This is easily one of the most commonly-asked questions when I’m discussing social media and blogging with a new client. And the answer isn’t as simple as it may seem.
Whether or not you have an author website, this question is pertinent to anyone who has an online presence; so non-authors, feel free to read on!
The case against blogging too often
One common misconception is that you can never really blog “too much,” as more information online is always better, right? This actually isn’t always the case.
Let’s say you have just released your new thriller noir, “The Great Treasure of Niagara Falls.” You put together a great marketing package, have us build a popular author website, and become active on the social networking scene. Blogging comes naturally to you, and you make a vow to write a new entry every single day.
After a couple of months, your book sales are much better than you anticipated, you have quite a few blog followers, and your fans demand a book sequel. Happily, you begin to work on penning the second book in what will be come a series with “The Overworked Janitor of Niagara Falls.” You have promised your fans a hard deadline of the book release date.
However, coming up with a blog entry every single day proves to be a challenge. You didn’t take into consideration how difficult it could be to blog AND write your sequel. Your blog starts to suffer, the timeline of your new book release date gets pushed back and you are now blogging every few days. And then every week… and then once a month.
This starts to look bad to your readers, who are wondering if you are disappearing. They lose interest in your blog, which may reflect badly on your book sales and online image. Your blogging career is going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
To make a long story short, you do not want to bite off more than you can chew when it comes to blogging. If you are an author, keep in mind that blogging is writing — and serious blogging can be just as involved and time-consuming as writing a book. It is easy to get burned out, which can have a negative effect on your online presence, and ultimately your sales.
Building consistency in the blogging world takes a lot of time, so make sure you can actually keep up with the frequency goals you have set for yourself.
The case against not blogging enough
Each time you write a new blog post, you are doing the following:
- Creating a brand new web page and a new URL for the search engines to discover. This will increase your website traffic for different keywords.
- Adding to the information on your website, which over time keeps people on the site
- Building your audience, readership, and fanbase
- Encouraging discussion in the comments feed below the new entry
If you do not blog very often, you will never be able to generate a long list of subscribers and keep visitors coming back for more. After all, how is it possible to become a loyal reader of a blog that only gets updated every few months? This is like subscribing to the New York Times and having it only show up on holidays. (At least your blog is free.)
One of the worst things you can do is start out blogging fairly consistently and then fade away … and ultimately stop altogether. This makes it look like your website is out of date, the information is not as valid, you are not doing well professionally, the website isn’t being updated, you didn’t pay the internet bill, or any combination of the above.
Also, some writers start out blogging very passionately, and then when they do not gain readers right away, they lose interest. It is important to be patient! It can often take between 50-70 blog posts before you start to build an audience, and it is uncommon to have loyal visitors to a website with fewer than 30 posts.
The key words to blogging are consistency and persistence!
Great! … So how often should I blog?
Now that I’ve given you the negative aspects of both extremes it is time to answer the main question!
In general, it is wise to pick a frequency that you feel you can meet without burning out and make it a goal to stick to it. Anywhere from weekly to a few times a week is usually good. Less than twice a month isn’t really consistent enough, unless you remove the dates from each blog post… but then why blog at all? More than once a day is probably too much, unless you have guest bloggers or have endless energy for blogging.
It is important to keep in mind that blogging can be a fun, informal way to connect with your visitors and keep them engaged. There isn’t an absolute rule as to how often to keep your blog updated, but the advice above should help give you some general guidelines.