How Often Should You Blog?

by Joel Friedlander on March 10, 2014 · 21 comments

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“How often should I blog?” is one of the questions I get asked most frequently by authors starting a blog. While many bloggers have a casual relationship to exactly when they publish new content, I think you’ll do better for yourself and your readers if you establish—and stick to—a real publishing schedule.

How often should you blog? There’s no one answer to this question. Bloggers have different aims, write in different categories, and have wildly different abilities to produce content.

If you’ve identified the top blogs in your niche, you’ll already have a head start on understanding what readers might expect.

Remember that successful blogs have already answered these blogging questions—that’s why they are successful. So use what you learn when researching the other blogs in your niche to inform your own decisions.

Sample Blog Posting Schedules

Here are some typical posting schedules used by bloggers with varying aims, writing for different audiences. See if one of them fits your situation, or suggests a solution you can use. I’ve tried to give you examples of successful bloggers using each of these approaches.

Finding what suits you and your readers is really the most important part of building a community around your blog. But I also think that growing your site into a more mature media publisher has merit. And one thing that will help you take responsibility for your content creation is having a specific schedule.

An Aside

When I started this blog, I decided to publish almost every day to try to attract readers as quickly as possible.

When I told Jill my plan, she said “You’re crazy! You think people want to read about type fonts 6 days a week??”

Of course, my reply was, “Okay, you think I’m crazy? I’m going to publish 7 days a week!”

(If you’re married, you’ll understand the way these conversations go.)

But the strategy did work for me, and after 2 years of publishing 5 or 6 days a week, I eventually switched to a more sustainable long-term schedule of 3 days per week.

I can tell you from experience that trying to produce high quality content several times every week, month in and month out, takes both dedication and some pretty brawny writing muscles.

Think about how big a commitment you’re willing to make to this part of your platform building as you look through these examples.

  • Several times each day—this type of publishing schedule is suited to blogs that focus on short news items, technical alerts, “gadget” blogs. Often these posts are derived from press releases or news items from wire services or other sources, so there may not be a lot of writing being done on the part of the blogger. Another type of frequent blogger is someone who curates other people’s content, which allows the blogger to post multiple times each day.

    Example: The Passive Voice blog has grown a large and dedicated following by posting 5 to 10 items a day. Some are short quotes, others lengthy discussions, all have links back the the original articles.

  • Daily posts—Lots of blogs are suited to the post a day schedule. Examples include short inspirational posts, “thought of the day” blogs, daily writing prompts, and similar types of blogs. Also keep in mind that posting more often will almost always result in more traffic to your articles. Knowing this, many bloggers choose to post every day during the early months of their blog to help get traction with readers quickly.
  • Examples: For years, Copyblogger has produced one helpful article every day like clockwork. Drawing on a powerful network of expert bloggers to expand the work of the Copyblogger staff, they’ve built a small empire on the strength of this daily content. Also very suitable for tips blogs like Daily Blog Tips.

  • 2-5 posts per week—This is a very popular frequency for many top blogs. One of the best ways bloggers use this type of schedule is by assigning each day to a different topic or specific type of post. For instance, a blog about baking might feature a “recipe of the week” on Mondays, articles on “baking basics” on Wednesdays, and “baking tools and tips” on Friday. Many readers enjoy checking in for their favorite features on specific days, and this also helps you as a blogger organize your plans for future articles.

    Examples: Joanna Penn has built a strong community around her The Creative Penn blog by publishing 3 times a week with great regularity, with many readers being attracted by the endless stream of content. Similarly, C.S. Lakin’s Live Write Thrive blog explicitly posts on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, so readers always know when to expect a new article.

  • 1 post per week—Many bloggers use one post per week to keep their blogs updated with fresh material for readers. Like a weekly magazine, readers will look forward to your really great content, and if you give yourself a week in which to produce each article you can really make your work shine.

    Example: Legendary copywriter Bob Bly’s blog comes out once a week with his typically pithy and practical advice for entrepreneurs of all kinds. This results in excellent traffic and non-stop signups for his email list where he can make available the many information products he’s produced over the years.

  • 1 or 2 posts per month—This type of frequency might suit bloggers who aren’t very concerned with building traffic for business reasons. It will keep search engines, which seem to prefer sites that are updated regularly, happy, and you can establish authority in your field.

    Example: Cathryn Ryan Howard posts about 3 times a month to her wonderful Catherine, Caffeinated blog, with great success, since her dedicated fans look forward to each post.

Pick one of these publishing schedules that appeals to you. Keep in mind that posting more frequently will grow your readership more quickly. What’s crucial in my opinion is that you pick a schedule that you can actually keep, long term.

There’s no reason you can’t change to a different schedule if the one you’re using doesn’t work out, but if you want to keep readers coming back for more, sticking to whichever publishing schedule you’ve settled on will help.

Photo: bigstockphoto.com

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    { 13 comments… read them below or add one }

    Levon December 5, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Very informative. I’m new at blogging, so I’m trying to absorb as much information as I can. Thanks!

    Reply

    Amrish August 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    You make some interesting points here. I’ve been trying to balance adding content with exposure and this was a good reminder. I found Ben Hunt’s book Content! very interesting in terms of his idea of funneling traffic to your site through your content, so I have been focusing on that as well as SEO.

    Any thoughts on how to get guest posting gigs? As someone who is just getting started, I am not necessarily an authority so it’s not like anyone wants my guest post!

    Reply

    Denis Ledoux April 19, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I post about 4 to 5 times per week and most of my posts are in the 400 to 700 word range. I’ve noticed that the page views got up with regular frequency. After I miss several days, the views go down even when I post again. Then it takes several days for the posts to show more views.

    Reply

    Nina Amir March 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    This really is the perpetual question. All my clients ask this whether they are blogging to promote a book, build platform or blog a book. I usually suggest 2-3 times per week at a minimum to build traction on Google and gain readers/subscribers. However, you do need a schedule you can stick to. That said, I also remind them a blog post does not need to be 1000 words in length but rather just 300-500 words long. If you write 300 words you satisfy Google and most readers. As, Francis mentioned, a longer post less often is one tactic, but that isn’t, in my experience, the best way to gain visibility early on with a blog. I’m not sure it’s the best way long term either…although some of the blogs you mentioned have great visibility. I wonder at what point they switched to one post a week or so and if they started that way.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 10, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    I’ve read recently that posts in the 2,000 – 4,000 word length fare much better in search. It’s something I’m planning on writing more about.

    As far as frequency is concerned, I think you’re right Nina to focus on what stage the blogger is in. It makes a lot of sense to publish frequent, short, informative posts when trying to gain traction. At some point you enter a relationship with your readers, and they will give you permission to create completely different kinds of content.

    Reply

    Frances Caballo March 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    I remember not too long ago you tackled a similar question: how long should blog posts should be? I think how often a blogger posts depends on how long their posts are. Bloggers who write in-depth posts … say 1,200 to 2,500, probably don’t need to post as often. But it really depends on the audience and the topic. Posting twice a week, while also writing guest posts, seems to be all I can handle right now. But I suspect my blog would do better if I posted more frequently.

    Of course, then there’s Seth Godin, who breaks all of the rules.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 10, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Good memory, Frances, this is in the same series of articles. Certainly if you write 4,000 word blog posts, you’re probably not going to be posting one every day. But bloggers are really different in their aims and their capacities, so it’s quite difficult to make “rules” that will apply to all. I’ve recently come across research that indicates longer posts are better for SEO, although many readers seem to prefer shorter articles that take less time to read and digest.

    It all goes to prove that what’s most important is the blogger’s connection to her audience, because that’s the best guideline of all.

    Reply

    Frances Caballo March 10, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    I absolutely agree, Joel. It does depend on the audience. If I are to write 4,000 word posts, I would probably combine a few and turn them into an ebook!

    Reply

    Michael Kelberer March 10, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Hi Joel – Very helpful post. I noticed none of the examples were fiction writers. Where do you think they might fall on the spectrum? Any successful examples fiction writers can look to?
    Thanks,
    Michael

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 10, 2014 at 10:02 am

    True, Michael. Fiction writers who blog have a very different situation, one that’s not as easy to solve. Some fiction writers I know spend much more time building their readership before taking on a regularly-published blog, while others try to attract readers by reviewing books in their genre or exploring the factual background to the settings or time period in which they write. And some have developed a readership simply by releasing bits and pieces of their writing over time. For the beginning fiction writer, blogging may not be as high a priority as it is for nonfiction writers, at least until they have an audience willing to extend them the permission they would need to write on other subjects.

    Reply

    Michael Kelberer March 10, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Thanks, Joel. And your responses now appearing…
    Trying to adapt all I’ve learned about marketing, and especially social media, to fiction authors has been a challenge (altho a pretty fun one). I’m certain the same principles apply (being based on human behavior), but how exactly to apply them…

    Reply

    David A Roberts March 10, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Great article. I’m just starting out in the blogging world and this is helpful. With a full time job, there is no way I could provide good content daily. I would like to do 2-3 times a week but start shaking when you start lookng at creating 100-150 articles a year. 50 a year still brings tears to my eyes. The writing part is easy, coming up with all those ideas will be the bigger challenge.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 10, 2014 at 9:58 am

    David, I hear you. But thinking about 50 articles will always be daunting. You only need to come up with one at a time, and there are many techniques for developing blog post ideas. You can have a look at just one of these here: How to Create an Endless Stream of Blog Post Ideas

    Reply

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