This question is a community favorite. It’s usually one of the first questions I tackle when working with a new blogger or content creator.
How Often Should I Publish A Blog Post?
There are several points of view ranging from the aggressive to the absurd. We’ll talk through each, see if you can find which one I believe is…well…less than ideal.
Blog Publishing Options:
Monthly: Average at least one post every 30 days.
Monthly publishing used to be the norm in the Wild Wild West days of blogging. This is how I started. The rational was – I’m not sure how much time it will take to write a decent post so I’ll just plan for one every month. Solid rationale but times have changed.
Content is created within hours and published everyday on top sites. Monthly publishing makes your blog look sluggish and abandoned. While I wish monthly publishing still worked, I can’t see how it makes sense for most publishers.
The Exception to the Rule: There is always one.
Glen Allsopp, the founder of ViperChill.com averages one post every month. Recently he’s managed 2 a month. Glen is successful and a bona-fide authority in his niche. But I want you to notice something in the stats from his last 4 posts:
How to Build a Billion Dollar SEO Empire
# of words: 3,922
Dr. Houzz Reveals a Widget-Flawed Google Algorithm
# of words: 2,763
$100,000 in One Week, a Viral Nova Follow-up
# of words: 4,908
How to Reach 1000,000,000 Unique Visitors in Just 6 Months
# of words: 2,791
Glen is averaging 3,596 words per post!
He is well known for thoroughly researched and incredibly comprehensive posts. It usually takes me a month to read and digest the information. Once a month is plenty if you blog like Glen Allsopp
Weekly: Average at least one post every 7 days
Now we’re talking. Weekly publishing is the beginning of a successful strategy. New visitors to your blog will see new information and your readers will be able to regularly enjoy your insights.
But, You’ve probably noticed that it’s getting harder to find new readers. The problem is that every other blog in your niche are publishing weekly too. I for one don’t like a fair fight. Everyone publishing weekly means there are too many lookalikes competing for the same sliver of reader attention.
Start with weekly publishing. But look for a better strategy as soon as you can.
When You Have Something to Say
This is the party line from the campfire and rainbows crew. This bit of advice is the #1 killer of blogs. That’s a shame since many people with amazing stories to tell have been disillusioned by the failure “Post When You Have Something to Say” delivered.
On the surface, this notion seems logical. After all why write when you don’t feel like it or have something to write about?
The problem is that creating content is a means to an end. It requires work. Some days the words flow like milk over rice crispies. Other days, every word is as harder to find than an single cricket on a summer’s night. But…the prize, more readers, money, authority, goes to those who create when they don’t feel like it. Winners find something worthwhile to say. It’s just how the game is played.
I wish this advice on my competition.
Modified Daily: Publish a post every weekday
Publishing daily is the path to rapid growth. Case closed.
It’s hard as hell to pull off if you are a single-author publisher. It requires organization, discipline, resourcefulness, and creativity. But, I’m sure someone wise told you that the reward comes after hard and smart work.
You’ll find that the top blogs are ramping up their publishing schedule to 7 posts a week or even 2 posts a day. They know what I’m trying to tell you – quality content is always in short supply. Find it, write it, curate it, publish it, get bigger faster.
Publishing daily may not be for you. That’s fine. Weekly or maybe even twice a week will keep you ahead of most of the pack for a little while longer. Just a little while though.
The Exception to the Rule: There is always one.
You might be trapped in a narrow and shallow niche. There might be regulations, ethics, or codes of conduct that prevent you from being a prolific content creator.
For example, I have a client that must get every public document cleared by a gaggle of lawyers before it can be published. It is darn near impossible for them to publish weekly let alone daily.
Another client provide medical care. Legal regulations prevent them from sharing anything but the most homogenized prose.
I recommend finding a complementary subject that is wide and deep to mine for content. My financial services clients can talk about money management, budgeting, and other topics that are interesting to their clients and prospects even though it’s not directly about investment planning.
A doctor could talk about preventative medicine, nutrition, and other regulation-free topics. Offering a curated source of information is still valuable and effective.
Blog Publishing Best Practices
Keep these best practices (learned the hard way) in mind before you implement that weekly or modified daily publishing plan:
1. Start with a plan
Understand what you will write, when you will write it and what you will do when you’ve run out of things to write about. Make your plan as detailed as possible. This plan is critical to the success of your blog. Don’t wing it.
2. Pay attention to your readers
Monitor your blog update “unsubscribe” numbers. Consider ramping down your publishing schedule If you see a prolonged spike in unsubscribes. The initial spike is expected but a prolonged increase in unsubscribes means that your audience can’t digest the information you’re providing.
3. Experiment and Optimize
Every audience has a sweet spot where the frequency of posts and post length is balanced and encourages repeat visits and social shares (i.e. retweets, likes, etc.) Everything you’ve read here are guidelines to get you close to your audience’s sweet spot. Experiment on your own to refine your mix.
Image credit: Typoretum