Creating Content – Post Length & Post Frequency

This is part three of my ongoing series, The Art Of Creating Content. Today, we’re going to cover how long a post should be and how often you should update. This is one of those much-debated questions with no right answer.

The length of a post can run from one paragraph, like postings from Engadget, to the 7,000 word essays of Steve Palvina. Whichever one you use is up to you. The key really isn’t the length of the post as it is the frequency of the posts. Engadget makes short posts because they do a dozen posts per day. Palvina’s posts are very long but they come only two to three timers per week. The key thing is both blogs are consistent in their posting frequency.

Personally, I like to keep my post between 200 to 1000 words. Sometimes I will do more than 1000 words if the topic requires it but my general rule is to use only enough words to get my point across. Your reader’s time is valuable and you don’t want to wasting it with a bunch of fluff. The reason I do the 200 words minimum is so I have enough words to wrap my Google box ad. If I make a post that has less than 200 words, like a video post, then I will leave out the Google ad.

Post Frequency Is Much More Important Than Post Length

Nothing turns off a blog reader more than seeing a blog updated once per day for a week, then suddenly no updates at all. If you’re going to update your blog once per day (or whatever frequency you choose), then stick to it. Don’t be an on again, off again blogger. Your blog will never grow if you do that.

I think a blog should be updated everyday because that’s what blogs are for. I covered how to find content to blog about at the start of this series. There is always something going on in the industry or niche you’re covering. If you have nothing to write about then it just means you’re not really looking. I can do way more than the three to four posts per day that I’m doing right now but I don’t because I do not want to give the reader information overload.

Updating on a daily basis has many benefits. It encourages readers to check your blog everyday or subscribe to your RSS feed. Google also like frequently updated blogs and will send the bot more often to index your site.

Posting frequency is so important that many big blogs will hire guest bloggers to take over the posting duties when the main blogger goes on vacation. This was the case when Tony Hung took over ProBlogger for a week.

Remember, the key is to be consistent in the frequency of your blog updates. Make a commitment to do X number of post per week for a year. You’ll see some amazing things happen.


53 thoughts on “Creating Content – Post Length & Post Frequency”

  1. Jane says:

    That’s great advice! Thank you John. What are your feelings on weekend blogging? If you write one or two posts per day during the week, do you think a person is missing out by not posting on the weekends?

  2. Brandon says:

    I agree completely. However, post frequency doesn’t seem to hinder AdSense revenue for me. But it definitely makes a difference in your readership. I lost a number of RSS readers when I stopped updating my blog for a month.

  3. Ryan says:

    I think the key point is that there’s always something to blog about, and if you’re not then you’re not trying (looking) hard enough.

  4. Michael Kwan says:

    I have the same question as Jane: how do you feel about weekend blogging? I try to put up a new entry every day or two, but I have a tendency to skip weekends altogether.

  5. HMTKSteve says:

    I try to post multiple times a day but, sometimes I just have nothing to talk about!

  6. John Chow says:

    I still like to get one or two posts in for during the weekend. While traffic is down, there are still people coming to the blog and I want to have something new for them to read.

  7. Jane says:

    Yeah, you do a great job at catering to your readers…much appreciated.

  8. Alex Becker says:

    yea always something new here. I myself try to get one a day.

  9. Jeff says:

    Frequency – yes, I agree with it completely. That’s why I come to your blog over and over, because I know there’s something new in the morning, and something new in the evening…

    Cheers.

  10. Leftblank says:

    Nice article John, I’ve been trying to follow your fixed frequency as well and it indeed does seem to work out pretty well, some visitors keep coming!

  11. Bes Zain says:

    Very good point. A blogger has to figure out over time what realistic posting frequency they can maintain. The more frequent the better, like you said.

    When you post more, even posts that are not your best get respect because of the overall quality that is being averaged out by other posts. Of course, overdoing your number of posts is like draining your brain power simply to get more visitors for a while. After a while, when you have nothing to post and reduce your frequency of posting, people who are used to your site being updated everyday or twice a day will start wondering if you are running into issues and also if they should find alternate sites to hang out at in the meantime. Those users may never return like they used to before.

  12. Very good points. I’ve been trying to stick to a schedule on posting frequency with about 1 post per day. Right now my problem has been the time of day is inconsistent as it varies based on how many hours I have to work at my job.

    Maybe I can get John to use some of that extra posting power to write on my site. Lol.

  13. Great article, for a small blogger like myself you have made some valuable insights on good blogging etiquettes. I generally like to keep 2-3 posts a week but I really like your thoughts on trying to increase the frequency so people can drop by everyday

  14. Nomar says:

    good post, i am posting now for 3 months long, every day, and sometimes 2 times a day. hope amazing things will happen after a year 🙂

  15. Raghu says:

    John

    One of the things that I see you do is on a given day you usually post in spurts.

    May be you can also cover your ‘blogging schedule’

    One more point that I think that people should employ on longer posts is present a summary on the main page and then have a read more link at the bottom. I think it has two advantages

    1. People can have a look at more postings per visit to the home page
    2. If somebody clicks on the read more link, you get a better understanding of your readers’ preferences

  16. John Chow says:

    I have never like the read more link on a blog post. It’s almost like having a partial feed on RSS. It maybe OK to use if you do a dozen posts per day but if you’re doing only a few I don’t think it’s needed.

  17. Chris says:

    I really don’t like the ‘read more’ links. I assume my readers are as a lazy as I am, and try to make it as easy as possible to read as much as possible.

    I’ve managed 5 posts a day to my Thermal blog for two months now & it’s definitely helped increase the readership – it’s designed to be an easy reading, ‘diverting’ blog where you can always find something else interesting the next post down. I don’t write a lot per post, there’s plenty of images & links to cool sites, so the post rate is easy to do.

    Blog-Op on the other hand, is more wordy as it has tutorials, and tips, and some posts can take a couple of hours to write. I still like to post once a day though.

    As a reader, if a blog doesn’t update in around 5 days, it gets deleted from my feeds, unless the blogger has given warning, or I’ve been reading them months. Big posting gaps=lost readers.

  18. Gdog says:

    Posting everyday has helped my blog…I mean, come on, we all love seeing new content on a site. It’s like getting new mail.

  19. Alex Becker says:

    Gdog I agree. If I go to a blog and theres no content for that day I usually stop visiting.

  20. Ryan says:

    Oh man I see ‘read more’ links are mentioned above. That’s just a nasty thing to do to readers. 🙂

    Kinda like not using AJAX to increase page views: not worth it in the long run.

  21. Tyler says:

    I try to post at least once a day. The weekends for me is a bit trickery because I’m usually busy and not enough time to sit in front of a computer.

    I noticed when I do miss a day of posting that my page views for that day drop quite a bit, so that is why I try for at least 1 post a day even if it’s an update for a previous post or some random tidbit of news.

  22. I usually find more time to post on the weekends and often have multiple posts per day. Maybe I should save some of those as drafts and publish them during the week to maintain a more consistent schedule.

    Working 10-12 hours per day with a 2+ hour commute doesn’t always leave a lot of time for crafting a well written blog post during the week.

  23. Raghu says:

    On weekend’s the traffic might be low but I definitely look to keep my blog updated so that my readers at least have something to see every time they visit my blog

  24. Raghu says:

    John – Agree with your point on the fact that the read more link is usually more beneficial on pages which submit many posts in a day

    Can you share what % of your readers bounce off your home page itself ?

  25. HMTKSteve says:

    A method I use is to think of something in the past that was funny and then blog about it. Why just today I blogged about an experience where I almost lost some money to a car dealer! I dressed it up a bit and turned it into a blog post!

  26. Ryan says:

    HMTKSteve, that’s a good idea. I’ve used past experiences like that (or things I’ve done) to create posts about something useful people can use and/or do, although it’s something I myself did some time ago.

  27. Jane says:

    I agree with Bes. One thing I’ve noticed about reading your blog is that the overall quality is great. I constantly try to assess how what you are talking about (TLA, PPP, AGOLCO) can be implemented in our site. And it’s not even about with my current site, but with future sites as well. That is what adds value when reading. I can relate and see a different perspective I would have never thought of.

  28. Jane says:

    Typo on previous post…meant AGLOCO 😉

  29. Raghu says:

    Sharing personal experiences – I would only do that if that adds ‘value’ to the other readers. Otherwise I don’t see any point in posting it.

  30. John Chow says:

    Sharing personal experiences lets the reader know more about you and adds a personal touch to the blog. All those post about my trip to Vegas for CES are personal experiences.

  31. Ryan says:

    The CES experiences are fairly relevant to the people that visit this blog, and it’s nice to see what we all missed out on.

  32. Jane says:

    I agree with you John. Your experiences help your readers relate to you and see you as an actual person who through hardwork, determination and some knowhow got you to where you are. I think there’s no reason why someone can’t shoot to “be like John.” After a few years, anything can happen.

  33. One of the things I value here are the personal experiences and that is something I have tried to implement in my own site as well.

  34. Hi John,

    A quick question regarding the MORE option in WordPress. I see you don’t use it since you need your post to wrap around the Google AdSense ad. However, should someone consider using the MORE option and only showing readers the first few lines of the post? Or should this be avoided? Do you find it dissuades readers from reading the whole article?

    Regards,

  35. Michael Kwan says:

    The “Read more” business is a touchy subject. I think that sites that update several times a day — Joystiq, Mobile Magazine, Engadget, etc. — kind of need it so that their front page doesn’t get too cluttered. For the rest of us, I don’t think it’s necessary (though I have it on mine… I want to remove it, but I can’t. I’ll have it gone in the next redesign though for sure)

  36. John Chow says:

    I don’t like the read more tag. It’s not needed unless you update your blog with a ton of post each day.

    1. HMTKSteve says:

      Having the Read More tag allows you to put a large number of posts on your main page without having it trail 20 feet down!

      I do not have a large number of RSS readers so I keep a short paragraph on the main page and the rest when you click the link.

      Also, becuase of the way my blog works, I can not embed AdSense in a post, I have to edit the template files which allows me to put AdSense code before, in the break and at the end only. Thus, I need the break!

  37. syd says:

    Thanks for the informative post. I have a blog but I dont update it on consistent basis. I do around 3-5 posts per week, sometimes more and sometimes less. Maybe I should try being more consistent while posting and check out the results.

  38. Ramanathan says:

    To write essays like steve palvina, you need a solid power to make the readers hook to your page. We should learn the art. John is one man that has learnt it.

    Great post john.

  39. HMTKSteve says:

    Tell us John, what do you do when someone steals your content and tries to pass it off as their own? This recently happened to me and I’d like to hear from you about this subject.

    1. John Chow says:

      You email them and ask them to remove the article. If they don’t you then email their ISP with a copyright volation notice. If that don’t work, you’ll have to decide if you wish to spend money on legal moves.

      What I do now is to make sure my post contains a few links to my other articles. This way if someone rips me off and post it on another site, I at least get some linkback. Most of these deatbeats are too lasy to remove links and will just copy and paste as is.

      1. HMTKSteve says:

        If only…

        The content that was ripped from my blog ended up on the front page of Digg and acquired a massive Stumbleupon following.

        The blog has since been removed by WordPress, his Netscape account was banned, the Digg entry was removed, he may lose his Digg acount, etc…

        I know the value of StumbleUpon and it is worth more than a Digg homepage!

  40. Kenric says:

    I made PR4! Thanks to your tips, I was able to get my new blog URL which I started on 11/20 to PR4 in less than 2 months! I hadn’t checked it in a while and thought it’d could be at 1, but I was shocked when it was at 4. Now I’m tied with you. haha. Thanks again John.

    Kenric

  41. Ron Wilson says:

    I blog frequently with smaller posts but I see the Googlebot come by several times per day.

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