Since the proliferation of blogs in late 1999, opinions are divided as to the posting frequency that people should have on their blogs. The popular school of thought advises us to post daily. The other view implies that it’s silly to do so, with the proponents looking down upon the followers of the frequently posting crowd.
In a recent post I came across this week, the author notes three reasons why posting daily is a senseless strategy. Those three reasons include the destruction of “social proof”, diminished bond with the readers, and the risk that some people will simply unsubscribe from your email list. Personally, I tend to disagree and follow the school of thought that advises one to post more regularly – even if it is a short entry. Here’s why.
Let’s consider the definition of the term “blog". According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a blog is defined as “a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer”. Now consider the definition of the term “journal” which, according to Wikipedia, is “a daily record of events or business”. That said, one could hardly argue that the true definition of a blog is one where you would post infrequently. According to those definitions, quite the opposite is true.
At one point or another, some of us might have kept physical journals (known as “diaries”) of our day-to-day lives. We take our special pen in hand, open our leather journal, and perhaps start our entry with “Dear Diary”, followed by a happy, sad, frustrating, or seemingly mundane occurrence of the day. It becomes a record of our lives which we can look back upon one day and be reminded of what was happening during a certain point in our lives - something which can easily be forgotten as time passes on.
Enter the world of online journals, otherwise known as blogs. Back in early 1999, there were only a handful of blogs. By the end of that same year, hundreds of blogs started to appear on the web. Nowadays, you can be sure to find a blog for every topic known to man with more popping up on a daily basis. Everyone seems to have one as everyone has a story to tell. What all of these blogs have in common are voices waiting to be heard.
From personal daily accounts of what one would consider commonplace, to full commentaries and in-depth research on a particular subject, online journals have transformed the way we communicate and gather our information. At any given time, you can enter a search term into the search engine of your choice and be directed to a number of blogs covering the topic you wish to research. Sometimes you come across a site you wish to follow for one reason or another. Perhaps your desire is to find a new recipe for an extraordinary dinner you’re making for that special someone in your life and you end up spending hours online, delightfully taken from one food blog to the next. More than likely, you end up finding something you might not have even considered. The words of the blogger sweep you away as you navigate through her posts, and leave you wanting to hear more of her stories – ones that have been cleverly woven around the actual recipe. You bookmark that site, hoping to hear more from the author in the near future.
You patiently wait…and wait…and wait some more. No new posts are forthcoming for a week, then two, and finally after about five weeks, another post is at last available. By then, you might have already moved on to the next “shiny object” – the next interesting blog and its author's well-crafted stories. Human nature wants new information on a regular basis. Can you imagine not having access to the Internet for even a day? We strive to see something new each morning, thumbing through our digital newspapers as the husbands of the generation before us sat at the breakfast table, newspaper in hand, ignoring their wives as they read through the news of the day.
The following are the three reasons why you should post more frequently – not necessarily on a daily basis but certainly more than once a month or once every five to six weeks.
“OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND”
With the sheer number of blogs available for one’s perusal, your blog needs to capture and retain a reader's attention. If you do not provide your readers with new content, the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality might start to take hold. Certainly, I can look at your topmost post week after week, but if you’re not providing me with anything new for over a month, you can be assured that I will quickly lose interest and move on to another blog with more frequent posts. I might even visit your blog again next month out of curiosity, but how many times can I read the exact same post that has been sitting at the top of your blog for weeks on end? Your bond with the reader has a greater chance of being severed and if one had initially subscribed to your email list, you run the risk of losing that subscriber.
One thing that frequent posting provides is the ability to keep ideas flowing. In my high school creative writing class, one of our daily assignments was to write on one certain teacher-specified topic within a 15-minute time frame. At first, I hated that exercise. My mind wandered and I simply could not focus. At times I fought with the notion of even writing – such as the time when the question was “Which tattoo would you get and where would you put it?”. My answer was something along the lines of my not wanting to answer this particular question because I would never get a tattoo, but then I wrote that if I had to get one, it would be of a black panther on my upper left arm. I knew I had only 15 minutes to write something – anything – so I did. After several weeks, the thought process strengthened and ideas started flowing as a fountain. Writing became easier and more pleasant. Therefore, the more frequently you write, the better your content and stronger the brain muscles and self-confidence that are gained from this constant mental exercise. In time, your true voice will shine and your readers will stop to notice and will come back for more.
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
― C.G. Jung
This third point builds upon the ideas generated by consistent writing as a result of introspection. Stephen King, in his book On Writing, states that he writes every day – even on Christmas, his birthday, and New Year’s Day. By taking the time to stop and reflect on your thoughts and sift through your ideas, you develop a greater awareness of not only the topics you research and write about, but yourself as well. Instead of simply going through your day mindlessly being entertained by one distraction or another, you make the effort to think for yourself and come to your own conclusions without being told what to think or feel.
For most people, blogs are a business – a way of generating an income. For others, though, a blog is a personal account of life’s short journey – a way for us and our children to look back and see all of the wonderful things we’ve accomplished and places we’ve discovered, some pleasant and others not so pleasant, and to observe how far our minds can take us through the practice of writing often.
Some posts take a considerable amount of both time and research. Others can take an hour or less, depending on your goal for the day or week. Not every post needs to be lengthy - sometimes a short paragraph or two will serve the purpose of writing in order to generate ideas and writing to increase self-awareness, which has the potential to keep your readers coming back for more.
What one person might consider “boring” might be a minefield of information for another. Not everyone wants to hear about your challenging day grocery shopping with three small children, but there might just be that one person who is comforted in knowing that she’s not the only one going through those trials of toddlerhood.
Your thoughts and views change with time and while we may have moved away from the physical diaries of the past, the opportunity is still there in electronic form. All we have to do is to take some time and write on a regular basis. An opinion is just that - life is too short not to voice yours and make a difference.