This is a common question among bloggers and online business owners. If you’re a blogger then publishing new posts is essentially what you do. For an online business owner it’s a side task, but it’s still crucial for achieving any kind of success.
No matter what you’re using your site for, publishing new posts/entries/articles is what keeps the site up-to-date. Visitors like content that’s up-to-date, Google likes content that’s up-to-date, your business partners like to see that your content is, again, up-to-date. Essentially, having up-to-date content is what makes you seem professional. By the way, how many times can you use “up-to-date” in a single paragraph?
However, there’s always one question that arises whenever the topic of blogging gets mentioned: How often should you post?
We all know blogs that publish new posts every day. We even know ones that do this multiple times a day, like TechCrunch, for example. But some bloggers have chosen a completely different path, publishing only once a week or even less frequently.
So what’s the best approach for you and your site? I hope I can be of some help in solving this. For instance, let’s start by answering the following question.
How many different kinds of posts can you create?
Let’s leave the actual topic of your blog on the side and just focus on your ability to create content of different types. So the question is: How comfortable are you creating any of the following:
Tutorial posts, news posts, definition posts, list posts, case studies, stories, controversial posts, parody posts, FAQs, SAQs (should ask questions), reviews, interviews, checklists, surveys, video content, audio content … okay, that’s enough.
Go through the list and decide which post types sound attractive to you. If there’s a fair number of them, then you can obviously post more frequently as you’ll have more post types to choose from.
How much information is there to write about?
Depending on the size of your niche, the amount of possible information to share can be limited.
For instance, if you’re publishing technology news like TechCrunch then you can easily post multiple times a day as there is always something going on. But when your niche is underwater kickboxing then finding relevant information can be a lot harder.
Also, depending on your niche and the angle you’re taking in it, not everything will be interesting for your audience. For example, if you have a real estate startup and your audience is all about las colinas real estate then publishing some nationwide news might not bring you much success.
Use your common sense and try to estimate the possible number of posts you can publish in two months time. How many is that per week?
Take a look at what your competition is doing
Competitors are often a great source of inspiration. For instance, if most of your competitors publish posts every other day then you can probably go in a similar path.
Be careful when following the main player in your niche, though. Just because they publish two posts a day, doesn’t mean that you will be able to do it to.
It’s always better to start at a slower rate and then improve over time.
Assess your audience
Good research is always the cornerstone of every great website. The goal here is to estimate how much content your audience will be able to digest. Taking a look at what your competition is doing is one approach, but you can do even better than this. Go to Google Keyword Tool and do a search for your main keyword (and a number of side keywords). Look at the number of people searching for your keyword every day.
Chances are that if the number is not that big (500 or less), then people are probably not all that interested. But this is only a rough estimate. You might as well be in an extremely passion-driven niche, which even though might not be that popular, can have fans that want to read about it every day.
That being said, starting slow in small niches is, in most cases, a lot better approach.
How much time can you spend on promotion?
Here’s the thing. There’s no point in publishing every day if you can’t spend a significant amount of time promoting your entries … every day. Unfortunately, publishing an article is just half the job. Promoting it is the other half.
The exact methods of promotion you’ll use are not important here, what is important, though, is the time it takes you to get them all done. What I’m trying to say here is that there’s no point in publishing two posts a day if they’re just going to sit there without any promotional tasks done on your part.
Essentially, you should set aside at least 30 minutes of promotion time for every post you publish. Now, 30 minutes doesn’t sound like much, but when you can write and publish a post in 30 minutes then it actually doubles the time you have to spend working on every entry…
Make it sustainable!
This is the most important piece of advice here. No matter how many posts per week you end up publishing, you have to stick to your decision. You simply can’t publish four posts one week, then don’t post anything for a month, and then get back to four a week. This won’t work because your readers will get confused and eventually stop reading your site.
I know that this doesn’t sound like a believable reason to stop reading someone, but think again. Let me give you a more real-life example. Would you watch the news on TV if it didn’t air regularly? Imagine that one time it’s Tuesday at 6PM, then Thursday at 4AM, and then Sunday at noon… No, you wouldn’t. You’d simply switch to another channel that has more predictable news shows.
In the end, the safest approach you can take is to start slow and make it sustainable. Then, over time, you can increase your publishing rate. But don’t do any big jumps. If you want to post more then introduce one extra post one month, then two the next month, and so on.
How many times per week do you post? Did you set your posting frequency as one of your goals or was it kind of a coincidence?
Finally, feel free to connect with me on Twitter for some more insights (@carlosinho).