If you have a business blog – and if you are in business you certainly should – you know that starting a blog is much easier than maintaining it. Very soon you will ask the question, how often should I blog?
There are an estimated 450 million active English language blogs, and tens of thousands of new ones coming online every day. Business blogs are popular for one reason – they are good for business. Business blogs are important because:
- They provide an ongoing communication between you and your current customers, allowing you to engage with them in a dialogue so that you can plan products and services to fit their needs and respond to any service failures quickly;
- They attract new customers that would not have known about you otherwise, simply through keyword searches;
- They provide a platform that allows you to display your subject matter expertise, promoting you as a thought leader in your industry.
- When updated regularly, they help to optimize your website by providing new content for search engines to crawl and categorize.
How often should you post content to your blog?
The issue of frequency touches on all four of these reasons for blogging. You may have heard some experts say that you should blog daily or even multiple times each day. Some say that is too much – your subscribers don’t want all that email, and they will unsubscribe if you flood their email box with too many posts. Others say, “It’s not the quantity, but the quality that counts.” You can’t create quality content if you are constantly posting.
So what is the truth? Is it quantity or quality? The bottom line, is that it is both.
In Hubspot’s 2012 benchmark study on blogging, they found that companies that blog 15 or more times per month get five times more traffic than companies that don’t blog at all. And small businesses, those with from one to 10 employees, tend to obtain the most significant benefits in website traffic when then publish more articles.
It’s also important to understand that the lifecyle of a blog post extends well into the future. The average company will begin seeing a 45 percent increase in traffic once their total number of blog posts jumps from 11-20 articles to 21-50 articles. B2C companies will see a 59 percent increase after increasing their total number of blog articles from 100 to 200. It takes developing a solid base to begin getting traction, so don’t give up!
So should you blog daily? Hubspot’s more recent benchmark study this year showed that 82 percent of marketers who blog daily report positive ROI for overall inbound efforts. But that does not mean that you should blog daily if you can’t post high quality content. Corbett Barr, blogger at ThinkTraffic says:
Building a raving audience online all starts with writing epic shit. Period. Hands down. End of story . . .
Write things that make people think. Inspire people. Change lives. Create value. Blow people away with your usefulness.
So don’t write fluff. If you only have fluff, don’t write to fulfill an arbitrary quota. Write what you would want to know if you were looking for information about your topic.
Blogging frequency and lead generation
Ultimately, we are blogging to generate leads – and Hubspot found that more content means more leads. Those companies that only nominally blog — just once or twice per month — generate a whopping 70 percent more leads than those that don’t blog at all. Those that increase their blogging from three-to-five times per month to six-to-eight times per month almost double their leads.
The average company with 100 or more total blog articles is more likely to experience continued lead growth. Those companies with more than 200 blog articles generate five times the number of leads than companies with 10 or fewer blog posts.
When should you post?
Is there an ideal time of day or day of the week to post to your blog? Here are some key metrics from a study conducted by Dan Zarrella (@danzarrella) and searchengineland.com (@sengineland). These data are presented in EST.
- The highest percentage of users read blogs in the morning. 70% of users say they read blogs in the morning (among other times).
- A higher percentage of men read blogs in the evening and night.
- The average blog usually gets the most traffic on Monday.
- The average blog usually gets the most traffic around 11 a.m.
- The average blog usually gets the most comments on Saturday.
- The average blog usually gets the most comments around 9 a.m.
- The average blog usually gets the most inbound links on Monday and Thursday.The average blog usually gets the most inbound links around 7 a.m.
- If you post more than once per day, your chances of getting more unique views and inbound links are greater.
According to the data, as the number of posts per day increases, the number of unique views per month also increases.
Does this mean that you should post your content at 11 a.m. Monday? Not necessarily. Your content may have more competition for eyeballs then and lose readers because of overload. You may strategically decide to post your content late at night when there is less “noise,” but when your post will receive greater prominence.
As a result, your post may garner fewer comments and less engagement, but it is a tradeoff you are willing to make. The point is that when you are armed with information, you are able to make decisions that can help your blog be successful.
How long should your posts be?
Your posts can be any length, but many experts suggest that busy readers are willing to read around 400-500 words. If you have a compelling topic and you need to write 5,000 words, go for it, but be sure that you’ve got the material to back it up. Can you say everything you want to say in 200 words? That’s fine, too. Seth Godin blogs daily, and his posts are often very short – sometimes 100 words or less. (This post is 1,265 – longer than typical for me.)
Promoting your blog posts
Writing frequent blogs posts is not enough. You should spend at least as much time promoting them as you do writing them – perhaps more. If you have a blog built on WordPress or many other platforms, you probably have plug-ins on your site that allow you to promote your blog post directly on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites. While I use the Twitter plug-in to automatically post about my blog updates, I prefer to post by hand to Facebook and Google-Plus so that I can write an introductory sentence. I also upload a photo on Google-Plus to give the post a better display.
In addition to these sites, you should consider also submit to social bookmarking sites: StumbleUpon, Chime.in, Digg, Reddit , Slashdot and Newsvine. You will have to open an account for each of these sites to begin submitting, and you should also become active in the communities. Just submitting your own work is frowned upon, so submit others’ work and follow people and try to get followers. You know – be a giver, not just a taker.
When building your blog, strive to be a well-rounded blogger. Balance your blogging time so that you are creating quality content on a consistent basis, then leaving time to promote your posts. When you, a staffer or a hired writer creates content for you daily, you will reap the rewards for it, as long as it is high quality content. If you can’t meet such a demanding schedule, it is much more important to post regularly, once or twice a week, than to post bad content daily. Just decide what level is best for you and your business and you won’t have to anguish over the question, “how often should I blog?”