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Quick Tip: Stay Regular

We talk a lot about WordPress.com’s capabilities, blogging etiquette, and stretching yourself as a writer, photographer, and creator. Today, let’s…

We talk a lot about WordPress.com’s capabilities, blogging etiquette, and stretching yourself as a writer, photographer, and creator. Today, let’s take a step back and think about the general health of our blogs — specifically, their gastro-intestinal health:

A healthy blog is like a healthy colon.

Javier Colon

Javier Colon: much more pleasant to look at than a photo of an actual colon.

There are a few ways to interpret this, and I encourage you to push the metaphor in the comments.* For today, we’re going to focus on regularity: a healthy blog is regular.

Does that mean you have to post every single day? No! Nor does it mean you have to post every other day, or every week — there are some blogs that publish once a month, and they still have followers.¬†What’s important is that there’s some regularity, so readers know what to expect.

Picture this: you stumble onto a new-ish blog. You enjoy the topic, and the blogger has a fun writing style. They post three or four times a week, and you look forward to reading their new posts and chatting with their other fans. They disappear for a few weeks, and then there’s another spate of posts. Next time, they’re gone for a few months, and they they return with a “I’ve been busy!” post. The conversation isn’t as lively any more, and most of the posts are about how they’re sorry not to be posting. You nix them from your Reader, because the good stuff has become infrequent and there’s not much of a community any more.

This has happened to us more often than we care to admit, and it’s probably happened to you, too (maybe it is you). It’s hard to stay engaged with a blog whose author doesn’t seem to care much about it.

We get that life happens, and keeping up a blog isn’t always at the top of the priority heap. You can care about your blog a great deal, but not find the time to post. That being said, consistency remains the key to unlocking many of the treasures of the blogosphere, from a robust fan base to a good Google ranking.

The best thing to do? Be honest with yourself about how much time you can devote to your blog; if you want to build a readership, you need a schedule that will be sustainable over the long haul. If you like to write longer, researched essays and can only churn out one a month, that’s fine. If you like to post shorter, slice-of-life vignettes and can bang them out three times a week, also fine. Once your readers know when they can expect the goods, you’re all set.

There are a few ways you can set yourself up for success:

  • If you like structure, create a calendar for yourself sketching out your posts week-by-week, or month-by-month.
  • If your prefer something more ad-hoc, pick the days of the week or month you’d like to post and leave the topic up in the air. Jot down ideas as they come to you, and save ‘em up for post days.
  • If this is more planning than you want to put into your blog, write when you want and keep a periodic eye on things — once a month, take a look at what you’ve published, see how the timing and topics affect your readership, and adjust things on the fly.
  • If you feel like you need more of a push, add a widget to your sidebar that announces upcoming posts — you’ve said it publicly, so now you’re committed.

What’s your posting frequency like? Are you challenged to post as frequently as you’d like, and how do you overcome that? What would your ideal schedule look like?

*Here, I’ll start you off: A healthy blog is like a healthy colon; if you put crap in, you’ll get crap out.

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  1. I’ve found that three times a week works pretty well for me. I had originally wanted to write longer and more thought out posts, but I just didn’t have time for that, and I really wanted to keep up my schedule of posting. So now I do a little bit shorter “my thought for the day” type posts, and people seem to respond well to it (though I’m still pretty new at the blogging thing). It’s easy to hold myself accountable to my schedule as well, because I’ve outlined how I’ll be posting on one of my pages (https://lifeaccordinglee.wordpress.com/about-this-blog/). I think this helps my readers know what to expect and when to expect it. It’s nice to have something to look forward to.

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    1. I love your idea of setting up your schedule in such a way… I’ve been trying to find my own way to do this, and this really lays out nicely! I think I might borrow the concept, if that’s cool with you of course. Also I am interested in following you as my blog is also about my journey to publication. Consider me a new follower!

      ~ todd

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  2. I really like using the scheduling feature so I can plan my posts out and post certain types of topics on certain days. I haven’t gotten in down to a science yet, but it’s helping!

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  3. I post almost every day…but I’ve been blogging just since late October of last year.

    My circumstances currently allow for me to post easily; that will not be the case in approx 2 weeks when I move and the whole ball of wax changes. Therefore I decided to create 2 easy post days – a regular Sunday post and a regular Monday post. The Sunday post is just copied from a little booklet I have of Irish Blessings, and the other is Merry Maudlin Monday…which frankly can be about anything I want it to be. So atleast I can guaranteed those 2 posts a week. I want to remain posting once aday, but as life changes I can’t necessarily guarantee that.

    Heck…if I had my way someone be paying me to do this…but hey, who knows…maybe someday ;-)

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  4. Joining the daily prompt is a good start for me. It became a habit to post a short clip and be able to think on my feet in limited time. The topic Slash and Burn helps a lot to keep the post at a minimum, less that 500 words. That’s the key for me.. Speaking for myself, my attention span is short. If it’s a long story, I lose interest.

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    1. I have also made a commitment to post 500 words or less at least once a week. If I pull that off, I’ll bumb that number to twice a week. If I write more, great, but for me, 500 words or less is manageable right now.

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      1. That’s good for a singular post. If you join Daily Post, they had this topic Slash and Burn, meaning half of 500. What I notice that most reader prefer to read short post. Speaking for myself, I want a short post and I once in a while I read a long post. I tend to have a short attention span when it comes to computer.

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  5. I always did my backups on WordPress, but I am actually a Multiply refugee. Multiply collapsed and I had to find inspiration again. It was then I discovered that WordPress really cares about its bloggers and have a lot of challenges going on. I love the daily prompt. I like to write, but I need a push on about what to write. I do not schedule, because I am retired. I now do what I want to do and not what I have to, but I find that I am posting daily as the daily prompts give food for thought and blogging. Up to now all is well and I am a happy blogger.

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  6. It is tough to find a balance. Too many posts? Followers get all clogged up. Too much to digest. Post too little? Followers drift away. Not enough to feed them all. They will go graze in other pastures.

    The thing is, every post doesn’t grab every follower, especially when — to continue the metaphor — we are omniverous bloggers.

    I am ever seeking harmony and balance, It would help if I knew exactly who my followers are. I suspect I have more than one audience: the photo phollowers, movie and TV buffs and the literary crowd. Maybe others, too. It’s hard to keep them all fed but not stuffed.

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  7. I am blogging everyday. Some days I really rely on the prompts for inspiration, some days I have a lot to get out and then there are a few days that I try to stick to a specific theme. Makeup Monday, Wordless Wednesday and Potpourri Friday, that kind of thing. Since I am still new to this, my schedule and structure are still evolving. Even when I go from daily posting, I hope to have some sort of structure so readers can expect when to check for updates.

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  8. I struggle with this. I want to maintain the quality of my writing and not just post for the sake of posting (in fact, I hate it when a blogger posts even though they obviously have nothing to say!), but I conducted an experiment where I posted every day for about ten days straight and I saw my traffic really shoot through the roof.

    I try to post “regularly” and some weeks that means I post three-four times, and some weeks that means I post once or twice.

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    1. Karen, I’m with you as far as posting for posting’s sake. I’m less concerned with how much traffic comes my way, and more with posting when something is as good as I can make it. The timing of my work is inconsistent to say the least. I’ve decided to focus 100% on screenplay writing. I prefer to work without an outline. I find it much more interesting not knowing where my characters are headed, but because of this, I sometimes find myself creating or revising character profiles as I go along. I also find myself doing more and more research. I’ve done quite a lot of research preparing for my next installment on WordPress, and I’m hoping this will pay off in terms of quality. It can be time consuming, but then, what’s the rush? I’m also experimenting with subtext, trying to keep my dialogue from being too much “on the nose.”

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  9. I post every three to four days – it varies a little bit depending on when events (my blog is topical) actually happen. That’s what I feel comfortable with. Any more often and I think regular readers would feel a bit pressured, while leaving it longer definitely impacts my stats. But it all depends on what kind of blog you have and what feels right to you.

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  10. I only have my wanderlust wednesday photo as a regular post. Being that I mostly document my travels I doubt a schedule would work for me. I had a longer than intended gap recently due to vehicle trouble, but was able to make a post about it so that was something. Participating in the weeky photo challenge is something I aim to do every week as I always get good feedback.

    I like to be different – a healthy blog is like a heathly colon; it introduces an explanation.

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  11. I’ve been posting everyday, but I’m thinking about slowing it down to 3 or 4 times a week. I’ve only been blogging since October, and I probably won’t always have the youthful enthusiasm I do now, to keep nattering away incessantly ;) I should probably create a more reasonable schedule, so that when the newness of blogging fades, it doesn’t seem overwhelming to continue to keep up with. It’s also helped that I’ve been going through a prolific poem-ing phase, so I have work to post almost everyday. Come March, I start working on my novel, and that’ll go out the window…

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  12. All good points. After three years a of blogging, I have pared down to about 5-6 per month, but try to keep a regular post coming on about the same day every week.

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  13. I did the 365 consecutive days of blogging my first year (woo-hoo!) but now I am on the five-day plan because I reached that crazy goal. I stick to regularity in my style and at first I thought it was predictable, but then I realized it was good to know what to expect. Humor whether it be with the daily prompts, weekly photo challenges or life in general. There’s always two humor stories, one kid story and two photo posts. But I tend to stick with humor. And you’re right, I visited a couple of blogs that I had followed and they threw me for a loop when their posts didn’t match the previous more engaging posts so I trailed off.

    http://thewishfactor.wordpress.com
    :)

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  14. I try to put up at least one new piece every week, usually on the weekend. So even if I come up with something earlier in the week, I prefer to control the temptation to put it up immediately and only upload it when it’s expected- no point posting 3 days in a row and them not having anything to put up for 10 days. So far this kind of a schedule has been working well for me. Hopefully, I can say the same a couple of months from now!

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  15. I’m blogging once a week and will up that to twice a week in the summer months just because I reckon I’ll be able to cover more in these months and really stretch my writing talents and ability to regularly write.

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  16. I agree completely! Great post DP!

    One thing to keep in mind, sometimes people actually die and we have no idea that’s why they stopped blogging. This very thing/thought led me to write “Do You Have a Social Media Burial Plan”. You just never know ;)

    I also recently posted about how to overcome writer’s block “6 Ways to Knock Your Block Off”.

    To help further, there are countless things one can write about ewhen one has no idea what to write about. Almost every day of the week is some sort of national holiday or ‘awareness” type day…write about that…or “this day in history”. BTW incase you didn’t know, today is the 55th birthday of the Peace Sing! #B4Peace

    Whatever you do, I personally suggest NOT writing quick little I’ve been busy blah blah posts and instead write about WHY you’ve been busy.

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  17. That is why I’m doing the post a day. As far as the weekly challenges and the photo challenges I have not touched those yet. My old blog was regular but sporadic. Sometimes I’d spit out posts just to vent other times I’d take days even weeks to come up with posts on books, etc but there was no regularity.

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  18. I am for twice a week – one weekend post and one weekday post. If I’ve just published a weekday piece and have another, I will typically hold it for the weekend in an attempt to keep a regular schedule. I’ve thought about picking a particular weekday, but I worry that it would be worse to have said “Tuesdays!” and then not have something finished, or rush it when it would be better on Wednesday.

    I write both poetry and prose and have also toyed with the idea of trying to pin one form down to one time of the week – but that constrains the writing too much, because I’m not sure what might arise.

    Good post, food for thought. I’d say a lot to digest, but, well…

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