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Posting Less Frequently Can Lead to Higher Reader Engagement

I just read an interesting post by Terry Dean outlining Which 10 RSS Feeds He Actually Reads.

Terry used the ‘Trends’ feature on Google Reader to analyze which blogs had the highest % of posts that he actually read. The list of blogs that he mentioned were all great blogs which would account for the high %’s that each got to some degree – but as I read through the 10 blogs I noticed something else that I think might also account for it and increase the chances of them having their posts actually read….

they post less frequently than many other blogs

This was initially just a hunch – so I decided to do a little research on each of the ten blogs.

less=more

Posting Averages of Terry’s Most Read Blogs

Over the last week on these blogs the average posting frequency was 0.8 posts per day. I thought that is probably a little skewed because it’s the new year – so I went back to an early week in December where I found that the posting averages were just on 1 post per day on average per blog.

A couple of them post only on weekdays, a few post once 7 days a week and a couple of others post up to 2 posts a day – but on average the posting frequency wasn’t huge – but it was consistent.

Posting Averages of My Most Read Blogs

I then decided to do the same research on my own most read feeds in Google Reader.

My results were a little different to Terry’s and probably skewed because I have an ‘A-list’ of feeds that I follow more religiously because they break news (this group were all at 100% read) but I noticed a similar trend to what I observed in Terry’s top read blogs – they posted less frequently.

At least in my own reading habits – if you post more than a few times a day my engagement with your posts (or the % of them that I actually read) decreases a little.

I’m not arguing that everyone should cut their posting levels back to a minimalist level (because there are some blogs who post a lot that I do read heavily) – but it does illustrate that sometimes less is more.

Of course there are other factors that will impact the % of posts read by readers and I’m not suggesting that it’s just about post frequency – quality of posts, topics covered, post length, how compelling writing is, the titles of posts, the demographics of readers and many other factors would all play a part.

On the Other Hand….

I was just chatting to another blogger about this (who wanted to remain nameless). He told me that his strategy was quite the opposite and was to post as many posts as possible in the day.

He didn’t mind that this might decrease the % of posts read – his theory was that if he posted 20 posts a day that even if only 20% of his audience actually read those posts that he’d end up with more readers on that day if he wrote 1 post a day and 100% read it.

The result is that he writes a very successful blog with a lot (and I mean ALOT) of short sharp posts per day).

I guess there’s more than one way to build a successful blog and I guess ‘success’ can mean different things to different people.

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. Serge says:

    I have a photoblog where I mostly post pictures, sometimes combined with text. Sometimes I post only a short text. I’m very consistent about the amount of postings but I’m wondering if this theory “less is more” is only valid for text messages or also for pictures only messages?

  2. kristarella says:

    pavs – you’re right that this blog and lifehacker post a lot and aren’t twitter blogs, but I think you’re wrong to assume that people are attracted to them because they post a lot. People are attracted to those blogs because they’re so damn useful. They publish well researched and informative posts, so they can get away with several posts a day.

    Most blogs do not come into that league and should not follow the example of posting that often until they have things that are worth saying that often.

    Serge – I think photoblogs are different all together. Less frequent is usually not a lot better than frequent. Sometimes less words in the description in good, although it’s good to give a small description of each photo in case someone wonders about it.

  3. Ron says:

    I am a new blogger. After reading all the comments I think something important to notice is that there are varied opinions on what each person who writes a blog thinks is best for their site. However the people who spoke from a blog readers perspective, all went with the don’t overwhelm me opinion. I think that pretty much answers it for me.
    I have been trying to post every little thought I had on sports and I have made them seperate posts in the interest of driving traffic. I will now reduce this to 1-2 posts a day with my collected thoughts.