Well time sure is flying by. I didn't realize this blog has already been around now for six months. I haven't been writing these posts with any kind of regularity but I figured I'd share some of my insights on blogging from the last six months.
Don’t Post Every Day
If you don’t blog for a living you shouldn’t be posting every day. You cannot possibly have something truly useful to say that often. I sometimes have trouble posting once a week. It is much better to just delete those fluff post ideas you have and save your readers the time and trouble. Yes, you will get less traffic, but you will be doing your readers and the internet a favor.
I’ve come to this conclusion not from looking at my blogs statistics or anything but from being a regular reader of other blogs via RSS. When you have a whole bunch of blogs in the same niche in your feed, you quickly get a taste of the same topics and same exact posts over and over. Most of the blogs that post every day don’t actually post anything meaningful once a week. They tend to have one good post every other week. Which means I have 13 other posts I don’t want to read, that I have to wade through.
Of course if your blog is more of a curation of what is going on in your niche or short little image posts, that is fine. Post as much as you want. Just don’t try to knock out 800-3000 word posts every day. The quality just won’t be there.
Focus on quality over everything else.
You Don’t Need a Blogging Schedule
A writing schedule forces you to pump out posts regardless of whether they are good or not, or whether your readers really want to read them or not. My biggest writing hurdles have come when I come up with an idea for a post and plan to write it later in the week. For whatever reason those posts become impossible to write. Even when I have the whole thing outlined.
For me if I don’t write the post the same day I have the idea, I lose the motivation. Having the motivation and the idea fresh in your mind is what makes the post easy to write. I’m a slow typer and get distracted easily but a post that comes easy to me, I can write in an hour or so. A lot of my other posts take 3-4 hours and can get somewhat painful to finish.
Still, I keep a Google Doc of all my post ideas that I don’t write. Sometimes when looking those over I’ll see a post idea I previously had and it sparks an idea or I just decide I can tackle that topic now.
Link Out/Share the Wealth
Link out and promote other peoples good work whenever possible. Useful content is good for your readers, whether you wrote it or someone else did. I don’t share a lot of other peoples work here but I try to as much as possible on Twitter (@couchable). Sharing content and linking outward has been the basic principal that the internet was built on.
Don’t try to keep your readers from leaving your site because they will regardless of any efforts you make. So give them the best content you can create and if someone else does something really great, share that too.
Revisiting Old Posts
Something I really, really need to do. Once a blog is established a good portion of the traffic comes from Google. Check those pages often and make sure the content is current. You’ll probably learn new things along the way that you didn’t touch on back then. Update your old posts or write follow-ups and link the two posts together.
Spend time interlinking your similar posts. Blogs have a horrible problem with putting similar content together in one location. Hug pages are good but also all of your posts on one topic should be linked together in some way. Not just by the category link but within the post body, link out to similar posts. Make it super simple for readers to find your work.
Archives don’t work. Search doesn’t always work. Make it easy for readers.
It is funny. I had planned on going back over my other posts of this type from Blogging Month One and Two and say what things I’d been wrong about, but really all of that advice I still think is correct.
The one thing I disagree with is worrying about SEO early one. If you want to blog for money, or traffic is how you determine the success of your blog, SEO should be on your mind at all times. Other than that it all seems to hold true for me.