Blog Update: Changing Post Frequency and Style

After skyping with Liz Strauss at Successful Blogger, reading The Pressures of Blogging Consistently by Nate Whitehill and analyzing this outstanding post on building blog traffic by John Wesley (Man, that was good post John!), I have decided to take this blog in a slightly different direction.

It won’t be a 180-degree turn, maybe a 30-degree turn. I haven’t been happy with this blog for the last two months. The posts aren’t what I expect from myself; they’re forced.

While traffic and subscribers have grown, I don’t feel the current direction is serving you.

So here’s the deal…

I prefer to write long essay type posts, but they take an inordinate amount of time to write well. Paul Graham spends 40-80 hours writing his essays and it shows and I aspire to write as well as Paul. But I’ll never do it trying to pound out one or two essays a week. I just don’t have the time to do it right. Well… I do, but I am unwilling to sacrifice my time with my wife and kids and I have little desire to quit my job – some cool innovative things are happening at work.

So I am going to post essay posts only when I know they are ready. You may only see one essay post every two weeks – maybe longer – it just depends.

In between essay posts, you will get links to other posts and content I hope you will find thought provoking and interesting, adding a paragraph or two of review and commentary.

Let me know what you think of the change. Are you willing to wait if the quality increases?

Blogger Call Out!
Leo at Zen Habits and Wendy at emoms… I don’t know how you keep up your level of activity. I’d like to know how you balance home, work, and blogging. Will you share? Leo… Do you still have a full-time job?

19 thoughts on “Blog Update: Changing Post Frequency and Style”

  1. I think going to a more Paul-Graham-like post style is a great move. Those inspired essay posts are the ones that drive 80-90% of traffic and links in my experience. Great posts only happen once every two weeks–if your lucky.

    I’ve struggled a bit to find my own ideal posting frequency too. For people just starting out it takes at least 6 months to really decide what type of blog you want and creating a schedule that works well is also sustainable.

  2. DUH – blogging IS my full time job!!! :) Seriously, there is no blog out there that writes those long posts on a daily basis – or if they do, it’s multiple authors. I only write one long a day – but not the time consuming kind you are talking about. Yesterday, it took me 8 hours to put together this kids activities list, in between answering emails, IMs, etc. THOSE kind of posts I really can only crank out one or two a week (between three blogs!!).

    I think you are on the right track with your new direction – write from a place of passion + write short posts you know will add value = great blog.

    Balance. Huh. What’s that? Actually, it’s a constant battle. But since my kids are mostly in school and very independent, I can take most of my time to write and develop my sites – and no, I don’t have a full time job anymore (though I still miss the full time consistent salary!!). Your kids are pretty little from what I remember – making it doubly hard to get anything accomplished.

    Steve – you have a great blog, and I can tell that you’ve lost some interest over the last couple of months. But when you rock, you seriously ROCK and kick MY butt in terms of traffic, etc.! So dedicate some time to feeding that passion and the passion will indeed continue to feed your blog with GREAT content. :)

  3. You don’t have a full-time job. Full-time jobs are 40 hours a week. You are an entrepreneur… I bet you work day and night! My wife does.

    Thanks for the encouraging words – I needed them. Liz told me very directly that it was apparent I was getting bored with blogging and now you’ve said the same thing. Gotta trust a woman’s intuition. It’s felt more like low level depression than boredom, but maybe that’s what boredom is.

    Anyway, your blog rocks too. I’m thinking of contributing a piece on Reddit to your latest project, but I don’t know yet, I’ve got to organize it on paper and see if it will be helpful.

  4. Go for it. I regularly unsubscribe from blogs with too many low-quality posts. I *never* unsubscribe from a feed with a few excellent posts.

    What about non-subscribers? Well, probably most of those are from searches, social networking sites, and emailed links. Few would be from people visiting the site every day, and this last group is the only group that might get turned off by rarer posts.

  5. I recently made the same decision about my blog. Much better than feeling guilty about not writing enough long, high quality posts. Also, my blog is supposed to be providing resources as well as ideas, so a turn (30 degrees?) in that direction will take the pressure off.

  6. I agree too — I follow a similar on my own (very modest) blog, only posting when I have something I really want to say, and it usually takes me about a week or two to finish the post.

    “I regularly unsubscribe from blogs with too many low-quality posts. I *never* unsubscribe from a feed with a few excellent posts.”

    Agreed. I have lots of things in my RSS reader, and generally get more out of the rarer, richer posts than the quick throw-aways.

  7. I think you should go for the change — it sounds refreshing, and really, you need to do what works for you. I know you’ll still be in my feed reader, so whenever you post, it’ll come up for me.

    As for your question about how I post so much … well, I work long hours, I write fast, I eliminate distractions, I work in bursts. I talked about how to fight procrastination in this post and how I squeeze my writing in between stuff at my full-time job here (my boss knows about it).

    But it sounds like less frequent, but more in-depth, posting would work well for you. Good luck, Steve! I’m sure you’ll be successful however you do it.

  8. Thanks for the ideas and encouragement everyone…

    I have one more question…
    How do you eliminate distractions with small children in the house? Does your wife take them places for you?

    Stephen King wrote his first blockbuster novel in his closet on a typewriter while his wife watched all his kids. Do you do something similar? Do you have an office where you can close the door?

  9. Steve,

    You need to make whatever changes are necessary to keep yourself blogging. Yours is among the few blogs where I look forward to new entries because I know that your bad ones are better than many bloggers’ good ones. I know I’m not alone in saying that I would miss it immensely if your blog were to go away. Maybe it’s partly because we agree on so many things, but also because you have a way of making me think even when I’ve believed I’d already thought an issue to death. So do whatever it takes to renew your blogging spirits.

    I have read more than a few of your entries where I’ve said, “man, I wish I had said that.”

  10. I just came across your blog for the first time today – and I’m glad I did. I added it to my feed reader and read about 20 of your posts this afternoon.

    My vote goes with whichever posting frequency allows you to keep up this quality.

  11. Steve, there must be something in the blog water. I recently backed off my mandatory one post a day. Only about 1 a week was really heartfelt. The rest was filler.

    As John said, when I check out my stats, it’s the well thought out in depth posts that get the love and build community. They are the ones people hit over and over again and they appear in the SERP’s.

    I finally surrendered to writing inspired and inspiring content. It was a scary proposition, but I think it’s working out well. I certainly feel much saner.

    In Spirit,

  12. I’ve been pondering the whole blogging frequency thing myself, so I was really glad to see this post of yours pop up in my feed reader.

    There’s so much out there about the importance of blogging frequently and blogging daily, and in between your post and John Wesley’s, I think I’m now able to come to terms with my own blogging rhythm. (Read: feel less guilty).

    You write great posts, and I’m with John (above) – my vote goes to whatever posting frequency works for you.


  13. I think that you are going the right direction with your blogging. Quality post builds quality. Its better for us readers and better for your sanity when you are not pressured by keeping a constant frequency to your post! Great blog!

  14. Hi Steve … good question. Here’s how I deal with that:

    1) I like to write in the early morning, before anyone gets up. I wake at 4:30 a.m., and this allows me to get some exercise in too before I have to wake everyone up.

    2) I write in between tasks at work. My boss knows this. I still produce a lot at work, and I’m really good at what I do, so there aren’t any problems with that.

    3) When I get home from work, I don’t do any writing. I spend the evening with my family. But when they all go to bed, I might do a little more, if I’m not too tired. I generally sleep about 2-3 hours less than the rest of my family, but it doesn’t usually bother me. If it does, I’ll take a short nap or wake a little later.

    4) I don’t write on weekends, usually. That’s reserved for family. I do my weekend posts for my blog during the week.

    5) Once in awhile, I’ll write when the kids are around. I just tune everything out. I zone. I can’t really explain it, but they have to call me several times to get my attention. I don’t like doing this very much.

    6) The key, for me, is that I write very fast. I give thought to what I’m going to write during drive times, or during exercise, or I’ll take a walk, or when I’m reading other stuff. And when I write, I just crank it out. That allows me to get a lot done in a shorter amount of time. I’ve been writing professionally for 17 years, so it comes naturally for me. Plus, I love what I do – that makes it so much easier!

    Thanks for the question, Steve. Sorry for the long reply. Good luck with your new posting plan!

  15. I welcome the change. When you write just to fill up one more day or one more week, it is visible, and it tends to get boring. I wish you good luck and I’m looking forward to read your new posts.

  16. Hi Steve,
    I agree with Nneka that there must be something in the blog water … I also recently decided to change slightly from the goal of two or more high quality posts a week (not sure I ever achieved quite that frequency), to only one a week, interspersed with one or two short posts just to keep the blog fresh. I guess it’s my attempt to balance between following the advice to keep up posting frequency, but without sacrificing the longer, higher-quality posts. I’ll see how that works – it’s all an experiment after all.

    I share the similar situation of having a full time job and then a family that needs some attention after I get home. Most of my writing is done in the evening, which I guess is easier when your children are older. I also manage some time during lunch at work.

    Good luck, and I look forward to more good posts from!

  17. Just wandered on in – thanks for visiting my site, btw.

    I’m all for essay posts. Denser = better. Here’s why:

    Yes, you can get tons of traffic by keeping posts light, and letting people talk. But what about the art of having something to say, that’s well-said?

    Most conversations on the Internet are repetitive. I mean, most of the lighter posts are repetitive. How many posts have I just glanced through that have tips for how to make money blogging, or tips for getting an audience? How many posts have I seen that are pretty much to-do lists? With political blogs, is repeating the same stance on the same issue over and over again really going to change my mind?

    Dense is good because it means you’re taking your own thought seriously, and working through the implications carefully. A serious opinion won’t bring in lots of readers, but it will bring in the readers that keep coming back. That I know from experience.

  18. Frankly, I like posts that are short and to the point, but with something lively in them. I’m getting a little burned-out reading the same old “inspirational, how-to” posts that everyone seems to churn out.
    I like the blogs that share something witty and personal and those that give me something to take away and ponder after I’ve read it.

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