A Blogging Observation and Tip

December 4th, 2004 by Bob Bly

One thing unclear to me, a blogging newbie, is how often to write a journal entry in one?s blog.

From an ROI point of view, one should make the fewest entries (because of the time required) to generate the most posts, traffic, and buzz.

From a pure ?fun? point of view (the way I am doing it), one should make a new entry whenever one has something interesting to say.

However, it?s probably best to wait and make that fresh entry when the amount and frequency of posts made in reaction to the current entry diminishes to a negligible volume.

Reason: If you post earlier, you rob yourself and your readers of ongoing, active conversation on a topic they are still interested in and that has not died down.

Yes, they can still post to that old entry, but in my admittedly limited experience in the blogosphere, I?ve noticed that most of the focus and action seems to revolve around the freshest entry.

My friend, blogging authority Deb Weil, says: ?If you’ve launched a blog and are not posting new entries once a week or so, you’re not blogging enough. The name of the game is fresh. Fresh content, fresh ideas, fresh ways of thinking, fresh links.?

Derek Scruggs offered me this pragmatic, time-thrifty advice: ?For you, blogging should be 30 minutes a week, tops.? He suggests I simply post my DM News articles on my blog with a comments link.

Bloggers: How close am I to the mark here?

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This entry was posted on Saturday, December 4th, 2004 at 5:19 pm and is filed under Blogging. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

25 responses about “A Blogging Observation and Tip”

  1. Robert said:

    First of all, thanks for installing the Comment Security Feature. I think it’ll work nicely.

    RE how often: Yes, there should be a regular cadence to your postings, regardless of ROI and/or relevant things to say. And yes, too sparse and you’ll lose your audience. Too often and good postings may go unread/uncommented. So what’s the optimal pace to post? Answer: depends.

    You’ll probably get lots of advice on this, but at Robertopia, I keep myself in the middle of three parameters:

    • No more than one a day (unless I have a short 2nd posting)
    • No less than one every two days (except for holidays)
    • And, I think the most important parameter: no more than 200 words per post (usually)

    That last one about posting length is a whole other topic.

  2. David St Lawrence said:

    The frequency of posting generally relates to the length of the posts. If you are writing essays with thought-provoking content, one every few days may be just right.

    I suggest following your instincts at first, with a reminder to keep an eye on your traffic. Even popular blogs see a dramatic drop in visitors when they take more than a week off.

    I think the best advice is to write from the heart as often as you feel you have smething important to say. That way, visitors will always find something of value. When a blogger writes to a schedule, i.e. anything to fill space, the blogs soon feels dead, like recycled ad copy.

    You are not afraid to show a bit of yourself in your blog and it makes the communication far more interesting.

    The one thing not mentioned is the persistence of value in blog data. I see that more than half of my visitors come to the site because of something I wrote many months ago. You will undoubtedly see the same as long as you retain an essay format.

    Continue the great work. It is a pleasure watching you explore the features of this medium.

  3. Susanna K. Hutcheson said:

    I think this is a very personal matter. My blog is a combination of personal thoughts and ideas which have nothing at all to do with marketing and marketing and advertising information, tips and ideas.

    I post whenever I have something I want to convey. Today I think I had three or even four posts.

    I guess a lot depends on what you want from your blog. My blog is sort of an extension of my site. The difference is that my blog shows a more personal side of me that may not come out in my site.

    In addition, I have the opportunity to relate to my newsletter readers and others who have read my articles and newletters for years. So it’s really a more personal form of communications.

    Bottom line is, I don’t think there is a right or wrong in the matter. But I do think one should post at least one two entries each week at a minimum — depending on how long the post.

  4. Lloyd Lemons said:

    I think the answer to “how often” and “how much” depends on what you expect from your blog. For some it’s a personal diary. For others, an adjunct to their business web site. For some it’s just a rant. The one constant is that it’s generally a very personal form of communication. Once you find a readership, the answer to these questions will become clearer. I do know this: recently I had large gaps between my posts (for various reasons), and my visitor totals fell off dramatically.

  5. B.L. Ochman said:

    I agree that how often you post and how long the posts are is a personal decision. The blogs I follow closely, however, are ones that keep the posts to about 200 words and post newsy kinds of items rather than rants.

    any time i stop blogging for any period of time, traffic falls off, but it comes right back when i post. and the more controversial i am, the more traffic i get.

    people leave you more comments than they leave me. but a lot of people seem to email me rather than leave comments on the blog. dunno why.
    BL

  6. Susan F. Heywood said:

    Being a Gemini, I wear both DM and Blogger hats ;^)

    From those perspectives, my advice is to write the blog for fun, and when you have a specific goal besides generating dialog, like highlighting a column or article, or promoting a report or seminar, include that too.

    (I notice that if I wait too long between posts, I see the effect on our mail order sales…The opposite is also true — today has been a higher than average day for orders, so far…)

    Considering the question of frequency from the beginning is smart. Congratulations also on the growing comment participation. Looking back at my archived posts at http://www.DirectMarketingMBA.com/Blog, I found that they were very sporadic during the times when I was busiest with other projects, and what I considered best when the subject was most interesting. My experience is similar to B.L.’s in that I get more e-mail than blog comments, and notice the traffic return when I post after a dry spell.

    If you’re considering comments conversions, I understand why you’re concerned about cutting off the “tail” of comment participation by posting another entry. While the blog is young, and when people land directly on the main page, that effect might occur to some extent.

    Unlike the response curve for a direct mail piece, though, a blog post can, if given its own direct URL, become a mini-landing page for virtually any content or offer which can be optimized for search.

    You will also find that blog posts are very quickly indexed in the search engines, creating a response model unconstrained by the bell curve.

    Happy Blogging!

    p.s. Check out woot.com — a super example of a purely offer-driven DM application of RSS technology. (I don’t benefit from the site, just think it’s cool.)

  7. Jim Kukral said:

    Hmm, ponderous. This strikes a cord with me as I began my newest blog last week. It is focused on businesses, blogging and readers, which is very similar to other blogs out there, most of which have already commented on your previous entries so far.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, it depends on your audience and your ‘competition’. For example, in the space I’m playing in now, we have tons of excellent blogs that are all scouring the Google news updates for the latest blog related news. So what happens then is I go and read the same news story from all of them over and over, of course will different commentary. I’m guilty of this too.

    At the end of my reading travels, I’ve found that nobody really has anything new to tell me. Is this helpful to me? Probably more of a waste of my time really.

    Deb Weil is right, it’s gotta be fresh. But for me, it’s also has to be informative and helpful, otherwise, why am I reading it? I mean, can’t I just get a news alert and read it myself?

    I think the worst mistake you can make is blogging just because you haven’t in a few days. If you don’t have anything to say that is helpful or fresh, then why say anything? Forcing a blog entry doesn’t work, your readers can tell. Overall, if the content is good, no matter how much you post, you’ll keep an audience.

  8. Dan Denning said:

    Bob,

    I think the poster who said it depends on what your blog is for is spot on. If your blogging to clients…essentially using it as a lead generator…then it would change what you blog about. The least interesting blogs are the ones where the writer expects to be interesting and to be read…just because it’s him!

    How often? Posting regularly=traffic. You can get readers hooked on coming back to see what you’ve said…but presumably they’re coming back because they find some value ad. I started a blog for my NL readers…and found the same problem. Was it the best use of my time?

    Turns out, in my case, that blogging on investment news is a very good use of my time because my commodity IS analysis of the investment markets. Your commodity is direct mail copy. So I’d suggest blogging about producing better direct mail.

    The biggest problem I think you’ll find is staying urgent. The most trafficked blogs revolve around the news cycle (war, elections, markets.) I find marketing blog uninteresting…or at least less urgent…becuase they seem so unconnected to what’s going on in the world.

    However, if you were blogging on direct mail packages you received, showing headlines, telling your current (and future) clients, what was going on, why it did or didn’t work, how YOU might improve it or do it differently…that’s value ad. That’s worth my time as a reader and, I think, yours as a blogger/DM copywriter.

    Regards and good luck,

    Dan

  9. Yvonne DiVita said:

    Bob, you’re making this too hard. It’s not about you! It’s about your readers. Do you have relevant, useful information for them? Are you able to jot down ideas quickly and still make sense? Be true to yourself, and you’ll be true to your readers. Once a week isn’t enough, in my opinion, and with all of your knowledge, once a day should be a piece of cake. Don’t whine about time…time is relative. I run a business, meet with clients, work on two books, and still find time to write daily…plus I contribute to two other blogs. It isn’t because I type fast. It’s because I have something to say which I know readers will find useful. How do I know…they comment or email me. You won’t get blogging until you take it seriously. It’s another form of communication, and it works. As for ROI, the ROI for me is in the small business requests to learn blogging, and in my ability now to engage editors of magazines in conversation about writing jobs. You need to pick your method of blogging, and stick with it awhile. Like anything else, it may change over time. But, like the Internet and websites and PPC and banner ads and email marketing, it AIN’T going away!

  10. Jason Cain said:

    Aloha Bob,

    Blog when the spirit moves you. Give it a break when it doesn’t. There are no hard and fast rules — nor should there be.

    I have been blogging since 1999. Sometimes I will take a break for a month or more. Do I lose readers? Sure. Do I care? Nope. It’s only the tirekickers that do not come back to roost.

    Aloha and much success,

    Jason Cain

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Jason Cain is the #1 best-selling author of
    “GoldBlogging: How to Find the Wealth In Your
    Writing And Make A Fortune Doing What You Love!”

    Find his book at http://www.GoldBlogging.com

    Read his mind at http://www.GoldBlogger.com
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  11. Mike Wheeler said:

    Bob, I read your article in DM News, and had heard so much about blogging I decided to look you up. I think for a newbie watching you learn and seeing your feedback gives a clearer understanding of the process than looking at some of the other sites you recommended. There is definitely something here, but like you, I am not exactly sure what yet.

  12. Vikk Simmons said:

    Hi Bob,

    Sounds like you’re generating the kinds of conversations you’re seeking. As for the frequency of blogging, I’d pretty much agree with everyone else. I do think if you don’t blog every week you will lose your readership. That said, other things come into play when blogging. Why are you blogging? Are there ways you can mix things up and still meet your demands of time and your readership demands for material? What do you want to accomplish? Those are the questions I run through when thinking about my own blogging. In general I try to blog 3-5 times a week but they are not all essays. Of them, usually two are of the longer, more thoughtful essay-type posts. Others tend to be informational such as reviews of books and tools, pointers to blogs and websites of interest, and a brief commentary to an article or post I’ve discovered. I like to mix it up some.

  13. trentalia said:

    work’s done the way it must be..! ^^

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  19. Fiona Fell - websitePROFITS said:

    Post when the mood strikes, when you have something to say that adds value to your readers lives/businesses.

    I personally like the frequency that you post here, I can come back the day after a new post and still see the comments and discussions evolving.

    And I see the participation levels as integral to building the ‘raving fan’ following online, which will lead into $$ for you.


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  20. ProCopywritingTactics said:

    I agree with the other readers who suggest that you post when you have something to say. I keep a little notebook with me and jot down ideas for blog posts as they occur to me. Then when I sit down to blog I don’t run short of ideas.

    I also prefer to keep my business blog and my personal blog separate.

    My business blog focuses on copywriting and marketing and my personal blog is where I share what personal development programs I am working on, what books I am reading, the particular challenges I am facing, a new product or service I love or hate, or just general thoughts, feelings and opinions.

    I make it a point to post to my business blog at least 3-4 times a week, but as for my personal blog I post when the mood strikes.

    Have you also considered writing several posts at one go and then scheduling them to auto-post at some future date? That’s a great feature and one that I frequently use.

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