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How Often Do You Need To Update Your Blog?

Freelance Writing ClockWhen I wrote Blogging As A Writing Practice several people commented they couldn’t find time to keep their blogs current. Implicit in those comments is the idea that blogging requires x number of posts a day or a week or a month. But like so many things in freelance writing how often you “should” post on your blog is more a function of what you’re trying to accomplish than anything else.

Besides, I’m suspicious of  “shoulds.”

I love what Seth Godin says in his article How often should you publish?

This discussion is usually filled with superstitions, traditions and half-truths. Daily comics come out every day because that’s when newspapers always came out. And newspapers came out once a day because it was too expensive to publish three times a day (and advertisers and readers wouldn’t support the extra expense.)

He’s so right! How often you should post is another of those “how long is a piece of string” questions. There simply isn’t one right answer, at least there’s not a number.

The key, of course, is to post good stuff just as often as it makes sense for you, considering what you’re trying to do, to create the kind of content or articles that will benefit your readers. Service really is the key.

Sure, I’m posting a lot on blogs recently, in part because I’m promoting a course on blogging, but so far I haven’t posted anything I wouldn’t have wanted to post without the class. The class has helped me focus on some of the experience I’ve had blogging.

Most of you have figured out I usually don’t post on weekends – we’re all entitled to think about something other than blogging… which is why I did post about those wonderful eagles and their first chick. Eagles don’t have much to do with freelance writing or blogging – except they lift my soul.

Jonathan Fields posts most days, except when he doesn’t.

Yes, there’s probably some correlation between number of posts and amount of traffic, but it’s not straight forward. A blog that has new posts every week or even every other week can work well. For some specialized blogs once a month may be enough. And for a blog that’s mostly to promote you as a writer, updating every month or so will work once you’ve got some decent samples posted.

Before you say you don’t have time to blog think about why you’re blogging in the first place, and how important it really is to you. If it’s truly important to you that you post every day or every week you’ll find a way. And if it’s not, know that’s okay too – just don’t beat yourself up because you don’t blog as frequently as you think you “should.” There really is no “should.”

How often do you want to blog now that you’ve thought about it?

Shameless Self-Promotion: Register for Secrets of a Money Making Blog by Friday, April 8 and receive, absolutely free my ebook, 60 Tips for Getting The Writing Done, 60 specific tips to help you get your writing done, today, tomorrow and forever, normally priced at $19.95.)

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{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Arggh. I’ve been a bit slack, and now I’m doing Arlee Bird’s A-Z Blogging Challenge for April (his blog – Tossing it Out) where we post alphabetically each day except Sunday for the whole month. Because I’m doing wiseGEEK posts now (and getting paid! Woo hoo!) it’s KILLING ME. Wouldn’t mind so much if I didn’t have a day job where I am constantly, unendingly interrupted and can’t even think about what I’m going to post until I get home. 🙁 Not only that, but I’m re-revising my book and still working on another, and getting ready to re-query the first, and blablababababah!

    I miss posting regularly, but I really need to get a handle on the outside stuff. I had an idea for a new blog that I really want to do but I just can’t right now.

    • Freelancing and full time jobs are tough…. no doubt about it.

  • jorgekafkazar

    I’m far from expert in these matters, but someone somewhere once said blog updates should occur as frequently as the search engine cycle. In other words, if it typically takes 5 days for your latest blog entry to appear in the search engines, you should update every five days or so.

    F’rinstance, your post (undated, BTW) got its first comment April 4th. It’s now April 8th, and Bing doesn’t find it, so you’re not beyond that SE Update cycle yet. Other search engines might give different results, but I’m boycotting a certain one and don’t intend to check them all. I normally use Ixquick, but I used Bing for this exercise.

    I hope this is (1) accurate and (2) helpful. Let me know if it’s not.

    • That sounds like pretty updated advice for a few reasons:

      1. It assumes your only or primary method of generating traffic is search engines. And I don’t many serious bloggers who think that way anymore. It’s an old practice that involves giving a third party too much power over your site (and why blogs sometimes fail).

      2. It doesn’t account for blog-specific searches. Now we have Google Blog Search (which seems to do a good job at almost immediately indexing blog entries), and we still have things like Technorati even if they don’t play as big a role as maybe they used to. So if you wait on the main index (and even that I find is usually same-day), you miss out on traffic from people specifically looking for updated blogs to read.

      3. Your most important readers are probably subscribers — the folks who keep coming back (with some exceptions — like looking for one-time search traffic for ad revenue rather than readership). And their visits don’t depend on search engine indexing. You need to keep them happy by giving them a frequency they want and can handle.

      4. You can adjust your own crawl rate for your site in Google webmaster tools. I’ve seen rumors that Bing might offer the same option down the road, but I don’t see it in there yet.

      5. Most importantly, that advice is completely backwards. Your post frequency should not depend on your existing crawl rate. That’s because your crawl rate is largely influenced by how frequently the site is updated. If search engines notice while crawling your site that you’re updating a lot in between crawls, they’ll adjust to crawl your site more frequently.
      Jenn Mattern recently posted..Comment on Make Your Writing Funny – The 4 Principles Each Humor Writer Needs by Peter BowermanMy Profile

    • Oh, I see, Jenn, your response was to Jorge, not the article. Jorge she’s right, mostly. But so am I and Seth.

  • Well, I would love to post everyday, sometimes even more than once- because I simply love writing and sharing. But unfortunately I can’t get to do that because of other projects and writing gigs. But I still do my best to post at least a couple of times a week – and remind my audience that there are still tons of more posts they need to discover. I take advantage of writing posts that don’t have expiration dates. Obviously I couldn’t have done it if I had a tech blog or something like that…
    Pinar Tarhan recently posted..What Editors Can Learn from the Movie Up In The AirMy Profile

  • Anne, I’m committed to posting once per week on ProductiveWriters.com, always on Mondays. I also occasionally do a Thursday post.

    I may eventually blog more frequently, but I’m busy with my freelance writing projects and creating my own products, and also enjoying life. Google has been very good to me over the last couple of months, which shows a lower posting frequency can still get good results.

    Thanks for this thought-provoking piece!
    John Soares recently posted..Edit Old Blog Posts to Boost Search Engine Optimization and TrafficMy Profile

    • Anne

      You’re welcome John… one blog guru says it’s better to promise once a week and deliver the occasional extra than promise twice a week and not keep that promise.

  • The “right” blog posting frequency really depends on two things:

    1. Who you audience is and what they expect from blogs in the niche;
    2. What you hope to do with the blog.

    For example I have a small business blog. It gets updated approximately once per week (outsourced) and I’ll move that to twice weekly starting this month (when I get back to a weekly post as well). It works for the niche and audience there. Had I decided to focus on small business news rather than commentary and how-tos more would definitely be the right thing to do. But that’s not the purpose of the blog or what those particular readers expect of it (and I’ve toyed with plenty of different frequencies on that one over the years).

    But on my freelance writing blog more made a huge impact on traffic (that and a design change a while back led to an 80% increase in our traffic at the time and it’s stayed higher ever since). That’s because the freelance writing community tends to like a lot of discussion points over the course of the week. That audience uses blogs for reading material in general, but also largely to network with colleagues — so staying visible and involved in the discussions is easier with more posts. I also use that blog to promote my own products as a primary income stream, and more posts keep people coming back more frequently and give people more articles to share with others via social media (meaning also more new visitors who are in turn exposed to those products). So making money in the niche also relies largely on post frequency keeping traffic up, although not alone.

    Everyone’s goals are different, as are niches. But in the end I like to think the most important factor in post frequency is just making sure you have something to say. Unless there’s a topic I feel is worth talking about or I have news to post, I don’t. I try not to be overly sporadic, but sometimes you have to know when to say nothing at all.
    Jenn Mattern recently posted..Comment on The Case for the Smart Phone- A Working Mom Testimony by LaToya IrbyMy Profile

    • Anne

      Well said as usual Jenn… why don’t you also post the link to your small business blog?

  • Anne,
    You are always on point with the information you share in your post. I started out posting three times a week and felt the need to strech my writing do I increased days and content. I feel like I am committing to my readers and to myself. Reading your post lets me know I am on the right path. Thanks so muvh for sharing your wisdom.

    • Anne

      Thanks Yolanda. When I started daily posting it was a stretch – now, while not exactly easy, my fingers and mind seem to know what to do.

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