The Most Overrated Piece of Blogging Advice I’ve Ever Heard
This is a guest post by Ali Luke. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
“Blog every day.”
That’s what I was told, when I started out three years. It’s probably what you’ve heard too.
And now, I think it’s massively overrated advice.
#1: You’re Wasting Your Time
When you start out as a blogger, you have very little traffic. Virtually no-one is reading your posts.
Of course, you need to get some content in place before you start promoting your blog — but this really isn’t a case of “build it and they will come”. Your blog is all but invisible. Instead of pouring hours into writing daily posts, write two posts a week and spend the rest of your time promoting them.
For every hour you spend writing for your blog, spend an hour on promoting your work (e.g. guest posting, commenting, interacting in forums, using Twitter and Facebook).
#2: Your Posts Are Poor Quality
Some bloggers can turn out a great, content-rich post every day.
If you find yourself writing something — anything — just so that you can hit “publish” before midnight, then you’re doing it wrong. Why would anyone want to read a post that you threw together just to meet your own arbitrary targets?
Spend longer on each post — and look out for common blogging mistakes. Draft your post, then wait until the next day to edit it: your subconscious mind will keep working on it in the meantime.
#3: Readers Don’t Necessarily Like It
Have you ever unsubscribed from a blog because it posted too much?
I have. In fact, I’m much more likely to unsubscribe because a blogger posts too often than because they post too infrequently. I’ve stayed subscribed to Skelliewag because Skellie’s posts are so insightful — even though she often goes months without posting.
Daily posts could be overwhelming your readers — especially if you’re trying to write in-depth posts that deliver huge value.
Ask your readers — do they read every post? Would they prefer fewer posts?
#4: You’ll Burn Yourself Out
You probably have a day job, or a family, or school work … maybe all three! If you’re trying to maintain a daily blogging routine, you may well find that you last for a month or two before simply giving up.
It takes time (often years) for a blog to gain traction, and you want a posting rhythm that will work month after month.
If you’re starting to feel burnt out and jaded, then take a break. Tell your readers that your blog is on hiatus for two weeks — and give them some links to old posts so that they’ve got something to read in the meantime.
Now, you can probably name plenty of very successful blogs that post daily, or even more frequently than that. (Daily Blog Tips might come to mind … ;-)) So why’s it working for them?
Well, daily posting can be a perfectly good strategy — if you have the right sort of blog.
When Daily Posting Does Work
Successful blogs with 5-7 posts a week typically have one or more of the following:
#1: Guest Posters
Although Daniel does most of the writing here on Daily Blog Tips, you’ll also notice frequent guest posters (like me!) popping up. The same goes for almost every big blog with daily (or more) posts.
ProBlogger typically posts twice daily now, but more and more of those posts are coming from guests. Copyblogger has a new post every weekday — but they not only have guest posters, they also have several staff members (Brian, Sonia and Robert).
(Of course, taking guest posts can actually end up costing you more time because of the admin and editing involved: I recommend reading Managing Guest Post Submissions Efficiently so you can keep things simple and streamlined.)
#2: News-style Content
Big tech-related blogs have to keep their finger on the pulse — which means that they need to have at least one post per day. Often, though, news posts are short and succinct: they’re not evergreen content that’s intended to stay relevant for months or years.
#3: Short, Focused Posts
It’s easier to keep up a daily posting rhythm if your readers are used to short posts that deal with a single topic or idea. Think of Seth Godin, for instance. Bite-sized chunks of information can be popular … if you have the knack of being concise and avoiding waffle in your writing.
#4: Blogging for SEO Purposes Only
If your blog’s main purpose is to get traffic (perhaps so readers will click on ads, or so you can promote your product) then daily posting could be a good strategy. You might simply be trying to build up a lot of content on your site — and you don’t care if you lose readers’ attention.
So … should you be posting daily? Unless you’ve got a team of guest-posters, or a real need to stay up-to-the-minute, or an audience that demands short, snappy content … then I’d say no.
I’ve seen so many bloggers end up disillusioned and burnt out because they followed the advice to post daily, and it got them absolutely nowhere.
For most bloggers, one to three posts per week works well. Even one post every other week can be enough to keep up the momentum for you and for your readers.
I’m sure this is a topic that’ll stir up some strong opinions … and I’d love to hear your point of view in the comments! Have you tried daily posting? Did it work for you — or did it lead to burn out?
About the Author: Ali Luke writes about blogging (and writing more generally) on her site Aliventures. If you’re stuck for what to blog about next, read her post How to Come Up With Lots of Great Ideas — you’ll learn three great ways to generate ideas, with clear instructions and examples to help you get going.
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45 Responses to “The Most Overrated Piece of Blogging Advice I’ve Ever Heard”
I’m going to go against the trend and say the for me, six days a week is working really well. I’ve been blogging for about two and a half years and have close to 500 posts locked away. I’ve blogged sporadically over that time, but in the last few months have been working to build my following to tie in with a product launch and my stats vary wildly if I stop blogging those six days.
The qualifier though is that blogging fits with my day job – I’m a writer and blogging is how I promote my work/brand.
When I interviewed Trent Hamm he told me he started off making many posts a day. He was mostly focused on small money saving tips, and would pump a post out in about 15 minutes.
Since then, he’s changed to a rhythm of two posts per day that are pretty substantial in length.
One way he’s able to write so much is by having an editorial calendar. i.e, weekly series, “reader mailbag”, “book reviews”, etc.
Ali, you pretty much nailed it all with this post! I’ve started a brand new blog after running screaming away for at least a year and a half and find that writing two posts per week is the only amount manageable for me! Thanks for a great article and I will be subscribing to you site!
Love the tips, especially #4.
I am really new to this medium and am thoroughly enjoying it. I was discussing frequency (posting) with my wife the other day and I was saying it had been two weeks since my last post. I was getting nervous. Funny thing is that the inspiration always finds me no matter how long but the key is that it has to mean something to you before it can really mean something to a reader.
We started our by writing emails to a bunch of colleagues and friends and after 4 psuedo “posts” , some positive feedback and two months passing we finally started our BLOG.
Thanks again for the sage advise and the link to the site. Truely helpful.
Krissy Brady, Writer
What an insightful post! I’m sure you’ve put a lot of new bloggers at ease with your perspective. I do post Monday-Friday on my blog, but I only post about 2-3 articles per week. My blog is for writers, so I also post links to resources, and calls for submissions, so my daily posts are bite-sized, then I write how-to articles, reviews, etc. to offer my own insights and get to know my readers. I’m finding a really nice balance between the two types of information I provide.
I am a daily blogger right now due to the content of my sight. I committed to give back to the world every day for 365 days and blog about it. I am now on day 272! I look forward to the day that I don’t blog every day and can take the time to provide useful really well written information people can enjoy weekly about being philanthropy in our world. I get more emails from sites I have signed up for that I just end up deleting because I can’t keep on top of all the info. I am sure people feel the same way about my site at times as well. I think your views are right on the nose and look forward to blogging weekly!
Ali Luke – Aliventures
@Jayna — I completely agree with you that there should be less blogger guilt! Hey, maybe there’s a post in that… 😉
@John McElhenney — Exuberance is great, and I certainly wouldn’t want bloggers to curb their enthusiasm if they were happily posting every day.
I like the idea from the post (and the comments) of getting your own schedule going. I think that’s more important than the actual “how often”. Consistency will attract more readers and retain them more than artificial deadlines.
That said though, many blogging platforms (WordPress and Tumblr for sure) will allow you to create different kinds of posts for different occasions. You could create your standard, routine post on a regular schedule (say weekly or bi-weekly) and then toss in occasional “aside” posts more frequently. That allows you to have the benefits of consistency, while allowing yourself the flexibility to create more content without feeling the pressure to ship off a full blown masterpiece all the time. Both you and your readers will be able to tell the difference between the two and appreciate them for what they are worth.
Everything is relative. Cliche, but true as is all facets in life. Separate from my Feature Friday column where a different person contributes a guest article every Friday (click my name above to access my blog and learn how you too can contribute), I write something new every day or every other day. But I don’t do the physical writing each day, but post-date numerous items a week or a month in advance.
I post on my blogs daily, but I schedule the posts. Then I can work on a month’s or a week’s at a time and then work on other things. Because I plan multiple posts at one time, I try and vary long with short, videos with links etc. or have a theme of related topics for a week.
I blog every Monday on my main freelance writing blog, with occasional Thursday posts. That schedule allows me to stay connected with my readers, and more importantly, it allows me to stay on top of my freelance writing projects.
In the beginning you may have a lot to say. And who’s to put a capper on exuberance? You will also be finding your voice, what things you write well about, what things you’re simply stringing words together on. And you audience, of what ever size, will let you know which ones are a hit.
In the long haul you must find your sweet spots, subjects you like, you’re passionate about, and that you find your audience has a hankering for. And don’t be afraid to mix it up every now and then. Write a short non-sensical post if it feels right. We can’t all be Seth Godin or Chris Brogan.
Read. Listen to what speaks to you. Often the topics come right from my inbox. I was getting ready to post on something from my drafts folder and boom, a perfect opportunity in a promotional email from Dell. (one of my sweetspots)
Watch your analytics. They don’t lie. If your movie reviews suck, don’t do them any more, unless that’s the area you are trying to develop. If something is a hit, write a follow-up. Or update the hit post itself with new information and repromote it.
Success is the key to continuing as a blogger. And success will come over time if you write good stuff. Don’t get hung up on the “rules” of blogging. Find your own way.
Thank Goodness!! My brain works slowly and I have other lives…. I’ll take it slow and steady from here – thanks!!
The optimal posting frequency, in my humble opinion, is dependent upon the author’s goals, the type of blog, the time commitment the author is able to devote and, as you said, the maturity of the blog as well. So there’s really no “one size fits all” rule for blog post frequency. If I wasn’t so busy writing for other people, I would probably blog daily, but that is just not going to happen.
I want to thank you for this post. It seems to me that bloggers feel a lot of guilt over not doing it right, not promoting their blog properly, not mastering the SEO techniques, etc. There’s enough reason for blogger angst without fretting that you “should” be posting with some arbitrary frequency.
Launching a blog, enjoying the process, and getting into a rhythm that works for you and your readership should be applauded.
Thank you so much, Ali for this awesome blogging advices.
Thanks for your thoughts Ali, this was an awesome post.
I started a blog about two months ago and have been trying to figure out how often to post. Right now I aim to post three or four times a week, but since I don’t have a huge readership yet, I feel like some of my great ideas are wasted.
I think it’s a great idea to spend more time promoting two posts per week and trying to guest post than to spend all of my time writing for a blog that no one knows about (yet!).
unless you have absolutely nothing else going on in your life, posting every day with great stuff is going to be tough.
i’d much rather see 2-3 high quality posts per week than a crap one every day.
Ali Luke – Aliventures
Thanks for the thoughtful replies, everyone.
@Douglas — I definitely think that in the early days, there’s no need to post *too* often. One post a week is probably enough to build up traction — and like you say, a lower posting frequency gives you more time to polish the actual writing.
@Daniel — This is a quality vs quantity issue, I think! Sure, big numbers sound impressive … but 500 rushed, typo-filled posts are never going to be as good as 50 really in-depth, thoughtful, valuable ones.
@Young — That’s interesting to hear; thanks!
This is great advice and I agree with it – I took months to make my blog “public” at the beginning, only because I thought I didn’t have enough posts. Now I publish on average 1 post a week (it’s only been two months since I started!) and it’s enough to keep my momentum up. Thanks for the insight!
I have managed about 4 posts a week since I started. Two of those are in depth and helpful advice pieces and a couple are observational. I think this is plenty.
As you say, promoting is much more important. Most of my day is spent promoting my blog everywhere I can. I back that up with great articles on a regular basis.
But you have to have a life as well.
To post daily is not a necessary for successful blogs, but it is helpful for Alexa rank, the more you post per day, the better for your Alexa according to my experiences.
I almost got caught up in the ” put out an incredible number of posts” Mindset, recently.
What brought this about, was reading a comment by one Blog Author who stated he had published 500 posts within the past few months.
The author said this very casually, as if it was not really all that much.
I probably average around four posts a week. So, of course when I read this authors remark , I thought ” Maybe I should lift that four posts a week to four posts a day”. Darn! Even then I would not even be up to half the 500 post count.
Having just published my debut post last week, establishing a clear goal for posting frequency is in the forefront of my mind heading into the new week.
You’ve touched on several points here that are particularly relevant to my situation.
First, I haven’t established a steady readership yet, so it would valuable to devote some time to promotion. That should be balanced, though, with writing and publishing enough new content for casual visitors to get a feel for my style and subscribe.
I also need to take enough time with each post to ensure that I maintain (or improve) the quality of my writing; even my lite-traffic, early content is a visible part of my portfolio, and it sets the stage for future expectations.
I’ll take your tips to heart, Ali. Thanks for the insight.
I totally agree with you on this. My blog is relatively new and I can benefit a lot from your tip. Thanks for pointing that out.
I think too that what is important is to be able to have a rythm that both readers and bloggers can keep up with. In fact, when posts are very long, I find it better not to have to read similar posts everyday.
Ranjith (SR) | A light hearted talk
The discussion about this topic never ends: What is the most useful frequency of posting? It does depend on a variety of factors and the same advice does not work for everyone. It does depend on the niche one is blogging in.
And many of the blogging gurus are seen to say: Blog as often as you can. Your readers may lose touch of your blog.
But the truth is different. The one who professes this theory has a new post on his blog every day but it isn’t written by him. It is a guest post.
Wow, great informative here, this post is probably gonna go viral, I think the most important thing is to keep in balance of what we do to our own blogs with promotion, so like a 1:1 ratio of working on your blog and on others.
Oh and just wanted to point this out, it says by Daniel Scocco, not Guest Author 😮
Yeah! Blogging 1 or 2 days a week is far more better then blogging each and everyday.
One should provide quality content or article from their blog. If you help people from your content they (visitors) will surely return their foot towards your blog to find more related articles.
Posting everyday will obviously degrade the quality of the post and eventually the blog will become a low quantity content farm. IMO one well researched quality post is far better than throwing half-hearted multiple posts.
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