Over the weekend I asked ProBlogger readers to tell us how many posts they’d written on each of their blogs last week.
142 comments were left referring to a total of 181 blogs. Here are a few of the figures:
- The average number of posts that bloggers posted to each blog was 8.9 for the week.
- The most common response was 5 posts for the week (27 blogs had this number of posts – or 15%).
- 50% of blogs had 6 or less posts posted to them (and 50% had 7 or more posts over the week – or 1 post per day)
Here’s how things look when we graph them. The bottom axis is the number of posts written and the left axis is how many blogs had this many posts.
Note: I’ve excluded a couple of the responses because they didn’t give enough detail on a blog by blog basis.
My initial reaction to the figures was that it fit pretty closely with what I’d expected. The average blogger is able to get around 1 post out per day (or at least per weekday).
However my curious little mind automatically wonders what would happen if we did a similar survey on a list of more prominent and successful blogs? On previous occasions I’ve spent time surfing through the Technorati Top 100 to find out how often they post per day. On one occasion I found that the top 50 posted around 20 times per day (140 times per week) and on another found that the top 10 posted an average of 30 posts per day (210 times per week).
If someone’s got time to do a more recent survey of how many times they post I’d love to see it – but I suspect that the graph would look quite different to the one above – with a much higher average and a shape that had a higher proportion of blogs at the right hand end of the graph.
What is the optimal number of posts per week?
By no means am I suggesting that post frequency is the key to successful blogging. There are many factors that come into play when we analyze successful blogs.
Comparing ProBlogger readers post frequency with the Top 100 at Technorati is not a fair comparison. For starters, most of the blogs in the Top 100 at Technorati are written by full time bloggers (or teams of bloggers).
When thinking about the optimal number of posts to write per day a blogger really needs to think carefully about a number of factors:
- Blogger Time and Energy Levels – How much can you sustain as a blogger? Posting too frequently takes it’s toll on you as a blogger and will impact the quality of the posts that you’re able to produce.
- Reader Energy Levels – Bloggers are not the only ones that can burnout from producing too much content – most readers have an upper limit of posts that they are able to consume.
- Post Length – Many of the Top 100 blogs that are producing high numbers of posts are doing so with shorter posts. This makes it easier for both bloggers and readers.
- Topic – different blogs tend to lend themselves to different styles of blogging. For example a blog like Gizmodo which covers the very wide topic of ‘gadgets’ has a lot wider scope than a blog focussing upon a single type or brand of gadget. As a result Gizmodo gets away with a lot more posts per day.
- Reader Type – different blogs attract a different type of reader. To use Gizmodo again as an example – it’s readers are information junkies whose thirst is the latest information on anything gadget related. They are tech savvy and able to consume large amounts of content – partly due to the large amount of time that they spend online. Other blogs might have a completely different type of reader. For example on my digital photography tips blog I seem to have attracted a lot of older, less tech savvy, beginner level digital camera users. I find that they are less willing to interact with lots of posts each day – so I keep it to a more manageable level (5 posts a week on average).
The optimal number of posts per day or week will depend upon the blogger, the blog’s topic and the reader. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ number and to find the number that suits your situation will take a time and a little experimentation.
The key is probably less about the number of posts and more about the consistency. A blog which regularly posts 200 posts a week that suddenly drops to 5 will probably find it’s readers pushing back and complaining – similarly, a blog which posts 3 posts a week that suddenly moves to posting 80 will probably find itself with a reader revolt.