When we first start blogging, a daily new post routine might sound like the best strategy. After all, we are getting our content out there. Delivering new stuff each and every day, and our blog readers want to see that, right?
You might be surprised at how easy it becomes to burn out on new content every day – both for you, the blogger, as well as your readers.
How much is too much?
Your publishing schedule will be highly dependent on the type of content that you’re publishing. As usual with blogging, a one-size-fits-all answer to this question simply doesn’t exist. It almost never does.
However, we can look at the numbers from around the community to point us in the right direction. And, we can perform some experiments on our own to accurately determine what works best for our blogs.
That’s exactly what we’re going to do in this post.
Can we safely say that the more we post, the more traffic we’ll get?
Why publishing every day might not work
First, let’s debunk a popular myth. To be a successful blogger, you need to publish something new every day. That’s not true. Seriously, you just don’t.
While Huffington Post publishes something new every 58 seconds, we aren’t creating Huffington Post-type blogs with a huge writing staff with the intention of marketing our content through sheer volume.
Almost no blogger has those types of resources.
Publishing every day often kick-starts a cycle of content generation just for the sake of writing new content rather than taking the time and effort required to produce something valuable and engaging for your audience.
And, there are several reasons why publishing every day may not be a good idea:
- Your readers feel burnout
- Your latest post constantly changes
- You reduce the time it takes to market each post
- The writing will [probably] suffer because of “content-churn”
Well-said from the Blog Marketing Academy about publishing every day:
In other words, quality vs. quantity. Rarely do both of these exist at the same thing.
And, the basic elements of Search Engine Optimization have absolutely nothing to do with the frequency that you publish new content. Nothing at all.
Let me emphasize again: SEO is not affected by your posting frequency.
The two principles of content publishing
As we look at how often we should publish something new on our blogs, writing new content on blogs ultimately comes down to two major principles.
The goal is to write content that:
- People want to read, and
- People want to share
…all the while avoiding overwhelm. Giving them something that they want, when they want it, and offering our readers an opportunity to take it all in before they are hit with another piece of content.
Here is a question that you need to ask yourself:
If a blog published a piece of content every day, are you more likely or less likely to look at Monday’s post on, say, Thursday? If you’re like most of us, you’ll probably skip it because there’s something else that’s newer. More recent.
You, like most of us, get busy with life. You sometimes don’t get a chance to check in with your favorite blogs or websites. Finally, on Thursday or Friday, you pull it up and start reading. Most of us will start with the very latest content and, frankly, we might not get to the material that was posted earlier in the week.
The cycle can be relentless.
Quick! What’s the #1 reason why people unsubscribe from email newsletters?
Too many emails is the #1 reason. This is called overwhelm.
And, most of us send out emails whenever we publish something new (the better emails are hand-written). If we publish every day, we risk annoying our audience.
However, if we publish one, two or three times a week, we stand a better chance of hitting the sweet spot with our readers.
Ask yourself two questions:
- How much time do I need to produce something of value that’s worth both reading as well as sharing? And,
- How much time do my readers need to find it, read it, digest it and share it?
If you’re like most bloggers, posting weekly is a good idea – though, that does not mean you need to be posting new content every single day.
How often should I publish a new post?
Like I said before, it is impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all answer because it’s highly dependent on you, your blog and your readers.
However, most bloggers find that posting once, twice or three times a week works best over the long haul of running a blog.
Why? Because a less frequent posting schedule:
- Gives bloggers the time to write in-depth, highly-valuable content that readers want to read. Good content dives deeper than surface-level stuff, and every one of us needs the time to dig a bit deeper with our writing.
- Gives bloggers time to properly market and publicize the new post. Most successful bloggers spend more time marketing than they do writing, which is something that many beginner bloggers miss. If we post too often, we simply won’t have the time it takes to successfully market our content.
- Provides our readers with enough time to find and read the post. Most of us – which probably includes you, don’t read each post from your favorite blogs the day it’s written, right? Of course not. And, neither do your readers. Posting too often can create overwhelm. Too much content to go through.
Most bloggers – as this study confirms, post between two times a week to two or three times a month.
Experiment to find your blog’s content sweet spot
As you probably know, I am a big fan of experimentation. And, I also hate hard and fast rules that supposedly apply to everyone equally, especially in the world of blogging. That’s not how this stuff works.
The fact is you could follow the exact template of a highly successful blogger, write the very same stuff, post at the exact times they posted, build an audience of similar size on social but still see drastically different results.
The reason is that blogging isn’t a mathematical algorithm that results in the very same answer each and every time. Blogging is organic, and so much will depend on exactly what you’re doing, at the time that you’re doing it.
Yes, it’s true that there are SEO and marketing-specific tactics that generally work well for everyone. Writing content that readers want to read, marketing your content through email, getting involved in your community, etc. But, just doing those things won’t automatically turn your blog into the next Wait But Why, or Mark Madson.
So, how can we experiment to find the best answer to how often we should post?
First, take note of your current numbers
Before trying anything new, establish a baseline set of numbers that you’re already achieving each month. This could be:
- number of pageviews
- comments and engagement
- email opt-in conversion rates
- social media followers
- bounce rate
You can find many of these numbers with Google Analytics straight from the Audience > Overview page:
Then, begin experimenting with your content schedule to see how changes affect your numbers. Here are several examples of what you might try.
Reduce weekly postings by one
If you’re posting three times a week, try two. Or if you’re on a two-a-week schedule now, what happens if you only post one? If your pageviews decrease, then consider reverting back. But, here is where the nuance comes into play.
What if your pageviews decrease but the number of comments and engagement actually increases (because you’re giving your readers more time to interact with your content)? Which one is more important?
Or, what if your pageviews decrease a little bit, but your available time to market or do other important things increases more substantially? Maybe the PV decrease is worth it.
Clearly, only you can determine that answer.
If you reduce the number of posts that you publish, use that additional time to increase your marketing efforts of what you do publish. This could mean engaging more on social media, designing Pinterest images for your posts or writing super-clever emails for your newsletter subscribers.
If you’re just starting, start with two posts a week
In my experience, two posts per week is a good baseline number to shoot for after just starting. This tends to get enough content out there for Google to see and index but also doesn’t completely overwhelm you in the early days of your new blog.
After a while (say, three or four months), try altering your schedule and increase or decrease the number of posts. Then, take a look at how the change has affected your numbers. Adjust accordingly.
It’s important to post regularly
All this being said, it is important to post new stuff on the regular. Google generally likes blogs that are updated routinely rather than sites that sit dormant for extended periods of time, updated infrequently.
It’s a concept called Query Deserves Freshness, or QDF. “QDF, simply stated, is that for every query (“search term”) a search result list should include one (or more) piece of content that’s been recently published,” wrote Copy Blogger.
And, this tends to be true for individual posts to rank – though, not always. But, blogs that are routinely updated stand the best chance at climbing the ranks in Google, especially in the first couple of years of their existence.
Routine is key. Getting high-quality content out there, regularly, is the name of the game. And in general, the key is to maintain quality.
If you’re able to publish new posts more frequently while maintaining high quality, then the more the merrier. But, be careful not to over-publish and sacrifice quality.
If you insist on posting every day…
A quick email tip if you’re posting every day: Consider offering a digest version of your emails that get sent less often than daily emails. Some of your readers will get burned out of daily emails, but offering a consolidated email that introduces multiple posts, sent once a week, could be the sweet spot for some of your readers.
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders and lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels with the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs. He blogs at Think Save Retire.