Today Leo Babauta from Zen Habits shares what he did in 2007 that improved his blog the most.
Improvement on Zen Habits has come in many small doses this year, but if I had to pick one thing it would be my transition to longer, less-frequent “feature” posts that go into more depth about a topic.
My readers have responded very well to these types of feature posts, and they seem to do pretty well in social media like Digg and delicious too.
The change actually came in a couple of steps: 1) I moved from shorter, more-frequent posts to longer ones; and 2) I more recently moved from a set schedule to a more relaxed schedule of posting when I feel like it.
The first move came when I realized that the shorter posts weren’t doing as well and weren’t as effective. Often the shorter posts (and these were early in the year) would link to another blog’s post and comment on it, but the feature posts are often much, much more useful and definitely have more depth. They seem to move my readers more, to serve them better in their lives, and in my opinion, if you can accomplish that with a post, you’ve found real success.
The second move came when I began to feel forced to write posts. I had been on a weekly schedule, where I wrote about a certain topic on each day of the week. I actually really liked the schedule, and so did my readers. But on some days, the posts felt forced, and I didn’t have much to talk about on that day’s topic. My readers began to feel that forcedness (forced-ocity?) too, so that was a clear sign that change was needed. Now, instead of doing 5 posts a week, I often do 4, and I write about whatever I feel like writing about. That’s really
transformed my writing, because it allows me to follow my passions, to write about my current interest, and the writing is the better for it.
What I’ve done might not work for every blogger, but it’s something I recommend at least trying. If you’re doing shorter posts, try writing some longer ones, exploring the topic more, linking to other resources, giving lists of tips, making the post truly useful. If you post frequently, consider cutting your schedule back a bit — it’ll give you more time to write great posts, and your readers will probably appreciate having fewer posts to read.