Yesterday, I published three blog posts in the space of a few hours. It got me thinking about what the optimal number of posts are on a given day. I go through phases of writing and right now, I am on one of my manic phases, writing a lot of posts. There is nothing wrong with that, except that I feel compelled to publish the post right away. I should probably hold some of these back for days when I am not so prolific, but the posts burn a hole in my drafts folder, and I relent.
On days when I publish multiple posts, no one post performs as well as on days when I have just a single post. I haven’t explored the data for this in any detail it is just intuitive. In November, I published 41 posts. I published a post on every day of the month, and that means that I averaged 1-1/3rd posts per day. On average my posts were just shy of 500 words each.
Since November 2005, I’ve published 6,105 posts. That’s a time span over just over 4,000 days, and it means that on average, I published 1.5 posts per day. I wonder how this corresponds to the traffic I see on the blog? Would I see more traffic if I published just 1 post per day on average? It seems counterintuitive. Popular blogs seem to be publishing frantically. You’d think all of those posts would compete with one another.
Feedly tells me that Lifehacker publishes 177 stories per week. That’s more than one story per hour, for every hour of the week. The Verge publishes 279 stories per week. The Mary Sue publishes 98 stories per week. Feedly tells me that my blog posts, on average, 10 stories per week. Book authors are often warned not to saturate the market with more than one book per year, lest the books compete with one another. That doesn’t seem to be the case with blogging.
I’ve been blogging for a long time now. I think its fair to say that with more than 10 years, 6,000 posts, and 2.2 million words of copy, that I’m something of an expert. But I still feel like I don’t know what I am doing sometimes. And so sometimes I publish three posts in a single day, even when it is not necessarily the best thing to do.
I think of the blog the way I imagine a syndicated columnist thinks about their column: if you have a weekly column, you publish one column per week. For me, it’s a daily column, and I aim for one column per day.
I need to remind myself that I can write as many posts as I want in a day. I just need to have a little self-control when it comes to hitting the Publish button.