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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Most Overrated Piece of Blogging Advice I’ve Ever Heard - DailyBlogTips

"Blog every day."
That's what I was told, when I started out three years. It's probably what you've heard too.
And now, I think it's massively overrated advice.
Why?

#1: You're Wasting Your Time

When you start out as a blogger, you have very little traffic. Virtually no-one is reading your posts.
Of course, you need to get some content in place before you start promoting your blog – but this really isn't a case of "build it and they will come". Your blog is all but invisible. Instead of pouring hours into writing daily posts, write two posts a week and spend the rest of your time promoting them.
Do It:
For every hour you spend writing for your blog, spend an hour on promoting your work (e.g. guest posting, commenting, interacting in forums, using Twitter and Facebook).

#2: Your Posts Are Poor Quality

Some bloggers can turn out a great, content-rich post every day.
Most can't.
If you find yourself writing something – anything – just so that you can hit "publish" before midnight, then you're doing it wrong. Why would anyone want to read a post that you threw together just to meet your own arbitrary targets?
Do It:
Spend longer on each post – and look out for common blogging mistakes. Draft your post, then wait until the next day to edit it: your subconscious mind will keep working on it in the meantime.

#3: Readers Don't Necessarily Like It

Have you ever unsubscribed from a blog because it posted too much?
I have. In fact, I'm much more likely to unsubscribe because a blogger posts too often than because they post too infrequently. I've stayed subscribed to Skelliewag because Skellie's posts are so insightful – even though she often goes months without posting.
Daily posts could be overwhelming your readers – especially if you're trying to write in-depth posts that deliver huge value.
Do It:
Ask your readers – do they read every post? Would they prefer fewer posts?

#4: You'll Burn Yourself Out

You probably have a day job, or a family, or school work … maybe all three! If you're trying to maintain a daily blogging routine, you may well find that you last for a month or two before simply giving up.
It takes time (often years) for a blog to gain traction, and you want a posting rhythm that will work month after month.
Do It:
If you're starting to feel burnt out and jaded, then take a break. Tell your readers that your blog is on hiatus for two weeks – and give them some links to old posts so that they've got something to read in the meantime.
Now, you can probably name plenty of very successful blogs that post daily, or even more frequently than that. (Daily Blog Tips might come to mind … ;-) ) So why's it working for them?
Well, daily posting can be a perfectly good strategy – if you have the right sort of blog.

When Daily Posting Does Work

Successful blogs with 5-7 posts a week typically have one or more of the following:
#1: Guest Posters
Although Daniel does most of the writing here on Daily Blog Tips, you'll also notice frequent guest posters (like me!) popping up. The same goes for almost every big blog with daily (or more) posts.
ProBlogger typically posts twice daily now, but more and more of those posts are coming from guests. Copyblogger has a new post every weekday – but they not only have guest posters, they also have several staff members (Brian, Sonia and Robert).
(Of course, taking guest posts can actually end up costing you more time because of the admin and editing involved: I recommend reading Managing Guest Post Submissions Efficiently so you can keep things simple and streamlined.)
#2: News-style Content
Big tech-related blogs have to keep their finger on the pulse – which means that they need to have at least one post per day. Often, though, news posts are short and succinct: they're not evergreen content that's intended to stay relevant for months or years.
#3: Short, Focused Posts
It's easier to keep up a daily posting rhythm if your readers are used to short posts that deal with a single topic or idea. Think of Seth Godin, for instance. Bite-sized chunks of information can be popular … if you have the knack of being concise and avoiding waffle in your writing.
#4: Blogging for SEO Purposes Only
If your blog's main purpose is to get traffic (perhaps so readers will click on ads, or so you can promote your product) then daily posting could be a good strategy. You might simply be trying to build up a lot of content on your site – and you don't care if you lose readers' attention.
So … should you be posting daily? Unless you've got a team of guest-posters, or a real need to stay up-to-the-minute, or an audience that demands short, snappy content … then I'd say no.
I've seen so many bloggers end up disillusioned and burnt out because they followed the advice to post daily, and it got them absolutely nowhere.
For most bloggers, one to three posts per week works well. Even one post every other week can be enough to keep up the momentum for you and for your readers.
I'm sure this is a topic that'll stir up some strong opinions … and I'd love to hear your point of view in the comments! Have you tried daily posting? Did it work for you – or did it lead to burn out?

About the Author: Ali Luke writes about blogging (and writing more generally) on her site Aliventures. If you're stuck for what to blog about next, read her post How to Come Up With Lots of Great Ideas – you'll learn three great ways to generate ideas, with clear instructions and examples to help you get going.

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