7 Reasons Posting Less Frequently can Increase Your Blog’s Popularity


Photo courtesy of SeenyaRita

By Bamboo Forest of Pun Intended

I’ve been exposed to many theories on what makes optimal posting frequency. The problem with the approaches I’ve seen, however, is they fail to address the most fundamental question: How good is the content?

Whether a blog is starting out, been at it for a while, or has a long history behind it – one thing is clear, its success is dependent on the quality of each post. People don’t line up to subscribe to a blog because it’s spitting out three posts a day.

1. More posts mean less scrutiny

Your ideas are finite. By posting less often you can select those ideas that are best, and leave the lackluster ones to germinate or be disposed of. Having a quota of posts you’re adamant about keeping can cause mediocre content to surface.

2. Posts improve with time

When you can keep coming back to a piece of writing over more than a day, it almost always gets better. You see things you didn’t see when you first thought you were done. You also find additional ideas to add, making your material that much more compelling.

3. Subscribers read many blogs

Most people who read blogs are subscribed to so many, they are likely to miss some of your posts if you post too frequently. Give your readers an opportunity to consume all your writing.

4. Your blog is judged by the front page

The most influential aspect of your blog is what’s sitting on the front page. Some people do look through archives, many don’t. By having a little more time to spend with your writing, you ensure that what’s on the cover gives new visitors the greatest incentive to subscribe.

5. Generate more comments with less frequency

If a post stays up on your front page for more than 24 hours, you’re in a far better position to accumulate comments. Comments are valuable because they make your blog look active, creating an additional reason for newcomers to subscribe.

6. More time to guest post

The number one way to grow a blog is to post on other popular blogs. If you have a strict schedule of prolific posting – it will be harder to find time to guest post.

7. Readers do not unsubscribe from too few posts

How many posts you publish should be low on the list of things to worry about, particularly if you’re getting one solid post out a week. What should be very high, however, is refraining from writing material that isn’t inspiring. That’s the real reason people unsubscribe from blogs.

You want people to truly look forward to your next post, which is the undercurrent of any successful blog. This only happens if each post provokes your readers to stand on edge to what’s coming next.

The greatest challenge bloggers have is living up to the reputation they’ve worked so hard to build. By posting less often and writing with utmost care – you will position yourself to making your blog too important not to subscribe to.

For more articles by Bamboo Forest, head over to Pun Intended.

***

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70 Responses to “7 Reasons Posting Less Frequently can Increase Your Blog’s Popularity”

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  1. Very Evolved says:

    Of course though you don’t explicitly say it, you mean this advice to apply mostly to solo blogs – or to individual authors.

    I mostly agree with your points, though I think you should spin your point about being inspiring out from point 7 and make it a key point by itself.

    If you are posting less frequently your posts should be substantial – not necessarily in word count, but they should be as long as the subject matter takes to explore.

    Patrick

  2. Kathlyn says:

    I agree with you. I subscribe to a ton of blogs and the ones that have a post a day or multiple posts a day generally don’t get read unless I know there’s valuable content. They become a chore to read through and I feel like I will never “catch up.”

    The blogs with great writing that have new stuff once or twice a week – I scan my reader looking for those new posts. I think the one exception in my reader is Seth’s blog, because his posts are always interesting, and always short. That combination is rare.

    Thanks for the article.

  3. Tim O'Dell says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I post twice a week to the blog I started recently (one of which is practical, and the other personal) and even then I wonder if this is too often!!

  4. @ Very Evolved:

    Yes, this advice would be more applicable to blogs with one author. In fact, I don’t even mean this advice to apply to all bloggers necessarily. If your name is Darren Rowse or Leo Babauta, then I may just as well advise writing a post a day, since they are uniquely capable of doing it successfully.

    But for most… I think writing more posts only serves to reduce the quality of the material without really creating a substantial advantage. In today’s blog atmosphere… quality is the real currency that leads to popularity. There’s a lot of competition out there.

    @ Kathyln: I generally actually prefer when a blog does not post each day.

    @ Tim O’Dell: Twice is good if you have something important to say twice a week.

  5. Burak says:

    Objection to point 7.

    I definitely unsubscribe from blogs that fail to provide significant content regularly. I use My Yahoo for everything, including mail and feed subscriptions. Each content function has its own box on My Yahoo page. I delete the poor performing blogs after a while too keep My Yahoo page less crowded.

    Having said that, I agree with the overall idea of this post, especially points 1 and 3.

  6. Gennaro says:

    I like the idea of quality over quantity. Write fewer posts, but spend that extra time on the posts that are published. I do think a post-a-day from Monday to Friday is a good idea though. That’s when a lot fo people do their reading. Perhaps, let the readers have less new content on the weekend to give them a chance to catch up and the blogger a chance to freshen their ideas.

  7. Anna says:

    Good points, but I’m the same as Burak. I do unsubscribe from blogs that don’t update regularly. It’s annoying :)

  8. @ Burak: Interesting. For example, Skelliewag.org is one of my favorite blogs, yet she doesn’t update often. Never have I had any desire to take her out of my lineup because of a lack of posting.

    But a string of boring posts would push me over the edge.

    @ Gennaro: I definitely would never recommend more than a post a day. And I would rather one or two posts a week that really touch me, than one every day of the week that has little residue.

    @ Anna: Interesting. Though, I think statistically, blogs don’t go under from too few posts. If their material is solid, they maintain their subscribers even when posting less frequently.

    Bad posts, on the other hand, leave a bad taste in the mouth.

  9. Mary Jaksch says:

    This is very interesting. I think you’re right on the button.

    Right from the start on my blog http://goodlifezen.com I started with one post per week. And I’ve built my blog to 2,400 subscribers in one year. I can’t write quality articles in less time. Because I need time to muse and time to research.

    I get very few unsubscriptions. People seem to be happy to wait for each post.

  10. JC says:

    I agree especially with the 3rd point. I am subscribed to so many blogs and am often overwhelmed trying to get all of them read. I get behind when I miss a few days due to my heavy work schedule. Despite the blog having great content, I have even unsubscribed simply because I couldn’t keep up.

  11. Brad says:

    Great advice!

    I try to keep a steady posting schedule on my blog. But if I don’t have anything good to post, then I don’t rather than risking mediocre content.

    The only point I’d take issue with you is # 7. I unsubscribe from blogs with too few posts all the time. If a blogger doesn’t have at least one or two posts a week, then I tend to lose interest pretty fast. But that’s just me.

    Great post and keep up the good work!

  12. @ Mary Jacksch: Attaining 2,400 subscribers in one year is a tremendous accomplishment.

    You obviously know what you’re doing, and your one post a week is capturing the attention of your readers, that is for sure.

    @ JC: My feeling is that most blogs shouldn’t post more than three times a week. It’s just not worth it.

    If, however, the blog has huge traffic and multiple authors, it may be wise. But for must of us, I just don’t think it is.

    @ Brad: Thank you. That’s interesting; apparently you’re not the only one to unsubscribe from too few posts. It would have to be a very long time for me to unsubscribe on the merit of too few posts.

  13. Right on, improvement comes with practice. Post by post… You’re right, this is part of my aim-> post less frequently but with solid content. The kind of content people will want to read. Guess posting, someone once said to wait until you had a least 20-30 posts before guest posting on another site.

    Front page, I agree because I notice how I react when I first reach a sites front page. Quality points throughout.

    -Mig

  14. Jesse Hines says:

    This is a money quote:

    “How many posts you publish should be low on the list of things to worry about, particularly if you’re getting one solid post out a week. What should be very high, however, is refraining from writing material that isn’t inspiring. That’s the real reason people unsubscribe from blogs.”

    Strong post, Bamboo. Points are well argued.

  15. Michele says:

    Hi, Bamboo!

    What a joy to find you here. This is an excellent post, my friend. I echo Jesse in that this post is strong and well argued.

    I find that the posts where I’ve truly written from being inspired far outweigh the ones I just jotted down something and hit publish.

    Congrats on bringing such a rockin’ post!

    *smiles*
    Michele

  16. Zoe says:

    What a relief to read this! I tire of reading articles that swear frequent posting is the key to success.

    My posts take a while to wrestle onto the screen. They also tend to be longish, and people need time to digest them. After all, I’m far from being the only blog they read. I like posting 3 times a week best, for most of the reasons you’ve listed above.

  17. @ Miguel: Solid content is the rocket fuel of a blog.

    @ Jesse: Thank you.

    @ Michele: Writing while inspired is certainly beneficial to one’s prose. The more we care about what we’re writing, the better the results will be. Thank you.

    @ Zoe: It was a relief for me to write it. ;-) Posting 3 times a week is often the ideal for a blog. I can tell your posts require a lot of thinking and editing. It’s nice to read such depth on a blog.

  18. meghna says:

    A great post where I agree with all these points. I’ve usually seen blogging tips where it says frequent posting is advantageous. This post discusses the other side of the coin in a convincing manner.

  19. “Rocket fuel for a blog.” Haha, I like it! :) Thanks again,

    -Mig

  20. J.D. Meier says:

    Really good point on making time to guest post.

    I’ve heard that enough times now that it must be true. I think I’ll need to test it.

    It’s also refreshing to hear that the front page matters. Not that I went all Feng Shui on my home or nothing, but my home page is a different experience than my individual posts. It used to bother me, but maybe it’s a good thing after all.

  21. It’s a relief to have someone come and say it’s okay to post less frequently. I’ve to admit I sometimes fret if my less frequent posting would affect my readership, but from personal experience as a blog reader, I don’t worry too much at the end of the day. I only un-subscribe when a) the quality drops significantly and consistently b) too many posts so I feel I can’t follow the story or the program by missing out on so many threads c) the blog has taken a path that is no longer relevant to my needs.

    Excellent post :)

  22. @ Meghna: Thank you. I’m totally not convinced of the notion of more posts is always better. If more posts mean less quality, then what is more posts better for?

    @ J.D. Meier: Guest posting is good for gaining subscribers and it also helps your blog gain credibility. And it’s fun. I recommend it.

    @ Lioness: I share your same sentiment. I, as a blog reader, will not unsubscribe due to less frequent posting. I want the posts to be good, isn’t that what it’s all about? High frequency isn’t very important.

    You said it well. The reasons you cite are all very legitimate reasons to unsubscribe. Thank you.

  23. Mitch says:

    It’s always interesting whenever one reads and writes about this issue. I think we’re somewhere around 50% as to whether one can write too many posts, but everyone seems to agree that it’s easy to write too few posts.

    I think it depends on what a person has to say and what the topic is as to whether or not there are too many posts. I found that when I started writing more posts, that’s when people started visiting my blog. Of course, I change up my topics from time to time, so as to give people a lot of different things to consider.

    But I also think it’s probably more important to visit other blogs and comment on them as much as possible, because whether you write one post a week or multiple posts a day, if people don’t know you’re writing at all then you’re just wasting your time.

  24. Writer Dad says:

    Hi Bamboo,

    It’s wonderful to see you here! I agree. It’s definitely more about quality than quantity. I wish I could relax my schedule, I just have way too big a mouth.

  25. Mary Jaksch says:

    I’m really happy to see the good response to this post. I liked it the moment I set eyes on it. In fact, I did something unusual: instead of placing it in the guest post queue, I published it within the next half hour!

    I was thinking about unsubscribing from blogs and Skellie’s blog http://www.skelliewag.org/ occurred to me. Her blog is a treasure trove for bloggers! I’ve learned most of my skills there. Each article is packed with useful information. However, Skellie is now posting hardly at all. Yet her subscriber numbers haven’t really dropped that much. I’m definitely not going to unsubscribe because I don’t want to miss anything she might post in the future!

    This shows that if your content is top-notch – you can retain your loyal followers. They’ll even follow you through your personal writing desert.

  26. Jennifer says:

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  27. I always wondered what the top reasons were for people unsubscribing from a blog. And for me, it’s the same as Twitter: if there is too much noise coming from someone…I’m axing it.

  28. jennifer says:

    i post on my blog once a week, so i was happy to see that posting once a week is ok. my question, however, is should i be posting on the same day each week? i’ve been aiming to post on late sunday nights, but so far, that hasn’t happened. i haven’t managed to get a post out on the same day in a long time.

    so what do you think? does it matter if i post on the same day every week, or just that i post every week?

    thanks for the great article!

    jen

  29. LisaNewton says:

    With my first blog, it took me a long time to realize this, but this time around, I’ve discovered that less is more, and just for the reasons you outlined here.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you……………………:)

  30. @ Mitch: You say, “if people don’t know you’re writing at all then you’re just wasting your time.”

    You may not be wasting your time, but you’re certainly not going to be a very fulfilled writer.

    @ Writer Dad: A big mouth is probably a real asset if you’re a blogger.

    @ Mary Jaksch: Thank you for publishing my post. It’s wonderful to see it here :-)

    You write, “I’m definitely not going to unsubscribe because I don’t want to miss anything she might post in the future!”

    That’s how I feel. Her material is original and thought provoking. I can wait.

    @ Writer’s Coin: That’s a good way to put it.

    @ Jennifer: It’s nice to post on the same day each week, but I don’t think it’s critical. If you post around the same day, that is probably just as good.

    It’s more important to try to post once a week than to worry about which day you’re publishing that post.

    @ Lisanewton: You’re welcome. Glad you found the information of value.

  31. John Haydon says:

    Mary,

    Very timely post – thank you so much!

    I’ve been considering the frequency of my posts for a while. Currently I post 3 times a week and want to back it down so that I can provide more value to my readers. I’ve also been thinking shorter posts too.

    One of my favorite blogs in Chris Garrett’s. He posts every 7-9 days. Whenever something new comes out, I say “What’s Chris got to say?” I find myself really digesting the whole post.

    John

  32. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Jennifer!
    For a while I was paranoid about posting for GoodlifeZEN on exactly the same day each week. I had read that Tuesdays and Thursdays are particularly good. So I tried to publish my articles religiously on every Tuesday morning. Until I realized that I’m the only one who expects the post to appear on that particular day!

    There was one particular week when I was overseas in Buenos Aires and I couldn’t get to an internet cafe. I couldn’t post a new article and thought that I would lose a heap of subscribers.

    Well, when I was back online and checked – my subscriber count had grown that week.

    That’s made me relax about posting schedules.

  33. I have to give it a little more thought, but I think I am sold. I just wrote a guest post for someone and the article took more thought and effort than I normally put into a post and it was much more fun and enjoyable and produced much better content.

    Sounds like a recipe for success, especially with the guest blogging mixed in.

  34. Jay Kerr says:

    I don’t know if I agree with your first point. I tend to visit the same blogs each day and many of them have 3-5 posts or more (daringfireball.net, kottke.org). I’m disappointed when I take time and revisit a site only to see the same old post up there for a week. I think it hurts readership more than anything.

    All of this depends on the type of blog. Some blogs thrive on frequent content updates whereas others can get by with the less is more approach.

  35. I feel better about my blog now that I’ve read this. I post a substantial article 1-3 times a week, which usually ranges from 700-1200 or so words. I can’t stand the idea of writing short posts that don’t cover everything I think is important and relevant to the subject.

    I often spend several hours working on one post, often going back to polish up a while after drafting it and I always find things that need to be improved.

    Now to find the time to write some guest posts too! Thanks for your insights.

    P

  36. @ The Happy Rock: Most bloggers who have become big engaged in a fair amount of guest posting.

    @ Jay Kerr: I took a look at “daringfireball.net.” Looks like it’s a blog with posts from more than one author. My first point wouldn’t apply here.

    @ Penelope Pince: 1-3 times a week is a good amount. Glad you found the article of value.

  37. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Bamboo Forest!
    You just made an important point: if there is more than one writer, a blog can publish more than 1-3 time a week without losing quality.

    I’ve decided to allow some guest posts on GoodlifeZEN.com. There are two reasons. Firstly, I want the guest poster to focus on personal growth themes so that I can be free to write what I especially enjoy: articles in the spirituality field. Secondly, having regular guest posts will allow me to publish twice a week.

  38. claudio says:

    Hi Mary:

    Hope you had a good retreat!

    In regards to the topic, I think we shouldn’t write for the sake of writing. If there is a comment you feel like sharing, do it. It’ll give readers a small window into your world.
    However if and when you decide to write something of value, take your time on top of the time it will take.
    If you’d like to guest post, look at it as going to someone’s house as a guest. Go presentable and show up with a bottle of wine at least.

    How often to post? …a lot of individual factors involved, but I happen to agree with the Title. Even if you had 300 excellent posts put away, it’s smart to publish at a moderate pace. I think that allows for the material to be properly digested.
    One of the reason why I get overwhelmed is not the amount of stuff to read, what actually stresses me, is the amount of REALLY goo stuff to read! and when I finally get to it, my brain is in information overload.

    I’m sure a few of my compadres know how this feels!

    Take care

  39. Mary Jaksch says:

    I like Claudio’s idea of taking a bottle of wine to the blog as a guest poster! (Ok, Bamboo Forest – a bottle of Pinot Gris will do :-)

    I think guest posts on one’s blog are the way to go. Now that we’ve reached more than 7000 subscribers, I get a lot of guest post submissions for Write to Done. The first thing I do is to point them at my article on the Perfect Pitch: http://writetodone.com/2008/09/12/the-perfect-pitch-how-to-land-a-gig-every-time/

    These guest posts allow Leo and me to be leisurely and deliberate with what we write for WTD. There’s no pressure to churn out articles. And it means that we can play a little. For example, I’ve got something in the pipeline for you guys next week that’s a bit experimental :-)

    I should really write another article on pitching. I notice that my response to potential guest posters varies enormously. If someone is a nice person and can write, I don’t care how inexperienced they are. I’m happy to lead them through the process of guest posting and give tips on how to do it, so that they have the experience and confidence to pitch to other blogs after their post at WTD.

    But some people write stiff pitches and I don’t feel the human being behind them. Then I’m a bit more guarded in my response.

    BTW, Bamboo Forest got an immediate thumbs up. He’s nice AND can write :-)

  40. Mary Jaksch: Having guest posts (in moderation) can be very positive for a personal blog. And it frees us up to work on our own articles as you pointed out — while keeping our blog posting regularly. It’s good all around. Zenhabits has one guest post a week and I think it’s a good thing.

    Haha… I’ll keep the wine request in mind for next time.

    Thank you for the kind words. WritetoDone is a very special blog. And the guest posting done here is part of what makes it so special. It really works well here. And as you say… gives you and Leo the opportunity to take your time and to be deliberate for posting your own posts here.

    I look forward to the post next week.

    @ Claudio: You say, “In regards to the topic, I think we shouldn’t write for the sake of writing.”

    Well said and agreed.

  41. I bet that we would be fun Mary!… Donate a bottle of wine to write a guest post on WTD. Start building that cellar.

    Thx for the comment Bamboo, and sorry about the wine, send Mary some Shiraz (Australian)

    Later

  42. Mary Jaksch says:

    Naw…I don’t like Shiraz (whine)

  43. A friend of mine got me into it, then I developed the buds for it…plus I like the logo!

  44. Leo,

    I completely agree with posting less and letting readers get “hungry” for more posts. Very true about having more time for people to comment. I like to ideally post once every 3 days, but wind up a doing a bit less.

    We are all challenged for time, so I don’t want people to get frustrated that they might be missing out on a helpful post. I want new people to dig in deep to my older posts as well. It get them “caught up” to what I’m talking about.

    Note: I never knew you had this site as well! I’m jazzed. My site is growing quickly in popularity and this will help me learn from a guy who has been there before.

    Now time to dig deep into this site and do my homework :)

    Rusty

  45. Jen says:

    This is really helping me with managing my blog!
    http://jenz-g.blogspot.com/

  46. I think it’s important, first of all, for bloggers to realize that this is not an excuse to post so infrequently that readers lose interest. There is a point about balance that I think Bamboo Forest is trying to make here.

    Also, to those who unsubscribe to blogs that don’t post “regularly”, what is your definition of regularly? Every hour, every day, every week? I don’t think Bamboo is telling bloggers to post once a month or once every two weeks. It’s about posting regularly enough to keep readers interested, but spacing them out enough to allow them to really digest what you’re writing and not overwhelm them.

  47. @ Kari Rippetoe: You say, “It’s about posting regularly enough to keep readers interested, but spacing them out enough to allow them to really digest what you’re writing and not overwhelm them.”

    Certainly, spacing them out can give your readership an opportunity to read all of your material.

    And you’re right — I’m not advocating infrequent posting. I’m encouraging that people don’t post for the sake of posting, as if this is the factor that gains subscribers and keeps them.

    It’s not.

    Writing great content is. And if people are posting often and as a result compromising on quality, it’s just not worth it.

  48. Well said, Bamboo Forest.

    I unsubscribe to blogs who post every day with fluffy entries or to blogs who post once every three months.

    However, the more substantial and well edited posts a blog offers, the more inclined I am to stick around, even with a post a week.

    Your article made me feel so much better about myself! ;-)

  49. Rudi Lehnert says:

    GREAT site – GREAT post! I just recommended it in an extensive link list to my readers:

    http://blogorama.eisbrecher.net/2009/01/27/leo-babauta-the-power-of-less

    Thanks for sharing!

  50. Ah hah! I was on the fence about this subject, and starting to see some of these potentials crop up. Thanks for helping me out Mary!

  51. Cyrus says:

    I must say this is also quite true, I have a blog taking about seminar review, post like once or twice a month, but suddenly I got a page rank 3 all of a sudden.

    But blogging frequently initially is very important, as you will be creating content (because there is no enough content in your new blog). Another reason is that you will create a habit of blogging.

  52. Dilan says:

    I run my own SEO blog and try to update it twice a week. I believe that frequency of updating depends much on the specific and topic of the blog. In any case too much and too little is always bad. And as for comments, I’ve installed an application using http://rapidqueen.com , which helps me to get rid of unnecessary work while sorting and checking them – everything is done automatically.

  53. Posting too often can hurt a blog, but can also get more interest back in the blog. A good guideline is to post enough to keep your page fresh, but there is such a thing as overkill!

  54. When I first started blogging, I aspired to post every day. I’ve since reduced my frequency to three times a week, and feel its made a huge improvement in the quality of my writing.

  55. Philjoe says:

    I thought that I should try to write everyday rather than post everyday. turning your blog in to a post-mill will drive down your currency. However ,writing everyday to improve your writing skills couldn’t be a bad Idea.

  56. I find myself becoming bored with the niche of the blog if I post alot during a given time period. However, if you find one theme that you absolutely love, having a long – well thought out post once a week is a good option. Sandwich it between one or two lesser valuable writings.

  57. Girish Mony says:

    I am very much confused regarding this issue. Its tough to maintain high posting frequency. Glad I saw this post.

  58. Posting frequency is important, depends on the niche of your blog though…