solved the problem to a degree because many technological things can happen in one day.

    I did suspect that just flooding the user with so much tech and gadget talk would just overload the minds of the readers. This was made evident by comments made above.

    I’ve always maintained that at least in the gadget blogging market sometimes being simple is good. Of course, it’s difficult to turn the tide of Engadget, I think that sometimes one neat store, or a couple cool gadgets is all one needs.

    In a more general sense I do agree that each blog is different. One really needs to find balance between the rapid fire approach and the post drought.

  40. mortgage life insurance says:

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  41. Bhaanu says:

    I wait till I genuinely have something I wanna blog about and never just for the sake of it. My blog is still new and has a sort of personal touch to it. I want my time spent on posting as well as that of the reader reading it to amount for something.

  42. RIGHTTTT says:

    When i first started this my goal was 1 a day hoping to move to 5 a day. Now im doing between 2 and 5 a day. I guess they are medium. But some are small. Im trying to develop series of post’s so I can post about something specific weekly. Like my car buying tips from an ex salesman or SImply Amazing. I also post short post about what im doing with the blog or talking to subscribers to update everyone. And when i feel it i will go into a write mode and i will write a long post. But these are few and far between.
    So i have
    Daily posts about the blog and my life
    Weekly series post(which are actually closer to daily right now till i figure it all out)
    Long Posts which are probably bi-weekly.

  43. How many times have you saved something in a mail folder telling yourself that you would get back to it? Then two weeks go by and that folder now has 10 articles in it that all look good but you just don’t have the time to read it.

    Our readers are going through the same thing.

    I would recommend sending out a survey, the sooner the better, asking your readers what they prefer. Obviously you can’t please everybody but you can only do what you can do.

    I usually stick to about 2 or 3 a week, seems to keep attrition rate low(er).

  44. Zelimir Graf says:

    I think the frequency in which blogger posts really depends on what kind of content he has to deliver to his audience. The most important thing a blogger has to do is to let his audience know that he will be posting in certain time frames, so they can know what to expect.

  45. Interesting post. As the post relates, the author’s blog about digital cameras gets most of its traffic from the SE’s. That being said, i am sure that engadget is the same way and it is much more beneficial to post frequently for the SEs as opposed to depending on RSS readers.

  46. I don’t think a person should post several times a day. But I think some topics can be posted daily. Other posts that center around one topic like marketing, etc might call for a once or twice monthly. But my experience tells me that an active blog is one that gets more attention, better rankings and eventually turns out to be a better blog.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] As I subscribe to more and more feeds, I’m wishing I could filter out feed items based on certain key words. I recently discovered FeedShake which does this (do any feedreaders have this functionality inbuilt?). Handy when there’s just too many items to keep up with in a feed. Darren has a good discussion on if bloggers are posting too much in response to Seth’s post entitled “The noisy tragedy of the blog commons”. [...]

  2. [...] Anyway, for those interested, I found a great entry on Problogger: How Often Should A Blogger Post? Equally as interesting as the tips that Darren shares are the 38 (and counting) comments posted below his entry. You may find that this gives you some great insight into the minds of readers! (I know I did ) [...]

  3. [...] We’ve often discussed how much we should be posting behind the scenes of the Walker Blogs. I’m sure most people writing a blog or reading a blog have opinions about that. Darren Rowes has a post about this very topic where he raises several valid points on his own and quotes an equally relevant post by Seth Godin. [...]

  4. [...] 2 – How Often Should a Blogger Post?: ProBlogger Blog Tips Just like the marketers of Oreo (now in 19 flavors of cookies) we’re dealing with clutter by making more clutter. RSS fatigue is already setting in. While multiple posts get you more traffic, they also make it easy to lose loyal readers. (tags: blog marketing) [...]