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Why “Blog When You Have Something to Say” is Bad Advice

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One of the most common questions I hear about blogging is this:

How often should I blog? Do I need to write a certain number of posts per month or week or day?

And commonly, the answer I see people giving is this:

Blog when you have something to say. You don’t have to stick to a certain schedule or routine. What’s important is that you blog when you feel passionate about the topic.

It certainly sounds like good advice, but in actuality, it can be quite dangerous, especially for new bloggers. Why is “blog when you have something to say” such bad advice?

1. It encourages laziness.

When you only blog when you have something to say, you’re encouraged to be a lazy blogger. It’s almost as though we’re giving ourselves a free pass to do less work. Something big happens in your industry? Meh. I don’t *really* feel passionate about that topic, so I’m not going to write about it.To be sure, you don’t have to write about everything, but sometimes covering a topic is what is best for your readers. If you give yourself a free pass to ignore certain topics, you aren’t giving your readers the best experience possible on your blog.

2. We aren’t forced to push ourselves.

When you only blog when you have something to say, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not looking for something to say. It’s not about blogging about topics when you don’t care about them. It’s about finding things to care about. When you’re forced to push yourself to find topics to cover, you might be surprised at what you find. The world is an interesting place. You might also be surprised at the work you do when you push yourself to find the interesting story in a topic you don’t naturally find interesting.

3. More posts lead to more traffic.

The more you write, the more your fans will visit your blog to read what you write. Maintaining a high quality is important, but if you do, you will see more traffic. Chris Brogan talked at BlogWorld New York about how he recently decrease the number of times he posts per week and he’s definitely seen a decrease in traffic. When having a conversation with Jared Polin about this, he told me that he attributes at least some of his own success to the fact that he posts six or seven times every week. I can also confirm from my personal experiences that when I post more, I see more traffic. So if you’re measuring success with statistics, posting more often is a great way to boost your traffic. And remember, readers are creatures of habit. If you post on a schedule, they’ll know when to expect new content. If you post sporadically, they might simply forget about you.

Going back to the original question – how often should you blog? If the answer isn’t “blog when you have something to say,” what is the answer?

Some people might disagree with me, but I think the best answer is this: Blog as often as you can while maintaining a high quality. Get on a schedule and stick to it, pushing yourself to blog regularly. Sometimes it might be hard, but as Jimmy Dugan says, “It’s supposed to be hard! If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.”

How often do you blog? How often do you think people should blog? Tell us with a comment below!

 


Feedback

18
  • Erin F.

    I blog five days per week, but I rarely tell someone who’s new to blogging to start with that sort of schedule. I do recommend sticking to some sort of schedule, especially when a person first starts to blog, though. I would never, ever, ever tell someone to blog or write only when he or she has something to say. Waiting for inspiration to strike has to be one of the most futile acts known to man.

    • WordsDoneWrite

       @Erin F. Hey Erin! Glad to see you around these parts! 😉 Yeah, I think it you told a new blogger five days a week, they’d probably run screaming from the room!

      • Erin F.

         @WordsDoneWrite Probably so – I sometimes get that reaction from the seasoned pros. 😉

  • bobWP

    I am so with you on this one. And as @Erin F. says, it’s not having to blog everyday, but instead, sticking with a schedule. 
    Besides what you have listed here, another overriding characteristic of this mentality is “it’s my blog, I’ll blog when I want to” which often drips with ego and a self-serving attitude. ; )

    • WordsDoneWrite

       @bobWP  Kind of the “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” mindset, huh? 😉

      • bobWP

         @WordsDoneWrite Perfect!

      • bobWP

         @WordsDoneWrite That’s perfect… and just have to share this quote with you.
         
        “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately, I am inspired at 9 o’ clock every morning.” William Faulkner, novelist 

    • allison_boyer

       @bobWP  @Erin F. Yes, I totally agree with the schedule thing! On The PinterTest Kitchen, for example, we blog Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday like clockwork. It sets expectations, which I think is important.

  • JTDabbagian

    I’m sorry, but I have to disagree. Yes, being able to post daily is a great thing, but it also greatly increases the chance you will burn out. Look at it this way: What if you don’t know what to write about, but you have to write something? You’ll end up producing shoddy work. I guess the debate is this: Do you want potentially shoddy work, or no work? 

    • allison_boyer

       @JTDabbagian As I wrote, it isn’t about posting daily. It’s about posting as often as you can while maintaining a high quality. My feelings are that if you can’t be consistent and post often, perhaps blogging isn’t a good choice for you, or at least perhaps you should reconsider your niche.

  • piercingmetal

    With my core website I try to post new content around four times a week but that is not always possible and when it comes to blogging for its companion presence I like at least two postings per week.  That is a little easier since my focus is a little larger than my objective review.  This works so far and doesn’t seem to task me too much to burn out the creative energy.  Great piece Allison.

    • allison_boyer

       @piercingmetal You know, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a schedule that gets off-kilter sometimes. Blogging is an art, not a science. So if you goal is four times per week and occasionally you only have time for three, I don’t think it’s a big deal as long as you don’t get into that mindset that it’s fine to skip posts every week.

  • bbeingcool

    I have tried posting everyday and I have tried posting 3-4 times a week.  I teetered between too much pressure and not enough. I have found that by posting Mon-Fri with occasional  ‘bonus reading’ for the weekend works for me.
     
    But – if I have nothing to say – I don’t say anything. Good content is key. I can push my stats up through facebook and twitter on the days I don’t post.
     
    Great post! Good to think about these things… 
     

    • allison_boyer

       @bbeingcool I think that’s an important point too – if you don’t have anything to say about a topic, forcing yourself to blog about it isn’t the right answer.

  • Betty Kuhn

    I feel that blogging should be done on a regular basis, whether it is every day or once a week.  Your readers depend on you to meet your deadline so they have something to read.  I know there are so many blogs out there, that there is always something to read, but when you are blogging a book, for instance, they want to read the next installment.  I write every five days…I am blogging a book at bettykuhn@blogspot.com  Join me.
    My book is What to do When Mom Moves In…all about caregiving in your home.
    Betty Kuhn
    bettykuhn.com

    • allison_boyer

       @Betty Kuhn I like the idea of thinking about your schedule as an actual deadline. It keeps you accountable to yourself!

  • joostharmsen

    #1 and #2 apply for a alot of things.. lazyness can brake you! and i’m not specifically takling about blogging! So don’t be lazy get up and do something!! :))

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