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How Often Should Writers Blog?

Starting next week, I will be cutting back on blogging. I’ll be going from three days a week down to two. Instead of posting on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I’ll be moving to Tuesday and Thursdays.

Why? You may be asking. Why in the world would I cut back now when things are going well, when I have a large following, and when there’s been a recent splurge of posts talking about how important numbers are for a writer’s career ( here are a couple: Author Marketing & Platform & Numbers Are Our Friends) (see the bottom of this post for my brief opinion on the numbers issue).

Here’s a short list of reasons why I’m cutting back:

I need to build some margin back into my life. I mentioned that one of the mistakes I’ve made in my journey to publication (here) is that I didn’t anticipate the increase in the workload. Over the past couple of years, my responsibilities have increased, but the time I can devote to my writing career hasn’t increased at the same pace. When I evaluated my writing schedule, I realized whittling off one blog post a week wouldn’t change things too drastically but would still aid in freeing up a little more of my time.

I’ve built a solid team who has supported me. Now it’s my time to focus on supporting them. As I said in this post, The Purpose of Blogging for Fiction Writers, one of the primary benefits of blogging is gaining a network of other writers and readers who are excited about helping promote you and your books. I feel blessed to have those connections firmly in place. And while I don’t want to take friendships for granted, I also don’t need to start at ground zero anymore.

I need to give more time to readers and most of them don’t hang out on blogs. My interaction with fans happens primarily through emails, facebook comments, and hand-written notes. Since interacting with readers is important to me too, I want to leave enough time to respond.

So, how often should writers blog? What really is the most effective way to build a solid blog following and increase our social media presence? And will cutting back hurt a writer’s efforts?

Of course, everyone will have different opinions on the matter, but here are a few of mine. (Please share yours in the comments!)

Quality is more important than quantity. If we post every day but it’s fluff that doesn’t resonate with our readers, then we aren’t going to keep those readers coming back. People can tell when we take the time to craft a meaningful post or when we just throw something onto our blog because we have to, which often happens when we over-extend ourselves.

Consistency counts. I’m far more likely to remember and interact with bloggers who are consistent as opposed to those who post or comment sporadically. Even if it’s once a week, consistency helps keep our name out there.

Beginners will have to work harder to build relationships. Anytime we’re new (whether in blogging or real life situations), we'll have to make more of an effort to reach out and get to know people. It always takes a little more time and effort at the beginning. Once we’re more established, we find that we don’t need to expend the same energy anymore.

And no, numbers don’t always tell the whole story, particularly with blogging which has an attrition rate. There are always followers who fall away, but then new ones swing by. So while I may have over 1500 followers, not all of them are active anymore. Likewise, I could have over a thousand visitors on a post, but only 25 comments. Thus, while numbers can give us an indication of how we’re doing, striving after them is a bit like chasing the wind.

My Summary: Each of us has to find a blogging schedule that works for us. We can’t get paranoid about the number of followers or the number of times we post. But instead, we can look for ways to reach out, make our posts resonate, and build genuine connections.

So what’s your opinion? Do you think that writers who post less frequently or even sporadically will have less success? Is there an optimal number of days writers should blog? Or are there other factors that contribute to a blog’s success besides how often we post?

45 comments:

  1. I'm definately an advocate for the quality of the content. I'm a loyal reader of a handful or two of blogs and then I also following another dozen or so when I may scan, but don't read everything.

    I think is someone writes quality blogs (like yours) and posts them often enough to stay "top of mind" then, they will have success. I think 1-2 times a week is great. 1-2 per month, maybe some readers forget to check back.

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  2. I am just starting out with my blog and I am pleasde with the number of followers that I have so far. I have noticed, however that quite a few who signed on to follow do not really read my post & if they do, they do not comment. I am trying to keep up with everyone who reads my post and I am wondering at what point this will cut into my writing time.

    I would much rather read two to three post per week that are substanative as opposed to the fluff you mentioned.

    I agree with you. You have paid your dues and built your following. You know where your time is needed and as long as you remain consistent with your readers they will continue coming back to your blog.

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  3. Hi Nicole, and Melissa,

    Yes, there is something about posting enough to stay at the "top of mind." Posting less than once a week probably won't keep a blog on someone's radar.

    I've learned that no matter what anyone else says, our writing has to stay a priority over blogging. When or if blogging encroaches on writing our books, then we probably should figure out a way to trim it back.

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  4. Good morning, Jody! Congratulations on your hard work mothering, wifying, schooling, writing, blogging, fellow-shipping and promoting!

    After this year, I will change my blog to a static one. Since, I am new at writing, I want to build a cache of novels and short stories to market before I open back up for business. In other words, I want to have a nice selection of merchandise ready for readers. Right now I am a one book wonder!

    Although I don't have the following you have, most of my followers are writers not readers. Quite a few views, yet rarely a comment.

    Reevaluation is always good since our energy, focus and attention is finite. What worked yesterday doesn't always work for today. Blessings!

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  5. Since you're going to be blogging on my non blogging days, I'm off to subcribe to your awesome post. I might not comment, but I do read and link your posts on my blog for others to benefit from. I'd hate to miss out on your posts. :)

    And I think your decision is a smart one.

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  6. I think as long as it's consistent, it works. Even once a week would work. I think it's quality, like you said, that matters. I would easily go down to 2 days if I felt the need and not blink an eye. I really don't believe that blogging equals success!

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  7. Great post, Jody. Best of luck with your change.

    A few months back, I decided to shrink the number of days I blog to M-T-F. I'm considering cutting out one more. I think you've honed in on important topics. If a writer has built a strong support system and has numbers, I believe he or she can visit the blogosphere a little less often. Sometimes less is more. Saying that, the days one does blog should impact more, writing meaningful posts which can help other writers. IMHO

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  8. Jody, I think you're making the right decision, especially considering your increased demands. I remember a post you did a while ago that talked about the stages of a writer's career and how the social media efforts need to change based on where we're at. Sounds like you're following your own advice. :)

    Have a great weekend!

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  9. Jody, we've talked about this before. I go through different seasons of busyness throughout the year, and I find that quality means so much more than quantity. I also have found that my numbers increase when I'm more involved socially - whether it's on Twitter, other blogs, Facebook, or even in the comments of my own blog post.

    I can't imagine your numbers changing because you always produce quality. Good decision!!

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  10. Jody, I agree with your decision to cut back your blog posts. As an as-yet-unpublished writer I began blogging five days a week, often scrambling for content. After my first two books were published, I realized that writing and marketing demanded more time than I could give, so I cut back to twice a week and have kept that schedule since.
    In my case, the primary reason was simply a lack of time to do more, but you've put forth some additional, very cogent factors that make me feel good about my decision.
    Congratulations on the success of your books, and best wishes for a great deal more.

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  11. I think this is a wise decision, Jody. You've put out a TON of content over the years and now you've got more and different responsibilities and a reading audience to tend as well (which is awesome, BTW). I think your decision to move to blogging twice a week is entirely reasonable (says the gal who's only ever managed to blog once a week!). This is definitely a quality over quantity thing. Most of us are drowning in blog posts, so we'd much rather read less of a quality publication than more of simply filler.

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  12. I get the whole margin bit. I just wrestled myself for quite some time on that.

    Good move. You have my support and I'm willing to bet consistency is the key. People like knowing what to expect and looking forward to things.
    ~ Wendy

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  13. I have often wondered how you keep up with your life and work as it is!! I chose to cut back to one day a week a few months ago when we moved and I wanted to work on a book. We need to keep balance in our lives no matter what our passions are.

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  14. Interesting! Good for you for knowing when you need to cut back. Maybe you could keep it at 3x/week by running a guest post once a week or some other post that doesn't take so much work on your part. For example, every Friday, I offer my Writers' Roundup -- It takes a bit of work to put the links together, but not nearly as much as writing a full-on post, especially since I don't have to come up with the idea. And surprisingly, it's become popular with readers.

    Good luck paring down!

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  15. Quality and consistency are definitely the key! The handful of blogs that I follow loyally are the ones where the blogger posts on certain days. If posts are consistent, even once a week, I'm on board. However, if someone posts *more* than three times a week, I have a hard time keeping up and digesting the content. Conversely, if someone posts *less* than once a week, I tend to forget about their blog. So yes, I believe sporadic bloggers will have less success. I also won't stick around too long if the posts are not of good, thought-provoking quality.

    Just as one size doesn't fit all for blogging schedules, there also isn't a 'one size fits all' forever, either. Those of us who are trying to build up content and readership need higher output; those of us who have gotten past that point, can ease up—but circumstances (such as a book release) may require a blogger to ramp it up again. I'd imagine the process waxes and wanes, like everything in life.

    Enjoy your new schedule. :) I know you'll have no problems maintaining readership by cutting back to two days a week.

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  16. Like you said it's not a one size fits all and writers who are at different stages of the writing process will do things differently.

    But I think consistency is the key. It's easy to forget about blogs when they only post twice a month.

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  17. I like blogging once a week on my personal blog, once a month at Just the Write Charisma with my Realms buddies and periodically at the Water Cooler.
    I think we can drive ourselves crazy with blogging. Each of us must find her/his own way. I'm also doing NaNoWriMo in November to help me meet my April deadline. I'd rather my words go toward the completion of well written novels than to my blog. Not that I don't put thought and time into my blogs but ultimaely if I don't write a great book, who cares about the blog? You're making the write move. :)

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  18. This is a good question, but I believe it really depends on where the writer is in her career. I think beginners need to get traction and build writing muscles that will take them to the professional level. Blogging creates great habits of meeting deadlines, self-discipline and being able to quickly and clearly organize our thoughts. It also helps us get comfortable with accountability and grow a base of support (all stuff you said, LOL). I do believe that there comes a point that we have met a saturation point, and it is safe to scale back. I recently went from four days a week down to three. But, I blogged steadily for almost THREE YEARS to get to this point.

    I also think that it really depends on the publishing route a writer desires to take. If a writer wants to go indie or self-publish, then the marketing burden is solely on our shoulders and it takes a MUCH larger platform and far more active social media presence to drive sales.

    Great post as always! We are so blessed to have you!

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  19. Jody,
    Brava for doing what's best for you.
    You have an excellent blog (and obviously I'm not the only one saying this).And you're deciding where blogging fits in your writing life.
    I blog every day, but made the decision to keep my blog posts s-h-o-r-t. I rarely top out at 300 words, more like 150, maybe 200 words. That's how I decided to be reader friendly: Good content (I hope) and keeping it brief.

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  20. Great points! Especially with kids (just one for me), I think we constantly have to reevaluate things and make sure we are striving toward the right kind of balance.

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  21. Hey everyone! I'm super touched today by all of your affirmation and sweet comments. *brushes away a tear* :-) That's one of the best things about blogging, all of the friendships and meeting such lovely people!

    I also appreciate the suggestion to consider guest posts, Alexis. It is something I have considered and may evaluate more down the road a bit.

    And Barb (and others), thank you for sharing your insights about how our blogging changes as we move through different stages. Just because I'm cutting back now doesn't mean that I won't need to vamp it up again in the future! Good point!

    And I completely agree with you, Kristen. Those going the indie or self-publishing route will definitely have to work sooner and harder at building their web presence and brands. But, honestly, I have a feeling in the near future that even traditionally published authors are going to have to work much harder make their books stand out too. But that's a topic for a whole other blog post! :-)

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  22. I think there is a balance here. I applaud taking the step to blog only twice a week! I recently changed my own to back to 3 times, instead of "whenever I feel like it" during Annabelle's worst days.

    I might eventually go back to 2 times a week, but right now, three is my goal.

    I think the "sweet" spot is different for everyone and their goal for their blog, too.

    Really, I think there are extremes, and the "good" spot is somewhere in the middle. Every day, Monday through Sunday, is a little much for any of us. But once a month... people will be like, "Oh, whose blog?? OH YEAH! I used to like visiting that blog, whatever happened to it?"

    Personally, I think 2 or 3 days a week is a good spot to be in, but again, this is individual.

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  23. I so understand where you're coming from. I think it's important to realize that like anything else, blogging has an ebb and flow. We have to adjust things as our life and situation changes.

    I used to blog 5 days a week on writing and have gone through many shifts and adjustments over this past year--having a weekly guest blogger and a round up post has helped ease the burden a bit. But I know that it's always a moving target for me.

    Whatever your schedule is, we'll still be showing up to read the posts because you always have top notch content. :)

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  24. When people have asked me how I have "succeeded" at blogging (and I use that term VERY loosely) one of the first things I tell them is consistency. Consistency matters, it really does. Whether you blog five times a week, two, one, every two weeks. Whatever it's like making a meeting on time and I consider that the contract I signed when I started blogging. Because I appreciate that about other blogs too. When blogging is sporadic it's hard to know what to expect.

    That's just my opinion. ;-)

    Sorry to lose you a day Jody, but glad to not lose you completely! :)

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  25. I couldn't agree more. You've built up a smart team of people who love and admire you, why flog the blog? ;) A very smart decision.

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  26. Bravo, Jody! Priorities and balance are important, and it's especially easy to let both get out of whack by being slaves to our online commitments. Time for your increasing writing requirements has to come from somewhere and it shouldn't be at the expense of your family or your personal sanity.

    As long as followers know when to look for them, I'm pretty sure posts once a week or more would keep everyone coming back. We know where to find you on Twitter and Facebook for those in between conversations anyway. :) If you evaluate the benefits of your reduced posting schedule after a couple months I'd be interested in hearing the results.

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  27. Hats off to you, Jody. Balance in life still matters. You've been faithful. Your followers know that. Cutting back won't hurt. And quality trumps quantity. Thanks for modeling excellence. Many still will follow! Blessings and thanks.

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  28. Great post! I've been struggling with finding a balance with blog posts and writing other stuff. Love your blog.

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  29. I think you need to do what's right for you. I'm pretty new to blogging and I've already decided three months in, that twice a week is too much for me, my life and my fiction writing. Writing the best book I can write has to take top priority. I love to support my wonderful friends and I love to blog but the book must come first. I think that you deciding to take of your readers is an excellent decision --- much more important than the number of hits on your blog. Once you're pubbed, it should be about the readers. It makes good sense. Thanks for being open and honest Jody. I appreciate it and learn so much from you.

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  30. Hi Jody. I think your decision makes a lot of sense. I would imagine you'll still keep your following without really sacrificing anything--instead, you'll gain a little time and energy to put toward other things.

    I struggle with finding the time to blog, usually because I'm trying to find time to write. It's good to hear from you and others that consistent blogging is important.

    I think one thing I struggle with is finding topics for blogging, especially since I'm so new to this writing novels thing. It's that whole balance too between writing about writing/editing and writing about other things like faith, etc.

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  31. I agree with you and I don't think you blogging twice a week at this point will hurt you in the least. After all, there is only so many hours in a day and we do have families and other responsibilities that go along with our writing. I'll look forward to your twice a week posts!

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  32. "I've learned that no matter what anyone else says, our writing has to stay a priority over blogging. When or if blogging encroaches on writing our books, then we probably should figure out a way to trim it back." Bingo! I agree. Since I am a freshie when it comes to blogging, EVERYTHING counts. Layout, design, accessibility, publicity, support of friends and family -- it all counts. For a beginner blogger quality should come first and quantity should follow at a close second. Without quality the quantity of my brand new blog posts will most likely serve one purpose: annoying friends and family. :-). But with quality first, my few readers may be intrigued by my writing and *if I'm lucky* might just spread the word. It then falls to me to hold up the quantity end of the deal to encourage my readers to develop habits of checking my blog. The more nights in a row my small audience sits down and reads something from me that sticks with them throughout the following day, the more nights they will return wanting more. If I break either part of the quality or quantity circle of trust early into the life of my blog, Goodbye faithful readers! Just my take on it all. But of course for you well-established blogger folk, :-), posting once or twice weekly seems perfectly reasonable to me! Love your posts Jody.

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  33. I think it's all up to the writer and how much time he/she wants to devote to blogging. I know some people who do it so much that I have no idea how they get anything written. And there are those who go silent for weeks. It's about priorities, and setting them in the proper order. At least once a week, though, if you want people to know you're still alive!

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  34. I'm happy to see you doing what is necessary to keep some margin in your life. I want you to have time to write those awesome books of yours. =)

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  35. Good for you Jody, work life balance is something so many of us talk about but very few act upon. I love your blog posts but have often wondered how you manage all that you do. You are an inspiration to me as I am sure you are to many others. I applaud your decision (and eagerly await your next book).

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  36. I haven't a clue how you've managed to stay at thrice a week. Good for you for weighing priorities, etc.
    I'm only blogging once a week and so far I love it. I spend about 3-4 hours on Wednesdays playing the blogosphere. And then sometimes I might check in (like today) but otherwise I'm off the blog the rest of the time. I hope this works well for you!

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  37. I think you're wise, Jody. I have a much smaller following on my blog than you do, but a large fan following. I've found that they prefer to communicate through facebook, and so I spend much of my social network time on FB. My fans help my plot and rewrite my novels and we all have a great time doing that. I've started one new thing with my blog that has helped my workload. On Monday's I post a No-Words-Just-Tranquility blog that is a sunset photograph taken by my husband from our front deck. He's a gifted photographer, and I receive more comments and connections on that wordless blog than any of my others!

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  38. doar felicitari si numai cuvinte bune pentru dumneavoastra. toata stima

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  39. Jody, you have to make decisions based on what you can handle, not what others expect or want from you. Sounds like you have done just that, so good for you! I'm still figuring out the whole blogging thing but some days I do think I should just concentrate on writing. We'll see. There is only so much time in a day, right?

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  40. Jody this is such a timely post for me. I have not posted all week, and I'm just now reading the blogs that I usually follow. I just woke up one morning and felt like the whole blogging - building a platform thing had taken over and become more important than my writing. That was depressing! I am at a point where I'm looking at my whole life - work, home, writing - and trying to pare down to the basics. It would have been scary a month ago, but now it just feels very freeing and very right. I realized that very subtly I began to see my future as a published author as something that was totally in my hands, and forgot that no matter what the world says about the process it's in God's hands. My job is to write with excellence as God leads me. If I get back to being obedient in that area I don't have to worry about anything else. God will provide opportunities when the time is right.

    Thank you for being so generous with your fans and for sharing so much of yourself. And thank you for setting an example for us that encourages us to live for God and not for the world. I pray that God will bless you and look forward to hearing what he is doing with your gift.

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  41. I couldn't agree more, Jody. All of your points ring true to me, particularly your point about quality over quantity and having time to actually do the writing your blog speaks of. This is why I recently cut back from three to two posts a week also.

    I'm also thrilled to tell you that I have a copy of The Preacher's Bride in my hot little hands (arrived in the mail today) and can't wait to start reading! :-)

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  42. I'm right there with you on cutting back. It's more important to have balance than to post 3 or more times a week. It can be hard to juggle it all. I opted to go from MWF posting to TTh posting as well. Just cutting back on that one day (and I still post on Wed for ROW80 check ins and every other Fri for Life List Club) had made a bigger difference than I thought possible.

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  43. I am now at a 2x a week (Mon/Wed) blog posting schedule, and Mondays are "photos/videos only" kind of post, so Wed is my only writing a post day. I find my blog has been rather directionless and boring lately, so maybe I can hone it down with posting less frequently - besides the fact as you say of being where my readers are and finding time to write and etc etc etc!

    Mostly, I find it hard to read and comment as I used to - if I receive the blog post in my email (as I do this one), I am more likely to visit and comment if I can quickly do so.

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