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The Perfect Blogging Output Level

This guest post is by Greg Narayan of DearBlogger.

It’s a sad truth: if you stop blogging, people will eventually forget about you.

Just like the actors in our favorite movies or athletes once they retire, we soon forget the big names and find new ones to idolize.

Even if your blog enjoys the spotlight now with revolutionary posts that go totally Justin -Beiber-viral the moment you hit Publish, it won’t last forever. That’s where your output comes in. Reach an appropriate, consistent level of output and you’ll get returning readers while keeping Google happy too.

But how do we reach a “good” level of output, and what amount is it? How much do you have to write to stay popular? Let’s take a look.

The “one post a day” model

The one post a day model is pretty popular, probably because it’s easy to visualize. You wake up, brew the coffee, and sit down at the computer. As your heads spins with thoughts from the previous night and new ideas on the future, you write them down.

This might work very well if you run a “my thoughts on the world” type of blog, or are into self-improvement, or have a blog documenting your travels.

However, if you plan to blog seriously or blog for a living, I see a few problems with the one post a day model:

  • Short: Writing one blog a day inevitably produces short posts, unless you ramble on and on, which is never good. And after Panda, Google doesn’t exactly love brief posts. Unless you have the pull of Seth Godin, one short post after another might confuse your readers or make them think you’re…
  • Cheap: Anyone can write one post a day. You just jot down some words that look like they make sense and hit publish. But the best posts require revisions, to make the points clear and the copy concise. This level of quality is difficult to achieve every single day on your blog.
  • Too personal: If you are writing in your pajamas before beginning the day I’d bet that writing will get pretty personal. Your beliefs and biases will littler the copy in places they just shouldn’t. So unless you have a really, intensely interesting life like Kim Kardashian (ha!) I’d avoid being too personal in your blog posts. It can scare new readers away.

When I wrote on how I blog for money, one of the main messages was that you earn by giving lots of value to readers. If you find posting every day is the best way to give, that’s fine, but be careful you’re not posting every day just to drive more traffic and attention to your blog. You’ll receive just as much traffic in the long run by posting infrequently at first.

Note: For wholesome traffic-gen strategies, check out Ana Hoffman’s blog.

Now, how about we put a different spin on this model?

One post a day, revamped

The “revamped” model will help you truly give, and also use your full creative potential.

The idea is to add guest posts, newsletters, even a super long Google+ post into the mix, and here’s why it works.

Readers like consistency, we know that, so set one post per week in that regime to be on your own blog. Make it personal, with a story from your own experiences. The tone should be different from posts away from your blog, to give readers a distinct feel to latch on to.

The great thing is that allowing yourself to write on places outside your blog really frees up your imagination. I can’t tell you how many people come to me saying they feel pressured to keep the content churning on their own blog, and it’s hurting their writing. Well, this is a solution.

You should know a couple things though before adapting this model. In order to write great guest posts you’ve gotta be immersed. Not in the TV in front of you on the magazine on the table, though you may find inspiration there. No, be immersed in the tone of the other blog. Read five or ten of their posts, catch their vibe, and see what readers want.

A lot of the time, what readers come back for on another blog is totally different from your own blog. To be a successful guest poster you’ll need to wise up to these little style cues on another blog.

This doesn’t just include guest posts. Every Tuesday morning, for example, I send out a newsletter to subscribers only. I’d be crazy to publish a post the same day because it would overwhelm people. Plus, I usually reference past posts in the newsletter, so the flow of traffic coming to my blog is taken care of. This is a great way of reusing content and getting folks to the blog.

Where do I find the inspiration?

So, you’re going with the one post a day model. Maybe you’ve tailored it a bit so you allow yourself two days off. Nothing wrong with that. Either way, you’ll be writing a serious amount.

Where do the ideas come from? It’s no secret good writing requires inspiration, and some of us just seem to have more of it than others. But where do we get it?

Here are a few places you can find inspiration to meet your desired output levels:

  • Conversations: Yes, they still exist off of Facebook. Go have a rich one.
  • Old-fashioned books: Old classics (Gatsby is my fave) boast inspirational ideas well ahead of their time.
  • Restaurants: Observe the menu. Neat words will pop out. Trust me, they will.
  • Other blogs: Your favorite blog should be full of daily inspiration.
  • Travel: Check out PickTheBrain soon for my post on how travel solves all your problems.

What are my limitations?

The honest truth is there are none. I know successful bloggers who rose to fame averaging only a few posts a month (read: Dererk Halpern).

Then there are those who furiously write, even when they can’t stand to anymore.

Forcing yourself to write can be a tremendous burden in the face of another job and even a family. If it’s not a creative outlet for you, either try to make it one, or just chill out. Put the laptop away for a while.

Often, inspiration creeps in when you’re not looking for it.

So, what is the perfect blogging output level?

There isn’t one (lame punch-line, I know).

It’s all about what works best for you, given your daily restrictions to time, money, location, etc.

Personally, I enjoy posting once a week on my blog because my readers expect it, and it’s just enough of a schedule to keep me sane. I know that when I’m not posting I should subconsciously be looking for new ideas—new weird/crazy topics to interrelate—from my surroundings. Then I sprinkle in guest posts like this one or that one to keep folks on a never-ending hunt to find me when I’m not at the blog.

It’s quite fun, actually.

But, your output schedule could be totally different. The point kind of is, you should choose something. Thinking about your output levels will help you tailor a schedule, which I firmly believe is necessary to make blogging for a living actually work someday. And that’s the goal, right?

What works for you?

I’m quite aware the one post a day model is outdated and not for everyone. Honestly, I’m not even sure if I blog enough! So, what works for you? I really hope someone successful out there can chime in and help us all out.

Let me know in the comments.

The Blogger writes on everything blogging at DearBlogger. Get free updates from his email club for more, or .

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Comments

  1. As much as I’d like to be able to write one post a day, that’s just not in the cards given the other responsibilities in my life.

    Instead, I’m hoping to work myself up to twice a week, where one post a week is my content and one post is something else (guest post, link roundup, interview, etc). I’m not there yet, but it’s definitely a goal I’m keeping in mind!

  2. Dustin says:

    I can relate to this. There are times where I post once a day, the next week I post twice a week. I am having problem with consistency. As of now I don’t know what works for me, I am new to this so I kinda experiment a lot. Thanks for the info :-)

  3. Great post Greg! I quite often find that the authors who are posting content every day lose my attention very quickly as their quality often takes a hit.
    For me, posting once a week is working perfectly for what I want my website to achieve.

  4. Alan says:

    We post twice a week on our blog (http://blog.mailvu.com). It seems to be frequent enough to keep people coming back, and just enough time inbetween to allow us to write more substantial posts.

    Alan
    mailVU.com

  5. Julia Agnes says:

    Yep! We should write a lot of exclusive, stunning and useful content!

  6. John says:

    Not really a new idea…but I suppose it’s worthy of repeating.

    That being said it’s unfair to assume daily posting automatically means lower quality writing and content. Yes it’s harder to post on a more frequent schedule and yes some people could be more personal in their bathrobe than in a suit, but if you can write quality posts every day it will beat out posts of the same quality published once a week or once a month.

    The true key to output is consistency in both publication AND quality not one OR the other.

  7. Jaykrishna says:

    a great presence of mind is needed while updating the posts and i prefer to post contents every day

  8. Rahul says:

    very nice tips to get better out i will also apply on my blog thanks for sharing..

  9. Kimberly says:

    Thanks for the insight!
    I run a contributor blog and we post 3 days a week. The idea that there is always a faith post on Monday, a Life post, and a Community post on Friday and readers know what to expect.
    My personal blog is another story… I am still trying to get my rhythm. If like to post 3 times a week as well.

  10. I certainly agree about losing your superstar status quickly if you don’t blog consistently. I see my audience decrease significantly when I don’t blog over the weekend. I have mixed reactions about how much you should blog. When you first start out, you have to blog a lot to get drive traffic to your site. However, as more people know you and your brand, you shouldn’t have to blog as much. Like you said, it’s about the quality and value of the blog.

  11. Beth Hewitt says:

    Hey Greg,

    I’m with you, we have to do what works for us, our schedule and as well as meeting the expectations of our subscribers. I do like to mix it up a bit every now and again. I just finished hosting a 30 day blog post challenge. 30 days because it is short enough not to totally drive people mad. Blogging each day creates discipline and makes people think about posts in way they might not have done before, but blogging everyday for ever sounds like a chore and half.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Beth :)

  12. Matt Brennan says:

    I’ve been trying something similar to your revamped version. Last year, I did the one post a day thing, and the thing I quickly discovered is that volume doesn’t necessarily equate to traffic. So, as of the new year, I’m still writing a lot, but giving away a bunch for guest posts.

    I might have to start doing the extended G+ posts. I haven’t really tried that yet. It might be a way to get more immediate readers.

    Good suggestions here. I do think the key is spreading out your work to make people aware of it!

  13. Interesting timing for this topic as I have just launched a blog and this is something I had to grapple with.

    My niche is in the personal finance field, and most every blog I know of does the “one post a day” model, which must apparently be working, since everyone does it. But I wanted to try something a little different.

    If you’re familiar with a blog like Daring Fireball, or Kottke, you know how they put out a handful of posts each day, but they are of the shorter, linking variety: headline, link, blockquote, short commentary. That’s their formula. Since those are the types of blogs I like the read, that’s the format that I’ve chosen. Again, it’s a lot of linking and much shorter posts, but I like how it flows.

    I’d actually be interested to hear any feedback on that format in general, or my site specifically. I don’t see it used very much, which makes me wonder how successful it can be.

    Nice post.

  14. Joel says:

    Good post. I always appreciate when quality is preached. Personally, with my site, I decided it would be best to hire college students who are aspiring to become writers. They have a lot of personality and ambition. This way I can still provide a post a day without either sacrificing quality or burning myself out.

  15. Bob says:

    Very interesting information. I try to blog at least 10-15 times per month as my goal. I originally tried the one-post per day idea but realized (just as you mention in this post) it becomes a burden. I do however find that the more consistent I blog, the better my search engine results and therefore the higher traffic – BUT, quality is king. If I post garbage, Google doesn’t care and neither do the visitors.

    Thanks for the great info

  16. Jack Bastide says:

    I hate typing (and I’m not really good at it so here’s what I do

    I compose an emaill on my Iphone using the Voice Recognition feature

    I them email it to myself . clean it up and Voila .. a new blog post :)

    Jack Bastide

  17. Tony Yao says:

    Very insightful read. When you talk about “too personal”, how much is too much in your opinion?

    Would something like this be ok? http://www.mangatherapy.com/post/42547295212/being-a-real-life-izaya-orihara-durarara

  18. Thanks narayan for suggesting new way and it clears my feeling on blog posting.From the starting of my blog my strategy is one post per one day is enough and it is suitable for every blog.After reading this i’ve change my plan and ready to deliver best articles atleast 2 per day.Thank you once again.

  19. At one time I posted six times a week, then four, hoping to cut down on the pressure of putting out quality content. I now post three times a week and wonder if I should cut back to two. One of my posts is centered around my weekly show on Blog Talk Radio called DestinySurvival Radio. Doing that post is always more work than I anticipate going into it. I’ve got hundreds of ideas and dozens of posts partially started for the future. I marvel at those who can be so prolific in my niche and still put out decent material.

  20. I have two blogs and was posting between 5-6 days a week and that is completely crazy. By the end of last year I thought I would lose my mind.
    I now COMMIT to 3 days per week (Mon, Wed and Fri) and reserve the other days for if something comes up that I REALLY want to post about.

  21. My ideal output level is around 4 times a week on my personal blog and 3 times on my business blog. Would love to add at least one guest post a week to that. Not there yet, though.

  22. Kerlin says:

    Yes it is very important to write useful content from the reader’s point of view instead of search engine view point. Great article.

  23. I post 5-6 days a week and I have about 30 drafts ready to go. I get inspiration from my daily life (I live with 3 dogs), group discussions, social networking, reading blogs, local news, and reading magazines and books.

    When I started, I blogged 3x a week and I tried different days trying to figure out the best share days. I finally gave up and decided that I would write daily and I was lucky, because my followers like it. One thing that I changed was eliminating automatic sharing. I used to do this through Networked Blogs to Facebook and Twitter. Now I share manually and add my own writing to it, the difference is the engagement.

    Great post; it took me a year to figure out what you wrote so clearly here.

  24. Whitney says:

    I agree with the main point of this, which is that there “isn’t” a perfect output model. The one a day model is great, but I”ve tried it and it’s too overwhelming to pump out that much content. For me it’s 2-3 times a week, like Yaro recommended in his blog profits blueprint. It’s all about whatever’s comfortable for you. If your blog is a business, you need to pump out fresh content consistently.. but quality always wins over quantity..your readers would much rather have 2-3 quality posts a week, than one lousy post everyday. However some blogs, such as this very blog, can pull off one or more posts a day brilliantly. It just all depends!

  25. Angie says:

    I’ve been pretty consistent with 2 or 3 times a week, one major longish one and one or two shorter ones. This feels pretty comfortable for me. Quality over quantity?

  26. This blog is inspired me. Thank so much.

  27. I totally agree. Plus, quite frankly I don’t want to hear once a day from anyone and I am suspect of anyone (other than big powerhouse brands that have a ton of employees) who does post once a day. I think they are an egomaniac if they have that much to say every single day. Bloggers have lives, and whoever invented this once a day rule obviously doesn’t have one.

    Thanks for adding a little sanity to the conversation on blogging consistency.

  28. Nikki says:

    I launched my blog about three weeks ago, so I’ve been posting daily to build up content for new visitors to browse.

    I’m thinking about continuing with the daily posts for two months. Hopefully I won’t burn out before then.

    I’ve been working on building up my social networks too. So by the time I slow down with the daily posts, I’m hoping to have at least a little audience to help share my 2-3 posts every week.

    Fingers crossed. Great post :)