Today I had this question from a reader about their struggle with posting daily on their blog:
“Darren I am a new blogger and I really want to be posting every day, but I just can’t keep up. I find it takes me so long to put each post together that to do 7 a week would take me 7-10 hours (I am writing ‘how to’ type posts). While I’d love to dedicate that much time to blogging each week I have a full time job, family and social life to keep up. Do you have any tips?”
This is a great question and one that I know a lot of bloggers struggle with – particularly in their early days.
Finding a posting rhythm is important to do – but it doesn’t just happen. In this post (and the next one tomorrow) I want to make a few comments that may assist in the finding of your posting stride.
1. There is no Right Posting Level
One of the common misconceptions that new bloggers have is that they are somehow failing as a blogger if they don’t get a post up every single day.
The reality is that there is no posting schedule that is right for all blogs. For some blogs a post a day is just right, for others posting 20 times a day is ideal, for others it is one or two posts a week. The ideal post frequency for your blog will depend upon many factors including:
- Your topic (how wide the niche is, how much news there is on the topic etc)
- Your post style (for example posting tutorials can take longer than posting short ‘news’ posts)
- Blogger time (how much time you have available for blogging)
- Your audience (some blogs readers seem to love lots of short posts each day while others are after something more meaty)
- How Many Bloggers You have (a blog with multiple authors can sustain a higher number of posts)
There is no optimal posting level for all blogs. Last time I surveyed ProBlogger readers on how many posts they published a week I found that on average they were doing 8.9. However, as you’ll see from the chart below (showing the spread of results from the poll) the most common answer was actually 5 posts a week.
2. Start out Slow and Work Your Way Up
My advice to new bloggers is to start out slower than what you’re aiming for, to work hard on quality of posts and then over time increase your posting frequency as you’re able.
This was the approach that I had with my photography blog. My initial goal was to post 3 quality posts per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Once I had consistently met this goal for a month or so I added a 4th post into the schedule and then a month or so later a 5th.
At 5 posts per week (each weekday) I stopped increasing my posting frequency (I couldn’t sustain any more) until a reader actually came to me and offered to post a summary of the activity on the forums every Sunday. I then decided to make Saturday a ‘reader question’ type day where I simply started a discussion (a fairly easy post to write) and suddenly I was at 7 posts a week.
This process of getting up to daily posts took me over a year to achieve. In more recent times I’ve hired writers to take on 4 of the posts per week and have weaned myself off writing them all. This will enable me to concentrate on expanding other areas of the site in coming months.
The beauty of this gradual increase of posts was that I was able to work up to daily posting and not over stretch myself (or have quality of work suffer). The analogy I use to describe this is that when you’re training as an athlete for a long distance event, you don’t suddenly go out and start running the eventual distance you’ll run. You need to work up to that distance over time, get yourself in condition and get your body used to the distance. Too much too quickly can mean you burn out.
It also meant that there was no sudden change in posting frequency for my readers to have to deal with. I doubt any of them would really even notice the changes.
3. Monitor Your Readerships Response to Your Posting Levels
As you increase your posting levels pay careful attention to how your readership are responding.
What I’ve found is that there is generally a ‘sweet spot’ where a blogs audience is most content. This sweet spot will vary from blog to blog.
Watch what your readers say about your posting level – but also look for other signals and signs that you might be posting too much (or not enough).
For example watch what happens to your traffic levels on days when you post more as opposed to days that you don’t post (or post less).
Another thing to watch is comment numbers. I find that if I post too much the numbers of comments on a post will decrease while if I only post once a day the comment numbers go up (conversely if I don’t post for a couple of days comment numbers slow on a post after a day or two signaling that my readership are done with the topic and want more).
4. Consistency is Important
What is probably more important than ‘how many’ posts you do a week is that you establish some kind of consistent posting rhythm that readers can expect to get from your blog. The only time I’ve ever had readers complain about how many posts I do on my blog is when I’ve suddenly changed things in one way or another.
For example there was a week a couple of years ago where I simply found myself with a lot to say and where there was a lot of breaking news on the niche of blogging. As a result my posting frequency here at ProBlogger leapt up from twice a day to 4-5 times a day. Readers pushed back because I’d been consistently producing 2 posts a day and suddenly they were needing to find time to digest double that.
The same thing can happen when you suddenly decrease your posting frequency – readers come to expect a certain level of posts and suddenly it is gone.
If you do make changes to your posting frequency consider doing them gradually and/or explaining what is going on to your readers.
4 More Tips Tomorrow – Have Your Say Now
This is just the first part in a two part series on finding your posting rhythm as a blogger. As I began to write this post I realized that there was a lot to cover so wanted to hold the second half of this post (with 4 more tips on finding your blogging rhythm) until tomorrow.
In the mean time – I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on a couple of things.
- Firstly – how many posts do you do a week? Is this your goal or do you struggle to meet your goal?
- Secondly – what advice would you give to bloggers on posting frequency and finding your blogging rhythm?
I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts and sharing more of my own tomorrow.
Update – See the second post in this series at Finding Your Posting Rhythm Part 2.