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More on Posting Schedules

Peter at Almost Cool comments on my series on Blog Apathy – particularly picking up on some of the comments on posting goals and schedules. He rightly observes that with RSS subscribers you’re likely to get readers look at your posts whether you post regularly or irregularly and argues against quantity over quality of posts. This has been a common response to my mention of a posting schedule from a number of readers.

I agree with Peter and others – quality posting is essential to good blogging – but I guess want to argue for balance.

Blogging commercially is a traffic game whether we like it or not. If you want to earn more money one good way to get it is to increase your readership. Quality content is essential but so is quantity. You can write one fantastic post per week and get a bit of exposure but the chances are that unless it’s amazing it will never draw enough traffic to sustain you financially until the next post.

Having a posting schedule or goal is like being a journalist with a deadline. It’s not meant to decrease the quality – but gives an end point when the article needs to be finished so that a new one can be started upon and that a paper/magazine can continue its publishing rhythm.

Perhaps one of the things I should have mentioned some of the following in my initial comments on posting schedules:

when you choose a posting schedule look at your current blogging rhythm and base your future goals on this. Its like when you go to the gym – you need to be realistic and base your fitness plan on your current situation. If you’re not fit it would not be wise to commit to running 40 miles per day. You need to work up to it. Set your rate too high and the quality of your posting will definitely suffer.

• make your posting goals realistic and achievable – Take into account factors including how much time you have to blog, how long your blog posts generally are, how many posts per day your readers are used to reading, how much content is out there as a basis for your posts. With these factors in mind pick a goal that you know you can achieve on a good day. I’m fortunate enough to be able to blog full time – so my posting schedule is higher than many of my reader who only have an hour or so per day – that’s cool. Start where you’re at.

• stretch yourself – to use the fitness analogy again – if you want to get fit sometimes you have to push yourself a little. You don’t need to break your back but most personal fitness coaches will set a goal a little beyond what you currently do to take you out of your comfort zone. Sometimes this hurts, but the result is growth.

• rules are made to be broken – Don’t get down if you don’t achieve your goals – they are not there as hard and fast rules to make you feel guilty – they are there as something to strive for – as inspiration. I regularly have days when I don’t post at the rate I set myself – other stuff comes up, I get distracted, I get sick, I have breaks. Whilst I try make up for when I miss a day I don’t get down on myself and just get back on with blogging.

The last thing I’ll say is to draw your attention to Peter’s last statements:

‘I think the quantity game is a dangerous one for a business blogger.

Now, if your business is blogging, it’s a different scenario. Your goals will be to get maximum total exposure. A blog talking to an established or niche customer base (say, like a designer talking to potential customers) will be less concerned with adsense click through rates and more concerned with earning and keeping happy clients.’

This is a good distinction to keep in mind. If you have a business blog (ie you’re blog is not directly about making money but rather draws attention to your (or someone else’s) business then quantity is probably not as key as if your running a commercial blog. I would still argue you need both – but perhaps as Peter writes the focus should be more upon the quality end of things.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I’ve also wondered about the quantity-quality balance. I think there’s a certain range within which you’ll achieve solid traffic growth rather than a specific point everyone should aim for. Obviously quantity is important for search engine traffic. But IMO quality is better for converting visitors into subscribers and into getting people to link to your blog. If I take the time to make a very high quality post, I’ll often see more fellow bloggers linking to my blog than if I crank out simpler, shorter posts in greater quantity. And those links not only build traffic but also help increase page rank.

    I average about 5 posts per week, but usually I aim to write fairly deep posts that are at least 1000 words (my blog is about personal development). Some of my posts are 4000-5000 words, and I’ve done a couple series on topics that amount to 15,000+ words. That’s a lot for people to read, but it appeals to people who are motivated to seek new insights into topics like self-discipline or productivity or building courage. So while I’m not added pages too rapidly compared to more prolifiic posters, I think these deep-analysis posts generally provide more value for subscribers.

    It’s interesting to see that there appear to be multiple correct strategies for traffic building. My strategy is focused on building word-of-mouth traffic more than on search engine traffic. So I sacrifice a bit of SEO in order to do more HEO (Human Experience Optimization). If you make search engines happy, you get more search engine referrals. If you make humans happy, you get more word-of-mouth referrals. Both are important of course, and there’s a lot of overlap between these two strategies (they complement each other nicely). You can slant your blogging habits one way or the other within a certain range and still achieve great results.

  2. HEO (Human Experience Optimization)

    I love that!

  3. The catch with going for word of mouth traffic is that its much less likely to click on ads. Which is why I think Darren is suggesting a combination. Lots of short, one topic posts will get pages in the search engine and people coming from search engines are much more likely to click on your ads.

    However, to rank highly in Google these days you need links. How do you get links? Well unless you have several highly ranked sites already, your best bet is going to be writing some really high quality posts and getting other bloggers interested enough to link.

    Thus for pro-blogging at least in the form that Darren most often talks about, you need both lots of posts and high quality posts. One or the other will not do.

  4. I’m for quality. But then, I’m not trying to make money from blogging…

  5. I certainly agree that quality is important, but so is regularity.

    More than once I’ve found a blog I like, but days and weeks go by with nothing new .. so I tend to stop visiting.

    For myself, I set an absolute rule of one post per day minimum. If I can do more, great, but I insist upon one. I write ahead as Darren has suggested, and won’t do more than one post until I have a backlog of at least seven days.

    I also won’t do more than three posts – not sure why exactly but maybe its from visiting blogs where there is just too darn much..

  6. Quality certainly takes precedence, but I agree that consistency is almost as important. If you have great, informative, interesting posts that only appear every few weeks then people won’t stop by regularly.

    I just started a blog, http://www.thedebtfreeblog.com, and am planning on a consistent schedule that I feel I can keep up with given my regular 45-50 hour/week job. I plan on posting quality (at least I hope they’re quality) entries 3 times a week, Tue, Thur and Sat.

  7. I am really coming around on the “quantity” thing since I started The Alaska Blog. I really think that it all comes down to the goals of the blog.

    On my design blog, as you suggest, a primary goal is to speak to potential clients and network with other professionals. I’ve had new clients write to me and send a link to something I’ve written and say, “When I read this post, I knew you were the designer for me.” The blog closes the sale. I am always going to be “ok” with posting 2-3 times per week on this blog.

    For The Alaska Blog, my goals are a big more complex. At the core, I would do it even if it wasn’t monetized for several reasons, but making money through advertising and affiliate programs is certainly a goal. So being, I think quantity is much more important in this case. I’m seeing empirical evidence that suggests that the more I post, the more traffic I get, the more interest I generate, the more people link to me, and so on.

    Still, I fight the notion that quantity is more important than quality. But I’m hopping on the “balance” bandwagon when it comes to this type of blog.

  8. I all for balance, too, but I wanted to make a point that helps the cause for Quantity. From what I understand, the more often you update a website, the more frequently Google (and, theoretically, those other search engines) will index your page, which can improve your page rank down the road.

  9. I have to think about that! Quality and quantity. I’ve been blogging for 4 months and now I usually post at least 4 entry per day. I don’t know if its too much!

  10. […] Blogging Frequency anrhythmym: Darren Rowse at ProBlogger talks about blogging frequency anrhythmym. Basically try to match your readers expectations. If your readers visit mostly in the morning, try to have new feeds waiting for them when they log in first thing. Blogger really falls apart here, WordPress does a much better job from my experience. Also think about what would happen if you went away on vacation, and the hotel didn’t have internet access (GASP). WordPress allows you to schedule blog postings to be posted in the future, and even takes care of pinging for you. If you post regularly and have to stop posting temporarily for some reason, a notice is a nice thing to do. Blogging that you are taking a plane/train/automobile this morning/afternoon/evening and won’t be available borders on blogging narcissism. Continued in part II (Blog News Reporter: Approaches and the News) […]

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  13. I just came across Problogger. It caught my attention that you likened blogging consistency with fitness and exercise. It is true, you have to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, in order to see growth, both in blogging and exercising. My blog is about fitness and I know that this is really needed (the pushing) in getting fit. I willl remember now to push myself in blogging too!

  14. Great post – I am a little late to this discussion but had to comment thanking you. I have created myself a posting schedule and am planning on keeping to it.

  15. Hi all!
    This my first post

  16. wepouys says: 10/15/2007 at 10:17 pm

    Hello !
    Sorry to bother you. I found this forum when looking through google for forums to use. I need
    to install a forum on my website but I cannot find where it is sold.

    Where did you get this one

    Thanks for any assistance

  17. […] keeping organized with diaries, calendars and schedules numerous times before (here, here, here and here for starters) – but in each of these cases the diary idea has been to help you plan what […]

  18. This post is a few years old and I am now just reading it. I wonder is that is Steve Pavlina’s first post on problogger. It’s been 3 1/2 years since this post so let’s look at the results.

    Steve’s blog is doing really well and he’s been sticking with his in-depth long quality blogs. Problogger has kept with the frequent postings and have way more content.

    So who’s right? I guess it all depends on your audience. Problogger provides tips on blogging and making money. Steve provides personal development articles. So I guess the answer comes down to subject and audience.

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