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The infamous question. I haven’t checked statistics for it, but I would assume this is probably one of the most popular beginner blogger questions posted to google and pinterest. The problem is there is no ‘one’ answer.
There are two sides of this:
1 | More often you post, the more credible you look to google and the more content you can share on social media and pinterest etc. etc. More content equals more keywords, more articles in your archive, and of course potentially the longer people will stay on your site. All fantastic things, right?
2 | The more often you post, the more potential for weaker articles. You can’t put 100% effort into something without taking mental and physical breaks. And the weaker your articles are, the less credible you are. Having a ton of content doesn’t mean anything if no one bothers to read it because they don’t trust it or it’s not interesting or helpful.
3 FACTORS TO CONSIDER
So back to the question. How often should you post? There are 3 factors to consider to figure out that number for yourself. So let’s break it down, and figure out YOUR perfect number.
1 | TIME PER WEEK TO BLOG
This is by far the most important factor to consider. How much time can you realistically put towards your blog? 5 hours a week? 50? Is this your full time job, part time job or hobby? It’s incredibly important to be honest here. And don’t think about the future, think about NOW. If you have a 40 hour a week job before you even sit down to write, it’s pretty unrealistic to think you can put another 50 a week towards blogging. So consider the following:
- What days can you dedicate to doing *something* for your blog?
- How much of those days will be dedicated? 30 minutes at lunch break? 1 hour after work? 8 hours on Saturday?
- Does this change each week? Do you work a job with a set schedule, a changing schedule or a flex schedule?
- Whats the maximum hours you can realistically put towards the blog
- Whats the minimum hours you can realistically put towards the blog
Remember, there is no right or wrong answer here. You can still have a strong blog regardless of two hours a week or 90 hours a week. Just be honest with yourself with these numbers. It’s easier to go ‘up’ later, rather than ‘down’.
2 | AVERAGE WORD COUNT
Now that you have your hours, lets talk about content. Are you writing short posts? Long posts? If you’ve already started blogging, take a look at your average word count, and skip to the next factor.
If you haven’t started yet, make a list (if you haven’t already) of the type of content you want to put out in the world. Are you making ‘ultimate guides’ or quick ‘word prompts’? Once you have an idea of the type of content you want to create, try figuring out your average word count.
You can do this by writing a few test articles and measuring the word count, or if there is a blogger you follow and you like the length of their articles – copy/paste a couple into Word and see how many words they use, to get an idea of your ideal length. Word count is extremely important in the blogging world. As a (very general) rule, I’d recommend 500 words at a minimum. But it doesn’t apply to every type of blog post, and if you look around my site, you can find anywhere from 250 (“Supernatural” Inspired Home Decor) to 2100 (12 Ways to incorporate relaxation in 5 minutes a day without opening your wallet), with an average of 850 words per article. The other side of this is, don’t put words in just to ‘up’ your word count, making sure every word counts is far more important than ‘the number’ in total.
3 | AVERAGE TIME FOR ONE ARTICLE
Now that you know what type of content you want to put out in the world, lets do a test. Next time you have an average (for you) amount of time to sit down and blog, use a timer as you write. Find out approximately how long it takes you to write a post of your average length (see factor 2). Don’t stop at writing though. Even if it’s not at the same time here are some of the things you need to keep track of (although you may have different things than this list!):
- Writing the first draft
- Research any necessary information for writing
- Editing draft
- Formatting in your blog
- Creating any pieces to go with it (IE: Printables, videos, audio etc.)
- Creating graphics for the blog
- Creating additional marketing pieces for it
- Final editing and formatting
- MARKETING (IE: Pinterest, social media, youtube, blog parties, commenting, facebook groups etc. etc.)
How long did that take? Probably a lot longer than you thought. Understand that first of all, this is an AVERAGE. Some articles will take you longer, some will take less time. But it gives you a strong baseline for how long an article may take start to finish. For best results, repeat the test 2-3 times to get a true average. For some insight, I’ve done this test myself and here are my numbers (which may be a lot higher or lower than yours so don’t compare minute-to-minute, just understand you are different than me)! My test article was about 800 words, for some items I rounded the time up a bit for ease of tracking time:
- Writing the first draft: 40 minutes
- Research any necessary information for writing: 10 minutes
- Editing draft: 10 minutes
- Formatting in your blog: 5 minutes
- Creating any pieces to go with it (Printables): 20 minutes
- Creating graphics for the blog: 15 minutes
- Creating any additional marketing pieces for it: 5 minutes
- Final editing and formatting: 5 minutes
- MARKETING (IE: Pinterest, social media, youtube, blog parties, commenting, facebook groups etc. etc.): 1 hour
Total time: Just shy of 3 hours
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Now you should have three important numbers:
- Time you can realistically spend each week on your blog
- Average number of words you will do per article
- Average time it takes you to create each article
So what do you do with that? Simple math!
Let’s make up an example and say you have 10 hours you can dedicate to your blog each week, you write an average of 1000 words, and it takes you 5 hours per article. 5 hours (per article)/divided by 10 (hours total) = 2, so you can confidently write 2 1000-word articles per week.
You’re probably wondering what the point of your average word count is. This is where it comes in. The more you write, the more effective as a writer you will be, what this means is over time you can say the same thing in less words, you will also be able to write faster. That means your average will change. I recommend redoing this exercise every three-to-six months to see if anything has changed.
CREATING A SCHEDULE
Now, we’ve determined that you can write 2-1000 word articles per week. What happens when you write a 500 word article? It means you have extra time to start working on the next article! But what happens if you write a longer article?
That’s where creating a schedule comes in. There are a few ways around this:
- If you are posting twice a week, switch off from an average length article and a short article so you can potentially always have a backlog of shorter articles.
- Start smaller, you know you should be able to write two average articles each week. So if you post one a week, you can quickly build a
backlog a couple months out.
- Purposely vary your content. If you know how long it takes to write a 1000-word article, schedule that size content once every other week, that means hypothetically you can write 2 500-word articles in the same amount of time and be able to post 2-3 articles a week instead.
- Test it! You’ve done the math, try it a few times; 2 this week, 3 the next, 1 the following – see if there are differing levels of engagement! Note that this isn’t a great option, because your most recent blog will probably be more popular simply because you have more content bringing people in already, but its worth testing before committing to a schedule!
COMMITTING TO BLOGGING
So you’re going to start a blog (or you already have) – that’s wonderful! And you’ve done the math and you think you know your schedule – that’s awesome! But hold the phone. Before you dive in, there’s something else to think about. Committing. Unless you’re writing a personal blog meant for friends and family (in which case you probably aren’t reading this article), you need to focus on your readers. When you blog, you’re promising to continue providing insight, opinions, tips, tricks etc. on a regular basis.
Now as discussed, regular doesn’t have to be daily, or even weekly. But it needs to be a commitment. A commitment to you, and your readers. You promise to keep giving this same value each and every time you post. And if you break that commitment (give less value or start posting less often), your readers will stop showing up to see what you have to say.
In the service industry (and should be every industry), the trick is – under commit, and over deliver. Let me repeat that.
UNDER COMMIT, OVER DELIVER.
Make that your mantra. If you think you can handle consistently posting [insert your number] a week – COMMIT! If you aren’t sure you can, commit to only [one less than previous number], with a surprise post once in a while, but make sure you make it known you were compelled to write this EXTRA post for xyz reason, so people don’t start thinking you’re committing to an extra post!
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There is one factor we haven’t talked about yet, and it’s probably the most important one, and goes along with the previous section. And that is comfort. What are you most comfortable doing. Its important not to get this confused with what you WANT to do. We would all love to churn out 7 posts a week, but it’s not realistic. You’d burn out, and your quality would suffer – even if blogging was your full time job.
Taking the example above, it doesn’t matter if you know you can write two posts a week, if you’re not comfortable sticking to that schedule, don’t! If you think that spending extra time on one article is a more effective use of your time, and posting once every other week instead, I highly encourage that instead. As mentioned previously, its easier to go ‘up’ than ‘down’ with your blog. Not to say that you can’t, but if your dedicated readers are expecting to see three posts a week (because that’s what you have been doing) and suddenly you are only writing one, that can hurt you (unless you have a strong enough readership to explain that you will be scaling back for [insert reason here]. While going the other way around can help you (as long as the content is still strong).
Point is, you can follow the formula above, and get a better understanding of you and your style and abilities – but it doesn’t mean anything if you’re not comfortable with it. So how many times should you post every week? Follow your instinct. That’s the only way to know.
Drop a comment below if this formula was helpful for you in determining how often you should post on your blog!