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Write Less, Say More

This is a guest contribution from Brooke McAlary, founder of Slow Your Home.

You’ve heard of slow food, perhaps even slow travel or slow homes. But slow…blogging? Really?

Isn’t the point of blogging to be topical, with our fingers on the pulse of global trends? Don’t we, as bloggers, pride ourselves on being the gatekeepers of information, upcoming releases and Game of Thrones memes?

Each day we feel pressured to uncover and share the next Big Thing – the app of the year, the design trend of the season, the life-hack no-one has ever shared before.

By adopting the slow blogging approach, however, you can walk away from that pressure. You intentionally choose to pull back, to put your hands up and say, “Hey, TechCrunch, you can have your 15 posts a day. I’m going to run my own race instead, thanks.”

But Why?

Aside from the obvious and very attractive point of not trying to compete with the BoingBoings, the Huffington Posts and the Apartment Therapies of the internet, slow blogging also allows you to say more while writing less.

But let’s back-track a moment.

What is Slow Blogging?

The term Slow Blogging was coined by Todd Sieling in his 2006 manifesto. Essentially Sieling outlined the movement as a rejection of immediacy and embracing the intrinsic value of our words.

In other words, wait until you have something interesting to say before hitting Publish.

What slow blogging isn’t, is lazy, ignorant or careless. It’s the exact opposite. It means you value both your time and that of your readers so much that you refuse to waste it. What you create is of value instead of simply adding to the noise.

A Slow Blogger:

  • Gives his ideas time and space to fully form. He doesn’t rush them out into the world simply to fill the silence.
  • Writes for people, not search engines.
  • Doesn’t focus on her analytics figures, subscriber count or Twitter followers. She sees the value, rather, in her tribe, her community, her people.
  • Has a simplified workflow. His days are not filled with productivity apps and curation tools. A notepad, some Post-Its or Evernote will suffice.
  • Is authentic, intentional and mindful in her writing. Honesty and transparency result from spending more time thinking and questioning.
  • Understands she cannot be everywhere. 

Why is Slow Blogging a Good Thing?

I’ve been writing about simple living for over two years, but it wasn’t until I started applying the elements of slow blogging that I saw vast improvement in my work, my community and my readership.

Slowing down, posting less frequently, spending more time thinking, studying and writing my posts, has ultimately led me to attract a much bigger audience. My readers now are engaged, inspired and my greatest champions, and I put much of that down to my decision to go Slow.

I’ll say that part again, because it bears repeating.

My readership has grown as I’ve posted less.

In addition to a more engaged audience, most bloggers who adopt all (or parts) of the slow blogging movement to their work will see the following advantages:

  • Your content will have greater depth and clarity.
  • The quality of your work will go up as your output goes down.
  • You will spend less time writing, giving you more time to spend on your life, business, work, family or cocktails in the sun.
  • You will experience less stress and less pressure as you stop focusing on traffic numbers, subscriber counts and comments.
  • You will focus more on delivering real value to the people in your audience, and therefore create a much more loyal community.
  • Yes, growth may be slower to begin with, but as you develop your voice and a reputation for depth, your audience will grow in both size and loyalty.

5 Action Steps to Slow Down Your Blogging

Does this slow blogging thing sound attractive to you? Would you like to dip your toe in the proverbial water?

Here’s 5 action steps you can take:

1. Commit to posting less frequently. If you currently post every day, try cutting back to 2-3 days a week. Less, if you feel brave. Then give it a month and judge your community’s reaction.

2. Limit social media to 10 minutes per outlet per day. Use programs like HootSuite or Buffer to automate some of your output. And only get online if you would like to, not out of obligation. The world will keep turning if you avoid Twitter for a day.

3. Simplify your writing process. Be it with a pen and paper or a simple writing app, commit to keeping your notes, outlines and drafts in one place. Keep it simple.

4. Commit to writing one longer, well-thought out piece per week/fortnight/month. Depending on your topic, this could mean spending 5-15 hours on one post. Publish and promote it, then judge the reaction of your readers.

5. Ask yourself before hitting Publish, “Is this truly helpful to my readers? Will they care? Do I care?” In other words, only post when you have something real to say.

While the Slow Blogging movement has its foundation in the minimalism and simple living niches, it can apply to a huge range of topics.

The following sites all apply elements of slow blogging, and all are very successful:

So before you cast this movement aside as not being for you, simply ask yourself if you’d benefit from a more engaged community, more readers and more popular content. Then see if there are elements of slow blogging you could incorporate into your work.

Do you already incorporate some of the elements of slow blogging to your work? Would you like to? Share with us in the comments below.

Brooke McAlary is the founder of Slow Your Home and the creator of the insanely helpful Slow Home BootCamp - where she helps you create the simpler life you want. She is also a passionate writer, blissful gardener and siesta advocate. 

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Comments

  1. Paul says:

    Interesting observation Brooke. I’ve been “slow blogging” for quite some time now. I have my own time frame and it’s slower than a tortoise crossing a big patch of land. Will I become the next Darren Rowse? Maybe, maybe not but I am happy with my progress.

    • I love it, Paul! It’s not necessarily a matter of keeping up with the competition or the big players if it doesn’t fit with the overall approach of your blog and, importantly, your life!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. Just when I get close to wanting to chuck all of my social media, blogging and audience building aspirations because of all the noise out there, I come across a post like this that reminds me that the way I’m approaching my work (more thought and effort, less frequency) makes sense.

    Brooke, you’re so right about this point. Where did we get it in our heads that our readers need MORE stuff in order to feel engaged? Like they aren’t already bombarded with blog posts and tweets already.

    Thanks for writing such a thought provoking post.

    • Thank you, Marcus. And I agree completely – I know there is too much noise in my life and I don’t want to add any more to my readers’ lives unless it’s going to help them. If they are engaged in your content and your blog/business, they will happily wait the week, two weeks or month it takes to produce another piece.

  3. David Evans says:

    I strongly agree with this idea, direct to the point if possible.

  4. Vizzi says:

    Awesome post and thoughts, Brooke. It’s also why I’ve always said to focus on quality not quantity. It doesn’t matter how often you post, if it’s low-quality. Reduce how often you post and put that effort into creating BETTER content will pay off in the long run. Saturating an already crowded space with mediocre content won’t get you far.

    The cream always rises to the top. Do whatever you can to make your content richer.

    I think you’ve inspired our next post. Thanks again, Brooke!

  5. Paul Profitt says:

    Hi Brooke, I have never been a fan of the write 5 blog posts a week strategy. I always thought that the quality of the post matters more than the quantity, so from my point of view your article is a winner

    • Absolutely, Paul. Quality over quantity every day!

      Thanks for the kind words and sharing your thoughts.

    • sajid says:

      I also completely agree with you…. But you know i have seen some blogs and websites who published dozens of posts on the daily blogs and their rate of growth is amazing.

    • Amrik Virdi says:

      Well said Paul. It is good to focus on quality rather than quantity.

  6. Darek Kargul says:

    Hi Brooke,

    I totally agree with your “slow blogger” strategy. When I first started my blog, I was writing like 1 post a day, but the post was only 300-600 words so its not really much to read and not much people were reading it either. So I deleted all those short posts and started to write long posts but not so often and this method helped me get at least 300% more daily visitors and way higher engagement with the readers. Since then I always try to write posts at least 2,000 words long with lots of informations insted of just few. Just like you said, it’s better to write more but less often than write less but more often.

    Enjoy your weeked Brooke.

    • Thanks so much, Darek. It sounds like you’ve found your groove – well done.

      I also don’t think a better blog post necessarily needs to be a longer blog post (although it does depend on what your topic is, to a certain extent). It really depends on how well-thought through it is, and how much value those thoughts can bring your readers.

      Have a great weekend too – whatever is left of it!

  7. Jake Johnson says:

    Great post Brooke.

    Definitely a lot of great points to keep in mind. I tend to publish around 3 posts per week, and I think I’m going to reduce it to two, maybe one per week, to ensure that the quality is top notch and that I can consistently churn out unique and interesting information.

    Keep up the great work!

    Jake

    • Thanks, Jake. I think it’s definitely worth experimenting with, and if you have an engaged audience they won’t necessarily mind the shift from 3 to 2, or even one post a week, as long as it’s good.

      Let us know how you go!

  8. Bill White says:

    I have to disagree with some of your analysis. If you are a “slow” blogger it will become very difficult for you to get noticed. The examples you give are of people who at the start of thier blogging careers were not a slow blogger at all and spent a ton of time on social media.

    Leo from Zenhabits became a slow blogger after he became successful and a lot of his original traffic was from Digg.com. He was very active there and did a lot of work to get his posts noticed.

    I say hit the aggression button when you are getting started or else you will not pick traction.

  9. Great article. There’s many of us that do blogging because we enjoy writing about a topic in our free time. I don’t want to feel like my blog is my job but more of a “for fun” type of thing. Plus, who has time for all of that? There’s a life to enjoy…

    • “Plus, who has time for all of that? There’s a life to enjoy…”

      Exactly!

      Business, hobby, or sideline gig, blogging is only one part of a bigger picture. I just think we need to be intentional when spending our time on it. As you say, there is so much more to experience, and I wouldn’t want my writing to stop me from living life.

      Thanks for your comment, Matt.

  10. Hi there, I’ve been a long time reader but haven’t really commented very much. I wanted to comment this time however because I feel the same way about posting when you have something good to say. I’ve been myself posting about everyday, even on the weekend and I feel it’s gone pretty good for me.

    I’ve tried going three days a week and four days a week but I agree that you shouldn’t post something if you don’t take the time to craft it into a work of art. I’m going to try posting five times a week Tuesday to Saturday, leaving Monday and Sunday open.

    The reason is while Monday is the going back to work day, I feel that’s when most people hit news and so my blog will more than likely be over looked. So I feel it’s a good time to post the next day.

    I also feel that the time of the day is important too. I’ve been posting at 10am, which seems to be working out for me a great deal.

    • Sounds great, Richard.

      And I agree, it is certainly up to the individual person how much is too much and how much is not enough. Providing the content is valuable and good quality, the best frequency is up to you.

      I like your insights regarding Mondays too. Never really thought about that side of a Monday (people catching up on news, etc) but it makes a lot of sense.

  11. Hi Brooke, I have to say in my early blogging days I was so sure I needed to pump out post after post, update after update. And I think when you’re new to the blogosphere you are really trying to get your name out there. But it wasn’t just time consuming, it was ALL consuming.

    Nowadays I slow blog on both my blog platforms. I put out one post per week on my personal blog (CRAP Mamma) and I commit to one per 2-3 weeks on the business blog (B-BRAND) at the moment.
    It’s not only giving my readers quality over quantity but it’s preventing them from reader fatigue. Let’s face it, who has time to read 1, 2 or even three blog posts every day from each of the blogs we follow?
    It’s less pressure from a writing perspective and less pressure on my readers. SLow blogging hasn’t affected my stats, in fact they’re still growing steadily – which says a lot. THanks for a great read. Jac

  12. Imran says:

    hello Brooke,
    I never know anything about posting how many post in a week for blog, can you give me some tips? may be that will helpful for me and other visitors?

    • Hey Imran,

      As a few other commenters have mentioned, the frequency really does depend on the niche you serve, the amount of time you have to give to your blog, and what your life looks like away from the computer.

      Personally, I post twice a week, and while I’m certain my audience would like me to post more, they are happy to wait. I think people are afraid that posting less frequently will mean their audience will forget them, but the slow blogging approach means your content will be so good they can’t forget you!

      I hope that’s somewhat helpful?

  13. I go with the comment of paul profitt and I commend the article posted here by Brooke. It is best to take time to write and make plans before writing anything. A couple of articles written in a day but poorly planned is nothing compared to a single article written in a week. It is quality over quantity.

    • Exactly, Jerry. Quality over quantity. There is so much mediocre content created simply to have something new to say. I think waiting until you have something worthwhile to say is far more important.

      Thanks for your comment.

  14. I think it depends on the niche. Some niche-blogs can get away with writing a new post each and every day while others can get away with just one here and there. I enjoyed this post, Brooke, thanks for sharing it. :)

    • Amrik Virdi says:

      I am totally agree with Shawn. There are few niches like technology and news which require daily posting.
      However, it is good to raise your phaze according to your audience growth.

      Great article,
      Amrik Virdi

    • I agree, Shawn. And I think it’s more a matter of delivering valuable content AND fitting that into your broader life. If you’re a full-time writer/blogger/mediapreneur then posting daily can work. But if (like me) you’re working elsewhere or at home with kids, it’s far better to use the time at your disposal to create one really great piece of content a week, rather than 5 ill-thought pieces.

      Thanks for the comment. :)

  15. Ashutosh says:

    Hi Brooke,

    Thanks for sharing some true tips on increasing the quality of our blog posts. Yes, you are right that changing the frequency of posting helps us work harder towards good quality and quality has always overtaken quantity. Moreover, I believe that a change in posting frequency also introduces a sense of suspense in the mindset of readers.

    Glad to go through your blog and learn something good on my blogging journey.

    • Great point, Ashutosh. If the content is good enough, people will really look forward to it. Sure sign of an engaged audience, I think!

  16. Writing topics of quality, should be a better focus, than the everyday posts, and mere quality.
    I belief, the Slow Blogging approach, should be a better strategy, for positive, and successful blogging.
    Thank you.

  17. Thank you for writing about precisely what has been on my mind lately. I hadn’t realised there was a “slow blogging” movement, so am very happy to learn there are others who feel the same way about blogging as I do. Thank you for sharing this.

  18. Ryan Kaufman says:

    hi Brooke

    It looks like your content marketing model is not just about writing less but also about publishing less frequently… this works fine, as you are left with more time for research and crafting super meaty and insightful content. However, when it comes to ranking in Google and getting free organic traffic, most bloggers would love to get some results sooner than later.

    For this, I recommend you blog comment and guest post more frequently than you’d do on your own site.

    Focus 30% of your time on content on your blog
    Remaining 70% of one’s time should be invested on writing content/comments for other people’s online proprieties.

    Does it make sense? What do you think about this approach?

    • That makes perfect sense, Ryan. :)

      I do think it depends on the goals people have for their blogs, but considering this audience, I’d say everyone reading would be on board with getting more organic traffic.

      I definitely write more than I publish on my own site, and in periods where I want to increase visibility, am launching a product or want to grow my list, I definitely spend more time writing guest posts like this.

      The same principles apply though, I think. I could churn out 20 mediocre guest posts in a week, and send them out scatter-shot, hoping to get decent traffic. Or, I can spend time writing a highly targeted post for one blog, rewrite it, edit it, polish it and send it on its way.

      For me, and my slow blogging approach, the latter works really well. As I mentioned above though, I do think it’s all about your goals, your niche and your broader life.

  19. Elizabeth says:

    I really love this, Brooke. A very genuine and organic approach. Thanks for sharing.

    • Pleasure, Elizabeth. I’m really glad you enjoyed it.

      And genuine is a great word to describe the movement (as I see it, anyway.)

  20. I agree on this one but I do post Mon through Friday with weekends off. I also have posts called Photo Gallery Tuesday and Photo Gallery Thursday where I show just one photo and a bit of a write up on that photo. It gives the readers and myself a bit of a break from the longer posts. I don’t know if I would cut it down any more than the 5 days, would be a nice idea but don’t want to loose any of my readers. May give it a try to see how it goes.

  21. This is very much my style of blogging, so it’s good to hear somebody kicking back from the accepted norm of post, post, post.

    We all suffer from information overload, so only post when you’ve got something of high quality to give; don’t post just for the sake of it.

    Excellent article!

  22. Ben Troy says:

    Quality is need of readers and quantity is need of you that is the biggest difference I can conclude. Readers are always searching for those contents which are correct, easy and meaningful

  23. David Boozer says:

    Hey Brooke, thank you for the great post! Funny you should mention this…I took the whole weekend off to simply slow down, gather my own thoughts and start heading in a slightly new direction with my own blog…Thanks, you really hit home with this guy…=)

  24. Paul says:

    Great observation Brooke. I’ve been slow blogging for about a year now. I do my best to research, my posts thoroughly then I save it as a draft. Re-read it a day later, revise it again then have someone read it back to me. The question that goes through my mind is “will my readers benefit from this post”? If not it’s back to the keyboard.

  25. Roberto says:

    I think you better off with one well written piece than a constant bombardment, not least because is there really enough new content to publish each day?

  26. Jon Rhodes says:

    Great advice, and this is what I largely do with my blog. I feel that 1 really good post is worth more than 10 mediocre ones. There is so much average content on the internet- any more doesn’t add any value to proceedings. If you can add some true value to the internet, you’ll get some back.

  27. Lynn Baber says:

    Testimony combined with proven results. Thanks for differentiating between sharing a message and sharing “content.”

  28. I disagree. I think what matters ultimately is the quality of your writing. True no one wants information overload but at the same time, good quality articles will always be welcome. The best example is this very blog which is updated by multiple people every day.
    Slow blogging need not necessarily mean less number of articles everyday. If could mean that you yourself will post once every 2 days.

  29. Yvonne says:

    Thank you for reminding me of why I started my blog. It will save me from making mistakes down the line. =D

  30. UMOFX says:

    Awesome post and thoughts, Brooke. It’s also why I’ve always said to focus on quality not quantity. It doesn’t matter how often you post, if it’s low-quality. Reduce how often you post and put that effort into creating BETTER content will pay off in the long run. Saturating an already crowded space with mediocre content won’t get you far.

    The cream always rises to the top. Do whatever you can to make your content richer.

    I think you’ve inspired our next post. Thanks again, Brooke!

  31. Dan says:

    Nice post Brooke, totally agree

  32. Charmie says:

    Hey Brooke,
    An awesome, clean, concrete piece of writing. There is no space left for a doubt or illusion of why your SLOW BLOGGING can make up such pace-ful effects. Even I believe in creating great content keeping the time or frequency constraint out.

    Thanks a lot for making such a great read.
    Regards
    Charmie

  33. Yes, all “depends on the goals people have for their blogs”. Some need quantity, some – quality. I publish one post in a week. I feel more posts will do worse quality.

  34. Nate says:

    Excellent article Brooke. One of my sister companies has taken its roots to develop a “slower blogging” perspective in addition to a “slower e-mail newsletter”. What would you say though to a developer we have on staff that one of his primary tasks is to write articles for the company?

  35. Susan Neal says:

    Hi Brooke,

    It was such a relief to read this post. I only publish one post a week and don’t know how other bloggers can manage 2, 3 or even more. There’s so much pressure in the blogosphere to publish tons of content and I do think quality is often the victim. I get tired of reading endless superficial blog posts, covering the same old ground, often with nothing new to say.

    I’m very happy to be a slow blogger – and pleased to know I’m not on my own – thank you :)

    Sue

  36. Thanks for this great post, Brooke.

    I just launched my first professional blog a few weeks back. I put my pace of posting at 4-5 posts a week, 3 minimum…and I found that after the initial excitement of the first week, the quality of my posting was already degrading. Between posting, working on the site, connecting thru social media, and oh — having a job — there simply isn’t enough time and energy to put in the quality of work I expect from myself to give to my readers.

    Focusing on high quality content was my initial goal — so you’re right — why not just post 1-2 times a week if it means better work? Possibly even less if necessary? You reminded me of what I’m blogging for — the long term.

    This was extremely encouraging, and puts away some of those false beliefs that “If I blog it (often), they will come.” Instead, a niche blog is all about “If I blog it (well), they will come.”

    Time to put today’s draft of a post that I hashed out carelessly on hold; time to write less, with more depth.

    Thanks again.

  37. kirri says:

    Such an encouraging post Brooke. Thank you!

    I’ve been a slow blogger since day one. I knew that I wanted to be blogging for the long term, which for me meant slow and steady.

  38. Yay! I’m not so crazy after all. A little over a year ago I took a step back and stopped blogging. Having been coached to post twice a week it was a real stretch for me as I work full time, too. Now, I’ve re-engaged in the blog world and post one time per week. I am happy, my articles, I think, are full of timely, relevant information my readers want to read and use. Thank you for this great article, edifying a lifestyle of blogging slower, but with more heart. Love it.

  39. Hi,

    Great post. I never heard of Slow Blogging until now. Actually, many of us are doing slow blogging, jamming our brakes during some times in life. When things are not running smoothly, we can help ourselves by slowing down, listen, take a breathe before we move on.

    Thanks
    SC

  40. Nrupen says:

    I’ll would like to add 2 more points, by adapting slow blogging your reader will spend more time on your website. An average site visitor spends nearly 2 minutes on a blog that updates almost daily, where as blog that updates once per week gets nearly 3 and half minute of visitor time.

    Your website’s bounce rate will reduce. A blog that updates daily usually gets more traffic from search engines but bounce rate is above 50% whereas slow bloggers do face little problem with traffic their bounce rate usually remains below 50%.

  41. Teresa says:

    I love this idea. It supports the reason why I should slow blog. If I rush, I omit the important pieces in my stories, which I’ve probably already done. It probably perceives me as being an incompetent writer. If so, I apologize to my audience, for it is not intended, its just due to the rush in getting my stories out in time. Thanks for the tip, Darren.

  42. Julie g. says:

    When i first started blogging i read a lot of articles about how blogging is supposed to be. But instead of figuring out my niche and building traffic to my site, i was plauged by indecision and did nothing. Today, i have a blog that i’m happy with, content that i’m proud to be associated woth, and a very meager following. And thats ok, because i do it for fun and want to keep it that way. Thanks for the support!

  43. Sbazaar says:

    Really encouraging for beginners.
    Slow does not always means out of the race.

    Very helpful post. Thanks.