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

By Daniel Scocco

This is a guest post by Ali Luke. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

“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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45 Responses to “The Most Overrated Piece of Blogging Advice I’ve Ever Heard”

  • Tim Lopez

    Ali, Points all well taken especially about being burned out. To be successful requires one to remember its more about a marathon race rather than a sprint.

  • Peñarazzi

    This is a good post. This stirred a lot of bloggers to say what’s on their mind.

    If a blogger’s intention is to make money out of it, I would suggest that a blogger must put posts either once or twice a week. Posts may be scheduled using the blog’s date and time settings. More time must be spent on PROMOTING the site.

    On the other hand, if a blogger wants to tell everybody what’s on his/her mind, post as many blog posts as you want. When you have the passion for what you talk about and it is seen and felt through your posts, then it will be read.

  • sokun

    I totally agree that most people have trouble making good content, i’m one of them. Blogging everyday when you sometimes don’t want to will just wreck your writing. Instead you should just write when you want and focus on marketing like you said.

  • Malik

    Don’t the new bloggers have to build an archive of articles? At least the readers need something to read there!

  • Katherine Swarts

    Kudos to you for pointing out that readers as well as writers can burn out, especially those readers subscribed to e-mail announcements. If you’re anything like me, the mere daily load of e-mail is enough to make you bitter toward anyone whose message takes longer than five minutes to deal with while 100 others are waiting in line. (My absolute pet hate: links to audios and videos that don’t tell you until they start that they’re 20-60 minutes long!)

    I’d add a larger consideration to the disadvantages of daily blogging, which every serious freelancer should appreciate: the “blogging job boards” are full of offers that prefer 20 items a week at $10 each to 1 item a week for $200, and the proliferation of such is causing a pandemic of thrown-together, low-quality content–a trend which widespread blogging-daily-for-the-sake-of-blogging-daily can only encourage.

  • Matt R

    It’s true. At this point, I write when I feel like writing. There’s no set schedule. It may not be conventional wisdom or it could be wrong, but that’s when I write best. When I don’t have a schedule. Of course, I will write at least once a week. It all depends.

  • HP van Duuren

    That sounds logical,

    If people don’t even like to read a small amount of content you wrote, they probably also don’t like to read a big amount of the content you wrote.

    Personally I only write when I am really inspired to write,
    So my posts usually are very – Exclusive ! –

    Also the more comments I will get, the more motivated and inspired I will be to write comments on those comments, and chances are that I will also get new ideas for new Blogsposts also.

    All the Best,
    To your Happy – Home Business – Inspiration,
    HP

  • Nhut Le

    I update my blog one or two times a week. I spend much time to do SEO and promoting it. When your blog has traffic, the content quality is very important. Good content will get people visit your site a again.

  • Nacho Jordi

    Thank you for the excellent post, which comes a the perfect moment: I was considering the idea of going daily, but there was something that did not feel right about it.
    And simple as it seems, I have also found very useful your proposal of a 1:1 writing/promoting ratio. I think I have some work to do on the second area!

  • Jerrick

    Blog post have to do consistently doesn’t mean must post for everyday . Unless your blog is about latest news. If no , people will bored with your post because there are no one that able to blog a big post which new topic and attractive everyday .
    Blog post too much maybe sound spam as well.

  • The Nerdy Nurse

    Fantastic advice you’ve given here!

    No point in cranking out content that is meaningless and useless.
    Whats the point of fantastically optimized SEO pieces if they aren’t worth reading. No one wants to wade through that crap.
    Make your words have value. Write as often as you are creative.
    Promote your words. If your content is not worth you taking the time to promote it, it’s obvious not worth the time for someone else to read it.

  • Tim

    blog when you have something to say….sometimes that will be seven times a week and other times twice. To establish a regular audience they’ll respect you more if the quality remains. Sometimes my posts are 800 words, sometimes 300 and I explain my topic(s) for the day in the early part of the post. As it happens I tend to post 5 or 6 times a week but there are many relevant stories about my subject matter.

    I write for five blogs in total so I tend to schedule a lot of posts and write when I’m inspired to do so.

  • Brian

    Mmmm, I disagree somewhat. I don’t think you need to blog every day, but blogging more often — and most importantly blogging *consistently* — will help build readers. Whether that’s mon/wed/fri or every weekday or every day at noon and five.

    I blog 5 days a week, and that schedule is one of the reasons that my blog gradually grew to dominate the “whenever” bloggers who blogged once or twice a week on no particular schedule (my blog gets about 20k visits/day).

    The thing to remember is that a surprising number of readers don’t subscribe to your feed — in fact *most* do not — but rather actually physically go to your site. Every time they go and see nothing new, they’ll be a bit disappointed and will wait longer and longer to go back. The goal is to make that audience get into the habit of visiting your site regularly, something they do every day at lunch, or whenever. Once your site is part of their routine, you’ll have them as readers indefinitely.

    Certainly you still need quality posts, but one bad post a week is just as bad as 5 bad posts a week. Quality and quantity are not necessarily causally related.

    And as someone who has quickly burned out a post so as not to miss a day — those are often the most popular ones! Sometimes the change in mindset of trying to blast through a post in fifteen minutes yields a refreshing change of pace.

  • Tom

    Wow! Great post with a lot of ideas. I really liked the way you pointed out some tips to not be like everyone else, not to burn out, use guest posts, and also to use short posts if you capable of writing them. Excellent tips!

  • Mike

    It is about time someone gave this advice in the form of a post! People come to your blog and subscribe to it to read high quality posts that can help them out in either their business or daily lives.

    Do not waste their time with junk posts that give no value to the reader.

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