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Creating Compelling Blogs – Do You Have to Write Every Day?

Over at copyblogger I wrote a piece where I advised if you want to be a good writer you need to write every day. In this post I am going to tell you it might be better to not post every day.

Whaaaat?

You see there is a key word there, did you miss it? I said “post”. You do need to write every day, but only post to your main blog if you think it will provide a benefit. Don’t post articles every day just to keep up with a schedule.

Much has been written about posting schedules, and Darren did an excellent analysis of the Technorati 100. But, you know what? My advice is to only post when you have something good to say. Posting “filler” is a sure-fire way to lose subscribers.

Consider your own reading habits. You want blogs that consistently provide good stuff, right? You are only as good as your last post. If that last post was padding, you know what will happen.

So write something every day, but not necessarily a public article on your main site. Keep a list of ideas and draft posts for the days when the muse isn’t firing. Don’t pressure yourself to post when the ideas just won’t come.

Your audience will wait a day or so if the wait is worth it.

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Comments

  1. On a similar note, Chris, is it a good idea to apply that same philosophy to comments as well? πŸ™‚

    Don’t post to a comment unless it has some kind of value.

  2. On a similar note, Chris, is it a good idea to apply that same philosophy to comments as well? πŸ™‚

    Don’t post to a comment unless it has some kind of value.

  3. I’ve noticed that visits drop dramatically under two conditions: if 48 hours go by without a post, or if there are more than 2-3 posts per day. I suspect this pattern is connected with what you’re saying here…

  4. I’ve noticed that visits drop dramatically under two conditions: if 48 hours go by without a post, or if there are more than 2-3 posts per day. I suspect this pattern is connected with what you’re saying here…

  5. @Jonathan – Definitely πŸ™‚ If you don’t have anything to say … don’t πŸ™‚

    @Jen – It’s very important to be sensitive to what works and what doesn’t for your own audience, they tell you both quietly and loudly πŸ™‚

  6. @Jonathan – Definitely πŸ™‚ If you don’t have anything to say … don’t πŸ™‚

    @Jen – It’s very important to be sensitive to what works and what doesn’t for your own audience, they tell you both quietly and loudly πŸ™‚

  7. That’s good to know! The other day I wanted desperately to post something I was very passionate about writing on my blog but work, people wanting to talk to me or other distractions prevented me from concentrating on the article but I kept to document up on my computer until finished it. It took me almost a whole day to write two paragraphs but I was committed to writing it. I may not post everyday (recent trends are leaning towards 2-3 times a week) and I do have another blog also that serves a slightly different purpose that my business blog at http://www.unravelingtounderstand.com . The one in my name’s link above is my business blog. That one almost “writes itself” because base a lot of the posts of client of family member questions or even my earlier online or computer experience but the business blog takes a little more thought.

  8. That’s good to know! The other day I wanted desperately to post something I was very passionate about writing on my blog but work, people wanting to talk to me or other distractions prevented me from concentrating on the article but I kept to document up on my computer until finished it. It took me almost a whole day to write two paragraphs but I was committed to writing it. I may not post everyday (recent trends are leaning towards 2-3 times a week) and I do have another blog also that serves a slightly different purpose that my business blog at http://www.unravelingtounderstand.com . The one in my name’s link above is my business blog. That one almost “writes itself” because base a lot of the posts of client of family member questions or even my earlier online or computer experience but the business blog takes a little more thought.

  9. I agree. But my stats are telling me different. If I don’t post for two days feeds drop drastically. But, maybe I spoiled my audience. Maybe they got used to their dayly dose of dandellion Kimban’s ramblings. I am going to experiment on another blog, I am preparing. From the start I am going to post exclusively if I feel like I have to add something, and that is not going to be more than twice a week. Just to see what happens in that case.

  10. I agree. But my stats are telling me different. If I don’t post for two days feeds drop drastically. But, maybe I spoiled my audience. Maybe they got used to their dayly dose of dandellion Kimban’s ramblings. I am going to experiment on another blog, I am preparing. From the start I am going to post exclusively if I feel like I have to add something, and that is not going to be more than twice a week. Just to see what happens in that case.

  11. @Patrick – 2-3 times a week can work fine so long as it is good stuff. Brian Clark used to post infrequently before he brought on guest posters, and look at his audience

    @dandellion – The key is does your audience come back when you do post? DSLRBlog had no posts for literally months. When I posted again my RSS feed count jumped by 200. If there is nothing to read there are not the normal feed views or clicks associated with a new post, that’s normal. Remember also if you have email subscribers but don’t post they don’t get emailed so it looks like your count dropped. On the other hand if I post a clunker I can properly lose 10% – use the “email me when people unsubscribe” feature of the feedburner email subscriptions.

  12. @Patrick – 2-3 times a week can work fine so long as it is good stuff. Brian Clark used to post infrequently before he brought on guest posters, and look at his audience

    @dandellion – The key is does your audience come back when you do post? DSLRBlog had no posts for literally months. When I posted again my RSS feed count jumped by 200. If there is nothing to read there are not the normal feed views or clicks associated with a new post, that’s normal. Remember also if you have email subscribers but don’t post they don’t get emailed so it looks like your count dropped. On the other hand if I post a clunker I can properly lose 10% – use the “email me when people unsubscribe” feature of the feedburner email subscriptions.

  13. ‘Compulsions’ to blog every day is deteriorating the quality. What happens if newspaper do not come out one day?

  14. ‘Compulsions’ to blog every day is deteriorating the quality. What happens if newspaper do not come out one day?

  15. How many newspapers are written, published and laid out by one person? πŸ™‚

  16. How many newspapers are written, published and laid out by one person? πŸ™‚

  17. Good Point Chris!

    I try to post 3-4 posts per week, but write something almost everyday. 3-4 posts per week seems well through out the week. Readers have sufficient time to read posts.

    Rajesh Shakya
    helping technopreneurs to excel and lead their life!

  18. Good Point Chris!

    I try to post 3-4 posts per week, but write something almost everyday. 3-4 posts per week seems well through out the week. Readers have sufficient time to read posts.

    Rajesh Shakya
    helping technopreneurs to excel and lead their life!

  19. Great article. Consistency is what is important.

  20. Great article. Consistency is what is important.

  21. Hmmm… This is not the normal advice you see people give about posting.

    I can understand what you are saying and I kind of agree, but when I post less frequently I see a drop off in traffic.

  22. Hmmm… This is not the normal advice you see people give about posting.

    I can understand what you are saying and I kind of agree, but when I post less frequently I see a drop off in traffic.

  23. Thanks for the advice, Chris. I try to keep my blog current each day, but between Friday to Sunday it’s mainly links to articles I’ve read. …I save my best stuff for when people are reading throughout the week. That’s sort of what my post schedule’s like.

  24. Thanks for the advice, Chris. I try to keep my blog current each day, but between Friday to Sunday it’s mainly links to articles I’ve read. …I save my best stuff for when people are reading throughout the week. That’s sort of what my post schedule’s like.

  25. Wondefuly said. If you want to be a writer (which is what a blogger is, ultimately) you need practice.

    Not everything a writer writes goes public. This is well known to traditional media and I see no reason to be different to blog and new media.

    Additionally, you must read every day, for the same reasons it works for traditional media writers as well.

    And, by reading, I don’t mean only other blogs, of course, but reading proper literature certain helps a lot. I have already mentioned about my vision on narrative.

  26. Wondefuly said. If you want to be a writer (which is what a blogger is, ultimately) you need practice.

    Not everything a writer writes goes public. This is well known to traditional media and I see no reason to be different to blog and new media.

    Additionally, you must read every day, for the same reasons it works for traditional media writers as well.

    And, by reading, I don’t mean only other blogs, of course, but reading proper literature certain helps a lot. I have already mentioned about my vision on narrative.

  27. Just one consideration about feeds, joining the discussion in the comments.

    Feeds stats, being a pull method are much harder to track than a push method like newsletters.

    Say a reader, for any reason has certain delays in fetching info for the server based on previous posting frequency or any other variable. The feed stats _assume_ you have lost a reader, but it might be that it just haven’t been seen lately.

    I try to write on my blog about once a week, and I see my feedburner stats falling all week long, then after I post something they increase again.

    On the other hand I keep a newsletter since the blog started and I had seen only one person signing out in its whole existence.

    I don’t believe that people drop a blog because 48h of non-publishing or even a week for that matter .

    You can’t annoy people by non-writing in a way they want to drop it. The worst thing I can see happening is that they’ll be anxious for the next post, and this is not a reason for dropping a blog, is it?

    Would you drop a blog you’d like to read more, just because the author doesn’t write as much as you’d like? I wouldn’t.

    I am no expert on the subject, but I guess much of the readers we see going away from our blogs ,when we don’t write for some time is just because is hard to track a pull method.

    Again, I’m no expert on this particular field of feed stats and I can be completely wrong.

  28. Just one consideration about feeds, joining the discussion in the comments.

    Feeds stats, being a pull method are much harder to track than a push method like newsletters.

    Say a reader, for any reason has certain delays in fetching info for the server based on previous posting frequency or any other variable. The feed stats _assume_ you have lost a reader, but it might be that it just haven’t been seen lately.

    I try to write on my blog about once a week, and I see my feedburner stats falling all week long, then after I post something they increase again.

    On the other hand I keep a newsletter since the blog started and I had seen only one person signing out in its whole existence.

    I don’t believe that people drop a blog because 48h of non-publishing or even a week for that matter .

    You can’t annoy people by non-writing in a way they want to drop it. The worst thing I can see happening is that they’ll be anxious for the next post, and this is not a reason for dropping a blog, is it?

    Would you drop a blog you’d like to read more, just because the author doesn’t write as much as you’d like? I wouldn’t.

    I am no expert on the subject, but I guess much of the readers we see going away from our blogs ,when we don’t write for some time is just because is hard to track a pull method.

    Again, I’m no expert on this particular field of feed stats and I can be completely wrong.

  29. Good advice on caching up ideas – even just partial blog entries for future pubication. At any given time, I usually have 4 or 5 draft articles that’re germinating in Google Notebook. I revisit and tweak these until they seem substantive enough to post – or simply pitch ’em because the seed idea just won’t sprout for me.

    And sometimes I have content that’s best suited for a later specific day or date – like I have a “Back to School” post already stashed away just waiting for mid-August to arrive…

  30. Good advice on caching up ideas – even just partial blog entries for future pubication. At any given time, I usually have 4 or 5 draft articles that’re germinating in Google Notebook. I revisit and tweak these until they seem substantive enough to post – or simply pitch ’em because the seed idea just won’t sprout for me.

    And sometimes I have content that’s best suited for a later specific day or date – like I have a “Back to School” post already stashed away just waiting for mid-August to arrive…

  31. Cheers Chris and greetings from sunny Australia!

    There’s loads of conflicting opinions to confuse newbies like me but what you say is totally sensible and I agree, if you’ve got nothing of interest to say you should just keep quiet.

  32. Cheers Chris and greetings from sunny Australia!

    There’s loads of conflicting opinions to confuse newbies like me but what you say is totally sensible and I agree, if you’ve got nothing of interest to say you should just keep quiet.

  33. I rarely post links in my comments, but since we agree a 100% on this and I posted about it referring to further excellent sources on the matter I thought I would make an exemption: What do You Believe is Better? Doing it Often or Doing it at Length?

    I agree wholeheartedly about only commenting when you have something to say as well. In fact I also wrote about that just a few days ago in 10 Tips That Will Make Anyone a Better Commenter.

    With a total of two links I hope this doesn’t end up in the spam folder as I really believe it adds to the conversation and sheds more light on the matter. Come to think of it my latest post (as I am typing this) is about how to structure how you deal with comments, but I better stop before this gets out of hand πŸ™‚

  34. I rarely post links in my comments, but since we agree a 100% on this and I posted about it referring to further excellent sources on the matter I thought I would make an exemption: What do You Believe is Better? Doing it Often or Doing it at Length?

    I agree wholeheartedly about only commenting when you have something to say as well. In fact I also wrote about that just a few days ago in 10 Tips That Will Make Anyone a Better Commenter.

    With a total of two links I hope this doesn’t end up in the spam folder as I really believe it adds to the conversation and sheds more light on the matter. Come to think of it my latest post (as I am typing this) is about how to structure how you deal with comments, but I better stop before this gets out of hand πŸ™‚

  35. These last few blog posts have really helped me. For some reason, I always thought that it was better to keep consistently updating to get people to read the blog, but I think I was getting more visitors before then.

  36. These last few blog posts have really helped me. For some reason, I always thought that it was better to keep consistently updating to get people to read the blog, but I think I was getting more visitors before then.

  37. I was just thinking about this earlier todayÒ€¦ The bloggers I tend to trust the most are those that *don’t* post YouTube movies or funny pictures – other peoples’ content – in between their “real” articles. If you don’t have anything good to write, maybe it’s best to not write anything at all. It’s what I’ve been doing on my own blog, and while between enforcement of that rule and having a full-time job I’m only able to get one or two articles up a week nowadays, I think I’ve done a good job at keeping them at a consistent level of quality – and it’s all by my own hand.

  38. I was just thinking about this earlier todayÒ€¦ The bloggers I tend to trust the most are those that *don’t* post YouTube movies or funny pictures – other peoples’ content – in between their “real” articles. If you don’t have anything good to write, maybe it’s best to not write anything at all. It’s what I’ve been doing on my own blog, and while between enforcement of that rule and having a full-time job I’m only able to get one or two articles up a week nowadays, I think I’ve done a good job at keeping them at a consistent level of quality – and it’s all by my own hand.

  39. I’m doing as you say – writing consistently but not posting everything I write. I’m still trying to organize my writings, though, as they are in many different folders on my computer. I can’t get my head around how to break down the folders — by niche, by status (unpublished, posted in blog, posted in article, etc.), or whatever else.

    Can anyone share their organizational methods for the confused?

  40. I’m doing as you say – writing consistently but not posting everything I write. I’m still trying to organize my writings, though, as they are in many different folders on my computer. I can’t get my head around how to break down the folders — by niche, by status (unpublished, posted in blog, posted in article, etc.), or whatever else.

    Can anyone share their organizational methods for the confused?

  41. I’m not sure that missing one day’s worth of content, or posting less than each day, would compel people to unsubscribe. The only thing that would make me unsubscribe due to a lack of posting would be if I suspected the blog was on its death throes.

    When a blog doesn’t update your feed reader experience isn’t interrupted. It just sits there, waiting for content the next day, or the day after. I don’t see how this would compel someone to unsubscribe.

    I think people have a tendency to say the reason a chunk of people unsubscribed was because ‘I didn’t post enough’, or ‘I posted too much’, but looking at my own behavior, I tend to only unsubscribe to feeds for two reasons: I’m overwhelmed by too much content (5+ posts a day, and not many blogs do this), or the content is no longer what I’m interested in. To be honest, I expect the same behavior from my readers. If people were unsubscribing I’d look to the quality of the content first.

  42. I’m not sure that missing one day’s worth of content, or posting less than each day, would compel people to unsubscribe. The only thing that would make me unsubscribe due to a lack of posting would be if I suspected the blog was on its death throes.

    When a blog doesn’t update your feed reader experience isn’t interrupted. It just sits there, waiting for content the next day, or the day after. I don’t see how this would compel someone to unsubscribe.

    I think people have a tendency to say the reason a chunk of people unsubscribed was because ‘I didn’t post enough’, or ‘I posted too much’, but looking at my own behavior, I tend to only unsubscribe to feeds for two reasons: I’m overwhelmed by too much content (5+ posts a day, and not many blogs do this), or the content is no longer what I’m interested in. To be honest, I expect the same behavior from my readers. If people were unsubscribing I’d look to the quality of the content first.

  43. I completely agree – I used to post every day on my blog, but this became unsustainable and I found the quality of my articles suffering as a result.

    Now I aim to post at least five articles a week; this is far more sustainable and my readers now no longer expect articles over the weekend.

    – Martin Ree

  44. I completely agree – I used to post every day on my blog, but this became unsustainable and I found the quality of my articles suffering as a result.

    Now I aim to post at least five articles a week; this is far more sustainable and my readers now no longer expect articles over the weekend.

    – Martin Ree

  45. There are any number of reasons why we might opt for no post rather than turn out poor work. It seldom hurts to use a little transparency and let our readers know what’s going on. For instance, I’m long-distance apartment hunting right now and there are days when the energy goes into the hunt and stays there. If a few of those days pile up, it’s easy enough to make a quick reference in the next post. Well, that’s how I handle erratic posting.

  46. There are any number of reasons why we might opt for no post rather than turn out poor work. It seldom hurts to use a little transparency and let our readers know what’s going on. For instance, I’m long-distance apartment hunting right now and there are days when the energy goes into the hunt and stays there. If a few of those days pile up, it’s easy enough to make a quick reference in the next post. Well, that’s how I handle erratic posting.

  47. Chris,

    I’m glad I read this because just today I was thinking that I “needed” to post something…

    There is so much noise in the blogosphere nowadays and as a blog reader reading 100+ feeds a day, it can become pretty overwhelming. I tend to stick to blogs that provide good content.

  48. Chris,

    I’m glad I read this because just today I was thinking that I “needed” to post something…

    There is so much noise in the blogosphere nowadays and as a blog reader reading 100+ feeds a day, it can become pretty overwhelming. I tend to stick to blogs that provide good content.

  49. I set my goal for writing 6 new posts a week. If I feel like I’m forcing a post just because I “have to write”, I will just do a draft and sit on it. The content tends to be better when it’s not forced. Another issue that I had was the audience I write for at http://www.gartnerwebdev.com are small business owners. My wife has to de-geekify most all of the posts that I write – hers are pretty much ready to go though. The solution was to start another blog at http://rackit.gartnerwebdev.com where the posts are geared toward IT folks and other computer types. With the exception of the diggbait once a week, the content manages to stay on target. The diggbait tends to be more opinion than anything though, so it serves as another outlet for a different type of writing. And then there’s the marketing… well, I’ll save that for a post maybe πŸ™‚

  50. I set my goal for writing 6 new posts a week. If I feel like I’m forcing a post just because I “have to write”, I will just do a draft and sit on it. The content tends to be better when it’s not forced. Another issue that I had was the audience I write for at http://www.gartnerwebdev.com are small business owners. My wife has to de-geekify most all of the posts that I write – hers are pretty much ready to go though. The solution was to start another blog at http://rackit.gartnerwebdev.com where the posts are geared toward IT folks and other computer types. With the exception of the diggbait once a week, the content manages to stay on target. The diggbait tends to be more opinion than anything though, so it serves as another outlet for a different type of writing. And then there’s the marketing… well, I’ll save that for a post maybe πŸ™‚

  51. @Rajesh – I write every day apart from weekends which I take off, although my last vacation I didn’t manage to get internet access at all so there were no posts for over 10 days!

    @Patricia – Consistency is very important, agreed, but consistency of quality rather than schedule.

    @George – Yes traffic drops, but post filler just so you can say you posted and you will get unsubscribes. Many times I haven’t posted but the visitors come right back when I do. Post a clunker and they leave and DON’T come back. I would rather not post than force myself to post something rubbish. My photography blog is very ad hoc, there can be over a week between posts, but my feed subscribers are growing. There are some super successful blogs that post very irregularly.

    @Jason – I post week days too, only occasionally will I post on the weekend.

    @Guilherme – You are exactly right, people anticipate your next post but won’t drop you because you miss a day, just like I am looking forward to the next seasons of Heroes and BSG which is months away for us in the UK but will only stop watching if they are rubbish

    @Rob – Yes definitely, in fact start thinking about halloween, thanks giving, Christmas, hanukkah, etc πŸ™‚

    @LA – It works for me but see what works for you, as I always say I can only give advice based on my experience but your audience is unique to you. Monitor your unsubscribes and you will see if I am right πŸ™‚

    @Jan – Excellent πŸ™‚

    @D’Tanga – It is important to keep up a posting schedule but not at the expense of quality just as a good speaker will not keep talking just to break the silence.

    @Garrett – Yes people do not subscribe to see filler and padding, although I do post lots of crap on my personal blog because that is what they expect over there πŸ™‚

    @Eve – Oh yeah, I need those organisation tips too πŸ™‚

    @Skellie – Exactly! If you think a blog is dead then of course through normal housekeeping you will remove it, but not because a couple of days has gone by without posts

    @Community – I think most readers appreciate a great post more than regularity so I think you have hit on the right idea

    @Carolyn – Same here, I very nearly didn’t post yesterday because of hangover but I had a thought I just needed to share πŸ™‚

    @Maria – Yup, the last thing the blogosphere needs is more noise

    @Jerry – It’s a good idea to sit on posts and let them stew. I need to start posting as draft so I can do that πŸ™‚

  52. @Rajesh – I write every day apart from weekends which I take off, although my last vacation I didn’t manage to get internet access at all so there were no posts for over 10 days!

    @Patricia – Consistency is very important, agreed, but consistency of quality rather than schedule.

    @George – Yes traffic drops, but post filler just so you can say you posted and you will get unsubscribes. Many times I haven’t posted but the visitors come right back when I do. Post a clunker and they leave and DON’T come back. I would rather not post than force myself to post something rubbish. My photography blog is very ad hoc, there can be over a week between posts, but my feed subscribers are growing. There are some super successful blogs that post very irregularly.

    @Jason – I post week days too, only occasionally will I post on the weekend.

    @Guilherme – You are exactly right, people anticipate your next post but won’t drop you because you miss a day, just like I am looking forward to the next seasons of Heroes and BSG which is months away for us in the UK but will only stop watching if they are rubbish

    @Rob – Yes definitely, in fact start thinking about halloween, thanks giving, Christmas, hanukkah, etc πŸ™‚

    @LA – It works for me but see what works for you, as I always say I can only give advice based on my experience but your audience is unique to you. Monitor your unsubscribes and you will see if I am right πŸ™‚

    @Jan – Excellent πŸ™‚

    @D’Tanga – It is important to keep up a posting schedule but not at the expense of quality just as a good speaker will not keep talking just to break the silence.

    @Garrett – Yes people do not subscribe to see filler and padding, although I do post lots of crap on my personal blog because that is what they expect over there πŸ™‚

    @Eve – Oh yeah, I need those organisation tips too πŸ™‚

    @Skellie – Exactly! If you think a blog is dead then of course through normal housekeeping you will remove it, but not because a couple of days has gone by without posts

    @Community – I think most readers appreciate a great post more than regularity so I think you have hit on the right idea

    @Carolyn – Same here, I very nearly didn’t post yesterday because of hangover but I had a thought I just needed to share πŸ™‚

    @Maria – Yup, the last thing the blogosphere needs is more noise

    @Jerry – It’s a good idea to sit on posts and let them stew. I need to start posting as draft so I can do that πŸ™‚

  53. This post has brought up some thoughts of mine, I am thinking that with my blog I need to separate the posts a bit from a wide range and limit the range a bit..

    BUT even in saying that I like having a wide range, as it keeps life interesting posting about different topics.

  54. This post has brought up some thoughts of mine, I am thinking that with my blog I need to separate the posts a bit from a wide range and limit the range a bit..

    BUT even in saying that I like having a wide range, as it keeps life interesting posting about different topics.