I prefer to blog 5 times a week. It keeps me connected to the fishbowl in a way that blogging intermittently would not. And since a combination of travel, weather and the holidays have derailed my normal blogging schedule these past few weeks, I’ve learned a few first-hand lessons about why blogging on a daily basis is the right choice for me. (Your mileage may vary; we’ll get to that in a moment. But first…)
5 Good Reasons to Blog Every Day*
1. It’s Great Practice. If you want to write well, you have to read, but you also have to write. And often. And in a way that’s engaging, insightful, relevant and / or entertaining to your desired audience (or at least to the audience that shows up). It helps you realize which words and phrases you tend to overuse, and which topics keep your audience’s (or your own) attention.
Unless you’re a linguistic prodigy, you don’t learn those skills by blogging once a fortnight, so get cracking.
2. It Forces You to Pay Attention. Cranking out a new post every day means you constantly need a new influx of material to write about. As such, I pay a lot of attention to what other people are talking about, so I can tell what they’re interested in and what’s being “overtalked” to the extent that anything I’d add wouldn’t be able to move the conversational needle. That applies to both the online and offline worlds, since reality tends to get discussed slightly less often than technology.
3. It Helps You Stay Organized (Which Improves Your Overall Business). I don’t get paid to write this blog. (Other blogs, yes, but not this one.) That means every second I spend writing this blog is a second I’m not paying my bills. Yet writing this blog is great preparation for my “real” work because committing myself to a daily blog means I have to find the time to get it done. That necessitates better time management in other aspects of my day, so I’m not perpetually blogging at 3 AM.
Therefore, by improving my own organizing habits and sticking to my other deadlines, I have time to write the blog I actually enjoy writing. Carrot, meet stick.
4. It Increases Your Traffic. That should be obvious, but having slacked off myself recently, I can see a concrete difference in the numbers. Two weeks ago, I had an Alexa ranking in the 166,000 range and approximately 5,200 visits in the past month. Today, my Alexa ranking is down to 191,810 (as I type this) and I’ve only tracked 4,200 visits in the most recent 4-week period — a 20% overall drop. In fact, since February 4th I’ve only had one day of traffic that exceeded 250 visits. Clearly, blogging more often nets me more daily traffic, “evergreen content” be damned.
5. It Multiplies Your Opportunities to Be Relevant. If you only blog once a week, you have to hope your weekly post is considered interesting enough to be read and shared by a wide array of people. If you blog every day, you have 5 times the number of opportunities to have your wisdom “discovered” by the people who would most benefit from reading it. And if what you wrote about yesterday didn’t quite hit the mark, what you come up with tomorrow just might. There’s safety in numbers.
That said, I’m no fan of absolutes. If you’re a blogger who only writes new posts when you have something relevant or amazing to say, I won’t argue with you. Given the ever-widening expanse of dreck that clogs our tubes on a daily basis, I can’t fault anyone for not voluntarily adding to our white noise problem.
5 Good Reasons NOT to Blog Every Day
1. No One Is Tolstoy Every Day. (Or, if you prefer brevity, Hemingway.) Genius isn’t a bottomless reservoir, and sometimes you need the benefit of time and reflection in order to compose your thoughts into a missive that matters. Don’t sacrifice clarity, complexity or impact for a self-imposed daily deadline, because 5 days of futility is worth a lot less than one day of quality.
2. Distance Is Bliss. When you’re not perpetually cannibalizing your own life (and other people’s conversations) for “material” to write about, you have a chance to examine how and why you’re doing what you do. Could you be doing it differently? Could you be doing it better? Faster? Cheaper? For a different reason? For an increased long-term payoff? Do you need to be doing it at all? If you don’t stop, you’ll never ask.
3. Less Talking, More Learning. If you’re always talking, you’re never learning, because learning requires listening + the time to process what you’ve heard. If you’re never learning, you never have anything new to report. And if you’re never new, you’re never relevant.
4. With Time Comes Experience. If you want to be seen as an “expert” on a topic, you need to be an expert on that topic. Expertise is borne from experience, not from daily convolutions of thought. Instead of racing the clock to spew another 1000 words across your screen before midnight, why not spend each week testing one of your theories through actual research and experimentation, and then recording the results?
The blog world is long on conjecture and opinion and short on data and facts; by stepping back, you afford yourself the freedom to speak from firsthand experience rather than third-hand commentary.
5. Don’t You Have Something Better to Do? On a good day, I get 750-1000 reads on a post; on an off day, far fewer. Is spending an hour a day (or more) on something that’s seen by less than a thousand people really worth my time? Wouldn’t I be better off doing paying work, or playing with my dog, or exploring my city or reading? (Wouldn’t you?)
And there you have it: a rational defense for any blogging approach you should choose. Next time someone tells you you’re “doing it wrong,” just point them here and keep on doing what you’re doing. (See? “Evergreen content” after all…)
* Technically, we’re talking about blogging every weekday, since we all know the Internet shuts down on weekends and federal holidays. But if you’re an overachiever, by all means, blog your head off 365 days a year. All those lonely search engines need something to read.
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Sane · February 22, 2010 at 1:07 pm
Mark Dykeman · February 19, 2010 at 7:30 pm
Can’t disagree with anything you’ve written here.
Elsie Escobar · February 18, 2010 at 10:08 pm
Great comment Burgh Baby!!! Hats of to you for keeping up with the blogging in that way…seriously. the first few months of my baby’s life I barely even logged into my wordpress page…and longed for some time to share, but alas no such luck.
I’m inspired by your words and happy to see another Mama living each day fully :) Subscribed to your blog.
Oh, and Justin, thanks for the post :) What I can add to this is that if I’m not ‘feeling’ it, I’m not blogging, I’m not podcasting, I’m not making videos. Any content that I put out, I chose it, and it comes from an initial desire, passion and/or excitement for life. I *just* got another podcast episode out, which used to be a weekly deal…published my last one on 12/30/09. I’ve stopped apologizing. I think (hope) my audience understands. I have dreams of growing the community and hope to do it a bit better this year…we’ll see.
Burgh Baby · February 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm
I’m something like three years into posting every single day on my personal site. I post daily for some of the reasons you mentioned, but most especially because of the second one listed. I consider it a challenge to find something notable about each and every day. If I can’t, I know that I “skated” through the day and need to do a better job of living the next day. I may not always do a good job of capturing something notable about each day, but the constant challenge, I think, helps me to keep life balanced as I continuously improve my writing skills.
craig · February 18, 2010 at 8:24 am
hi thanx for this post i blog about 1 – 2 posts per week i will push for the 5 post. just check if im doing that and encourage me if i not moving up to 5 lol :-)
Kunjal Kamdar · February 18, 2010 at 1:19 am
Great Post Justin. The points that you have covered talks of both the sides. This will surely help me to plan accordingly. I personally write as an when i am confident of the post ( after a lot of research and reading). Hence it does take some time to publish the Post. Practice is the key. Thanks again for this interesting post.
DJ Waldow · February 17, 2010 at 4:58 pm
Yo Justin: Any thoughts of adding a plugin/widget to this blog that allows users to subscribe (via email) to new comments?
Just asking. Would be handy. Or…you could use Disqus. I use it on my personal blog and we just added it to the Blue Sky Factory blog. Love it.
And…unsolicited advice is over!
Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory
Justin · February 17, 2010 at 10:46 pm
I really need to install Disqus. One of these days, folks….
DJ Waldow · February 17, 2010 at 3:53 pm
Dude. Love it. Great timing too.
I just started really tracking how often I’m posting over at Social Butterfly Guy. In my 7 months blogging, I’ve published 32 posts. Quick math means I’m averaging 4-5 per month…or once per week. I set out a goal when I started to post 2 per week. Not quite there. I think my struggle goes back to the perfection piece (wrote about that one yesterday). I only want to write stuff that “matters” – whatever that means. I’m going to try and mix it up a bit with some of my posts…thanks to reading this above. I’m not short on ideas. Time in another issue. Ha ha.
Thanks again for making me think!
Julius Kuhn-Regnier · February 17, 2010 at 3:28 pm
Cool post Justin. I sometimes do feel that the time I invest in blogging could be better invested in other activities. But then again there are some days where you think that everything you have been doing up to that point was totally worth it.
red pen mama · February 17, 2010 at 2:16 pm
Oh, and if I were Twittering, I’d totally Twitter that you linked to my blog. And ‘squee’ too. Are you cringing?
Justin · February 17, 2010 at 3:06 pm
I do not cringe at sound of squee,
but cannot swim, so cringe the sea.
red pen mama · February 17, 2010 at 2:15 pm
I’m not sure if I should be flattered or not. ;)
In any case, I blog daily over at my personal blog because I need to practice my writing. “Writers write.” So sayeth Stephen King, one of my favorite authors. Now, I’m not over there writing good fiction, just reflections as a mom and someone exploring social media and (very occasionally) politics.
As I point out in the post to which you link, it’s time to find out what else I can do with this social media milieu. Thanks to people like you and Chris Brogan, I’m getting some neat ideas. Thanks.
Tim Hindes · February 17, 2010 at 1:35 pm
Great post, Justin. I really need to think about my timing…something I’ve struggled with in not having enough time in the day to post something. Too often, the blog is the thing that’s last on the list. I blame it on the dog, who’s play time normally runs longer than what I expect.
Charlie Quirk · February 17, 2010 at 1:25 pm
Love this post Justin,
You’ve covered all the angles for how someone’s mileage may vary. As you say, learning and growth is ingrained in the very process of output, yet at the same time, no one is brilliant every day.
I heard a quote recently that web 2.0 has lead us to be “drowning in information, yet thirsty for knowledge,” it is a hackneyed cliche now, but if you can add a unique perspective based on concrete facts rather than providing long winded conjecture on a topic, then readers will beat a path to your door.
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