Blogging is a subjective art form, but it’s also a science. Many pieces of advice you find about it online come from experiments and case studies, all backed with data. The problem is, each blog has a unique topic, a unique perspective, and a unique audience. What works for Gawker might not work for Slate, and what works for Entrepreneur might not work for Bob’s Ball Joint Blog. Audiences of different sizes and different demographics will require different content strategies.
I say this because I want you to remember it as you go through the advice I’m going to give. Everything I say might be completely wrong for your blog, and the only way for you to find out is to try and measure.
Some blogs get buy on posting only one post per month. In today’s fast-paced Internet blogging world, this seems like suicide. How could you build a successful blog on just one post per month?
The example I see used for this method is Glen Allsopp, from ViperChill. It’s an authority blog and it ranks well, all at only a single post per month. How can it manage? Well, take a look at the average recent post, like this one. That post is over 5,600 words long! It’s practically an eBook, and it’s free, and he produces one or two every single month.
Now scroll down. This post has 141 comments, but that number is a little deceptive. A good third of the comments come directly from Glen, responding to and fostering discussion. This blog is not a fire-and-forget, schedule posts and ignore it kind of affair. Glen actively communicates with people on his posts, and you can bet he’s fostering similar discussions elsewhere on the web.
Monthly posting can work, but only if you have the dedication to spend the rest of your time building an audience by any means possible. You also need the quality and length of post to support the plan.
Now we’re getting into more traditional, rational posting schedules. A ton of blogs, both popular and not, post on average once every seven days. One post per week.
This is what I call a foundational posting schedule. It’s frequent enough to prove that you’re active and dedicated to your blog, but it’s not so active that you’re burning out writing constantly, or paying out the wazoo to buy that content.
The problem with this posting schedule is that it’s probably the most common schedule out there. When you’re posting once per week, and your competition is posting once per week, you don’t stand out. It’s harder to get new readers when you post this infrequently.
You also have to maintain certain quality standards for weekly posting. Most blogs about blogging recommend posts somewhere in the 800-1500 word range. I say that, for weekly blogging, you need to edge more towards Glen and less towards Gawker. Err on the side of 2,000 words to make the most impact and include the most value.
Some of the most popular blogs online post roughly every other day. Consider the benefits of a Monday-Wednesday-Friday posting schedule.
The key to success with posting on a three-times-weekly schedule is analytics. You have fewer opportunities than daily blogs to make an impact, so you need to figure out what makes your posts successful. Analytics allow you to study your audience, your industry, and your previous posts in order to figure out what lengths, what topics and what formats are most successful. Utilize this knowledge as completely as possible.
This is a middle ground between three times per week and seven days per week posting. You gain the benefits of daily posting, in that you always have something new to show to your audience, and you have the potential for rapid growth.
Most of the biggest, most successful blogs post at least once per day. This requires either an incredibly dedicated writer or a full team of writers working for you. You can buy content, so long as it’s quality content, or you can hire in-house writers to produce content for you.
Virtually every blog can publish daily, but there are a few exceptions. Some legal and medical fields, for example, must comply with laws that tend to water down blog posts. You can’t make unfounded claims or share details from documents that haven’t been cleared by lawyers. It’s a tedious process that puts a significant damper on your ability to post frequently.
However, if you can support it, posting daily is the key to growing quickly and consistently. I’ve said this before; every blog post is an opportunity. It’s a chance to show up in search rankings. It’s a chance for a new user to find you. It’s a chance for a comments conversation. It’s a chance for a social share. It’s a chance for a backlink. The more posts you have, of high quality, the more of all of those you’ll accumulate.
Some of the most popular blogs, particularly those covering rapidly moving industries, post multiple times per day. Venture Beat, Forbes, PC Gamer, Gawker Media; these sites all have a few things in common.
They all cover either a very wide selection of topics, like Venture Beat and Gawker, or a very broad topic, like Forbes and PC Gamer. The broader your topic, the more you can post without sounding redundant.
They also all cover topics that move and change rapidly. Technology, gaming, business; these topics always have something new to say or something new to report on. This means there’s always something fresh.
The key to success with multiple posts per day is to become something of a news site, covering trending topics and the latest news to attract an audience looking for the most up to date information available.
This is the worst strategy, and it’s why blogs fail. If you’re posting just whenever you feel you have something to say, you’re doing yourself a disservice. It’s better to force yourself to post more and dig for something to say. You can’t build an audience otherwise, not unless you’re one of the most unique people in the world.